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All comments by Andy Hung
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It's always a bit sad when that happens, but definitely keep opening the hand! People like to apply the rule of something in fourth seat, but I use this rule: if it's an opening hand, open it!
April 25
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Yep agree with this.

Also, knowing your partner's preempts is important here - you probably did well to double opposite a Kate's first seat NV preempt! :P
April 25
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That's kind of funny, because I think South's 2S shows 4 and that North's double of 2H tends to deny 4S! (E.g. 3325 w/17 or 3226 and a good hand, but of course can have 4S such as 4324 w/18).

On the actual hand, I think it's better for North to rebid 2S which should show shape (definitely not rebid 3C as you might now miss on the 4-4 fit - responder's allowed to bid 2D first with say 4351 and if opener bids 3C , responder with a heart stopper can now rebid 3NT).
April 25
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I think double is probably best(?). It doesn't seem so obvious at first because when opener rebids their major in this auction, they tend to have 7 of them headed by the AQJ/AKJ or the like (with 6 and a good hand, they might start with X first). But I think South won't be passing the double without KTxx+ and a side card, so it's probably safe I think? It does seem difficult has North's six card minor is the one that South took preference to, so there might not be many minor tricks coming if NS defends 3HX. Or maybe I'm just resulting.
April 25
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Interestingly, I think when North bids 2D and East doubles, South should now splinter as North is now unlikely going to have much diamond strength. Even so, when North has 10+ points and 5+C, a 5C contract should be pretty safe, so a slam should be worth searching for.
April 25
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I'm usually fairly aggressive when it comes to 1-level overcalls. Even though I'd do it here as well, like you, I'm not thrilled because (1) partner's a passed hand, (2) unfav, (3) 5332. If I was playing against a very strong pair I think I would pass as my 1D overcall will only just help them in their play. If I was not vul however, I would bid 1D every day of the week - the chance of partner raising to 2D/3D/4D preempting the auction is a good enough reason for me to come into the auction.

About the 1D overcall requiring a good hand: I've heard this many times before, and I just don't agree with it. Yes it's true that it takes up no space (and does give the opponents to double 1D to show another hand type), but it is our partner's raise that will preempt the auction. Even a little 2D raise by partner can take away so much space (i.e. if opener has a good hand, sometimes he has to bid 3D cuebid which can mean all sorts of different hands, and they now have to work out what to do).
April 25
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I think North should make a limit raise? Usually in these situations where one bid (2D) is a minimum for the limit+ raise and the other bid (2C) where I have a super maximum for the 6-9 points, I prefer the slightly aggressive option. It will definitely be better if the auction gets competitive, but also, partner shouldn't play us (ever?) for a super maximum as we “almost never” hold it, so making a limit raise seems to put North in a better position.

Anyway after 2C, I think bidding 2D is fairly reasonable - when East couldn't raise to 2D, there's a good chance partner has something in diamonds in which case you might well just belong in 3NT.

What happened after the 2D bid though? Seems a bit strange for North to now jump to 4C (minorwood?) unless I'm missing something.
April 25
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Just be careful about these 1NT bids not promising a stopper. Partscore swings (if it happens, say, you couldn't bid 1NT due to it promising a stopper) is a lesser deal than Game swings (if it happens, say, bidding 1NT without a stopper and you get to 3NT played by the wrong hand).

Over 1C-(1D), I like to play transfers.
April 25
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That S8 trick would've been a big surprise! Another example of why defence can be difficult/defenders can still make mistakes!

By the way, is it your partnership style to commonly open 1NT with singletons? I would understand on some hands (e.g. 1444 with 15/16 and a big spade singleton honour), but a singleton minor I think it's better not to lie and just open 1minor?
April 25
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I think it's probably better to go after the clubs first. That way, you're up to a total trick count of 8 if the opponents continue diamonds, which is what East will likely do if he has the CA. If West has the CA, it's very unlikely he will switch to a spade, so either he will continue diamonds (good for us), or switch to a heart in which case we can take a guess as to which one to finesse. Even if we guess the wrong one, we still have a chance (i.e. East wins and plays a diamond and we can guess the diamond distribution).

After we have 8 tricks, we still have options for an endplay depending on how the play goes/if we can read the diamond position.
April 25
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Without much gadgets, you probably have to apply a bit of judgement. After 1H-2C(GF); 3C-? I think there's no need for responder to have a choice of games bid as opener is 5/4+ and responder has nice support in both suits.

IF:
After 1H-2C; 2NT, responder can either raise to 3NT, or bid 3H and opener can choose between 4H (if she has a weak doubleton) or 3NT.
After 1H-2C; 2H(if this doesn't promise 6), then I used to play that a jump rebid to 3NT as 4333 choice of games (it requires opener's rebid to be 2M and it may still be 5H's).
April 25
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Although I'm not too familiar with the 2C 3-way structure, but it seems like there's a bit to play around with? For example, how come the meaning of 2H is “Hx or xxx and unsure about 3NT vs 4M” and 2NT=Bal? As 2H is the most economical bid, couldn't you bid it with most hands to ask opener more info? Maybe that can free up the 2NT bid to mean something else (besides balanced)?

Or what about a jump rebid of 3NT? In 1H-2C; 2D-3NT or 1H-2C; 2H-3NT, perhaps that can be used as a 4333 choice of games?
April 25
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If the auction did go 1S-2H; 2S-3H; 3S-? (I'm assuming 2H=GF?) I think South has to cuebid with 4D in case North has a bit more? North has only mentioned long spades in the auction, but can easily have an extra 3-5 points and make the same bids - for example, North might have an extra DK and now slam is good.
April 25
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Agree with Ben here, with the most important point about giving the opponents an opportunity to overcall and find a potential sacrifice.

