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All comments by John Portwood
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It depends on what a 1NT response by West means. To me it is the least bad option (on a 4-3-3-3 for heaven's sake) That having been said East should have realised that West preferred 3NT and should have abided by his wishes.
May 19, 2013
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The A risks setting up less than the other possible leads.
May 17, 2013
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I suppose you could classify psychic bidding as inline with brown sticker systems. A tactical bid is designed to improve your chances of making a contract, a psychic bid is designed to prevent the opponents reaching theirs.

Thus in 1 - 2 - 3 (purpotdly a long suit trial bid but actually made on AQ) - 4, the 3 bid is a tactical bid (made hoping partner will bid 4 (which you intended to bid anyway)) aimed at encouraging the wrong lead, would be described as ‘tactical’.
May 15, 2013
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I would certainly go for bidding practice. Play technique can be learned on its own - but you need your partner to bid so on the occasions you are together practise and improve your bidding. If you are in the wrong contract then the best technique won't help you much.
May 15, 2013
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There is too much danger of partner having wasted assets in the red suits for 4 to be a good bid. With a weak NT you can guesstimate partner for 4 potential tricks - even if their tricks cover your losers (very unlikely) you are one trick short.
May 15, 2013
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Hi Polly!

Back in the early days of bridge psyching was much more common - the typical one being a 1 bid on 3 card suits. The use has declined obviously.

Under the rules I play (English Bridge Union), psyching is permitted (obviously) however methods of controlling psyches are banned and if partner makes a bid expecting that partner's bid to be a psyche (called fielding) that results in an automatic penalty.

You should remember that the psyche has to have the same element of surprise for partner as it does for the opponents. In particular your partner cannot assume that you have made the psychic bid. If you start psyching on a regular basis then inevitably your partners are going to spot the occasions, giving your side an unfair advantage. In England psyches should be recorded. I do not think that this happens on BBO.

The safest form of psyching is where your partner is fully limited in their hand e.g. after a weak 2 or a pre-empt so you know they won't make another bid. The next safest is early in the Auction when the opponents don't have any idea as to their combined assets, again when partner has passed (for preference). You should always be aware when the person on your right makes a strong bid after a pre-empt on your left that they could be psyching.

In these days psyches are actually quite safe as most pairs will double for take out rather than penalties, however you must have a reasonably safe place to run to in case they can expose your bid. The first psyche you illustrate (K8 93 KTXX Q9532) is ‘barely’ a psyche as the hand only scores one less than the ‘rule of 18’ (High card points + two longest suits) and, being opposite a passed partner is safe.

(Last night I psyched a 1NT overcall on JXX KJTX XX XX over a 1 (could be 2 cards) opening bid. This ostensibly showed an unspecified single-suited weak hand (partner to bid 2, pass or correct). The aim was to rebid 2 (lead directing). Partner forgot the system and raised to 2NT, which I managed to go 2-off in (Non V) for an average score.) Psyching when the opponents have announced strength but not fit can be profitable.

A couple of comments

From Skid Simon in “Why you lose at Bridge”) “Your hand has not improved because the other side may be psyching.”

“It's legal to psyche as much as you like, as long as you like to psyche never!”

“A psychic bid is a bid made in the attempt to persuade the opponent that you hold cards in your hand which, up to then, he thought that he held in his own.”

May 15, 2013
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Pretty obvious for a pass obviously in the community. I would have thought more would have tried for +100 to beat +90.

North has Q832 AT6 83 A965
East has J964 Q742 A95 73
South has 75 KJ93 KJ642 42

In Deep Finesse land 1N makes exactly (losing 4 A and a diamond) and 2X goes 1 off as North hasn't the entries to do everything and South gets forced in clubs. In real life 2NT makes with 2 2 and 4 as NS fail to attack hearts (as you can see S has a very dangerous holding and North will attack diamonds on the opening lead and when in with A.)

(In case you are wondering why E did not advance over 1N as there could be 25 points in the two hands - the response showed a poor 18 so 9 tricks unlikely. We ended up in 3NT and although the tricks look as if they could be there (an extra spade to the ones already shown) suit blockages resulted in 3 down.

Thanks for the comments.
May 14, 2013
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Partner hasn't got spades (no raise), hearts (no negative double) therefore he has values in diamonds and Clubs (assuming 3 pre-emptive). I wouldn't be surprised if 3 isn't going 3 off - so let him double on a good defensive hand - some of my spades will cash.
May 13, 2013
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Maybe 4N would be best - obviously tells partner we are interested in a slam and he should infer that Diamonds are the problem as I haven't cue'd them. We'll just have to accept the risk of 5 -1. If I get 5 back (showing the Ace) then it's Josephine time.

Obviously need discussion with partner on what to do after splinters:)
May 10, 2013
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Even if partner hasn't a diamond stop, you can often make 3NT with a 4-4 suit out against you if he has values and if partner has a moderate hand you may find that 1N+1 is a good score.

