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All comments by Marshall Lewis
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Sorry. Perhaps my shortest post ever on BW.
Nov. 3
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Everybody please stop whining and wringing hands. This is not a situation to send us into a tizzy of lamentation. Just bid NT – or do something else, but for heaven's sake let's do it in tempo and without drama. Suck it up – there are a lot of uncomfortable situations in bridge, and whimpering is counter-productive.
Nov. 3
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 4
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he was wont to say a lot of things
many of them asinine
not necessarily that one though
Nov. 3
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Pass – This would be much tougher at MPs.

Sleeping dogs and all that – if partner has hearts he is extremely weak, and if not, then that strain is where EW belong.

If we have a game it is probably in clubs (x Kxx Axx xxxxxx), but that is quite a longshot. Moreover we still might not reach game unless our hand were to bid 3C right now, which obviously could be a disaster – and if we don't reach game then there might not be much IMP difference between declaring in clubs and defending 2D.
Nov. 3
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 4
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5H what else ?
Illuminati code for “Pass”.
Nov. 3
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 4
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(a) “You have no agreement” does indeed logically entail that “pass would not be penalties as the agreement”. However that is virtually tautological so I don't understand what point you are trying to make in that paragraph.

(b) 2H shows hearts plus a strong desire to have an immediate voice in discussing a final contract – which may be at least partially motivated by an eminently laudable and consummately PRACTICAL wish to avoid the kind of catastrophe that could easily occur if instead we made perilous assumptions about how partner would interpret Pass. As for the high-card range, it is necessarily quite nebulous in the absence of discussion, as is common in situations that are agreement-starved hence disaster-friendly. It is quite common in such situations that our choices may fall short of the maximum possible upside, because their primary objective is to avoid courting a maximized downside.

© If when you say that “2H promises nothing”, you are actually trying to argue that we could still miss a game (or slam) after volunteering that call, that is certainly true – but I have already addressed that in my previous post when discussing why 2H is a much better advance of partner's initial re-opening TOX than 2C. Since partner is considerably more likely to have hearts-but-not-clubs than the other way around, and since hearts is a major while clubs is a minor, he is far more likely to take a chance and raise if we bid hearts than if we bid clubs.

(d) Yes, the second double is unequivocally non-penalty, because we are still below game – as per “standard expert practice”. As for it showing a “strong balanced hand”, this would appear to be of extremely limited value on this particular auction – foes have a huge fit and are likely enough to bid game, and partner has done nothing but Pass, even when he had the chance to act over the XX. So if we are still bullish about this being our hand, that would almost surely have to be based on lots of extra OFFENSE, not some balanced portrait gallery (even one with convertible values). Moreover, it would be foolish for us to try to brutalize the NV opponents on this sequence, so the only sensible meaning for a second double is “Let's find our fit”
Nov. 3
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 3
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However it seems to you, I believe the Law says otherwise.
Knowledge of partner's habits falls under the rubric of implicit and empirically-based (as opposed to explicit and discourse-based) partnership agreements.
Nov. 3
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Meanwhile I will return to your recommended action for partner over the XX if holding the sample hand I cited: xxx KJxx x Kxxxx – which was to start with 2C, and then on the next round bid 4H.

I have already explained upthread why it would be ill-conceived (and, for the record, quite far removed from “standard expert practice”) for partner to bid clubs rather than hearts as the initial advance of our re-opening X. Not proposing to rehash all of that here, I will simply add that if partner's Pass over XX would be penalty, then 2C could be a Yarborough hence it is 100% non-forcing and regressive – but what partner actually holds is massive by comparison.

(The same would of course be true of 2H, but at least that bid rates to pique partner's competitive interest and so increases the chance of getting to speak again. Anyone who bid 2C with that lot and then endured a half-minute huddle by partner en route to a wistful Pass would probaby not enjoy that experience. Here is your dummy in 2C: x AQxx AJxxx Axx. He would likely have taken the risk of raising 2H, but not 2C; in fact he gets extra credit just for thinking so long.)

Now let's turn to the second part of your bidding plan for partner when he holds my sample hand, which my earlier remarks failed to address – i.e. bidding 4H on the subsequent round of bidding. This too seems parsecs removed from “standard expert practice”, because:
(a) Hands that initially Pass over an opening bid, and then make a minimum NF bid of 2C – implicitly characterized as a run-out from 1SXX – do not suddenly on the next round announce that they now think their side belongs in game ….
(b) UNLESS of course they've received additional information in the interim which warrants a substantial upgrade of their hand. That would virtually always come from partner in the form of some very strong action, e.g. cue-bid of the Opener's suit. But what has happened here on the subsequent round of bidding is essentially the diametrical opposite of that – it is both opponents who have announced substantial extras (in context), and partner has done nothing at all following his re-opening double – which could have been purely protective in nature, and maybe even shaded by those reduced criteria.
Nov. 2
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 3
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(1*) In my opinion, -530 would be an extremely surprising outcome if partner were to pass my double.

(2*) Many expert pairs do indeed play that Pass over the Redouble would be for penalty, but that is BY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT. Truly expert players WHEN THEY ARE CONFRONTING SITUATIONS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN EXPLICITLY DISCUSSED will strenuously try to avoid the kind of cataclysmic results which can so easily eventuate when someone gratuitously assumes that a treatment absolutely MUST be in place because it is “common expert practice”. Obviously this is a gray area in general and it is a question of where you draw the line.