These days when I'm red vs green holding a 7+Major and an opening hand (say 12/13 highs), I'm always so tempted to open 4M (even at dealer) because I absolutely hate giving my opponents a chance to find a sac. Of course I resist those urges and open the normal 1M but you can of course guess what happened 95% of the time (or that's how it feels)…
April 25
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I notice at two tables the auction started to the effect of 1D-1H-1S(4+S). I know the ‘modern’ trend seems to be playing 1S=4+S and X=0-3 spades (which is what I used to play), but I'm now a big believer in the old fashioned style of 1S=4S and 1S=5+S. Too many times the fourth seat bumps the auction up to 3H or 4H and and it was really important to know whether responder had 4 or 5. I've seen too many of these uncertainties (about # of spades) come up which costed double digit swings.

Alternatively, you can do a bit of compromise: Play the old fashioned style after 1D opening (sometimes you might raise to 2D with only three, not the end of the world as it's a worthy trade to get the high level decisions right as they're double digit swings), but play the 4+S/0-3S after a 1C opening.

(I personally care about the high level decisions much more as I hate losing an avoidable 10 IMPs, so I do it for both 1m openings.)
April 25
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I remember one hand playing with Sartaj in the World Pairs in Orlando. I was dealer at all vul and opened 1H. The auction then went something like: my LHO overcalled 2D, Sartaj bid 2NT 4+H INV+, RHO competed to 3D. I had a balanced minimum and really didn't want to bid 3H, but we had the agreement mentioned above where pass was encouraging, so I “had” to bid 3H, praying the opponents would continue to out-bid me. 3H was passed out in a flash!

Turns out Sartaj also had a minimum balanced hand, and I was in a terrible contract with minimum three off for -300. Luckily, the opponents didn't defend perfectly so I was able to scrape out for -100!

At the end of the hand, we were tempted to extend our agreement that pass=minimum NF to all situations (rather than just as the overcaller/3rd seat opener), but decided against it as it probably was just a one time thing!
April 19
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Definitely agree with Kate above. Preemptive raises at V vs NV shouldn't be a balanced 3 count, it should have a bit of character. If partner has the SK or either minor suit aces, game is reasonable. Sure there are also hands where there is no play for a game. Even on this hand where game should fail, Helene mentioned that at her table mistakes were made all round, so in fact, another reason to bid it is because sometimes defence can be tough!

I've certainly had plenty of hands in the past thinking “I don't know if this vul 4H contact will be good or not, but I do know that I'm happy to double the opps 4S” and proceed to bid 4H confidently, and I got my wish - the temptation to sacrifice in 4S was too great, and I happily doubled to collect my plus score.
Although it's a bit extreme, but I've also had a couple of similar situations for the SLAM level thinking the same thing, and after bidding 6H (not knowing how good the slam will be) the opps just couldn't resist to sac in 6S!
April 19
Andy Hung edited this comment April 20
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I like to play Ace=Attitude, K=Count only for 5+level contracts, or when declarer has shown a 6+suit (e.g. 3S P 4S AP). Some pairs extend this when defending against any contract which I did used to play, but never understood why, and often found myself not knowing what signal I actually wanted (attitude/count) before seeing dummy.

In any case, luckily this hand is slightly easier to defend. As Jane mentioned, it is unlikely partner has a minor suit ace, and since declarer is unlikely to ruff our SA (or even the second spade if North has the SK), it is safe for us to cash the SA at trick 2 to get a signal from our partner about whether she has the SK or not. The bidding + dummy's length in the major suits on this hand makes it easier.

However, on other hands, it may not be this easy so it is definitely important to get these cash out situations correct!
April 19
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Did the 2NT guarantee a balanced hand? I guess it's still OK to be in 4S if North has a singleton spade since we have the KJT9.

My worry about the 4S bid is that it precludes a potential cue bidding auction. It's true that the 2D bid said “accepting the invite to 4S opposite a 3-card limit raise”, but the 2NT bid made the auction game forcing (I assume?), so it feels that this isn't a “fast arrival” situation - we're just bidding out our shape (3S showing 6) and also including a potential slam cue bidding sequence.
April 19
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As for the play on the HJ lead, I don't know the exact percentages, but I think taking the finesse is best. If it loses, you can still use the HA to pitch a loser. Let's say the finesse loses to East - sure, we can see that a diamond switch isn't that great, but imagine you were sitting as East and that your diamonds were NOT KQ109 (so other random holdings such as Qxxx or K10x etc). Looking at dummy's DAJ83, would you be thinking to switch to a diamond? I certainly wouldn't, I'd probably continue a heart or maybe switch to a club.

Even if East switches to a diamond you still have chances. For example, duck a diamond, take the DA next, HA pitch a diamond(?), and ruff a diamond with the SJ. If diamonds are 3-3, then play for trumps 3-2 to cash SK, SA, then a diamond. But the thing is, I would find it really weird from what holding East would switch to a diamond from. A singleton? That would give West DKQ and he may have led it. From K109x? Surely not, he doesn't know who has the DK so it could be a disaster. Perhaps you do play East for a singleton or doubleton diamond, so you can either decide to take the spade hook, or go after the clubs (after HA pitching a diamond) before drawing trumps.

Winning the HA isn't bad, as I think playing the clubs would give you the best chance of the 10th trick (3-3 break, or East has a doubleton) after cashing SAK. Thing is, I think I can still do that if I take the heart finesse losing to East, as it is very difficult for East to switch to a diamond.
April 19
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