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All comments by Andy Hung
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Good auction, especially the point about the 4H showing the club control and doesn't say anything about a heart control.

I definitely agree that the (non)serious 3NT should only be applied when a fit has been confirmed (amongst a couple of other partnership rules that you'd have with the convention). Here, South is only showing the 6th spade, and as North might have a stiff spade (1345/1444 etc?), the 3NT must be natural.

One other possible extension. Although I'm not a fan of the 2C 3-way bid, over North's 2NT bid, I presume 3C and 3D are natural bids. What about 3H (given the failure to bid 2H earlier?). If there's no meaning, then you could have both 3H and 3S bids to show 6+S, but one of them shows extra strength. After a 1H opening, you may be able to use the same logic for the 3H/3S bids (depending on what 1H-2C-2S means).
April 19
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By the way, no one has mentioned North overcalling 1S. Call me (slightly) crazy, but at favourable vulnerability, a 5431 shape, and a five-card spade suit, getting into the auction now is imo very important.
April 19
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I think the important decision to make on this hand is at trick 1 - whether to duck the CK lead or not. East's double strongly suggests that the DA is with East, so if we take the CA, we will have to give a heart trick to West at some point and he can switch to a diamond and a club will come through - and now we're at mercy of the location of the C10. If we duck the CK, West can switch to a diamond but now we have the DK for a club pitch.

So the question is whether it's better(safe?) to duck the CK or not. I think West is more likely to have led from KQ+ than from Kx doubleton, so we can place West to have the CQ. Secondly, if we duck the CK, we then have to think about if we're OK if a club is continued. Well, East is unlikely going to ruff this, otherwise that would give West a 6-card club suit and he didn't bid 3C.
What about a heart switch? I guess there is a danger that West has six hearts and switches to the HK for East to ruff, but if West has KQxxxx of hearts at KQ(x) of clubs, he might've led a heart instead of a club hoping to establish a ruff or two for East.

So I think ducking the lead is best.
April 19
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I think the North's hand is a bit too weak to bid 2S at vul with 2 queens and a jack and not much shape.

However, after the 2S bid, South should definitely make a move. The DKTxx is a downgrade that's right, but we could easily have the power to make a vulnerable game (don't want to miss those!). There are plenty of 7-8 point hands that North can have to give us a good chance of a good game. In fact, sometimes we can also get to 3NT because of our good diamond stoppers.

Don't forget, even if you get to a non-cold game, the opponents still need to find a lead, and they still need to defend correctly. We know mishaps happen quite often, and that's a good reason to try for the vul game!
April 19
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I'm definitely a doubler as I don't want to give away an opportunity for a juicy penalty! As Kate said, we have the entries to keep playing away at the spades. If you decide to bid over 1NT to show the spades, sure you get to play the hand, but how will you get to East's hand to lead towards your DK or CAQ? (Not specifically this hand, but as a general question.) Thing is, if you can get to East's hand (i.e. there's an entry or two), then it sounds like you'd do well defending 1NTX (if you get to)!

As Kate mentioned, if the opponents run, you can then bid 2S later. That way, you can try for a penalty first, and if you bid 2S later, partner will know you have a good hand and you may even find a potential game if it's right!
April 19
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The big difference this hand to the previous one is that here, if you choose the 1D-then-2C route, assuming partner gives preference to 2D, you have to choose between passing (and may miss a game) or bidding (say) 2NT to show 16-17 (and may be too high already) - therefore the compromise is a 1NT opening which is usually OK when you have strength in both doubletons. If both of my doubletons were weak, or even one of them, then I would be opening 1D.

On the other hand (2245 18 count), it was free to bid 1C then 2D as you can still follow it up with a NT bid later.
April 19
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I think East's hand is worth a invitational raise rather than a mixed raise given the stiff diamond?

