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All comments by John Miller
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Partner thought the last bid was 3 ??
Sept. 10, 2013
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We explicitly define 3M by opener in this sequence as showing five. Much of the time responder is slammish when starting this way and we don't want to miss a 53 major fit with short diamonds in the short trump hand. Over 3, 4 would show a slam-interest three-card raise.

A raise to 4 is 2=2=4=5 slam invitational+. I know, it's pretty obscure, and I think it's come up once, but this is the first hand I can remember where I wanted an 4 bid invitational to 5.
Sept. 8, 2013
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One of the upsides of bidding 3 is that you will catch a 54 spade fit, although in our style not a 44 fit. However, I think you have it backwards passing 4. South is an unpassed hand, so if you bid 3, partner is expecting either a hand with enough distribution that you are offering a choice of games between 3N and 5, or that you are slammish. While we don't play fast arrival per se here, the NT bidder jumping to 5 shows a hand that isn't suitable for 3N, but got worse with the 3 bid. Picture Qxx. 4 doesn't show extras, but it certainly doesn't show wasted values, as partner would preserve room for slam tries with most hands he doesn't bid 3N.
Sept. 8, 2013
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Ahh … poker
Sept. 6, 2013
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Depends on how good the opponents are. With Qxx AKxxxx x Axx he's just scared you out of making the normal winning play, even though he has no technical means of getting a ruff.
Sept. 6, 2013
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I'm inclined to believe W is 3613. If so, his 5 sac would go for 500 (at least … maybe 800 if we get trumps going fast enough), so we're not competing against sacs with that distribution. While I don't discount W being 4612 and bidding 2 rather than showing both majors, I think E would certainly double 4 with three hearts and a stiff spade. If W is 2614, what we do now is irrelevant. So, it's matchpoints for me. I finesse. If I'm wrong, I've been down in cold contracts before.

Even if we start with 1, there will be a heart overcall and the defense will start with a heart to an honor and a diamond shift (unless W could have KQxxxx and E Axx … but wouldn't E double 4 with that?)So I expect most declarers to be in the same position I am in, although they may not have as strong an inference that W has six hearts.
Sept. 6, 2013
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Are we looking at the same hand? Give partner K, A, and Axxx and we may make 7! Of course I agree with 3. Now that we haven't caught a raise, I think we're endplayed into bidding 4. At IMPs I would make one more try with 4
Sept. 4, 2013
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Seems to me in this competitive situation, partner may be stretching a little HCP-wise to describe his shape to me so that I can make a good decision at the five-level, should the opponents compete to 5. From that standpoint, I think 4 would also be descriptive, and not deny a singleton heart, because knowing about a potential double fit is far more important than knowing that partner has a stiff heart. So, given pard's failure to bid 4, I'm disinclined to credit him with many of the slam hands. If partner is really interested in slam, he has better ways to go about it than jumping to 4. After all, he does have a 3 Q available, which should show good offense and reasonable defense. That fits most of the hands above offered as evidence for bidding past game.
Sept. 4, 2013
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Gianni,

