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All comments by Gabriel Foster
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Double is indeed reasonable (but not this partnership's style). Glad to hear it was worth the read!
Sept. 8, 2015
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I play this Kokish structure:

2 - 2 (waiting):

2 - Relay
2 - Relay
2NT - 22-24 balanced
3 - Nat.
3 - Nat.
3 - Start cuebidding for hearts
3 - Start cuebidding for spades.
3NT - 28-30 balanced

2 - 2 - 2 (relay) - 2:

2!NT - 25-27 Balanced
3 - Single suited hearts, then 3 - Bust, after which 3 is NF (Lipsitz Inversion)
3 - Hearts and Diamonds, 2 Suited
3 - Hearts and Clubs, 2 Suited
3 - Majors, better hearts

2 - 2 - 2 (relay) - 2NT:

3 - Spades and Clubs
3 - Spades and Diamonds
3 - Majors, better spades
3 - Single suited spades.

I dislike using 2 as a double negative, as it loses all the nice features of the Kokish relay. To solve this, I suspect the right idea is to play something like Lipsitz over both relays. When opener is balanced, we can always get out in 2NT (unless opener has a 28 count or more). When opener is two suited and strong, I suspect game is not a bad deal even opposite a bust– a fit may be enough. The only problem arises when opener is single suited, and we're short tricks. Lipsitz solves this over hearts, and can easily be ported over to spades. This still leaves problems for strong hands with single suited minors, but I've never seen a system which really solves that problem.
Sept. 7, 2015
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Glad to hear it Bob; although, I think our partnership's agreement is reasonable, so this a tad unhelpful. Presuming partner is supposed to play you for both majors (and if he is not, how does he bid in your system), partner bids 4. What now?
Sept. 1, 2015
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Alright, people have mentioned mathematicians in this thread, and I study math at Caltech, so I'll weigh in. The issue with dividing the Spingold hands into subsets is valid, though it's probably too late– all of the data has been used, in a sense, to form a hypothesis (namely, there exists a statistically anomalous pattern X in A and B's leads). This is somewhat concerning, but not overwhelmingly so. One potential solution (Thanks Yehudit) to this is to test the hypothesis on hands from other major tournaments, though a smart pair of cheaters would change how they cheat, statistically, from tourney to tourney. What IS overwhelmingly important is that the survey is done at least single blind, preferably double blind. The experts answering lead questions should be presented with deals from numerous sources (including the Spingold hands), and should not be aware of the purpose of the survey. That way there's no confirmation bias. The source of the confirmation bias would be as follows: if I am aware that non-traditional and potentially questionable leads have been made, and I have the desire to confirm these results, then I may be less likely to lead non-traditionally, even if I might otherwise think it correct to do so. Disclaimer: I think both this case and the Passell case are more opaque than squid ink, and I have no freaking clue what happened. This is NOT my attempt to indict or expose anyone, nor to defend anyone, it's just my opinion on how someone ought investigate, if they decided to. Honestly, I think we should give both sides the benefit of the doubt as this goes on. Boye in that he's probably revealing information in this way for a reason, Fisher and Schwartz in that hearsay is not sufficient evidence to destroy someone's career and mangle their personas.
Aug. 27, 2015
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think it's a close decision between 2 and 3 the first go round, and the poll seems to agree. On the second round of bidding, I decided 3 was the best call (glad to see others agree), took another sip of port, and because it was the last hand of the night with a number of good friends, bid 6, making, for a good chuckle all around.
Aug. 17, 2015
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Alright, seems I wasn't out of my mind. I led the Q, and the hand became rather intriguing. I'll save the punchline in case I do a writeup.
July 31, 2015
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Alright, it's been a few days. At the table I tried a diamond, on the logic that declarer's jump to 6N was a heavy favorite to hold two spade stops (and I was right this time). I'd wondered whether people thought this was too pessimistic, and now I have my answer. On this hand, the winner is a club lead; partner has QJTxxx and Kxx.
June 26, 2015
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Fair enough Yuan; I'll edit the poll suggesting the 4 as the abstain card.
June 23, 2015
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Stylistically, I prefer to balance somewhat aggressively over 3-level preempts (especially with hands with the majors), and overcall more soundly in direct seat with notrump hands. I also imagine my partnership would play this in 4, rather than 3NT.
April 15, 2015
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Thanks for the input, everyone. At the table, I was playing with a reasonable intermediate/advancing player. I wasn't confident she'd take 4NT as the minors, so I selected 5. Partner's hand wasn't as advertised, so down we went, but I'm glad my intuition as to what was right in the spot was accurate.
Feb. 28, 2015
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Very neat hand! You have the aces and spaces hand opening 1NT, however.
Feb. 25, 2015
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I think the poll accurately reflects its viability? We rate to be plus in 4 (doubled or otherwise), and we rate to be minus in 4 (again, doubled or otherwise).
Feb. 20, 2015
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Thanks for the replies, all. Partner thought my choice of 4 was ludicrous (Pass, he argued, was the only option); I needed a reality check. Partner held Jx AKx Tx AQxxxx (yes, a clear 2 bid), we wound up in 6 (4 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 6), spades didn't behave.
Feb. 19, 2015
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Figured I'd chime in. I agree with Joshua in that 1 is very, very reasonable. However, the first three good experts I asked preferred 1 (likely a regional bias), and so I thought it a reasonable choice. I also agree that 3NT is a poor bid, but, well, partner bid it, and here we are. I'd explain why I was interested in the problem here and now, but that would bias the poll. I'll give the context in a few days.
Feb. 15, 2015
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How would you recommend playing it, Yuan (in a typical 2/1 context)?
Feb. 15, 2015
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Very nice analysis, Kevin. I hadn't recognized a number of the ideas you pointed out, in particular, I hadn't found a profitable way to pitch spades. Thanks! I enjoyed this hand both because it requires both creating a winner and avoiding a loser, and because the 5-0 split actually helps us know what to play for.
Jan. 29, 2015
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Thanks Michael, will fix (first article here on bridgewinners).
Jan. 27, 2015
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I'm doubling now, as the auction may come back to me a bit higher than I'd like in spades. Over 2, I will sit for partner's double and cue 2 over P, which I hope partner will take a stopper ask, as I had club raises available earlier. Over 2, I will bid 3 (partner has to have cards somewhere). All this should give me the best shot of finding an unlikely 3NT, and let me get out in 3C when needed (I'd have to be convinced defending at the 2-level undoubled is reasonable here).
Jan. 23, 2015
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Declarer rates to have at least 11 major suit cards, solid hearts, and most of the missing spade honors. Leading a heart is only right when he has practically psyched. I am getting two spades unless dummy has Hx, which seems unlikely given partner's double. Thus I need two more tricks. Leading a diamond is taking the bet that declarer isn't 6502 or 6601 and can pitch losing clubs through hearts. Leading a club is taking the bet that we have two top club tricks, and no diamond tricks. I think this is closer than the vote reflects; partner must have very real values for his double here, so he is quite likely to hold the A of clubs. I'm leading a diamond on intuition, but I'd like to be convinced the K of clubs isn't right. I'm envisioning a hand like KQJxxx AKQxx with two undisclosed cards in the minors.
Jan. 12, 2015
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Thanks for the replies everyone. On the actual hand I passed, as did partner, who held a flat nine count. 3NT was cold. I thought the decision was very close at the time, and am glad to hear bridgewinners agrees. Given the problem again I think I'd try 1NT; when it gains, it gains a lot.
Dec. 31, 2014
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