I also like the idea of the fast arrival (Pass vs Bidding 3M when we were forced) in competition. However, something optional, I also like to extend the idea where if our side was the overcaller and we were no longer forced to 3M, then pass = minimum/don't want to bid. For example, say East's hand bid 2NT as Inv+ raise and (say) South bids 3D (not on this hand). Though the 2NT ‘forced’ us to 3M, South's 3D call cancelled the force, so if we were vul and had two potential balanced hands, I wouldn't want us to be forced to play at the 3 level. I also do this for 3rd seat openings too in case opener is light.
April 18
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What was with the rush to punt the slam? I think it's probably better to go slowly with the South's hand. Perhaps 3H or 4H splinter? Or 4C fit showing? Whatever it is, at least it will give the partnership a better idea of a slam/grand slam, than bidding in the dark. It's true that going slower may allow West to preempt the auction - but even then, South can still bid the same 6D if it comes to it anyway.
April 18
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Usually if I have the option to go low with an absolute maximum hand, or to go high and take the slightly aggressive action with a ‘min’ hand, I would go for the latter. You're right that the main reason to go high here is that we have a club fit here, so sometimes even when partner has a minimum hand (and passes 2C), we may have missed a game. For example, give partner five clubs and a minimum hand, sometimes game is still good but I don't want partner to be pressured into raising to 3C.

But I do think South must jump to 3D. It's not always about that opener ‘should’ rebid with 16-18, it's more about what have I shown. If I bid 1NT then 2D with this 10 point hand, sometimes opener may think it's odds-off to continue to rebid with 16 highs and may miss a game.
April 15
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I'm not sure if partner must have 6+C or even 5 good ones. What does she do with 3235 without a spade stopper? Granted, we do have most of our stuff in the red suits so partner will likely have 2+club honours here, but I think partner can bid 2S with something generic like Jxx Ax AQx Qxxxx?
April 15
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What were your thoughts on jump rebidding to 3C? I presume (hope) 2C here isn't forcing on this auction?

I definitely like South's 1NT response here (although it's 10, but 4333 and scattered stuff), but over 2C, I think South should now jump to 3D.
April 13
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Just remember, it is nice to have gadgets, but it is (way) more important to know the continuations otherwise it would have been better to not have the gadget at all. For example, over 1C-1H(S)-3H, is 3S F or NF? Is 4C F or NF? Is 4D agreeing spades or clubs? Etc etc. Basically you'll just be playing russian roulette in a potential big IMP swing.

E.g. If you didn't have this gadget, then you could “still survive” by bidding 1S (if system permits) or 3C (if you have around 16), and responder can go from there. Sure it's not perfect, but better than being in the dark.

One small suggestion: If you want to play 1C-1D(H)-3D and 1C-1H(S)-3H to show those 63 hands, they should be GF rather than 16+. I think forcing yourself to the 3-level when responder could be weak and potentially only having a 4-3 major fit and not being able to play in 3C, is giving free IMPs away.
April 13
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I think it's best not to lie about your major suit, even more so when partner made a takeout double. It sounds like a good idea with East's 4333 hand and weak-ish hearts, but Axx in diamonds isn't that great of a holding to rush for NT's, plus bidding 1H allows partner to judge better (if West also has four hearts) if South continues with another bid.

One thing you can discuss here is, over a 1NT advance to a T/O X, is 2S F1? (It should be). But what about (1D)-X-(P)-1NT; (P)-2C? Or could this just be a minimum hand with 4405?
That way, when the T/O doubler JUMPS to 3S, this probably means they definitely want to play in spades rather than just hoping to see if advancer has a doubleton spade or not.
April 13
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I agree with this philosophy (some single suited hands starts with a simple overcall), but generally I think it's safer to X when you have the spades (especially when you have 6) as you can safely outbid the opponents. Yes I know they can bump the auction up to 5D before I get a chance to speak, but with 18HCP and at vulnerable, it's probably not that likely?

My worry about overcalling 1S with this big hand is not that there won't be a game if partner couldn't raise a 1S overcall to 2S, but more about if partner has a balanced 6(7?) count and could not advance with 1NT over my 1S overcall and now we've missed a game (i.e. 2443 with two black queens).

If my suit was hearts, then I can be very worried about doubling first as North may bid spades and South jumps to 3S, so in that case I would overcall 1H.
April 13
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Partnership agreement is definitely key on these type of auctions. However, you need to be a bit careful as it might depend on the context of the auction.

