Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Phillip Martin
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No one has commented on this from East-West's perspective. Imagine this scenario. South: “Pick up your five of spades. I'm down one. I refuse to win this way.” West: “No way! You can't arbitrarily choose not to enforce the rules against me. I refuse to win THAT way! Making three.” Indeed that's what should happen if South attempts to waive the rule. Would anyone here feel comfortable winning an event because your opponents chose not to enforce the rules against you?
May 8, 2012
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I'm looking at pp.50-1 in Rosler and Rubens' book on Journalist Leads. Against suit contracts, they call for Rusinow leads (down to the 9) and second highest of touching honors from an interior sequence. The “jack denies” method applies only against notrump.
May 7, 2012
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It is not only your team and the opposing team that is affected by your decision. Other teams in the field may be affected as well. Suppose, as a result of your generosity in forgiving this infraction, your opponents had won the event. Doesn't the team who came in second have a legitimate gripe against you? After all, if the rules had been followed, they would have won instead. Haven't they, in some sense, been cheated out of their victory? There can be fairness only when the rules apply equally to everyone. You owe it to the field to ensure that happens at your table.
May 7, 2012
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I can see an argument for anything except a spade. If a spade lead was going to work, partner would have doubled. In fact, he will be doubling sometimes even when it isn't going to work.
May 6, 2012
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In one partnership, I had an agreement that if an opponent preempts opposite a passed hand and we enter the auction, they cannot play the five-level undoubled, but they can play four hearts or four spades undoubled. Even that agreement made me nervous, since, as Jim and Barry point out, people sometimes “psyche” preempts (by being overstrength) when partner is a passed hand. But it's a compromise I can live with. As a general rule, I don't like letting the opponents decide whether we are in a force or not.
May 5, 2012
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My mistake. I don't know why I was thinking we were non-vul on this board. No, I would not overcall 1 against any opponent. I've amended the article according. Thanks for catching the error.
May 1, 2012
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Absolutely! Non-vul, you need a good excuse NOT to overcall 1 over 1. Off the top of my head, the only good excuse I can think of is not actually having spades.
May 1, 2012
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I'm not sure, as declarer, how confident I would be in ruling out king-jack fifth of hearts and the spade king, partly because I'm not all that consistent myself with such hands. There are days when I wouldn't overcall. (“Partner's a passed hand. We can't outbid them, and one heart doesn't consume much space. So bidding will accomplish nothing other than giving declarer a road map.”) But there are days I would overcall without a second thought. (“Bidding is fun. Why would you ever pass up a chance to bid something?”)
April 30, 2012
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1NT. Ira Rubin insists you should never pass partner's one of a major opening with a singleton or void in his suit, and my own experience confirms his judgment. I once asked him if he thought that rule should still apply if you are playing five-card majors. “It should apply if you're playing SIX-card majors,” he snapped back.
April 29, 2012
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I can hear the argument now. “Of course Smith applies! It may be obvious to someone TWO tables down that it's not Smith. But certainly not to someone THREE tables down.”
April 27, 2012
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True. He would always cover with king third and a doubleton club. But he might choose not to cover with king fourth. So I guess “virtual lock” was an overbid.
April 23, 2012
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Some day, partner will open 1 NT, I will bid 2, and partner will bid 2 with a 3-card suit. When later I ask him why, he will say, “I know I'm supposed to have four hearts, but it seemed like the least misdescriptive call.” I can understand playing a double of 1 as take-out of spades. I can understand playing it shows four hearts. But I don't understand “it shows four hearts 95% of the time.” If it shows four hearts, presumably the purpose of the bid is to locate a four-four heart fit. Why, then, would there be any hand without four hearts for which the bid is appropriate?If you think there is a small class of hands without four hearts where you should double, if, in fact,  it's appropriate to double on a hand where finding partner with four hearts may work out poorly, then obviously finding a four-four heart fit is not the purpose of the bid. I'm not saying that's necessarily the wrong way to play. But if it is the right way to play, then the double must serve some purpose which I haven't heard articulated. It seems to me, then, we've gone about this backwards. First we must decide what purpose the bid serves. Only then can we decide what hands are appropriate.