The thing I don't like on this hand is the spot cards (there is nothing to set up or finesse) so my feeling is: make the most descriptive bid at the lowest level and let partner take over.
May 10, 2013
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Which is all you can hope for. You did say that it was a strong game. Some you win, some you lose.
May 10, 2013
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I may play a different system (Acol) from most here so the comment may not apply - however the key feature of the hand is the fact that the hearts are so solid. My feelings, for what they are worth, are that in an auction you should tell partner the additional factors that are improving the hand. To show 7 straggly hearts, for instance you would bid 2 and then (over 3) 3. (Another way of looking at it is that you would be rebidding 2 with 6 straggley hearts) and then (over 3) rebid 3!N with your spade stop (and extra values outside the heart suit - (Q or Q) which will help partner's suit(s) run). If, of course, 3 rebid is systematically 18 HCP then you can't do this, but you do have a licence to upgrade your hand if you feel it suitable. I upgraded the hand as it is one loser less than it might be and you have good hearts, which you mightn't have had. Other (maybe better) bidders no doubt wouldn't.
May 10, 2013
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If partner had expectations of defeating 6 then that is the ideal time for him to re-apply pressure. As you say, the cue bid of 3 was possibly a warning (opponents have 1st round control so the hearts reckon to be wasted assets) but you could quite easily have had a slow trick for your bid - in which case you have done well by making the opponents misguess the final contract. (Your bidding for instance kept them out of using Blackwood since they probably didn't know whether 4N would be agreeing Diamonds or not)
May 10, 2013
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If partner had 5 good spades (or hearts!) wouldn't he have bid a weak 2? I suspect he is more likely to have 5 diamonds and north opened on a weak 4-card suit. However that suggests that partner may also have clubs. I can't see a source of tricks and am a bit concerend about giving away doubled overtricks. So 2 would be the sensible approach. If I get doubled for penalties then I have obviously misread my partner's hand so will XX for his suit.
May 10, 2013
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I only need XX XX QXXXX JXXX for 3NT on a spade finesse. If I don't bid it then who will?
May 10, 2013
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The following is from Robson & Segal (1993) 6-9 is indicative of how agressive you should be (1 = conservatve, 10 = anything goes)
—————————-
Weak jump overcalls

Now at least one of your opponents has taken a bid. This means you must always be aware of how limited they are and whether they have found a fit. Nonetheless, certain generalized observations can be made.
a) Second-in-hand: 6-9
The suggested grading assumes a standard one-of-a-suit opening on your right. Important considerations are
(a) the vulnerability;
(b) whether you are overcalling at the two or three level;
© how much space you are stealing. The best situation for a
‘pressure-WJO’ is non-vulnerable, at the two level and exclusive - i.e. (1)-2! Least propitious is a vulnerable,
non-exclusive WJO at the three level - i.e. (1)-3.
We shall take, Love all
West North East South
- - 1 2

as our example auction. The following are instances of pressure-WJOs on this auction:

Q J 10 8 6 2
Q 5
7 4 3
8 4
—————————————-
Your good features are : Vulnerability = Green : 1 may not show 4 Diamonds (but it is likely) : Your bid is at the 2 level. The bad feature is : Suit is not Spades : suit is pretty weak (weaker than the one above) Opponents have an implied fit in Diamonds.

Providing your partner realises that you MIGHT be overcalling on such rubbish due to the position and vulnerability then I feel the bid is borderline (Spades would be better) i.e. right at the ‘9’ position.

May 10, 2013
John Portwood edited this comment May 10, 2013
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There are 16 points left outside the Spade suit and partner reckons on holding most of them. Whilst I expect the spade loser, I still have the insurance of being able to lose another trick.
May 9, 2013
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Spade lead defeats the contract


Assume a club switch - win with the King (1 trick) Play a diamond back - assume declarer finesses - win with King (trick 2) and return a diamond. Declarer can run the clubs but East retains KJT 5 declarer keeps Q9 AQ and West 7 KT J A diamond from dummy squeezes declarer who can be thrown in to lead a Spade to Easts KJ A heart to the Ace concedes the last 3 tricks and a heart finesse loses (trick 3) with the JD (Trick 4) and K to follow.
May 9, 2013
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Surely oppos won't have bid a grand with a quick trick loser in our suit? So I'llmake the most passive lead I can. Leading a could be fatal if partner has JX.
May 8, 2013
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As partner is unlimited any heart bid could seriously mislead him - either into taking an unprofitable sacrifice or bidding a failing game. South knows (roughly) the total strength their way and misleading your partner won't affect that.

if I was feeling aggressive I would bid 2 on that hand - but in my system that shows a weak 5-5 in the majors. At least I won't be overstating my strength!
May 8, 2013
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