For example, on this auction, were EW playing 2C as 10+, or GF? If GF, then it might be important for the 3C/3D/3H bids here to be “real”, so you can now “raise the fourth suit” (here 3S) to show this type of hand. Although it eats up a lot of bidding space, responder could've bid 2H or 3C as natural bids so it seems safe to do so.

If 2C was 10+ and thus responder had to bid 2S to “game-force” the auction, then it's a bit tricky and you'd need an agreement - as now, if your partnership bid here with East is 3S, you now have to untangle how to set suits as trumps with West's hand. Or maybe there's no problem if 1H-2C-2D-3H is GF (if you play it that way), then over 1H-2C-2D-2S-3S, responder can just bid 4-minor as natural.

If you choose to raise the “4th suit” to show this problem hand, you'd need to be careful as the auction 1D-1S; 2C-2H; I think bidding 3H now should show 1444 or the like.
April 13
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I definitely agree 2D is best if East is not a passed hand (there's no need to rush to get to NT's), but I don't mind 2NT when partner's a passed hand as slam is less on the radar (opposite Peter's hand, slam is far from cold, and it's not clear after P-1C-1S-2D-3D-3NT that East should kick as West might just have a boring 16 count).

Another point here is that if West rebids 2D, I think East's hand should start slow - although the hand has five weak spades, if partner has 3145, we're probably better off in 4S.
April 13
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Definitely not an easy hand to bid (especially if North wasn't a passed hand to utilise the 2H bid as a max passed hand). But I wouldn't want to rebid 1NT as South. If rebidding 2C is an OK alternative, there's no need to “lie” about the hand. The hand could easily belong in clubs even if North is a passed hand.
April 13
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Agree with Barbara here. Although I like rebidding minor to show 6+, but I really dislike rebidding NT's with xx in a major suit even more (minor suit is a bit more forgiveable).

I like to think of it this way - if it is a partscore hand, I can still “survive” by playing in a 2m contract. However, if it is a game hand, I'm now at a risk of losing a random 10 IMPs because I'm declaring the NT's and the lead is through partner's stopper.
April 12
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I'm a big believer in showing your shape if it will make the subsequent auctions here. Here, I think responder's 2S rebid only shows 4+S spades. It might imply 6+H's, but I think responder should be allowed to rebid 2S to let opener focus on the diamond stopper.

THe main reason for 2S to show 4+S is, it allows responder to pattern out. With 4513 or 4603 (4612?), responder would like to show the spades, followed by the fragment in clubs, so it tells opener about the short diamonds. If responder's 2S rebid promises 5-6 majors, then responder with 4513 or 46xx has to start with 2D and now opener won't have much idea of responder's shape.

So on this hand, South does well to bid the hearts first, followed by 2S then 3S to show the 5-6. After this, you will need extra agreements on what 4C/4D by opener is. They should show a “good raise” in the tier-ed major suits (4C a good raise to 4H, and 4D a good raise to 4S).
April 12
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Thanks guys! I have always loved BBO especially the ability to watch Vugraph. When I'm not playing you can usually find me as an operator as I enjoy giving the best and most accurate show as I can possibly make (even when the internet connection drops out, you can count on me as I would still be “Vugraphing” by handwriting so that when the connection returns, I can input the bidding and play so the audience can still review it in the movie).

As I always found myself multitasking when I BBO operate, I guess one day I decided to set myself a challenge while still keeping the Vugraph in sync with the tempo of the play. Sooner or later this challenge progressed into Vugraphing 2 tables simultaneously and I distinctively remember Traian freaking out when I tried it for the first time :) Luckily it was smooth sailing!

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that it can be quite stressful when a card played cannot be seen or when the players start to play at lightning speed - the trick is to try and follow the deal yourself and think about what you might bid/play. Yes, unfortunately this does mean extra work load but usually you will then find yourself ‘guessing’ those unseen played cards more accurately!

Thanks all for the nice article.
June 27, 2013
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