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All comments by Phil Stephens
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Yeah I think that 4N is slam interest in a minor.

I am on the fence about whether this hand qualifies. 4-2 is the best possible minor shape especially with Ax. Ace of spades is a good card and on the likely spade lead you can pitch a heart loser potentially.
x Ax KQxxx KJxxx and slam is more or less against the wall. The diamond Q could be removed even and its still pretty good.

On the other hand the lack of a heart control is a big negative. But quite hard to believe that partner would accept 6m without reasonable cards. Hands where partner has a spade void can also be problematic. You have a min on HCP and too many values in spades. Thus: am on the fence about whether you should bid 4N.
Sept. 3, 2018
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2D was NF and 3D was NF so partner obviously has a decent hand with diamond shortage. Passing feels wrong with xxx trumps and so few HCP. 3S is just normal. What are people proposing he could have bid earlier with AJxx AJxx - kxxxx? Once both opps have made a NF bid he can hardly fail to pre-protect with a void at all white MP.
Aug. 17, 2018
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What would 4N mean?
Aug. 17, 2018
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Partner is just trying to suggest spades with 5/6 spades and 3/2 hearts. He is especting you to correct to 3S with 3541. He may have something like KQxxx Ax xxx xxx and not be prepared to float 3C all white at MP. Raising feels extremely aggressive.

Could be convinced that bidding 3 spades is correct. Depends if you think partner can be 63 or 62. I voted pass but I do not mind 3S with Ax. Partner will have 5 spades since he did not pass 3d. He may have six spades. 6223 and 7HCP is hard to bid here at all white.
Aug. 17, 2018
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2NT was a wrong bid, but following a 2NT bid, 3H was terrible. Its extremely likely north is 4135 and focusing on the six bad hearts just makes everything harder. 3C is easy, cheaper, and unambiguously interested in 6C. After a 2N bid its really extremely hard for south not to bid 6C. partner is obviously going to be struggling to cooperate with no AK in spades or diamonds, but literally any 12 count with 4135 is a playable or cold slam. QJxx x Qxx AQxxx is barely an opening bid for many people and 6C is almost against the wall.

3H is even more of a disaster when it gets raised. How will you ever get back to 6C when partner, with a stiff heart honor, raised to 4H? You could go off in 4H when 6C is a good contract. A 5C bid over 4H is going to feel like a cue in hearts and it could all be very awkward very quickly.
Aug. 17, 2018
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Generally I think that a coach helps you with the technical aspects of your game, a mentor helps you with everything else.

By technical aspects I mean: bidding judgement and theory, defensive signalling, card-play analysis etc.

A mentor should provide: advice on and access to appropriate partners, advice on how to prepare for a tournament, access to expert advice, a view on the relative skill levels of different experts - very important at lower levels that you know who you should be listening to.

The services that are offered by good coaches are extremely time consuming and generally you have to pay for them. They will have to watch you play and analyse your results and play board by board. Mentoring, on the other hand, is relatively lightweight. A good mentor is more about directing you to help you improve yourself, and you can usually always find someone to mentor you for free.
Nov. 3, 2015
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Doing nothing is actually a pretty good strategy. Let the various organisation try out different things until people see what works. Then write rules which are sufficiently broad as to allow all the common permutations that seem to work well.

WBF doesnt need rules for online play until they wish to award WBF masterpoints for online bridge. And that is still some way away.
Oct. 22, 2015
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I don't think its right to lead a diamond because you may need several tempos to establish a black suit ruff. I'd lead the heart ace because I think that the chance of the heart K being on your right is basically zero. If you can keep control of the trump suit it might easily be right to, e.g cash your one heart and one club and play a club hoping that partner can signal with the spade ace and that you can get a trump promo even if rho has QJTxxxxx of diamonds. If you can get partner on lead. 4180 and 4171 are pretty likely shapes for rho and then you would like to score 3d tricks if you can by taking a spade or a club promo.

I guess its harder than I first thought to actually create hands where this is necessary and partner doesn't have the spade ace. I don't think that constructions where dummy has a singleton spade are that likely, as it gives dummy some pretty extreme shape, given that he didn't preference back to 5d, which is surely automatic with two/three diamonds and a singleton spade. The auction strongly suggests that dummy has at most one diamond.
Oct. 22, 2015
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I would imagine that partner is something like 5134 and was weak enough that they were happy to sit 3D. Partner has diamonds and spades, and for some reason was unsuitable for a 3s bid. Happens quite a lot, like Kxxxx x Axxx Kxx or something. Would people bid 3S here on 5 raggedy spades here? Depends on agreements obviously. I would say he is expecting you to pass with three spades exactly, or two spades and poor diamonds.
Oct. 21, 2015
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You know what I call 9 solid? Trumps. :)

Just seems easy bid. If partner contributes one trick you have almost certainly done the right thing. If what you open with 9 solid falls under your pre-empt agreement for 3N I'll eat my hat. These hands are so rare that you shouldn't worry too much about what to do. Partner will never envisage that its right to sac with a void trump and one ace. For example. And you could super easily by making.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Its been my experience that trump leads are often the most annoying as declarer, especially if you have the chance to lead multiple rounds of trumps, as they are often declarers only sure means of communication between the two hands. Its true that DD this doesn't help much, as you can always make by choosing the right suits to play on, but single dummy they often seem to pressure declarer into premature decisions.

