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All comments by Phillip Martin
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You would double with a three-suiter. So this is either a 4.5 spade bid or a 2-suiter where you couldn't bid 4 of your minor because you weren't willing to allow partner to pass. It seems unlikely you could have a 1-suiter too good for 4S where you chose not to open 2C, so I the latter seems more likely. Is it clear enough that I would make the bid? Certainly not.
Dec. 29, 2019
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Wow! If I knew partner was going to bid 2NT over 2S, that would be my choice, so I could raise it to 3.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Yes. That's how John and I played it–and how Allinger, Stern, and Rosler originally described it. But you know how standards deteriorate as time goes on.
Dec. 28, 2019
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If you face a problem as a result of having made an error, you are still facing a problem with a best answer. Failing to cash the spade ace in the play problem does not render the question as to what the best play is now unanswerable. Similarly, making a poor bid earlier in an auction does not render a bidding problem unanswerable.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Let me try a different approach. It may be easier to illustrate my point with a play problem. You are playing in four spades with a trump suit of AKJ10x opposite xxxx in dummy. You win the opening lead, cross to dummy's one and only entry, and lead a spade. Now, of course you should have cashed the ace first. But the fact that you didn't doesn't invalidate the problem. There is a right answer and a wrong answer in the current situation, however annoyed you may be about being in that situation. And the answer depends on judgment: inferences from the opponents' bidding or silence, inferences from the opening lead, the assumptions you need to make about breaks in other suits, et al. So, even though you admittedly shouldn't be facing this problem, there is still something to be learned from hearing how other people solve it. Abstaining because you would have cashed the ace first isn't helpful.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Am I really explaining this that badly?
Dec. 28, 2019
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Why? Because it's a problem the poser actually faced even if you never would, and he is interested in your opinion. The fact that you wouldn't face this problem yourself doesn't mean there isn't a best answer to the problem at hand. Why deprive the poser of your judgment?
Dec. 28, 2019
Phillip Martin edited this comment Dec. 28, 2019
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I really don't get abstaining in these problems. Yes, 2 was a poor choice on the previous round. But the problem we're given is what to do now. However much you dislike the 2 bid, surely there's a best answer under the given conditions. Why does one's disapproval of prior actions necessitate refusing to offer one's opinion as to that best action? To me, abstaining is an admission that you are unable to evaluate actions in situations you are unfamiliar with.

I used to occasionally give bidding problems I had faced to Gail Greenberg. Our styles are radically different. She would seldom have made the choices I had made earlier in the auction. But she has an amazing ability to look past that and offer insightful advice about the problem at hand anyway. Such an ability, to me, is a mark of a first-rate player.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Take away the heart ace, and it's even clearer to act. Now partner's expected point count is 12.
Dec. 27, 2019
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Other: The BIT suggests he isn't sure what he should do.
Dec. 25, 2019
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Actually, non vul, I would. You'd have to make the hand a tad stronger before I'd feel comfortable passing.
Dec. 24, 2019
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Face down, I hope.
Dec. 23, 2019
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Fortunately lack of discussion is not a problem. However he would interpret a double, I don't have it.
Dec. 23, 2019
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I doubt if anyone thinks this hand isn't “good enough” to open 2. Those who chose 1 probably simply think it's unsuitable.
Dec. 23, 2019
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It could do that. It could also prevent you from finding a profitable 3 contract if the opponents can make two of a red suit and if partner can raise clubs should you bid them. It's not clear to me which scenario is more likely, but obviously either pass or 2 could work out badly.
Dec. 22, 2019
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Of course it does. So do 3, 3NT, 4, 4, and 4.
Dec. 21, 2019
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11.9 is correct. I carelessly entered ‘xxx’ for the diamond suit when I entered the hand into my Jupyter notebook. I forgot you actually get something for the 9 when it is accompanied by the 8.
Dec. 20, 2019
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John's comment brings up a question: If you double, when do you expect partner to pull?
Dec. 20, 2019
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I got 11.75.
Dec. 20, 2019
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I'm curious. Was 3NT a good contract that just happened to go down?
Dec. 20, 2019
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