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Hey Geoff.

Welcome to the world of bridge. You make some good points. North's 1 opening was interesting - it was a “psyche” bid, intentionally misleading as to strength. However, you can't control the opposition bidding.

What should your partner do over 1? His 1NT is not terrible, but it is a slight underbid. AS you said, double followed by a no-trump bid (if you respond in hearts) shows a bit more than a 1NT overcall, and would be a more accurate choice.

What should you do over the actual 1NT bid?

Let's talk two things: System, and evaluation.

System-wise, you should play “system on” over 1NT overcalls, essentially pretending that partner opened 1NT. I don't know your system agreements, but Stayman and Jacoby Transfers are a standard part of the typical duplicate player's arsenal. Accordingly, they can be used in response to the overcall as well.

When evaluating a hand for slam, counting points is not the only tool. Really, for a small slam, we need to be able to analyze whether we can take twelve tricks before they take two. Points can steer you in the right direction, but other important considerations are: Trump solidity, control cards in every suit (aces, kings, singletons, or voids), and a source of tricks. Certainly, you can add a few points for a void, but you might also visualize the hand in another way: Your partner promised a diamond stopper, and 15-18 points. 3NT might go down when 4 of a major (or even a slam) makes. He could have JT9x or QT9x, with 16 points outside of the suit. For example, throw away his Q and replace it with the ten or Jack and he is within the right range for 1NT, but you still make a slam (because of your void).

When you have a void, try to avoid playing notrump.

Thus, I would have bid Stayman, and then tried for slam some way. Some of the tools that would assist the slam hunt are advanced, and probably slightly beyond the scope of someone who has been playing for two months. Soon, though. If nothing else, you could jump to 5 of a major to invite slam, or bid their suit, which is a cue-bid, agreeing on partner's suit, and looking for slam.

P.S. Put not ye faith in opposition bidding; take it with a large grain of salt. Try to rely on partner's bidding, and your cards more.

July 15, 2015
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OK, thanks, I edited and specified the 9. I suppose South could have ducked the 9, clarifying that he has the J remaining? Perhaps that would help motivate a club switch. South wanted to be in, to lead Q.
July 14, 2015
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Fixed, thanks. The editing of the diagrams is clumsy; maybe I am not doing it the best way.
July 14, 2015
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Thanks, fixed.
July 14, 2015
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Very interesting problem. West has a 2-way decision: Start with a negative double, showing his 4 and see where that leads, or pass and hope to penalize them. At matchpoints, it is hard to angle towards the minor right off without checking the possibility of spades ( or even no-trump if partner bids diamonds? You do have 4 stoppers) although the void is a little disconcerting for no-trump). If you do pass initially, there is no question you plan to leave in a double.

This Pass was not such a bad idea, although the defense must have got lost somewhere along the way, as it is fairly easy to take nine tricks on defense against 2X: 2, 4, 1, and 2. That would be +800, and 70% score.

P.S. Having passed initially with my eight(!) card suit, I would be tempted to run from 2X.
July 10, 2015
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Thanks to Steve Moese & Yuan Shen for getting me on the right track on how to use the tools.
June 29, 2015
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Thanks. I am used to writing and submitting it to an editor :).

Can I edit the one I posted (I don't see how to), or is this just useful information for next time?
June 29, 2015
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I don't know how to do the formatting - or new pages - I basically copied and pasted a WORD.doc. Is there a tutorial?
June 29, 2015
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In The Bridge World, October 2012, there is an article: Untransfers. I happen to have the original draft. Taking just the most relevant part of it:

Consider the transfer sequence: One notrump – (pass) – two diamonds – (double) – ? Opener’s pass indicates that he cannot support hearts. With support, he expresses his preference as to who should be declaring: a 2H bid shows 3 (or 4) card support, and comfort with a diamond lead. With support, and reason to believe that Responder should be declaring, (looking at his diamonds), he redoubles. This allows Responder to bid 2, 3, or 4H, or to make his planned rebid, as appropriate. If Responder does not bid some number of hearts, partnerships should discuss continuations with respect to which side will be ultimately declaring. His 4D call, in particular, should re-transfer, likely with short diamonds, and a hand that is more worried about a different lead; with a splinter, he can bid a new suit, instead. (Note a 3H super-acceptance also accepts the indicated lead; If you cannot stand that, make some OTHER super-acceptance, indicating, above-all, a fear of a diamond lead).
If opener passes, Responder’s redouble may be played in one of two ways: Most simply, it would puppet opener back to 2H, and the auction would continue as without the interference.
However, “Tigers” need not give up on trapping the opponents. If you are prepared to give up on insisting on playing 2H from opener’s side, you can redouble to show a hand that can support a penalty pass of your redouble – probably with any three-card diamond holding, or perhaps honor-doubleton. To play 2H, Responder bids that.

If Responder has a normal 3NT continuation, but is worried about diamonds, he bids 3D. There is little logic in playing that as natural, as it would otherwise be. Opener’s diamond holding is unknown. If he can’t stand the directed diamond lead in 3NT, he can grope with a 3H call with a strong doubleton, or show a 4-card spade suit for a possible 4-3 fit.

