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All comments by Michael Murphy
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Ahem.
March 28, 2014
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For pick-up partnerships normal RKC is fine and avoids confusion; after a session or two adding Kickback seems best.

I think Kickback (=Redwood), is best because it has an advantage over Minorwood in that more often we will want to bid 4m naturally, often suggesting that partner bid Kickback. It is much more rare that we will be disappointed that we cannot bid 4m+1 naturally.

What, if any, are the merits of 4 being RKC for in Crosswood (rather than 4 if we were playing Kickback)? If we had a fit we would have bid it first, and 4 being available as a cue bid seems more useful than having 4 available as a cue bid.

On another note, Minorwood can be a good supplement to Kickback for a few well defined auctions to give 4m+1 an alternate/additional meaning depending on our agreements when bidding 4m naturally makes little sense. For example, if we play 1 2 game forcing, we can play 4 as Minorwood and 4 as something else (perhaps exclusion).
March 28, 2014
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Feature request: show final (and, if practical, current) scores of the matches when looking at my bracket. All other major Fantasy Vanderbilt bracket providers do this.
March 26, 2014
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I'm certainly open to playing a different structure over 1m 2m in the future and welcome the suggestions. However, I don't think having the initial rebid show stoppers is actually bad once you are used to it.

Using our present system, Sam & I both agreed that my hand must rebid 2. I would have rebid 2NT undiscussed with a pickup partner.
March 7, 2014
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I held the other hand, it was balanced junk, and 3NT was the right spot (4NT is very hard to defeat single dummy, as is 5, but 3NT is cold). I think pass over 3NT is right, but we should not be there in the first place. Instead of 2NT, 2 (possibly followed up by 3) is the best bet to suggest a slam to partner if it is appropriate.

I showed these responses to partner and he liked the suggestion of 2 over 2 instead of 2NT. Thanks again.
March 7, 2014
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Thanks for all the replies.

Our current methods are singularly oriented towards ensuring opponents don't have a running suit against our 3NT (as 1m 2m denies 4cM). If we are missing a control and bypass 3NT, the minor game is indicated, and slam becomes possible on lower HCP hands with shortness where we are missing a control.

3 just says “ control, your bid partner.” 2NT by opener would have indicated a control in both majors.

I like the suggestion of 2 to explore a contract made by Andrew, Yuan, and others.
March 5, 2014
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What shall we bid instead? 3NT directly?
March 5, 2014
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My worry about cashing AK is that the entire universe of hands where it benefits are where N has precisely the honors {AQ + Q + Q} or {Q + Q + Q}. If N would have bid with the first set of honors, N must hold precisely {Q + Q + Q} for cashing to work – any other honor combination fails (or finessing is just as good).

I'm no statistician, but playing S for {Q + J + any of A, Q, Q} seems better than playing N for {Q + Q + Q + neither of A, Q}
March 5, 2014
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If partnership style permits JTxxxx or worse, I do not lead K. Otherwise, it seems the best bet to beat this.

If partner has QJTxxx and no entries, or otherwise discourages , I may be able to switch after trick one with little harm done.
March 4, 2014
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My vote for the finesse was influenced by a cursory analysis of the bidding and opening lead. We don't have clear information, but we may have some inferences:

With JTxxx (or even AJTxxx) and no outside entry, S may have found a different lead. S rates to have at least one of the queens. Cashing AKs is only superior to finessing when S lacks the Q and Q.

N had a chance make a call at the one level and he did not do so. The AK line benefits when N has Q, Q, Q. If N has the A and these cards, he may well have found a bid over 1. The play to the opening lead make AQx and Qx the likely hands N holds. If he has the former, the AK line looks risky given his pass (because him having Q and Q in addition to AQ is a lot for a pass of 1).

Granted, my analysis is cursory and these are slight inferences, not guarantees: S can be AJTxxx xx xx xxx and not have a clearly better lead. N can have a hand like AQx Qx Qxxx xxxx where he has no good bid over 1.

The question is: do these or other inferences overcome the ~8% difference mentioned above?
March 4, 2014
Michael Murphy edited this comment March 4, 2014
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What advice would you offer to the average BridgeWinners user who wants to improve their game?