For example, we are all going to assume in absence of discussion that when our undisturbed auction starts 1N- C, opener's rebid of 2S denies four hearts because almost universal practice these days is that Opener rebids 2H with both Majors. In contrast, if we have agreed to play Michaels but we have not discussed its parameters, in my opinion it would be perverse to assume “split-range” rather than a more inclusive treatment, despite the fact that the former is a widespread agreement and “standard” in some circles. In the present instance, I think both partners should be extremely loath to assume that Pass over the XX is clearly penalty – even if you think that it SHOULD be the prudent course is not to bet the farm on an assumption that is going to be catastrophically wrong a lot more often than it will be slightly wrong.

(3*) If your allusion to “multiple reasons” refers to my closing paragraph in my prior post:
(a) See entry (2) just above; or to put it in another way: the default treatment of undiscussed situations is summed up by the operational meta-principle: “Whenever possible, don't stake everything on an absolutely final action that depends on the assumption that partner is on the same wavelength, when there is a reasonable alternative that could be either the winning action or at least the best damage-control-in-worst-scenario option. THIS is the most ”standard expert practice" of all.
(b) On the grounds of frequency (inter alia), it doesn't make much sense to me to posit/assume an agreement which caters to a situation that allows us to defend a ONE-level contract that gives them game if they make it, and whose upside is not exactly huge given that they are nonvulnerable – especially when we might easily have a game or even a slam our way given that the re-opening hand is unlimited.
Nov. 2
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 3
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That maxim is pure gold.
Nov. 2
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I was not recommending a bid (as you already know from my earlier remark below). I was addressing the characterization of Kieran's comment as an “overbid”. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
Nov. 1
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 1
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Be sure to add in another gratuitous slam in the unlikely event you ever agree with me again, Hoosier Buddy. Just wouldn't feel right otherwise.
Nov. 1
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Nov. 1
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Not that big an understatement. Partner could easily have for example: Jxxxx – xxxxx KQJ. In saying “hand I'm hoping for”, Kieran probably didn't mean “dummy that will make 4S” – no doubt what he meant was “hand opposite which we would rather play in 4S (with or without a double) than defend 4H”.

Of course, if partner DOES deliver the dummy I have sketched above as an illustration, there is some danger that a 4S bid by us now might push them to 7H (which could be cold). Ah well, live on the edge. :):):)
Nov. 1
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Let's see. Substantial values, playability in the other three suits, more than adequate defense in context (i.e. should partner pass for penalties). Wherein do you perceive a mis-match between this hand and the first-round Double?
Oct. 31
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Maybe there is no “maybe” about it.
Oct. 31
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We don't seem to be looking at the same cards, or the same auction, or both. Addressing your remarks in order:

(1) I can't figure out the basis for the reference to “fixed”. How? Why?

(2) Why would you assume we are going -530 via X? IF partner chooses to pass, which I believe will not happen very often to begin with for any number of reasons, you have at least 3 tricks to contribute. Why would we expect partner to pass the T/O double with no more than one defensive trick of his own? – Especially given that the enemy bidding doesn't sound like a big spade stack lurks in his hand (our void notwithstanding).

(3) Why does this have to be the opponents' hand? Partner went out of his way to bid 2H over the XX. Already I had cited upthread a very plausible hand for partner (xxx KJxx x Kxxxx) on which a SLAM our way is basically on a finesse – and for the record they are likely to go two down in 3SX, though that would hardly compensate for +1370 (which is moot anyway as partner would not pass our X).

(4) It would be most unwise for partner to start with clubs on my sample hand, because that would blatantly flout principles of preparedness. If the opponents bid again, which he knows is likely when he has xxx in their suit and I have doubled, then he is going to have to introduce hearts at an altitude which forces us to go one level higher still in order to prefer clubs – either that, or simply hold his peace and never introduce hearts, which would be absurd. Not only does a hearts-first approach guarantee the possibility of same-level preference, it also still allows us to indicate our relative suit-lengths accurately – after a TOX of a Major, standard practice is for Advancer to assume 3+ cards in the unbid Major, so when holding only four of those and five of a minor, bidding Major-then-Minor typically shows 45 precisely that way around, leaving strain-choice up to Doubler. (With 5+ cards in the other Major, he simply assumes an 8-card fit and rebids them.)

(5) The only way that he could possibly hold a balanced three-count is IF we had an agreement in place that Pass by him over the XX is for penalty. But we are not told anything of the sort – nor would I regard that as the “default treatment in absence of discussion”, for multiple reasons.
Oct. 31
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 31
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It certainly conveys spade shortage – why does it matter so much that it doesn't promise a void?
Oct. 31
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Well the X ought to show 3 hearts so he knows what to do. It is not as if slam were in center-frame.
Oct. 30
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 31
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Unable to act at the two-level, but worth a bid at the four-level? Not my universe.
Oct. 30
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Since we are still below game, X = extra values with no clear direction. Pretty much what I have. Hearts easily might not even be partner's longest suit: xxx KJxx x Kxxxx
Oct. 30
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