Note this structure can easily be adapted to transfers to hearts or spades at any level, as over a 2NT opening (or rebid after starting with 2C), or after a Texas Transfer.
June 9, 2015
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The problem with the 9, if you look at the table I created, is that it can be confused with every possible length! It could be doubleton ten-nine, 9-third, or, in your version, ten-nine 4th. Perhaps I am miscalculating but I think 3rd best is the clearest card, confusing only even lengths.
June 6, 2015
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At trick one, with the jack in dummy, Follower should be giving count, not attitude. It will be clear at the end of trick one where the ace lies, as it makes little sense for Declarer to duck with the ace (with the jack on the table). If the king wins, Follower has the ace.

How do you give count? One refinement that I prefer in these trick one situations where it is clearly a count situation is to do so as follows: Upside down style, there are 11 possible holdings:

T975 play the 3rd best = the 7

All the rest are standard.

T97 play the T
T95 play the T
T75 play the T
975 play the 9

T9 play the 9
T7 play the 7
T7 Play the 7
T5 play the 5
95 play the 5
75 play the 5

Let's call it STandard UPside-Down (STUP-D) to follow with the 5 from T975. If you always play the 5 from T975, there are three doubletons that include the 5 and you can never be sure that the 5 is a doubleton. You will know that the 7 is a doubleton, two cases.

With my method, Leader must guess/analyze between two and four cards if Follower plays the 7, but there are fewer confusing doubletons. When the lowest card hits the table, it is 100% guaranteed to be a doubleton (three cases).

Note this approach applies when dummy has Qxx or Qxxx.

Accordingly, Leader will know the diamond count at trick one when the 9 is played. He therefore discourages the club return.
June 5, 2015
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In a matter of speaking, yes. On the one hand, it cannot cost (although theoretically it could subject the hand to a strip and throw-in). But if Declarer seems to be exploring the diamond option, the defense wants to encourage him along those lines, particularly if the heart hook would be winner for declarer! If nothing else, it might allow you to beat it an extra trick if he sets up a diamond winner for you.

P.S. What is “RC clarification”?
May 2, 2015
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In general, combining chances in layers where you can try something else if the first shot does not work is a good idea; The question is whether you are really doing so in this type of layout.

First, compare the situation if Declarer has AKJ109 instead of AK1097. There is no opportunity for any deception on the part of the opponents. If you try the A then K, the queen either falls, or it does not, and you can then go after your other chances.

On this layout, say you play the A and East drops the “Quack” (short for Queen or Jack). This is not a restricted choice scenario - he could have QJx!

Thus, if your A draws the Quack, play the K then revert to the other line. This adds the chance of QJ doubleton, but there is no other layout you can rely on from the fall of one picture card.
May 2, 2015
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It is difficult. As is often the case in bidding, you have to choose some flawed action:

2H shows the 5-card suit, but implies a weaker hand and a better suit. After all, Opener might Pass with no fit. However, we can hope opener might have another bid to make on his own; presumably, after his third bid, you would have a good idea of what to bid.

2S is probably a safer spot, but you probably only have a 7-card fit and you have not hinted at 11 HCP (you might have 6!)

2NT is right on values. However, it could be too high, and the holding of Qxx in the unbid minor is not a secure stopper. You might back into 4H if opener continues with 3H with a hand like: K98xx, AQx, AKxx, x

Some people use the following approach:

Opener's rebid of 2D promises a four-card suit. Therefore, rebid 2C with as few as two (if the hand is 5332). This accomplishes two things: You can count on him for 4 cards when he bids 2D. More importantly, it means he will bid 2C more often which allows you to use the “BART” convention.

Here is a link to one description of it:

http://www.larryco.com/BridgeArticles/ArticleDetails.aspx?articleID=425

May 2, 2015
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One possible sequence is 1, all pass! Really, the question is whether to respond with the East hand.

In favour of it is the possibility of results such as this: Finding a makable game. After all, two honours in partner's first bid suit (even though it could be short) and a side king are not nothing! 1 also preempts the other side from an easy bid in a red suit.

Against it is mostly the possibility of getting too high.

Assuming it goes 1 - 1, Opener can rebid 4, a splinter bid, showing a whale of a hand with 4-card support and a singleton diamond. Responder will sign off, and Opener must respect it. 4 should be made, but some will find it awkward with the bad splits in the blacks.
April 23, 2015
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I should have waited - two National Championships in the same week! Huzzah!
March 24, 2015
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Mazel Tov, Pam!
March 21, 2015
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Not that it proves anything, but my friend who gave me this bid 6 and found partner with Qx QJxx Axxx xxx - Gold! And although opponents have a 500 save, they did not.
March 16, 2015
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Really, he wouldn't; Apart from the lead mis-direction, I wonder if you are ambivalent about bidding six, this might allow partner to make the last guess. Is there any such thing as Last Train at this level? Compare with “standard” Last Train, where the virtual cue-bid does not show anything. Might we not agree that when there is no room, and double would be penalty (forcing pass is not on), then if there is only one suit to cue it could be Last Train?
March 15, 2015
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What do you think of 5 as Last Train? Or simply as Lead-inhibiting (maybe partner has A and not A)
March 15, 2015
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