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All comments by John Portwood
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Wouldn't you open that 1NT? Oh I'm sorry - the benefits of a weak 1NT haven't crossed the Atlantic yet. (Gentle dig over) - Although losing trick count is a good guide, I also like to look at the Winning trick count. The hand above (4) (KR 12.05) is sorely lacking in this department compared to the original (6)(KR 17.35). I suppose WTC is somewhat similar to Working Points
May 7, 2013
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And partner is not making 6 with KQx XX K KJTXXXX. This hand is screaming ‘misfit’ (I agree 5 over 4 FWIW)
May 7, 2013
ATB
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South's opening double is off-shape - so you can't blame N for bidding, but I would have been tempted to bid 4 (6 card support for partner's (ah hm) 4 card suit, heart control). South should never have bid 3NT with the spade blockage obvious to all - as is quite often the case, plenty of points but no tricks.
May 6, 2013
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I would prefer to know what defences I am playing against 1NT, if NS play Stayman and if 2N is a limit bid (15-poor 16 no 5 card suit) - however since partner has values (8-11 points) I'll play him for 5 hearts as being more likely than 5 spades.
May 6, 2013
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I would bid 2 of the major with a decent major suit but with no obvious entry to the hand. (I would use a checkback 2 with values for 2NT - I play a weakish 1NT so 1NT rebid is quite strong). Playing in a weak 5-2 major risks losing quite a few tricks which might make in 1NT.
May 6, 2013
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Playing Acol with 4 card majors this is a straightforward 1 2NT (10-12 balanced) 3 4 sequence. Playing my way it is a straightforward 1 1N 2 2N (8 loser, balanced hand, 3 card support) 4 (6 loser hand) sequence.
May 5, 2013
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Fully concur with the club lead - no doubt that this is the one hand where under-leading the A will win. Q may set up some tricks and/ or reduce declarer communications but is too aggressive for MPs. If you want to lead Q bang out the A and see if dummy has the K before doing so.
May 5, 2013
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If I have no Aces, no Kings, no Voids, no Singletons then I have nothing.
May 4, 2013
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Hand is too weak to investigate game opposite a protection bid and since neither West nor East has found a Spade bid so far the chances of them bidding and making a spade contract seem lower than at first glance. That being said - why didn't North Double if 4=4 in the majors? I will compete to 2 of course if necessary but to do so now would infer a stronger hand in terms of offence than I actually have.
May 4, 2013
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I think you should also remember that the declarer has an easier job (usually) to plan and execute the contract. Although he has more resources, the defence will improve substantially in their use of their own (limited) resources as they will always find the best lead against the contract etc. In other words they will use their limited resources much more efficiently than the improvement in declarer's play.
May 4, 2013
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Yes - in fact many players at our club are surprised at the frequency that my partner and I come in after 1N (weak) P P on moderate (or even pretty weak) hands. The fact that the 1NT is strong rather than weak doesn't really matter.

However on this hand I feel that the suit is too weak at this vulnerability to contemplate intervention.
May 4, 2013
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First of all - having a bidding misunderstanding is no excuse for ‘slagging off’ an irregular (or even regular) partner. You were quite right to report it IMHO.

That being said - first of all I feel that bidding on this hand is very risky. As declarer or (worse) dummy you have too many values in Spades and not enough elsewhere. You only have one decent card (A), no decent suit and many losers.

The second point about this hand is that your defensive capabilities are colossal - declarer will find it almost impossible to get to dummy to lead through your honour sequence and, almost as important, why didn't partner double the original 1 bid - surely with Spade shortage he would do so? So declarer looks like he is in a 5-1 fit missing KJT and with values in the other suits over him. Unfortunately you can't double and take the money.

We now come to partner, assuming the bidding has gone 1 P P 2 - P. I do not feel that 12 HCP is worth a cue bid on this auction. Many partnerships play the rule of the transferred King, reducing the hand down to 9 HCP. If partner was stronger then they would double as they know that a bid in protection can be pretty weak. However there is more reason for Cue bidding given the bid opposite than for making the original bid opposite.
May 4, 2013
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NS reckon to be short in Spades so might be able to throw on Diamonds. Leading a SMALL trump will keep control. Leading the Ace could crash partner's stiff King (and then you watch declarer take large numbers of diamonds and hearts)

My principles are:

1) Avoid trump leads - unless obvious declarer will be playing for a x-ruff or the other suits are dangerous (headed by Q or K). In this case there is presumably a 10-card fit so trump leads are not going to be effective.

2) Lead singletons and doubletons (for ruffs or to set up partner's cards, partner is more likely to make high cards when there are more cards held by the opponents)

3) Long suit (5+) leads are aimed generally at trying to get a ruff and if not then shouldn't cost too much.

4) Otherwise be passive - your side will generally have fewer resources in terms of high cards so it is best to contribute them when you know what you are doing. The stronger the declarer and dummy, the more passive you should be. Obviously leads from long suits (4+) headed by KQ QJT are ideal.

5) If really stuck lead from the 4-card suit headed by the lowest honour.

6) Banging down Aces is a good idea if you don't know what to lead from the other suits - partner/ dummy can frequently give you an idea which suit to play next.
May 3, 2013
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Page 1 of “How to pre-empt”. Lack of defensive tricks suggests pre-emption and rule of 2 and 3 tells me how high.
May 2, 2013
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I can't pass 4 and 4 at least tells partner (and oppos) that I am weak in Hearts but have a better than expected hand in support of the minor suits. Any further move will have to come from partner.

I assume there are mechanisms available when responding to 1N to differentiate between a weak minor 2-suiter and a strong one.
May 2, 2013
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4 - If I'm lucky this will only go one off (TIC) (sorry couldn't resist that)

What would 2N show/ ask for? If partner has 6 to the AQ then 6 looks frigid. If partner doesn't have the AQ then 6 or 6 could be going off even if he holds A so the problem boils down to: how can you find out about these two cards?

If 3 agrees diamonds and is a cue bid then that could work out well. If partner bids 4 then we can cue 4 and if all we get from partner is 5 then at least we can bid 6 with a fair amount of confidence (that partner realises we have spades after all). If partner cues 4 or 4 then we settle for 5.
May 2, 2013
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Over 3 I think 3 is clear, you have 8 possible tricks and just need a spade stop (and J) for 3NT

If partner bid 1N (which I think promised a spade stop) then 3 probably describes the hand best (good hand 5-4 in minors) - remember you don't know about the diamond fit.

If partner bids 2 then again 3 - 3N might not be making and you must tell partner what you have so he can decide.
May 1, 2013
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I have a partner, he didn't bid clubs, probably has some defence to 4 but not sufficient to double. My KQ are useful.
May 1, 2013
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Since the hand will be safe in 3, we might as well tell partner the key feature, keep the bidding low. At the moment I have eyes on 3NT and I like playing the hand! If West supports spades then 3 pretty well defines what we have
May 1, 2013
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Yes - my constructive pre-empts (and weak 2s) only apply in 1st and (particularly) 2nd position - in 3rd as they say, anything goes (provided suit quality is OK - you need that trump suit to be good as oppos won't double without trump tricks). In this case the aim is pre-emption rather than construction so it is merely an assessment of risk V reward and the oppos look as if they will only just have enough for game so it won't be easy to bid it.
April 30, 2013
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