This is a hand that requires good agreements to avoid guessing at some point in the auction. I prefer that inverted minors (or 2 over 1) do not deny a four-card major, but require a six-card minor if they have a four-card major. With a four-card major and five-card minor I start with the major. However, I also use 1m - 1 - 1N - 2 as an artificial bid to cover the GF hands like the one above, in conjunction with “reverse Flannery” immediate responses to 1m to show the 54 or 55 major hands (so I don't need the 2 rebid as natural). This is all quite complicated, but it is necessary to handle hands like this one. I can imagine 3N, 4, 5m, 6m, 6, and 7m all being somewhat likely final contracts. In standard American, even with inverted minors and 2/1, your first bid is likely to make some of these contracts exceedingly difficult to reach. If forced, I would start with 2 because diamonds seems the most likely slam strain. But I would prefer to bid 1 and use my methods.
Sept. 3, 2013
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I wasn't trying to nitpick. And, yes, it is a great hand. However, the point of playing three rounds of trumps is presumably to get an erroneous discard from Jxx (or 2 from AJxx??) before trying to smush the J. Winning the first diamond on dummy and leading up to the hearts seems to greatly lessen the chances of getting misdefense. To the extent that you can't lead up twice, perhaps its better to overtake the trump lead and run off five or six trumps before playing the heart honor out of your own hand.
Sept. 2, 2013
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Can't you just lead the Q at trick 5 and achieve the same result?
Sept. 1, 2013
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My hand was AT2 Q964 K8 AQ74. 6 is not cold, but pretty good. Responder's hand above is good enough that 4N is probably safe if the NT opener's hand is unsuitable. If opener has nothing wasted in spades, or only the A, slam seems like it will be very good if we find a fit.
Aug. 30, 2013
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Funny, my precision auction would have been identical through 2, but the 1 and 2 bids would have had different meanings, and 2 simply sets trumps. From there, responder can bid 3, showing the extra length, opener can make a mild slam try with 4, and responder can bid 4, last train. Ought to get us there.
Aug. 30, 2013
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Looks to me that based upon the burner you got Ave+, and the opps Ave- in addition to the procedural penalty.
Aug. 30, 2013
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I blame the partnership for not playing a strong club.
Aug. 29, 2013
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I don't think the Precision pairs are using fast arrival by opener opposite an unlimited partner. They use fast arrival by responder opposite a limited partner. Usually it involves scattered GF values where something is likely to be wasted.
Aug. 29, 2013
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This hand came up when I was playing online with an excellent 14-year-old kid. My first instinct was that double is clear, but upon reflection I am not so sure. Double works when the best final contract is 3N or 3X. 4 caters to getting to all of your eight+ card fits, however, which is where any potential slams may be. Double will be passed out, or fetch 3N or 4 most of the time. I don't see how you can move over that. On the other hand, if partner bids 4 over your 4 bid, perhaps you can get to 6. And if he bids 4R, showing five, you can cue 4.

I'll give my hand a little later, but I'm curious what the doubler's think about this analysis.
Aug. 29, 2013
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I think Precision alters the judgment about whether Frivolous or Serious 3N is better. First of all, 1 - 2x - 2 - 3 is already slammish, since opener is limited and responder would just jump to 4 with random minimum GF hands with support, either on the first or second round. Responder is therefore captain, and if opener just has minimal values, starting with 3N to say “I am minimum” seems like it would get in the way of responder finding out if those minimal values are properly fitting or not.
Aug. 29, 2013
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I have played a forcing 1 for a while now, and I do upgrade fifteen counts with good playing strength with some frequency. I don't typically go much below that, though, because the logic of the system allows me to jump rebid more limited hands with good offense/defense ratios without overstating my defensive values and getting into forcing pass situations that are no-win. So, it's not so much a “stress on HCP,” as it is a demarcation between hands that are strong both offensively and defensively and those primarily offensive.

As far as psyching, aside from it being illegal, it has never occurred to me to psyche a strong club, since our responses involve a lot of artificiality and I expect most auctions to randomly get out of control. To the extent that it would work, it would be because opponents have a tendency to overcompete at low levels against a 1 opener, so they have no confidence in bidding the occasional game that they have (the hand that started the thread). Psyching 1 would be an effort to take advantage of that tendency, at the cost of a lot of variance. Late in a knockout we're behind by 40 IMPs, I could imagine tossing that coin in the air at favorable.

The bid I would like to make far more often in third seat at favorable is 1. That really can be like a controlled psyche, since partner is a passed hand and cannot come close to forcing to game opposite a limited hand with no known fit. Looking at my hand I can often predict how the auction will develop and whether I can handle the likely contingencies. A weak 3rd-seat 1 doesn't keep them out of game a whole lot, but it does mess up opponents' slam bidding and often picks off the diamond suit. I don't do this per ACBL regulation, but if that changed, I estimate I have a hand every other session I would pull this out on. Our third seat announcement of 1 would have to change from “could be short” to “Alert … could also be quite weak in third seat.” However the regulation also catches up hands that are legitimate playing strength openers … Axxx x AJTxxx xx. John Adams' complaint above was that he could not open AKQxxxxxx of diamonds and out 1 because of that ACBL regulation, so he was forced to open 5. There ought to be a middle ground here.
Aug. 29, 2013
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I always assume that X is negative at the three-level, but I made it explicit.
Aug. 28, 2013
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