Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Marshall Lewis
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Either that or the other way around :):)
July 20, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Translation of NF: “We don't like slam bonuses, and view the concept of Choice-of-Games with either mistrust (odd-number dates) or disdain (prime number dates). Our joy in bridge comes from scoring exactly 140. Our favorite TV show is of course The Price Is Right”.
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
just fumigate and let's all move on
July 17, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Incidentally (and just to prove I can write a “short” post), I also take diametric issue with the received dogma that RP should stay out of opener's way and virtually always make a cheap bid. Picture-bids by RP are the way to go, to reduce the mystery of her hand, while making a default 2D response less open-ended.
July 17, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I just don't think it happens very often that one partner has a hand that can open 2C (without intending to rebid 2N) and yet the partnership ought to stop in a partial. Although I have not done any simulation and am shamelessly relying on my personal anecdotal experience alone, I think that it is much more common that the 2 hands can make, or ought to try, or wouldn't be embarrassed to undertake, a slam. Of course the more relevant comparison is a bit different but I also maintain it as well: I think it is more common that we can make a slam WHICH WOULD BE HARDER TO BID without opening 2C than it is to end up wishing we had played in a partial or passed the hand out :). Moreover, that assertion (for what it is worth) is only a start, because it is only concerned with raw frequency. At least equally important is that the magnitude of the reward we get for a slam swing in is so much bigger than the reward for fading the shooter. So even if the frequency claim I made above seems a bit exaggerated I would maintain that its margin of error is compensated for by the radical skewing of the respective rewards.

If and when we accordingly reach the point that we decide to put our architectural energy into optimization of our slam bidding, it is a very short step to reclaiming all resources that might in theory be used for advance or second negatives and instead assigning to them other uses in the service of Project Brass Ring.

To sum up: the apparent anomaly of relaxing requirements for a 2C opener while dispensing with artificial bearish first/second round responses actually reflects a highly consistent and coherent philosophy – don't waste precious resources that can help us bring in slam swings just for the highly dubious sake of being able to avoid the horror of a minus score. One option is of course just to make all these sequences GF anyway and go down sometimes, but it is possible to define certain sequences in the framework as passable at the 3-level. If the latter leads to confusion or awkwardness, I have little doubt that the partnership could just skip it and on the relatively rare relevant occasions bid game and go down, but nevertheless still show a handsome long-term profit.
July 17, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Not for the first or last time, my views on this cluster of issues are decidedly minoritarian. Once upon a time I was a purist about 2C openers, and then one day I heard Zia state that he opened 2C at virtually every reasonable opportunity. Well doubtless that reflected his rubber bridge background to some extent, but he was talking about playing top-level bridge with one of the best players in the history of the game as partner. I reflected that my own results in this area were nothing special, and I could see theoretical merit in this approach so I decided to try it and see what might befall. That was about thirty-odd years ago and the results have been excellent so I never looked back. Now perhaps it might seem that such a policy would more than ever benefit from affording Responder (RP) an opportunity to announce a really bad hand – but though it may seem counter-intuitive, my firm belief is that such a device is quite a low-payoff repertoire item, even with a hair-trigger on 2C openings. Admittedly the argument I will advance is stronger at IMPs than at other forms of the game, but personally I play the same way regardless. The argument is based on frequency and on the diferential skewing of the Rewards associated with the respective rationalkes for the alternative follow-up structures. (To be continued)
July 17, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In my opinion, Kieran may be placing altogether too much reliance on certain assumptions which undoubtedly underlie the categorical assertion that partner has at least three hearts *FOR SURE*. RHO might easily have bypassed a lousy four-card heart suit to bid 1N for a variety or reasons, any or all of which might easily obtain on the actual deal. Holding a double diamond stopper, a club fit, weak hearts, and%or concern about foes finding spades, RHO could easily have chosen a tactical 1N over a more technical 1H or club raise – especially NV at this form of scoring.
Feb. 10, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think it is likely enough that this is our only chance to get the defence on right track if our future is in spades. Moreover, 1N may have been chosen in part to block access to a possible 1S advance by me of partners overcall, and%or to disguise the fact that they have a sizeable club fit and thus we must have a good fit. If his intent was to block a fit-find it is probably spades he is most likely worried about since we have two more of those than hearts and it is too late to prevent the discovery of a diamond fit. Nor is this suspected strategy behind the 1N bid a reflection of paranoia on my part – these colors make it quite likely, allowing him to *volunteer* 1NT with marginal confidence it will make, plus the fact that clubs are the lowest ranking suit.
Feb. 10, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Anything except spade king COULD be right, but my money is on a black suit. The best argument for a heart is not even technical – it has to do with partnership morale and trust and longterm prospects, because if for example partner has made a light opening just for the lead and that is a killer but we lead something else, he will have every right to be upset – at least equally importantly, he may thenceforth be much more reluctant to try frisky but winning actions since the risk-reward ratio collapses if he cant even count on us getting our reward even when he has struck gold.

