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All comments by Phillip Martin
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Whether it is right to lead an unprotected honor when declarer is expected to have a singleton is a complicated question. Sometimes, as above, it is critical. Switch the ace and queen, however, and it is a mistake. In this particular auction, the ace is more likely to be in dummy. But sometimes it's a toss-up. Another scenario where it is wrong is when you establish a ruffing finesse against partner's honor. Suppose dummy has QJX, for example. If you lead a low one, not only do you avoid the ruffing finesse but you also retain the option of partner's continuing the suit for a tap (should it happen that declarer has no useful pitch at trick two). On the other hand, if dummy has the singleton and declarer has QJx, you must lead the king. As some of you know, I have been on the receiving end of many of these leads, some spectacularly right and some just as spectacularly wrong.
July 21, 2018
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Whatever is going on, partner couldn't have forgotten system. If he did, he would have thought we were off the spade queen and wouldn't be thinking about a grand.
July 20, 2018
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Play whatever you play over an opening weak 2-bid.
July 19, 2018
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This is attitude, not count, since partner is trying to find my entry. The question is whether encouraging requests an underlead or shows a doubleton and a trump honor. (Surely you would discourage with neither, which is why the “count” answers surprise me. Does partner really care that you have a doubleton club if you don't have a trump honor?) So there are two possible solutions: (A) Encouraging says I have the Q. If I discourage, partner has to guess whether I have a doubleton club and a trump honor or the cashing diamond ace. (B) Encouraging shows the ability to ruff the third round. If I discourage, partner has to guess between a club underlead or a diamond shift. (A) makes more sense to me, because if partner is going to underlead the club, he has to do so on the very next trick. It seems logical that my signal tells him what to do on the next trick rather than what to do on the trick after that. Further, if partner has to guess what to do, I'd rather he guess after seeing one more trick than guess now. It's hard to see how one more round of clubs will help him, but this seems like a good general principle in any event.
July 18, 2018
Phillip Martin edited this comment July 18, 2018
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The very fact that you are asking means you don't think it's obvious, so it's takeout by your rule.
July 18, 2018
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Agree. 3 would be forcing if partner had jumped to 2, but he doesn't need much to bid 2 over 2. I think people are making too much of this being a “free bid.” A hand with 4 spades would have to be quite weak indeed for me to choose to pass over 2.
July 15, 2018
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I'm surprised you describe mixed strategies that way. I've always maintained that that's a common misconception about mixed strategies. The real reason to play a mixed strategy, to my mind, is precisely because you don't know your opponent's tendencies. Specifically, you don't how he will react to your various choices. Thus you play a strategy that offers the same return no matter what his tendencies are. You aren't so much trying to be unpredictable yourself as trying to neutralize the unpredictability of your opponent.
July 14, 2018
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My hand wasn't good enough to pass. See the trouble I got into?
July 13, 2018
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If I double, I don't think partner is going to bid a 3-card major in preference to a club suit. So I'll just hope 4 is playable even if it's not the best spot.
July 13, 2018
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You are correct. Thanks.
July 13, 2018
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Actually, there is no gain in employing a mixed strategy if declarer plays as David suggests. You will always gain a trick with Kx whether you cover or not. Jeff covered all of this quite thoroughly in a Bridge World article back in the 80s. I believe the article was called “The Beast,” but I'm not sure about that.
July 13, 2018
Phillip Martin edited this comment July 13, 2018
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Ducking doesn't necessarily lose to partner's 109x if he is up to the mandatory falsecard.
July 13, 2018
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2 only if I intend to bid again after a preference to 2.
July 12, 2018
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For the record, I was indeed answering the problem under the given conditions. I didn't care that a club bid by me would be a cue-bid if partner overcalled, since I was never intending to make a simple bid in clubs anyway. I think this hand is too good for that, even the bid were natural. If partner foiled my plan by entering the auction, I was intending to jump in clubs . (Admittedly, the auction may get too high to make that practical. But, given my high-card strength, that seemed unlikely, and it was a risk I was willing to take, since the alternative seemed riskier.)

My subsequent elaboration of my own methods was not in answer to the problem. It was in response to Craig and Max's discussion.
July 9, 2018
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Attitude. But not so much “continue spades” as “I can't stand a club shift.” Up to you to work out whether a diamond shift is called for or whether you should just defend passively.
July 9, 2018
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If we believe the opponents' carding, hearts are 4-4. That means West is probably either 3-2 or 2-3 in the black suits. (We can ignore 1-4, because we can't make it in that case, and we can discount 4-1, because East probably would have pitched a club rather than a spade from his doubleton.) Since the opponents have the same number of cards in each black suit, that means a 3-3 club split is about 50%. No need to calculate the odds in the spade suit. They are less than 50%, so it is better to play for the club split.
July 9, 2018
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Indeed. Or the Q. I don't understand the K, since, in the unlikely event partner has the A, you probably want him to win it.
July 9, 2018
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If you rephrase that question more respectfully, I'll answer.
July 9, 2018
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I'm bidding 7NT, even though I'm sure partner will ask what I was going to bid if he showed the trump queen.
July 9, 2018
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Double and lead a trump looks right. When we control all three side suits, where is declarer getting tricks?
July 9, 2018
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