I have also noticed that lots of continental experts lead trumps a lot on this kind of auction.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I like this solution. Not sure why it didnt occur to me. If we are beating this without a club ruff partner must be able to encourage diamonds, and he will never encourage if he wants a club ruff. If he discourages I can play a club. The only slight danger is that partner has Kxx KJxxxx Qxx x and after Ace of diamonds and a club ruff we can never get the second diamond trick. At least we have beaten it by one in this situation. :)
Oct. 21, 2015
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It wasn't an accusation, its just something that directors need to think about. Just as in UI situations where the director must rule so as to prevent unscrupulous players taking advantage of a hesitation - regardless of whether they think that actually happened, so here a director must rule so as to prevent an unscrupulous player in your position from taking advantage of the rules.
Oct. 21, 2015
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It would be a very odd looking hand for west to have a singleton club, so partners lead is likely from doubleton or singleton. The question is then asked - what hands are consistent with this auction? I would say there are two primary types - declarer has 7 good spades, and declarer is 6-4 with a heart void.

AKQJxxx - Kxx Qxx would be a 4S bid, but in this case its completely cold. It also gives partner a strange looking hand: xx KJxxxx Jxx xx, which is inconsistent with his bidding. Kx KJxxx Jxxx xx might be better but its still a marginal 3H bid, and an odd club lead.

What about hands where partner is 3541? that makes declarer 6124. In that case we might have a club ruff, 1-2 diamonds 1h and one spade.

I think that If partner has 5 hearts including the K, he would always lead one in preference to a double-ton club. If partner has a singleton club he will almost always lead it, given that he lacks decent honour structures.

I will play a club. In many cases this will either win (partner takes a club ruff), or partner will have a spade trick and we will be able to cash out at no cost. The dangers are that partner has 4 clubs (minimal, Qxxx would be a pretty strange lead here imo, when dummy is marked as being very weak), or that declarer has AQJTxxx - Kxx xxx. and I needed to build a diamond trick before partners spade control was cleared, but I think that most of these hands would not bid 2S first up.

Oct. 20, 2015
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PS: I have always used frigid as a single dummy term and cold as a double dummy term. If its frigid then its cold on any reasonably DD layout (given the bidding).
Oct. 20, 2015
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This depends a lot on how many wk nt's you expect partner to pass. When will partner pass with 3343? Often, sometimes, usually?
Oct. 20, 2015
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There is a pretty grey area that this touches on. I believe that the national director felt that at your level, whatever that is, you are expected to take normal precautions to protect yourself, e.g. like asking a follow up question about whether it denies a club control.

There is a balance to be struck between “full disclosure” and annoying your opposition! When I ask for an explanation of opponents bidding, I do not want to be told every time that they open 1S that that means that spades is their longest suit and that it denies having a 15-17 balanced hand or some 5422's which they might have opened a NT or 18-19 balanced and is limited by the 2C opener and that they are agreements are that they usually open all 9 playing trick hands 2C unless they are extremely two suited when they might open 1S“!

On the other hand, if they have bid something like 1s-1n-3c-3s-4c-5C I would like to know if they open 55 hands 1s or 1c, and if they might have longer clubs on this auction, and probably what a 4h/d bid would be over 3S - (cue or shape).

You basically have to guess how much is full disclosure and how much is too much disclosure. A lot depends on level and situation. In a club I would usually say that this denied a club control, in UK tournament bridge I would usually assume that this was just bridge - expecting virtually the whole field to be playing this method, in an International Match I would probably disclose it on the grounds that I have less certainty over what common treatments would be in other countries, and so what people will assume, although I would never expect to win a ruling for failure to disclose as a defender, since the directors would expect you to protect yourself against a common treatment, and would be wary about allowing ”double shotting" where you had two equally attractive leads and intentionally didn't ask to try to get a ruling if a club lead worked out better.
Oct. 20, 2015
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I assume that this is one of those annoying hands where you have to risk a spade to the J at trick two?

I mean, west rates heavily to have most of the honours. He probably has around 15HCP, in that case RHO has a King. You should enquire about the minimum on which they would double, and when east would remove this double. You can usually get a pretty good table feel for how many points rho has if they are not strong players just from the tempo of the pass. I mean, the man was in the pass out seat of 1N xx he must have been a little worried if looking at a three count!

Anyway, I would let the club run, and if the club Q wins, I would immediately finesse the spade J. If that wins I will immediately finesse in diamonds. There are several strong reasons to consider this line of play, of which the first is that if the spade J loses, not only have you set up an entry to the diamonds, rho might not know which red suit to switch to? Kxx Jxxx xxx xxx might look like a pretty tempting diamond switch!

Oct. 19, 2015
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Is that true? The missing cards are JT8743

This only matters here when you want to discourage. Lets suppose you play standard attitude and you have the 3, in that case to signal for a club reliably you must have the 4. To signal for a diamond reliably you have to have the J. If you want to signal reliably for a club then your middle card must be the next highest from your lowest. E.g T43, T74, in that case the lowest then the second lowest is easily red. To signal reliably for a diamond you basically have to have the J. So there is a 50% chance that you can signal for a diamond reliably, and a 50% chance that you can signal for a club reliably.

Of course, its not always so easy for declarer to pick the right cards, since he doesn't know which suit you are trying to signal for necessarily. Here he probably does since he can either see the diamond ace or not.
Oct. 15, 2015
Phil Stephens edited this comment Oct. 15, 2015
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This hand is really odd. It makes a lot more sense if the 2N bidder really is weak in a minor. In that case partner will be strong ish with 7-8 hearts and you must be pretty close to a slam.

Ax AKxxxxxx x xx or something and you are pretty cold for 6H.

Who knows what you are supposed to do. I took from hyper aggressive that you are kind expecting partner to be 6-5 or something, in which case you shouhld bid 4s.
Oct. 14, 2015
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