Diamonds for me would be a distant last choice. I was quite surprised to see this suit fare so well in the poling thus maybe I have missed something. So far, the only case for a diamond that has been posted is John's idea about a ruff, but that still seems to be a relatively too-slender thread to lure me from partner's suit. Unless partner can ruff the opening lead, declarer will be in a position to lead ace and queen of spades and odds are that partner will have no more trumps and meanwhile I have been a big help to declarer by neither building tricks nor even attacking any entry to dummy. Even if partner CAN ruff the third round, that might end the defense because the diamonds are now ready to roll. I can perhaps on a good day endure partner's wrath, but not his withering comment: “So you had a choice between the suit I showed and the suit that they showed and you did … what? Remember this hand next time when I am on lead and I ignore your opening bid.”

But notwithstanding the above I am still not leading a heart though perhaps I should. It is just that a consultation with my experiential database produces a suspicion that declarer is ready for a heart lead. In fact, what often happens in this sort of bidding scenario is that RHO is the one with the heart length and foresees some ruffing potential for his losers there if his partner has two or three spades. Very often a trump is the winner in these situations. Anything but a trump in fact runs the additional risk of taking a finesse for declarer who may otherwise have limited access to dummy and may have to organize multiple finesses. Just as it doesn't feel to one of the respondents above that WE can beat this without a ruff, the same may be true of making the contract, since dummy rates to be fairly weak (except for diamonds). Thus a trump is my second choice – but not behind a heart, though that may make me look very foolish later as noted.

If there are tricks to be built, they are most likely to be in clubs. Partner can easily have KQ of clubs (or even KT9 with no quick access to dummy so I will get in with spade king in time to lead a second round. If partner has something like: xx KT8xx AJx KT9, a club could be essential. This is not a slender thread, but a fairly routine sort of layout for an auction like this.

Obviously a club could be a disaster to end all disasters also but we have to make a bet of some sort and that is the bet I am going to make here.

