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All comments by John Portwood
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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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Eric - the terms of the 3NT overcall have been changed - it was for the minor suits.
April 30, 2013
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Pass seems obvious - if partner goes 4 or 5 down in 3NT then it won't be a disaster (and could be cheaper than going 3 down doubled when they get forced and forced and forced). If he gets doubled and doesn't bid himself then I can redouble and he'll get the message that it is up to him to pick the escape suit.
April 30, 2013
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I bid it half jokingly - don't worry about undos or anything - however I do like to open people's minds up to think outside the box.

Opposite a passed partner (where game is pretty problematical) I think that 2 strikes a reasonable balance between offence and defence. As a general rule I consider a 1-level overcall safe on an 8-loser hand and a 6 card suit can always be bid at the 2-level. On this hand there are 7 losers or so. (Holding a 6-card suit there are 7 out, the most likely distribution is 3-2-2 so partner reckons to have 2 card support - to those who believe in it, The Law protects me.)

Personally I think that there is far too much barrage bidding which causes problems for partners when they do have a fit for you or reasonable defence. All my pre-emptive bids are constructive in nature! How else can partner work out what is happening?)

You may like to see what T Reese had to say on the matter: http://www.bridgeace.com/Lessons/BOLS/1992_Reese_Idiocies.pdf
April 30, 2013
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1. Advanced
2. Not in ACBL
3. Usually none

EBU NGS ranking = “Q” (57.92) this means there are 39,600 players of lower rank, 1754 the same rank (57.00 - 58.99) and 1795 of higher rank. https://www.ebu.co.uk/ngs/?stats=1

EBU rank = ***** Master (low rank due (I hope!) to not attending congresses etc, play exclusively in club)
April 30, 2013
John Portwood edited this comment April 30, 2013
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You could bid 1 and then claim it was by mistake. These days no one plays penalties of suit bids at the 1 level so this seems to be a 100% safe psyche.

However you do have an above average hand and a reasonable suit. The fact that partner has passed doesn't mean that he has a Yarborough. It is quite possible that the final contract will be a bidding war between 2 | 3 and your 2. (Hearts could be breaking pretty badly as well which would jeopordise 4

So you might as well bid 2 then let the opponents have all the problems.
April 29, 2013
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Trick 2 ruff club, draw two rounds of trumps and lead KD ditching a loser.

Eventually you exit with A and Q and ruff your remaining loser with 4

After A lead west must switch to a heart to defeat the contract.
April 28, 2013
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South's bid is undisciplined - he has a partner that hasn't spoken and pre-empted him with this ludicrous punt.

North can assume that partner has a running minor suit (Diamonds!) but there is no way he can deduce whether South has club protection or not. (Give South QXX instead of QX and 3N looks pretty solid)
April 27, 2013
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Pass - I still have a partner. This must show a minimum hand.
April 27, 2013
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In Acol you have the 4NT opening bid asking for specific Aces - it would be nice to get a 6 or 5 reply and you can convert 5 and 5 to 5. I personally play 2 as a more precise instrument. So I have to assume this question is posed by someone whose system doesn't allow for Ace responses over a bid.

You may consider passing 1st time round - with 4 Aces somewhere and two KQs there is a good chance that, especially in today's aggressive bidding, someone will open and this would give you chance to estimate where are the Aces. The danger of this is all to obvious - but it makes a good magazine article when it comes off! (This hand would not even equal the record for the hand with fewest losers to pass 1st time round)

Perhaps a good bid would be 5 - at least if partner has A you will be in 6.

April 27, 2013
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