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All comments by Marshall Lewis
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All very nice for the Depression, but can't help thinking Josh had a more recent competition in mind, and virtually nobody plays 3D as forcing nowadays, nor is that method likely to re-surface since it is useful far less often than its strong-but-NF counterpart. On another note, to talk of “problem-solving” for a hand-type that occurs with the approximate frequency of Rossini's birthday would seem to some to be stretching a phrase.
Jan. 2, 2017
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Jan. 3, 2017
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“ever so slightly insulting” was ever so slightly understated
Jan. 1, 2017
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I agree about protecting the plus. That is why I bid 3N to protect my +400
Jan. 1, 2017
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Because it is MPs, double. Among other things, you may need +500 for a good board here.
Jan. 1, 2017
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Another great polling question from Christina. I have chosen a call that I expect to attract no other votes, but that is familiar territory to me. It is obvious that crucial factors here include the form of scoring and the vulnerability, BUT just as important is our stipulated treatment regarding the Pass by partner – which I believe is pretty much the very opposite of the standard agreement. My point is that other tables can be expected to have, and seize, the opportunity to defend 2SX, and that is likely to go for 800. If that is what we are competing against, then aiming at some measly target like +200, or even + 430, is a fecklessly desultory ambition. When they hit a shot deep to your corner and you can barely even get to it, there is little point contenting yourself with some feeble lob on which the foe will feast – you need to go for broke with a passing shot. The analogy cashes out here as hoping that our side has a slam, which is low percentage but hardly ridiculous – we know partner is very short in spades so even though he is also rather weak why could he not be clutching the likes of: – Qxx T9xxx QTxxx ?

Meanwhile, it is not as if my 3D bid precludes the possibility of playing 3N when partner has some other hand (which he occasionally will :)) – far from it. To me, 3D gives us a fighting chance against nothing, and even when our slam hopes are dashed much of the time we will still break-even-at-worst anyway against the innumerable tables where they play 3N. Nor do I refer only to our own potential to play in that contract – bidding 3D could find us happily +400 in that suit when 3N is making, or better yet failing, elsewhere. Moreover, if partner instead has long chunky clubs (though perhaps with a loser in the suit), we might score very well by playing in 5C (or even 6). Finally, if you double and partner bids hearts, your chances of reaching 4H when it is an attractive spot are lower than if you instead rebid 3D. If over the popular double our side now continues 3H-3N, partner is likely going to assume that we hold three hearts and may accordingly rebid them when we don't want him to. But after 3D (us) - 3H -3N, partner is not going to rebid them without six.
Jan. 1, 2017
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Jan. 1, 2017
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Partner's pass is certainly forcing or you more or less have to take 2C off the card and play natural strong twos or something. Playing opener's second-round double here as penalty might work well even on some deals other than this one but I think it is very far from a mainstream treatment or default interpretation.
Jan. 1, 2017
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3D is both cumbersomely space-consuming and descriptively inadequate, but what “honest” alternative is there? I can however imagine circumstances in which I might respond 3H, faking a Splinter. I note that Andrew Robson responded to this poll before I did and confess my great surprise – not that he chose 3D, but that he did not beat me to the punch in proposing 3H as the most attractive (and perhaps the only) alternate strategic option.
Jan. 1, 2017
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Jan. 1, 2017
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For me it is inconceivable not to commit to slam. The real questions are whether, and if so how, to try for a grand, which also includes the at least theoretical possibility of keeping clubs in the frame as a potential strain. Of course, if we don't even know how we play 1D-(P)-2D then the chance of us feeling entitled to enough justifiable confidence in any such venture borders upon zero as an asymptote. My own choice is a simple 5H
Jan. 1, 2017
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Not a patch on the Erewhon Congress
Jan. 1, 2017
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Han's line of argument is a familiar one, of course. What it overlooks is the ambition of beating EVERYONE, and most especially when facing the antepost favorites to win the event
Dec. 31, 2016
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David your article is so superbly conceived and executed that it has almost completely vaporized the intense chagrin I've been suffering from ever since Trick Eleven upon seeing that I had gotten the hand wrong. Anyway it is just as well you didn't stuff that trump spot down partner's esophagus, which could so easily have led to a fatal case of heart-ten-ing of the arteries
Dec. 31, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Dec. 31, 2016
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Unlikely since the opening bid showed exactly five hearts
Dec. 31, 2016
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It always matters what Marshall wants
Dec. 31, 2016
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Wouldn't consider any action other than 3H. Obviously on any given deal some alternative(s) might work better. So what? Clear-cut call at IMPs, but my strong intuition is that it is also the percentage call at MPs.
Dec. 20, 2016
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It is more difficult to answer this without knowing whether 2C was GF
Dec. 19, 2016
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It is easy to construct hands where the winning action is to bid something. That does not however mean that it is sound to do so. Among other problems, if one does not pass then it is necessary to choose some specific non-Pass, and there is precious little basis on which to do so.
Dec. 19, 2016
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not really enough to bid 7C so will content myself with X
Dec. 19, 2016
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In theory there are four actions in the frame, but we can quickly dismiss 4C on two grounds. For starters, partner did not promise clubs. Even more importantly, it aims at much too measly a reward. This is IMPs.

