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All comments by Bud Hinckley
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This is similar to a hand I declared at the recent Cleveland Regional with bidding (no interference) 1-1-2-3-4-5-6. A middle heart was led and you must decide whether to rise or duck in dummy:

Kxxx A9xx Kx K9x

AQ9xx Qx AQ9xx Q
June 3, 2014
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Partner with 7543 played 4-3-7 in that order. This was his chance to help you. If declarer is 4=4=2=3 you are squeezed. We need to determine if he is 4=3=3=3 or 3=4=3=3 (partner 2=3=4=4 or 3=2=4=4). If I were in partner's chair holding a small singleton spade from an original Kx doubleton, I would NEVER play that 7 highest club from a remaining 75 (and might not echo with the 4-3 earlier). So I'm playing declarer to be 3=4=3=3 and pitching a spade.

The K exit from an assumed KJ10x after leading the J earlier when he might have exited with the equivalent 10 is another subtle clue that partner started with longer spades.
May 19, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment May 19, 2014
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As some might have expected, this was a hesitation/UI issue. Partner took perhaps 12-18 seconds to pass.

Often in situations like this, it is argued that partner could have been thinking of bidding OR doubling and that if she was thinking of doubling, bidding on by East would be wrong - and that the hesitation does not make passing or bidding more clearly right or wrong, so the Michaels bidder should be allowed to bid “normally”.

My understanding is that partner tends to be considering bidding rather than doubling by a healthy ratio so that this argument carries very little weight.

Is it true that argument would not have much validity?
May 16, 2014
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It seems logical to me for a 5 bid to be “normal” - that your 2-suiter has the higher ranking suit with as much length as the lower suit (5-5, 6-5, or 6-6) and that using 4NT would show the other hand (5-6, 6-7).

If I had directly overcalled 2 with an excellent 5-card suit with six lesser quality diamonds, I would bid in the same way after LHO's 4 bid. Use 4NT to show the non-standard (5-6 or 6-7) length. I would bid 5 directly with equal or better hearts.
May 16, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment May 16, 2014
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If you decide to not pass, does it make sense for 4NT followed by pulling 5C to 5D showing longer diamonds, whereas an immediate 5 would show hearts longer or as long as diamonds (6-5 or 6-6 likely)?
May 15, 2014
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My 2 is (1) attempting to play 2, (2) invitational, or (3) planning on jumping to 3NT as choice of games probably looking pretty good for 3NT despite the 5-card major.

Responding in a major and then on the second bid jumping to the 3-level in a lower suit is invitational 5-4 or more often 5-5. If instead you go through the 2 relay, responder is usually 4-5, occasionally 4-4 or 4-6.

Responder's second bid as a 2NT jump is a relay to 3 to sign off in 3 95% of the time, although if responder next bids 3/3/3 it's game forcing showing highly concentrated 5-5/6-5/5-6 shape in responder's suit and opener's first bid suit.
May 5, 2014
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Isn't it common for 2NT to be a puppet/relay to 3 to play there? (Rarely, another bid by responder can show some unusually shaped game forcing hands).
May 1, 2014
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You left out “none of the three” as a choice in the poll - which would likely be my choice!

Seems easy to bid 1-1-1-3 to show five hearts, four or five diamonds, and invitational values.

With only four hearts, you can bid 1-1-1-2-2-3 to show exactly four hearts, longer diamonds, and invitational values.
May 1, 2014
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Playing with a novice, I opened 1 and if vulnerable I would have opened 2.
April 30, 2014
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So could a Double be used with a hand like this? I suppose that would tend to deny Kxx of hearts - Kx or xxx being more likely. Or a slightly better 5242 hand with xx of hearts.
April 30, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment April 30, 2014
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In case anyone was curious, here are the four hands:

East (dealer): Q62 8 A9 QJ108743
West: 105 J63 7632 AK62
South: J984 A9742 108 95
North: AK73 KQ105 KQJ54 void

6 is the only making slam. Note with some of the suggested answers that if if the majors were reversed, the partnership would often have ended in an unsuccessful 4-4 fit heart slam.
April 14, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment April 14, 2014
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As the original poster, I didn't hold this hand at the table but I was doing analysis of a session of boards being played at a local club when I saw this one.

My thinking at the time I saw this hand to act over 5 was

1. Double would show “cards” and partner would pass most of the time - even with a 5-card suit and a stiff club he would often pass.

2. 6 would ask partner to pick any of the three remaining suits.

3. 5NT would show two places to play. With both majors, you would correct 6 to 6. (One problem I find with this is if partner bids 6 with a shape like 6=3=2=2 in case you have the red suits but instead you have the majors, you belong in your 6-5 spade fit and not your 5-3 heart fit.)

But after discussion with a few other players, who thought 5NT might be used as a “pick any suit” bid and 6 might be “pick a major”, that is why I posted this to see if there was any general consensus. It doesn't seem there is a clear consensus.

By the way - I also posted this as a bidding question and a full 80% have voted to Double, which surprises me. Perhaps with equal vulnerability so many would not have voted for Double?

Bud H
April 13, 2014
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I'd bid 3 first, expecting to bid spades later.
April 10, 2014
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There will some partial dependence on what 3 (and 3NT if not natural) is over 2NT. If 3 is minir suit Stayman, can a long single suited minor be shown starting with 3?
April 10, 2014
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You're playing “expert standard”, so a jump cuebid would ask for a heart stopper.
April 1, 2014
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Sounds like a great hand for using Smith Echo! However, that doesn't excuse the behavior of this player who could have known at the time of his asking about lead conventions, that it could be to his benefit.
March 30, 2014
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Henry passed away early Friday morning. On Saturday, late in the first Jacoby Swiss qualifying session, Mike Flader made a brief announcement of Henry's passing and the players gave him nearly a minute of applause in rememberance.
March 30, 2014
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I'd open both those hands 1NT with little thought. The given hand being 17 HCP with a good 5-card heart suit and good spot cards lends itself to an upgrade to 18, although the KJ is a clear downgrade. But not quite enough of a downgrade, in my opinion, to not open 1 and treat this hand as “18”. Plus, I agree that opening 1 given a close decision allows you to get to hearts when it's right when you might not end in hearts after a 1NT opening.

One reason I posted this hand was to see if the choice of 1 was overwhelming, since a player in my area considered opening 1NT (which happened at the table) to be a clear underbid. I wish I had made this a regular poll question to distinguish whether the 1 openers bid that because (1) the hand is worth more than “17” or (2) it's close whether to upgrade and opening 1 allows getting to hearts when it's right.
Feb. 19, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment Feb. 19, 2014
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Please delete if possible to do so.
Feb. 19, 2014
Bud Hinckley edited this comment Feb. 19, 2014
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I think this hand is better than “17” but just barely. “So much better” is an overbid! That doubleton KJ is a clear downgrade. Only the 10 and 109 recover some of that downgrade. I'd open 1 as much for getting to a heart contract when it's right and not that much because this hand is better than “17”. If it's better than “17”, it's by a very small amount.
Feb. 19, 2014
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