Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Marshall Lewis
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If you are so fully committed to getting both suits in, perhaps there could be an advantage in entering at a lower level.

For what it is worth, I think that especially at rubber bridge the pass is attractive. Chances they are saving are good, if they do make it we are still vulnerable, and if they have made a mistake then prolonging the rubber rates to be a good thing even if we might make.

The bottom line though is the Edict of Mercaptan: “Don't remove your partner's penalty doubles at rubber bridge.”

Especially when the adversary is likely to have just violated the Other Edict of Mercaptan: “Don't sacrifice at rubber bridge”.
Oct. 11
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no flies on RP
Oct. 11
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You can make a decent case either way – but the real reason this problem has arisen is that S made a knee-jerk bid on the previous round. It was not too difficult to foresee that the blast to 4H would very likely produce this very denouement, and in that case our hand would have unnecessarily saddled itself with the dreaded Last Guess.

Had we bid 3H instead, counting on further bidding by the foes at the score and with this shape – or if not, then possibly from second base (opposite wicket?) – we would have a much better idea whether any 4S call by an adversary was an in-good-faith-likely-to-make effort – or instead an intended sacrifice against an opponent threatening to convert a sizeable rubber, who has also jumped solo to game red-on-green facing a silent partner.

Once the other side has already bid and raised Spades, there is far less upside in jumping to 4H, and as observed above the ensuing developments were all too predictable, resulting in a thorny problem indeed.

Moreover, every once in a while our game might be in 5C, and we might get there if we content ourselves with 3H the first time.
Oct. 11
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 11
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I only ever had one smother play/coup, way back when I was at university. Would you regard it as galling to execute one at the table and get an average? Well, the thing is, I was in a grand slam ….
Oct. 10
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Bravo Barry. Backwash is the Holy Grail. They also serve who only stand and wait, like me. However ….

22 years ago, on my first day in Philadelphia where I had moved for a new job (the term can be Googled), I was wandering around downtown and espied some bridge club and on impulse I wandered in and the next thing I knew I had let myself be drafted into some random alliance for the evening. Sometimes we are simply guided by an unseen hand and this was clearly one of those occasions because …

At one point my partner made some takeout double of an opening 1-bid and for lack of a more attractive option I advanced in spades on a 3-card suit and thus eventually was installed in 4S, declarer from the short side. This contract fetched on a Devil's Coup and given the odd circumstances it was basically a reverse dummy-reversal, not your quotidian cliche.

A few months later I recounted the anecdote to Andrew Robson when we rendezvoused in a New Mexico roadside taqueria diner en route to the Albuquerque NABC, and he eventually wrote it up. For purposes of accommodating his newspaper readership he felt obliged (and had my blessing) to normalize/sanitize the pre-math to the play, but in theory the hand is out there somewhere in the archives.
Oct. 9
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 9
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Your second paragraph expresses a viable position. YMMV was new to me though. Not the tretragrammaton I am accustomed to.

Your first paragraph however puzzles me since I profferred several examples where any “penalty” extracted from 3H would be relatively miniscule – if even inscribed on our side of the ledger at all.
Oct. 8
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Sure but then X is not GF.
Oct. 8
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I was going to cite this very phenomenon but Shireen got in ahead of me. Just days ago there was an instance of it in our Trials – EW could make nothing, and NS could make one of anything. What made me savor it more is that both hands were unbalanced, one of them with a void.

Needless to say, my own helter-skelter auction spiraled dizzily out of control, and we ended at the recklessly vertiginous heights of 2S on our paltry 23 HCP, an ignominious one down.

As for nomenclature, I propose the label “Musketeer Hand”.
Oct. 8
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 9
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(a) Even if that were true (which it isn't – see the next entry), why shouldn't we be allowed to enter the auction with hopes of an offensive plus even when our least-profitable-case-scenario is achieving a par +140? Of course, some of the time we can make nine in spades they will fail in 3H but it isn't difficult to construct deals where both partials make so 7 IMPs can lie at stake. Is partner really supposed to Pass with the likes of: Kxxxx x J9x KJxx, expecting us to re-open on a weak NT, i.e. limited values and no heart shortage? Or is he supposed to treat that hand of his as GF? Or create a fake GF then suddenly abandon the auction in 4m if it suits him? Moreover, what if he holds: JT9xx xx Ax KJxx, facing which we have good chances of +620, but might not beat 3H?

(b) Since the phrase “forcing to game” means, ummmm, “forcing to game” – rather than “forcing to 3N” – and 4m is not game AFAIK, then it surely is NOT the case – except in an ultra-pedantic sense, or if one wishes to speak impractically – that “the only bid left below game is 3S”. Treating Double as a literal GF means that whenever we do not have a spade fit or hold the appropriate material to venture 3N, we are endplayed into 5m. THAT to me is an impractical arrangement.
Oct. 8
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 8
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It might be interesting to see the result of a poll as to how many – and specifically who – would agree that 3S now by Opener should be forcing (i.e. that Sputnik here ought to be GF). Frankly that idea would not have crossed my mind, though obviously it shows a modicum of values in any case.
Oct. 8
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DW – I do not have to wait till he bids NT with his heart stopper. He just has to bid diamonds, then I can bid it. In my experience, typical LHOs will be more likely to lead a heart if I cuebid and then try NT, as that sounds to them like a more flexible hand and one less enthusiastic about the heart situation for NT. Alternatively they might lead the fourth suit, which is also OK with me.

If partner reaches similar conclusions and takes me out of 3N that is also OK as our game might be in a suit.
Oct. 6
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 6
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Good card-holders can nurse their partials at rubber bridge. Some of us do not fall into that category, and prefer to strike while the extremely occasional iron feels warm.
Oct. 6
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“You can certainly expect a diamond lead” is quite a different statement from “a diamond lead is certain”. The latter is certainly an overbid, but the former – which is tantamount to saying “the singkle most likely lead is certainly a diamond” – in my opinion is not. Admittedly we may be in a gray area of semantic interpretation.
Oct. 6
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especially if it is also consensual uncertainty
Oct. 5
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In the immortal words of Curly: “what glass?”
Oct. 4
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All bids are flawed. The most shriekingly obvious big-ticket-item upside is right-siding when partner has a good hand, which is hardly a longshot in this one-sided context. Alternative calls might work better, but aim at more meager gleanings.
Oct. 4
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 4
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Quite surprised at the huge vote for 2N. It is an underbid and anti-positional, and you can certainly expect a diamond lead.
Oct. 4
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4C could be very wrong, but that is true of any action one might contemplate
Oct. 4
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It is a long thread, but those who have read all of it have seen plenty more examples given of different situations where our side can make a game (or has adequate play for one) than the one solitary pie-in-the-sky JTx-of-spades case that you cite.
Oct. 4
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Oct. 4
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This is very similar to what I play when I get to choose. Have always disliked the omnibus “D is for Dreck” approach to Double, as many impoverished but shapely hands offer significant game – or even slam – potential if a fit is found. For me, X should be a vote for penalty, not simply a disclaimer about high-card values.
Oct. 1
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