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All comments by Marc Bonnet
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With 5-5 majors, (almost) anything goes, especially NV (so your partner probably was right in bidding 2 on thin values). In particular, no min-max (one must be able to show the 2-suiter immediately regardless of strength, and most especially if weakish). With this responsive hand, I would not go beyond 4 unless partner somehow shows extra values (e.g. I respond 3 and he bids something other than 3M). Note that the responsive hand is not as strong as its point count suggests due to likely wastage in minor suits and only 3 trumps along with the doubleton .
Sept. 12
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South happened to win the board by opening 1NT way out of that pair's range. Balancing double normal if unfortunate here.
Sept. 7
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This slam cannot be realistically bid I think. On the other hand, vul vs not at IMPs, East should bid 4NT. I have no issues with the 2 overcall (matter of style I guess). My “mostly East” vote is my blame for letting the auction die in 4.
Aug. 24
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A possibility is to play Q at trick 2 or 3, presumably knowing the count by then (since tapping declarer against a 10-card fit serves no purpose other than passivity). Partner will show count, making the count known once declarer finishes pulling trumps. Of course, this is not risk-free either; we would hate finding declarer with K10x(x)…
Aug. 23
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I do not take this view, being of the persuasion that 5-5 majors must be shown at once regardless of strength.
Aug. 20
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Yes, true, playing 2X not ideal (!) and this somehow escaped my attention. So basically two choices:

a) XX = good hand, 2 = 6s, 2 neutral, just to extricate ourselves (and 3 a strong hand with 6s)

b) XX = neutral (hence forcing in practice since a major 2-suiter can be quite weak, and worthless in defense), with 2M showing 6M.

No idea what is best. XX showing a good hand may help catch a few penalties along the way (with East short in the majors and with some defensive stuff), so perhaps better for that reason.
Aug. 20
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East's inexplicable pass over North's double is of course the main reason for this missed game.

Absent any more sophisticated / specific agreements, after 2 (X) P (P), I think 2M shows a 6th card in M while XX shows a strong 5-5 (as here).
Aug. 20
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I work in academic research, so no monopoly indeed.
Aug. 18
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This is a great hand, thanks Barry! In the last variation (p4), if West plays the 2 rather than the 8, declarer can guarantee the contract by playing small from dummy, which forces West to help setting up this eventual endplay…
Aug. 17
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In my line of work, not announcing the precise dates and venue of a major international conference at least two years ahead would be unthinkable.
Aug. 16
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There is no standard meaning for “standard”, as this example shows.

In my neck of the woods, the K lead is power (asks unblock or count), and the proposed holding calls for the Q lead (with 3rd hand signalling attitude if relevant), and this is really standard, nationally at least. On the other side of the pond, those meanings appear to be switched, given the above comments.
Aug. 16
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The doubler passed over 3 not yet knowing that opener would bid 3NT, so cannot have concealed a long and strong major suit. Doubling with very good s is more conceivable since bidding 4 over 3 would often still be unappealing (say 5332 with KQJxx and out) whereas the same suit in a major would be bid. Absent definite agreement about X saying “lead clubs and we butcher them”, I would interpret X as simply cards (they go down on power), or a bluff attempting to talk them out of 3NT.

EDIT: It was late and I misread the OP sequence as starting with (1) X (3) , so the above comment does not make sense in the actual context. So I guess X is either “lead spades” (the default meaning of blind doubles of 3NT) or “find my suit” (indeed overcalling 3M is unappealing on many hands containing a strong M suit), as a general-values X hand would often have made a takeout X on the previous round.
June 7
Marc Bonnet edited this comment June 8
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Hemant
June 6
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South could have bid more strongly, but I understand reluctance on their part (soft balanced hand, honors of unclear values in suits bid by opponents, desire to avoid an iffy game at matchpoints). North's 1 bid can be based on either a 4-card suit and some values, or on a 5-card suit and possibly very little (I would bid 1 as North with Q10xxx and out). Is missing game such a big deal here, especially in a weak field? What is the NS matchpoint score for +170 here? I'm sure it is above average.

On the other hand, missing a contract altogether is a big deal. North's failure to bid 3, a totally automatic action in my view, is completely inexplicable in context. Hence my “mostly North” vote.
May 5
ATB
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I do not see any problem with West's 3rd seat opener; this by the way makes East's double of 1NT a very borderline action (would be more normal facing a 1st or 2nd seat opener). The unilateral 2 bid was really begging for trouble; 2 would have been more sensible.
April 23
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Thanks all for much-appreciated sympathy. This is indeed a traumatic event for the city. Perhaps the positive energy generated by a shared will to rebuild and overcome this accident will somehow benefit the common good.
April 16
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In a French expert-level (Division nationale 4) teams match last fall, we saw a scary push at +720. Opener had 15HCP 6322 with AQxxxx (opened 1NT 15-17 at both tables). Responder had 15HCP 4333 and did not bid beyond 3NT. There were 13 top tricks (thanks to a perfect honor fit between both hands). Just an illustration of occasionnal side effects of the recommended policy of opening 1NT as often as possible, which I fully endorse.
April 7
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I expect very strong (in fact unanimous) expert consensus on non-forcing. Here I would play 4 as “preemptive-constructive”, i.e. showing useful distributional values and genuine willingness to play 5 (either to make or as a sacrifice) if partner's hand warrants competing further. A typical hand for me would be four trumps and a side stiff. No need to preempt with shapeless garbage here, as opps already have enough information to make reasonably accurate decisions.
March 24
Marc Bonnet edited this comment March 24
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I never thought about this situation before. I think it is better to play X as basically some game hand. Cramming that bid with competitive cases, such as a delayed competitive 3, seems unplayable (for one thing, opener is probably allowed to respond 3NT to the double if that seems the best bid). Also, 4 in the OP auction is by default a clear slam-probing agreement of s, so 3 is not needed for that. Finally, what is the meaning of 3x over 3? Probably best to play 3, 3 as showing 5+M and competitive+ values (at the cost of losing the competitive 3 bid), so that here the delayed 3 cannot show 5+ cards.

In the above framework, 3 would then by elimination probably show game-going values with a 4-card suit and no stopper (and 3NT the same with the stopper) as with no 4-card M and s stopped responder would bid 3NT, not X.

At any rate, choosing among the offered options depends on the meaning (natural or transfer) of the other 3-level bids by responder.
March 24
Marc Bonnet edited this comment March 24
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Very sad news! My heartfelt condolences to his family and relatives.

I knew him only from his writing, being an avid reader of bridge literature to which he made very worthy contributions. He wrote over the last years a string of articles on advanced card play topics in TBW, such as the “ruffing game” series, that were IMO among the best installments of the journal. And his book “I Fought The Law Of Total Tricks” with Mike Lawrence is I think important reading for a good understanding of the limitations and caveats of the LOTT in practical competitive bidding.
March 22
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