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All comments by Phillip Martin
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My calculation implicitly assumes he will randomize with two “honors” in clubs. As some have pointed out above, it is unlikely he will randomize with J9, so we should reduce the number of cases the finesse is right by 3 (taking away half of the 6 cases of J9 doubleton). That makes it 15 to 13, closer to your answer. But that's still an underestimate, because it assumes North has only 10 cards in his suits. Your 11 to 10 result seems suspect to me.
July 27
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Personally, I'm quite comfortable living in a world where not all of us care about the same things.
July 27
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It's easier to count cases than to work with percentages. If we assume North has 3 round cards, then he has a stiff club honor (so to speak) 18 times (4C2 doubleton spades X 3 stiff clubs) and two club honors 12 times (4 singleton spades X 3 doubleton clubs)–plus 1 more case for J109 of clubs. So the odds are 18 to 13 to finesse even before considering that he might have fewer than 3 round cards.
July 27
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A delayed 2NT should be natural, based on long clubs and showing a hand too good to overcall 1NT on the previous round. One reason to play that way is to keep partner from bidding it on hands like this.
July 27
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Multiple choice answers should partition the universe.
June 16
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“Suppose declarer's shape is 2-5-1-5 with Qx of spades. If you return a trump, when you get in you can lead another trump, and declarer will be unable to avoid the loss of a club trick. However, if you lead back a spade and partner fails to find a trump shift (likely he will try to give you a spade ruff), declarer can score 8 trump tricks, 1 club trick, and 1 spade trick.”

Even a trump shift by partner won’t work. He is caught in a Morton’s fork. If he doesn’t cash the diamond ace, he loses it. If he does, the defense loses its chance to lead a second trump.
June 16
Phillip Martin edited this comment June 16
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Four of a major is usually the better game when most of the high cards are in one hand. The lack of communication makes 3NT problematic.

Even if your hearts were AQx instead of AJx, it's probably right to play in the major. Partner averages less than half the remaining high cards, and the opponents have as many hearts as partner does. So he is less than 50% to have the K.
June 3
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Since I'm probably going to have to guess diamonds to make this, I might as well play them now. Playing them now has two ways to win: (1) It's possible I can't afford to lose the lead twice. Playing diamonds now is the only way to avoid that. (2) I have some slim chance to make this even if I misguess diamonds. That chance is better if I haven't conceded a heart trick.
May 28
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I agree with the symmetry argument when the choices are “takeout” or “penalty,” but I don't think there is anything wrong with playing “co-operative” in one position and something else in the other. It certainly makes little sense to play “co-operative” from both sides of the table.
May 15
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Multiple choice answers should partition the universe.
May 15
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I can’t say for sure. But perhaps East decided his partner would have played the x from Ax42? That means I made another error. I should have concealed the 3 when I ducked.
May 14
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I agree it's likely my play didn't matter. But “surely” is an overbid, so it's still an error. Look at it this way: If I said, “I led a heart honor and West ducked,” you might shake your head in disgust. But wouldn't you be fairly certain that the honor I led was the 10?
May 13
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And, as is almost always the case when they forget to include “other,” that's my choice.
May 13
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If it's not a matter of partnership agreement and partner doesn't ask your opinion, you never say anything.
April 23
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Why would it be unethical, in the absence of unauthorized information, to choose a bid or play that you think improves your chances of winning the event?
March 2
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Ira Rubin would be horrified at all the passes.
March 1
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I have no recollection of posting this problem and no clue why I posted it. I presume I had some weird theory about what the right opening lead was. But we'll never know.
Feb. 18
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I'm dummy. At trick three, I'll play whatever partner instructs me to play.
Feb. 5
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You're arguing against the converse of what I said.
Feb. 2
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For it to be right to bid over an opponent's 1NT at IMPs, you need to take at least two tricks more in a suit contract than you can take in notrump. That is unlikely to be the case when your hand is balanced. Look at it this way: If partner opened a 6-8 HCP 1NT, would you pass or employ a garbage Stayman auction to get to a major?
Jan. 31
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