Feb. 10, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Feb. 10, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
fascinating topic … perhaps for a different thread, though
Feb. 8, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
3D seems quite straightforward here. A higher call might of course be more effective on any given deal, but even though we might not be able to buy it at 3N when that is our spot, still it would be premature to bypass that contract. For me, anything other than a diamond bid is greatly mis-directed, anything less than a jump is roughly the same call as pass.
Feb. 6, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Agree that your latter observation is factually correct but how does that affect the actual situation, in which we were never going to bid 2D anyway? I would say that a minimum criterion for “significant” would be “relevant to the case at hand”.
Feb. 6, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
well we can all try to be smart, or we can decide that in a murky situation we don't want to gamble on outguessing this MP field about which suit to lead. For ma a spade stands out and it is only a question of which one. THIS is the juncture at which I have to decide whether and how to outguess the field. I will go with a top honor because the scenario that it caters to is simple and direct. In my own methods could lead the queen to solicit attitude about the jack.
Feb. 5, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I have no problem with 1N at these colors. Heart raise with a billion losers and no ruffing value is not my cup of tea as it rates to help enemy guage their degree of fit and aid declarer in reading the deal. It could occasionally help by getting partner to go ahead and lead a heart after auction ends at 3N played by my LHO, when he has some second suit AND heart lead will defeat contract and the other lead won't. But that scenario would I believe be far rarer than those in which my 2H bid provides a free blueprint to the declarer.
Feb. 5, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Interesting principle, but …
(1) The word “usual” entails “not always”, so the question is whether this would, or would not, be a context where it should apply. This raises the general question of when it ought to be regarded as pertinent/useful. In that regard …
(2) Surely the only reason why we would ever feel the need to throw overboard a whole category of valuable resources is when developments in the auction make them irrelevant or too awkward to retain, due to space/pressure considerations.
(3) In that respect, it is hard to imagine an auction that involves bidding by both sides (and which thus qualifies as competitive, in the most general and literal sense of that term) which could do LESS to warrant a triage and winnowing of our arsenal. The impact of the overcall on our auction has virtually zero impact on our communicative environment. It has only deprived us of a Stayman 2C, which in essence we have not even lost as partner's X serves as equivalent. It would be roughly the same as giving up all invitational sequences if opener's LHO huddles and then passes.
(4) In fact this is the first time I have even heard of this principle, but it would be foolish for me to assume a priori that its novelty to me is an indictment of the idea rather than of my knowledge and experience. I have thus been trying to consider it on its own merits, and perhaps it would have validity in certain auctions STRICTLY AT MPs. Playing IMPs it seems extremely ill-advised to discard all invitational apparatus just because opponents have noised. Obviously if they overcall 4H or even 3S, the level is too high for any sensible game invitations but we are obviously not talking about such trivial cases. Anyway this problem WAS set at MPs, but the invocation of the “principle” did not specify that as its restricted domain of applicability.
(5) But even at MPs, who exactly does NOT use invitational methods over intervention after our 1N opener, and against higher overcalls than a negligible 2C as well?
(6) I would not have regarded it as at all controversial that when partner makes a 2-level negative double, opener is obliged (at least until further notice) to assume he is facing a hand that is just looking to compete in a NF way. This just follows from the general truism that a Sputniker must be assumed to have has values suitable to the level he is forcing to (if he has more, we will find out). It is not the X which made the auction invitational in my view, but rather the sequence of X followed by 2S.
(7) I do however understand your point, which is that this second bid by partner could be played as still scrambling with competitive values, with the X itself representing a gamble that partner wouldnt greatly incommode us via 2H. (Honestly, though, how good a gamble would that be – what would we have guessed he would bid over our Double.) Even if we assume such an interpretation to be the default in absence of discussion (I wonder what such a poll would reveal), it seems to me that 3C is still the correct call. In fact I argued above that if Responder should now bid 3D that call would be NF, and was stating that in a context where I believed his sequence was invitational. Thus in the absence of agreements, 3C actually covers ALL bases.
Feb. 5, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Does that really change anything to any significant extent
Feb. 5, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It seems to me that a lead in any suit other than your longest and strongest is just a blind stab with little or no plan or vision behind it. I do not regard a heart lead as passive, as it could easily blow the contract. Moreover if you lead a heart it could easily be best to lead the nine – in fact leading the nine as an aggressive salvo seems better to me than leading small in the hopes that it will be passive, because it might not be passive and even if it is passive that might be the losing approach. Can make a case for other clubs, but once deciding on a club that case does not seem compelling enough to lure me away from Her Majesty.
Feb. 4, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Even without discussion, partners sequence should be an invite to 3N with 4S, because in essence this situation is just as if HE had bid 2C (Stayman) – opener could have both majors and presumably opener bids hearts first, so in that sort of context the default meaning of 2S is an invite to 3N but stopping off to show 4S just in case that is the proper strain. Therefore pass is for me unthinkable.

Knowing what partner is doing, however, hardly solves the real problem. Do we have an acceptance here, and would 3H be forcing … I would answer yes to both questions, but that still is not the call I like. If partner has 3 hearts it will work fine, but he might be 4252. Partner may well have some club help but there is no guarantee of that so even if we have the tricks they might run the whole club suit first. Our best contract accordingly might well be 3D.

What should a cuebid here (3C) be taken to mean, even in the absence of discussion … Any hand with spades would just raise them so it should basically say that we do not have a minimum and have serious doubt about NT (i.e. little or no stoppage in clubs). Partner could hardly make a mistake if he reads it right. He has room to give belated support to hearts or to bid 3N or to bid 3D natural. Without agreements it might still be unclear if 3D in that sequence would be forcing, and whether it could be on a 4-card suit, but as the scoring is MPs it doesn't seem to me that 3D ought to be forcing. We have made noises toward 3N without showing any great total strength, and nobody has bid it, so that leaves us just scrambling for a playable contract. Even if 3D isn't our best spot on a scramble auction of this sort, we still might do well enough MP-wise compared to most other pairs, and various good things can happen if we bid 3C. Not first time nor will it be the last that I have been the solitary advocate of a bid.
Feb. 2, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I wrote a lengthy analysis (who, me…) supporting the lead of a Spade but when I tried to post it was unable to and it disappeared. Might try again later.
Feb. 1, 2016
.

Bottom Home Top