April 20, 2012
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Yes. I skirted that issue by changing the auction in my question above. But I play any number of diamonds as simply a “raise” of responder's implied diamonds. If responder doesn't have diamonds, he needs a good enough hand to show a preference to clubs a level higher.
April 18, 2012
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I'm curious about something. Let me change the auction to avoid certain side issues. Let's say the opening bid was 1 instead of 1. How do those of you who play that the double promises four hearts play opener's rebid of 3 or 4? For those of us who play the double as showing support for the unbid suits (or a willingness to correct clubs to diamonds), both 3 and 4 are non-forcing limit bids, “raises” of responder's implied club suit. It would seem to me that if you play the double as essentially a replacement for a 1 response, it makes sense to play that all of opener's rebids mean the same thing as they would after a 1 response. Thus 3 would be a forcing jump shift and 4 would be a splinter. Is that your agreement?
April 18, 2012
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I'm not sure what percentage of players would bid. But the fact that responder has a maximum with all working cards and game still isn't cold confirms that it's not a good idea.
April 17, 2012
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xxx Axx Kxxx Qxx.
April 17, 2012
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You had to ask. I was so happy when I was playing this hand that I wasn't playing matchpoints. Now that I've thought about it for the past couple of hours, I suspect you should play it the same way. It's not clear that you gain by playing spades toward your hand again unless East has ace third of spades and you play for it (by playing a third round of spades if East ducks the ace again). If the spade ace is onside but spade are four-two, you may even do worse. The defense can tap you out and take two trump tricks and three club tricks, holding you to two, whereas my line might make three (as it did) by exploiting dummy's ten of spades.
April 9, 2012
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Except that partner knows all those all things as well. He heard you cue-bid, so he should be doubling himself with any excuse. Surely he would double on any hand with a natural trump trick or even a trump holding that will give the opponents some difficulty. I think doubling with this hand shows a lack of respect for partner.

What is the downside of doubling? On this particular hand, playing with this particular partner, the downside of doubling is that they will make it. As I mentioned in the post, I found partner's lead surprising. I probably would have led a trump. If opener had doubled, I'm sure I would have led a trump, because I think the only way declarer could make this is by scoring enough ruffs in dummy. I was curious if Jack agreed with me, so I replayed the deal and doubled. He did, in fact, lead a trump. Apparently, my failure to double persuaded him that we weren't beating this on sheer power, so he decided to go after a club ruff. I'm not saying that double should be lead directing in any intentional sense. But if double is an expression of your confidence in beating them rather than an acknowledgment of your strategic position (“We might have a game, so I want to protect my equity.”), partner might be able to choose his lead more intelligently.
April 2, 2012
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Passing then taking aggressive action is how you show spades and a good hand if that is what you want to do. For example, after 1-P-1-P-2-P-P, you can bid 3 to show a good hand with spades and diamonds (with spades equal or longer). If you aren't balancing, you don't even need to jump. After 1-P-1-P-1N-P-2, for example, 2 shows spades and diamonds. Bidding 2 immediately over 1 is possible but less descriptive than the trap and re-enter auction. It might also be better spades and a worse hand. A weak two-bid in spades is more typical for that auction. Passing does, of course, run the risk that opener has psyched. You might not get another chance.
March 29, 2012
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One heart. Until I read the comments, I assumed the issue was whether to double or bid 1, since I don't think pass is even an option. I'm not even sure what the passers are afraid of. If partner has heart support, I'm certainly happy to play at whatever level he wants to raise me to. And if he doesn't, it must be better to bid now and find that out than to risk a balance later on. In short, 1 gains in two scenarios: (1) we have a heart fit, and (2) we don't have a heart fit. In all other scenarios, it's a loser.
March 26, 2012
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