All comments by Jonathan Mestel
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And yet…whether a hand is shuffled or not codes just one “bit” of information. Frequently boards from teammates arrive in sets of 4. Often they arrive out of sequence, and with the Norths not properly aligned. Juggling the order and orientation of 4 boards would encode 4!*3*4*4 >1000 bits of information. That's enough for a 40 letter message, something like “WILLYOUPLAYABITFASTERPLEASEPSILOVEYOUXXX”

Maybe this is too serious an issue to joke about.
July 26, 2016
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It makes a difference if we have agreed a suit or not. In the first two examples (and perhaps the 4th) the NT bidder doubles with good defence, otherwise leaves it up to the possible-long-minor hand.
The 3rd they've shown more power than us - does anyone play that forcing, even unfavourable?
But I play hardly any FPs. This is because I rarely have extra values.
July 26, 2016
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We can't right-side 5D any more, which tips the balance against being imaginative. Partner has 3diamonds more than 1/3 of the time anyway.
July 26, 2016
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Or he has KJxxx KJxxxx AQ - and we're about to wrong-side 4… Why unanswerable? Redouble and then 4 is one answer…
July 26, 2016
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Michal: surely, 7+7=14. Nigel's squeeze works because he is assuming LHO has shown out in clubs and RHO has to keep 3 clubs. To put it another way, one club finesse is his 12th trick.

There's also a triple-squeeze: If RHO has say Kxxx x 10xxxx Qxx he is squashed on the 5th trump.

But I think the main extra chance is through misdefence.
July 26, 2016
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If I understand the auction, I never showed my club suit did I? In which case, I think I will run 5 rounds of trumps, throwing clubs, then cash the black aces and play 3 diamonds before misguessing clubs. It may not be technically best, but I expect helpful pitches a fair amount of the time.
July 25, 2016
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Frances - can I just take issue with your use of the word “gamesmanship”? It's not that - being a difficult opponent, which entails having some unpredictability to one's actions, is simply playing the game well. From a game theoretic point of view, the best strategy usually has a probabilistic element.
As I understand the word, gamesmanship has some element of “coffee-housing”, and is distinct from legitimate strategy.
Apart from that, I agree with you totally. I would not regard these sequences as forcing in my partnerships.
July 25, 2016
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Love all at pairs, we would do worse than doubling with this to dislodge 1NT and/or get them to the 3-level. Partner knows this, and will be cautious. Other vuls and scorings, I would pass for now
July 25, 2016
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Well, I agree 5 last round was better, but I don't see why we shouldn't venture an opinion on the actual sequence. Maybe 5x is par, and we can recover. Or they may bid 6 losing to partner's QJx.
July 25, 2016
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I think our initial pass with short hearts was shortsighted. If partner has hearts he won't be able to act, and if LHO has them we'll be faced with the same problem at a higher level. It would be nice if X just showed values, but failing that, 3 for me.

After our initial pass, we have to double, surely? LHO can have a 0-18 for his 2NT at favourable vul. He doesn't have to reveal his hand.
July 25, 2016
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Sometimes, I have no idea whether the worry is missing slam or getting too high. To me this hand can only be a problem if you have some non-standard agreement. Or is it a ruling problem, after this hand bid a slow 3 which was raised?
July 20, 2016
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6NT feels the right call to me at pairs. Let them worry about the lead. With one fewer diamond I'd try for 7 with 5.
July 20, 2016
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I'm not sure it's as simple as that. You, or I, need not care who turns up at a club or tournament if we so choose. But clubs and regional, national or international federations may rightly aim to promote the game and increase their membership, allocating suitable funds for the purpose.

Whether they do so in a manner which inevitably perpetuates the status quo, or whether they should attempt to broaden the appeal to underrepresented groups is a matter for discussion. Should one preferentially target the young or the old, for example? If presentations are made to schools, should they attempt to cover the entire population, or concentrate in affluent areas?
July 20, 2016
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It doesn't have to be many people to make running the 9 worse than a to the Q though. A likely auction might start 1 (some number of clubs)-X and we wouldn't hear spades again. I would expect a low singleton spade to be led more than 25% of the time.

I forgot this inference on a critical board once and it's etched in my mind.
July 19, 2016
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I don't mind double at point-a-board. If partner passes we have more likely than not done the right thing.
July 19, 2016
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1-2 Partner needs good reason to move. So I raise to 6, noting any -finesse is odds on.
July 19, 2016
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RHO bid 3 knowing partner's hand. It seems wrong to sell out to 3 love all at pairs, when we don't much -wastage. I assume 3 by us is NF.
July 19, 2016
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The lack of a singleton spade lead is something to take into account.
July 19, 2016
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I dont think that fits well with a NF 2.
July 19, 2016
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At pairs, I think North should be allowed more leeway to compete with 5 on minimum distributional hands. There's something to be said for bidding 4NT on stronger hands - this works well if South bids 5 and North removes to 5; it's less clear if South bids 5. But this frees up the competitive 5 bid. I don't like the 6 bid missing 3 aces, but obviously this depends on how much you think 5 shows…
July 19, 2016
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