If partner has five hearts, the winning call could easily be 4H which will right-side game in that strain which may then have more play. It is however very unilateral and could be a disaster when partner has only four hearts. In fact, even if he does have five of them, 3N from my side might be the sole game available to us.

If we do have a game, or even close, then it is very likely that 3S will fail, and we have a very low Offense-to-Defense Ratio, so at any other common form of scoring Pass would be a serious contender. Playing IMPs, however, responsibilities to teammates make this action questionable in the extreme, since squadron morale is very important.

This leaves 3N, which may actually fetch, has not yet got doubled (nor is it likely to), and could easily be a good save against 3SX, even when the game goes down in bunches.
Dec. 19, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Dec. 19, 2016
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In my view there is only one practical call, and that is 3N. For every time that you belong in exactly 2N – which will be the final contract a massive proportion the time if our first-round choice is 2N, including a plethora of deals on which game our way is trivial – there will be innumerable occasions when you score up a routine game, with or without a slip by the foe (to say nothing of overtricks). 2N is what Walter the Walrus would vote for, no doubt, and he assuredly would condemn 3N as a gross exaggeration of his HCP values. He could console himself for his 11% board with a feeling of rectitude, but he would likely find further rewards elusive. Moreover, a considerable percentage of the time that you would end in 3N anyway even after balancing with a mere 2N, the route to that final contract is likely to be cobbled with actions by partner which would in turn pave the way to an optimal defense by the adversary.

Double is in a sense understandable as a sort of compromise between the underbid of 2N and the overbid of 3N, but it is very short-sighted. The auction could easily get out of hand after this start. For example, suppose partner with a good hand cuebids 3H – 3N now is the same call you would have to make with some 3235 twelve-count that didn't want to sell out to 2H, so how are you going to let partner know that you instead have THIS mountain? There are many additional ways that things could gae agley after a takeout double too.
Dec. 19, 2016
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(1) Double is too dangerous for the obvious reason that it may be partner who will be bidding diamonds.

(2) 2C risks putting all our partnership eggs in a single basket, and a potentially useless one at that because if we have a club fit and the foe have a diamond fit, they can outbid us anyway, and I have no special reason to think they will go down in that strain at any foreseeable level.

(3) In contrast, hearts is a suit where a NS fit would rate to be competitively far more useful, and the best way to try getting that strain into the frame is to PASS. If as expected Opener rebids diamonds, and RHO passes – which is also very likely given the strength and shape of our hand, assuming we have not tipped our yen to compete via a break in tempo en route to our Pass – THEN we can double and give a splendid description of our hand. While it is certainly true that a diamond raise by HO would shut us out, we would hardly rate to be any better off had we overcalled 2C at our first turn. Of course, an initial double would get hearts in the picture right away, but as noted that action is fraught with peril.
Dec. 19, 2016
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