Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Phillip Martin
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Correct, John. I fixed it.
Dec. 19, 2019
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Gregory, there is a key difference between abstaining and bidding 7NT. Abstaining means you believe the action is so egregious it renders the question moot. But questions like these force you to abstain simply because you would have done something different earlier. Why would any pollster want that? For one thing, it skews the answer. It filters out an arbitrary subset of readers. Would you include an instruction to “bid 7NT if you have eaten a donut in the past 24 hours”? The fact that you might have done something different earlier in the auction does not render your judgment at this point irrelevant any more than your preference for donuts. Why would you not want to hear their opinion?
Dec. 19, 2019
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If someone finds the 1 call so off the wall that he can't answer the problem (which seems hard to imagine), he can always just not answer or abstain. You don't need to offer a special answer for his benefit. But stating the problem this way prohibits one from answering even if he has no serious objection to 1 but simply wouldn't have bid it himself. If you have two questions, why not just submit two polls? I always abstain on “bid 7NT if…” problems whether or not I approve of the prior actions, because I object on principle to having my ability to answer conditional on such approval.
Dec. 18, 2019
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I'll never understand these 7NT requests. Why do you not care what someone would do now if he would have passed over 1? Why is so important to exclude anyone who might have done something different earlier from answering the problem at hand?
Dec. 18, 2019
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I would have bid 3 on the previous round.
Dec. 16, 2019
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I would happily adopt this strategy if you and John Nash were my teammates at the other table. I suspect no other set of teammates would understand if I went down.
Dec. 15, 2019
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I remember a particularly embarrassing case where, fortunately, there was no possible gain or I'm sure I would have been accused of a Sominex coup. I was declaring 3NT. Dummy hit and was not at all the dummy I was expecting. I had twelve top tricks and squeeze chances for a thirteenth. After recovering from my shock, I started thinking about the squeeze possibilities. I must have thought for a full minute, but nothing was adding up. Something wasn't right. Finally, I realized the squeeze wasn't working because I had no losers. I had miscounted and had thirteen tricks off the top. I tabled my hand and claimed. This was against John Solodar, who was not amused. I didn't even try to explain. I simply said, “Not all of us have your lightning-fast mind.”
Dec. 15, 2019
Phillip Martin edited this comment Dec. 19, 2019
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I think players accused of executing a Sominex coup are more likely legitimately trying to find either some layout where the contract can be made or some deceptive line that has a plausible chance of working. Who wants to go down in a hand that you could made simply because you gave up and didn't search hard enough for the line that would have worked? I don't believe anyone actually takes a long time to play a hand simply in an attempt to lull an opponent to sleep. Accusing a player of a Sominex coup always sounds to me like an attempt to blame someone else for your own mistake
Dec. 15, 2019
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I doubled last time. I'm not about to double twice with this hand.
Dec. 14, 2019
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3NT might be a better game than four spades, and I suppose 3NT should imply a spade fit, since I would be doubling 2 otherwise. But partner might not be confident enough to draw that inference. I'll just make a practical 3 bid.
Dec. 14, 2019
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Thanks. Fixed it.
Dec. 14, 2019
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I saw a bot go down in a cold 7NT on similar reasoning. He had 13 top tricks and was on a queen guess for a 14th. When I led dummy's void, it didn't matter on a double-dummy basis what he pitched from dummy, so he pitched a winner. Now he misguessed the queen and went down.
Dec. 14, 2019
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What precisely is UI to partner? Just my possession of the K, or the fact that my actions may be based on the fact that he is required to pass at his next turn? If the former, I would pass. If the latter, pass isn't going to work. If I pass and act later, partner is required to play me for a totally different hand. Double seems my best shot. If the opponents decide to sit, we might beat it. And if LHO is afraid to gamble the whole board on a speculative pass and produces his normal call, we are back on track.
Dec. 13, 2019
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That's your reaction? I find problems like this fascinating. Many bridge problems we encounter are just repetitions of problems we've seen and solved–or not–over and over again. Now–finally–we have an unfamiliar problem that's going to require some creative thinking!
Dec. 13, 2019
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I gather the Q was offside.
Dec. 13, 2019
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I don't see anything wrong with playing for an opponent to make an error, even if that error is mechanical. Some of the most imaginative plays I've ever seen revolve around this theme. I once saw Marshall Miles make a grand slam with a trump suit of AKQ109xx opposite xx with Jxxx offside. He played a low trump from dummy. When RHO showed out, he played the 10 in tempo. It didn't hurt that his LHO's nickname was Rocket. Was there anything unethical in this? I don't think so. In fact, I was impressed. I might have thought of such a play in the post mortem, but I never would have been able to find it in tempo at the table.

The next play I didn't witness, but I heard about it: Marvin Kurtz was declaring four spades. Trump were drawn. Dummy had AQ10xx of clubs opposite Jxx in his hand, and he needed the club finesse for his contract. He was pretty sure, however, that the club king was offside. So he led a trump from his hand. His LHO discarded a club, and he called for the club queen from dummy. RHO, who obviously was not paying full attention, played the club king. Again, this is a play that would not have crossed my mind, and I think Marvin deserves enormous credit for thinking of it.

In short, you're supposed to be paying attention when you play bridge. If you aren't, and if your opponent finds some way to take advantage of that fact, I don't think you have anything to complain about.
Dec. 12, 2019
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Clearly had the player put his cards back in the bidding box without saying anything, everyone would assume he had implicitly passed and the auction was over. Players frequently end the auction that way–without displaying the final pass. Should his comments change anything? Considering his comments were improper, I don't see how he can benefit from them. So I would say the auction is over.
Dec. 11, 2019
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Someone I didn't know once finessed against me and duly lost to my J10x. I was highly insulted. Maybe he didn't know me either, but I was playing with Marshall Miles. That should have been some indication I wasn't completely clueless.
Dec. 11, 2019
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If 2 is natural. The methods over 2 weren't specified. I play that as a non-forcing take-out double of hearts.
Dec. 11, 2019
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At trick one I discourage to suggest a diamond shift. At trick three I give count as loudly as I can afford. That much is easy. But I haven't the slightest idea which trump I'm supposed to play. I would think hearts are out of the picture, since partner either has the ace himself or will find out soon enough that I don't. If so, then I should play the 8, showing diamonds, in case partner couldn't read my 4. The fact that no above seems to agree with this illustrates why I hate suit preference in trumps.
Dec. 11, 2019
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