Playing with and/or kibitzing good players seems like a key component. There are many other possible avenues: reading bridge articles/books, detailed study of hands, memory exercises, etc. What would you recommend, specifically?
Feb. 26, 2014
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I presume you are referring to the following in Mid-Chart:

15. Opening weak two hearts showing 5-5 (or more) in hearts and
any other suit. (2)
16. Opening weak two spades showing 5-5 (or more) in spades
and a minor. (2)

My understanding, from your comments, is that 15 would not apply to bids showing and a minor?
Feb. 26, 2014
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I chose 3, which I think is very unexpected/wrong given standard agreements. It helped us get to the otherwise very difficult to reach 7 opposite AKQJ. This poll was a (in?)sanity check to make sure that 3 and 3 are the considerations.

Perhaps having an agreement that bids are just shaping out would make sense (my rationale for 3). Without such agreement, 3 or 3 are where it's at.
Feb. 25, 2014
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I really like that reasoning at IMPs; how badly do we want to chase the 24 point slam at MPs?
Feb. 20, 2014
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I included our minimal discussion: we discussed 2N=feature, other bids=natural and constructive. We are a new/developing partnership and have played about a dozen times.

We did not specifically agree that all bids are forcing, but both partners agreed afterwards that this hand is well above a pass. Natural and constructive is not me trying to speak in code.

We have had no other discussion specific to follow-ups to preempts, which is why I welcome comments on more well-defined agreements.
Feb. 20, 2014
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I notice now that you advocate Pass. Perhaps Pass is more reasonable than 3; Pass has the merit of taking a very clear outlook on the hand.

The problem with 3 is that it only wins big over 4 when 3 makes exactly AND partner doesn't accept our invitation at IMPs. Partner doesn't know exactly how many we have, and can both accept when 4 doesn't make and not accept when it does.
Feb. 18, 2014
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Is Kxx Axxx xx Kxxx a hand where I was going to limit raise in but decided to raise in instead?

Is there any hand where I was going to limit raise in but decide to raise to 3 instead, or do all my limit raises in get automatically upgraded to 4 when we have a double fit?
Feb. 18, 2014
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Why does 3 imply shortness in ? Wouldn't I also bid 3 with certain hands that have 2 or even 3 (but more )?
Feb. 18, 2014
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As mentioned, hands with all three of: wastage, 5-4-2-2, and a min are the concern with 4.

Our A helps eliminate KQxxx AKxx xx xx specifically. Similar hands like KQJxx xxxx Kx Kx or AKQxx Kxxx xx xx do make 4 problematic, but all three of 5-4-2-2, wastage, and a min are necessary for there to be a problem. Those hand types seem rare compared with the many hand types that make 4 good value.
Feb. 18, 2014
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Assuming 2 shows 4+, which I believe it should in most 2/1 systems, there are many hands partner can have where 4 is a great contract at IMPs and partner declines an invite. 4 wins on those hands, and presuming 3 or 4 are our choices, at IMPs, the only hands where 4 loses big to 3 are the ones where 3 makes, 4 goes down one, and partner declines our invite.

That hand type seems relatively small, and there appears to be a large subset of hands where partner will not accept an invite, yet 4 is a great contract.

I briefly considered a few hands. The following list is obviously not all-inclusive.

Axxxx KQxx x J9x is the perfect min.

There are other similar hands with good play, e.g.,:
Axxxx KQxx xx KJ; Jxxxx QJxx AK Kx

There are other hands where, despite wasted values, the contract is on a finesse or 2-2 trumps, e.g.,:
KQxxx QJTx KQx x; AQxxx Kxxx x K9x

There are also hands that go down where partner accepts our invite, e.g.,:
AKQxx KQxx xxx K

The worrisome hands are minimums with wasted values, often 5-4-2-2 distribution, e.g.,:
KQJxx xxxx Kx Kx; AKQxx Kxxx xx xx

Many of these worrisome hands have trouble even in 3, where bidding 4 only loses an IMP or two.

I have assumed that partner has precisely 5-4 with 4 cards in the minors; he can have better distribution than that for this bid, which makes bidding 4 even more favorable.
Feb. 17, 2014
Michael Murphy edited this comment Feb. 17, 2014
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