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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Shifting to a high spot generally says you don't like the suit. On this hand, the only reason East can afford to spend the 10 of spade is that he has the 9. If East had A1087, he would have to shift to the 7 of spades in order to maximize his chances. So, while it is true that shifting to the 10 probably shouldn't cost since West should know where the ace of spades is, I still prefer shifting to the 7.

I agree that from A742 East should shift to the 7 of spades. However, when he shifts to the 7 from A1097 there is no danger that West will misread it, even if declarer hadn't discarded a spade. Declarer is known to have started with Qxx, and will have played one of the x's. West simply counts the number of unseen spade spots below the 7. If there is one such unseen spot, the 7 will be East's smallest spade. If there are two such unseen spots, the 7 will be from A7xx.
2 minutes ago
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You are right. I forgot that if spades are 3-3 only one diamond ruff is needed, and that diamond ruff has already been taken.

So, heart to the king is better when West has 4 hearts and spades are 3-3.

Ace of hearts is better when East has 4 hearts, and West has 4 spades and 4+ clubs.

Which is more likely? It looks to me too close to call at a glance.
Jan. 17
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A slight improvement is to cash the ace of hearts at trick 2. This gains when East has Jxxx of hearts and the spades are 3-3, and doesn't appear to have any downside compared to Bernard's line.
Jan. 17
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We play 3 shows a solid major. For a solid minor, we make a positive response in the minor and follow with a jump to 4 of the minor.
Jan. 17
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Sure, he can. And equity is restored, right?

Not even close. Suppose opener has the big 4-1-4-4 19-count. Obviously a slam drive over a “normal” 3 call. But here, opener would be worried about the fact that partner had to bid 3 in order to not bar opener. Is that UI or AI? If it is AI, opener will just Q-bid, and if partner signs off at 4 opener will pass. Is that equity restored?

Or, suppose opener has a minimal balanced hand with 3-card spade support. What should he do? If he is allowed to do so (i.e. if the knowledge that partner's 3 call was “forced”, he will pass, as that is the percentage action. May he do this?

As can be seen, any such restrictions are very likely to cause a distorted auction. Not the way to restore equity.
Jan. 16
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That is quite correct. In such a situation the offending side may wind up in a no-win position. But at least there is a chance that equity can be restored without damage. With the comparable call concept, it would be impossible to restore equity in my example. Responder would simply have to close his eyes and take a blind guess at the right contract.
Jan. 16
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John says:

The new ‘comparable bid’ does produce some flexibility but in most cases the TD will easily be able to work out whether a replacement call is ‘comparable’.


I think the examples we have seen illustrate that this simply isn't the case.
Jan. 16
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I believe the reason for the comparable call concept was to try to achieve the equitable result if possible. The theme is that if a comparable call is made then partner isn't getting any UI.

This doesn't work. For example, suppose opener holds AKxx x AQxx AJxx. He opens 1. his LHO bids 3. Partner doesn't see the 3 call, and bids 1, with is rejected, Partner now passes.

The pass isn't a comparable call, so opener is required to pass. That isn't equitable. Opener has the most clear-cut double in the world. If this hand were given as a problem to any panel, I would be confident that the vote for double would be unanimous.

As Jeff says, the proper approach isn't to legislate what is or is not possible UI. The person who withdraws his call should be able to make any legal bid he wants. His partner will have the UI from the withdrawn bid, and would be held to the strictest UI standards about what he is permitted to do. On my example hand the double is 100%, so it is permissible. If the hand were an ace weaker I would judge that double would be a popular choice, but I would consider pass an LA, and since the UI clearly suggests doubling I would require a pass. Also, after opener does double and responder bids 3 now opener should not IMO be permitted to bid game, since that is not a 100% action and it is suggested by the knowledge that partner probably isn't completely broke.

In the case where a comparable call has been made, all that means is that there was no meaningful UI involved so no problem. When the call isn't a comparable call there will be UI, and it will be the responsibility of the partner to not take an unclear action which is suggested by the UI. This we know how to analyze and deal with. We don't need legislation about what replacement of a withdrawn call does or does not bar partner.
Jan. 15
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The answer is yes. The criterion is my judgment.
Jan. 15
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Definitely not a forcing pass. As to what to bid, who knows – form of scoring might be quite relevant here.
Jan. 15
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My rule is as follows:

If I judge a preempt to be the percentage action, I preempt.
Jan. 15
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Is it so clear? Suppose I picked up something like: KQxx xxxx KQx AJ. I open 1NT, and partner transfers to hearts. Assume my partnership agreements are that I am supposed to bid 3 with this hand type.

Now, let's suppose RHO overcalls 2. Would I now bid 3? I don't think so, with weak hearts and so much spade wastage – if partner wants to defend 2 that will be fine with me.

Thus, there are hands with which I would not have bid 2, but with which I would pass over 2. Therefore, the pass (over 2) is not a subset of the 2 call, so 2 does show additional information – it shows that I don't have this hand.

Yes, this is complex, and could certainly be debated. But that's my whole point. If the concept is such that in a straightforward auction like this there is disagreement about what is a comparable call, then the definition is not adequate and the concept should be scrapped.
Jan. 15
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Jeff,

I totally agree with you. One of the examples from that article which IMO is even more questionable is the last hand where the auction goes: 1NT-P-2, and the 1NT bidder bids 2H out of turn. Next hand doesn't accept it, and bids 2. The article says that both pass and 3 may be bid without penalty. I do not agree.

The writer of the article is Matt Smith, whom I believe everybody would agree is as knowledgeable and competent a director as there is. Yet, with all the time in the world to think it through, Matt came to some very questionable conclusions (too his credit, he intentionally picked some tough examples). Do we think the average director who has to make his decision in a limited time will do better? Keep in mind that the decision about what bids are legal without penalty must be made on the spot, since we are in the middle of the auction and play can't be halted for an hour while the directors consult.
Jan. 15
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Point taken. But it isn't even that simple. Suppose they actually do have that agreement about the double. However, suppose they also play strong jump shift responses. Then the double shouldn't be permitted without penalty, since hands which double aren't a compete subset of hands which would respond 1 – some hands which would double under your hypothetical definition might be classified as a strong jump shift.

This further illustrates how bad the comparable bid concept is. How could the director possibly learn enough about the player's system to determine this? Even if the director just cited the general rules (as opposed to trying to define what bids could or could not be made without penalty), the players themselves would have a difficult time working out in a few seconds which bids are totally subsets of the withdrawn bid. It really is a bad concept.
Jan. 15
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If East started with J8x of hearts, there is no way he would have played the 8 when the 7 was led from dummy. Perhaps he should, but in real life this is a play which just isn't made. So, I play him for QJ8 and exit with the 3.
Jan. 15
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Double is definitely not a comparable call. In addition to Michael's point, a negative double could easily be made on a hand with 5 spades and 4 hearts, a hand which would not respond 1 to a 1 opening.

This is another example illustrating the difficulties involved with the new “comparable call” concept. The concept is difficult to define, and even more difficult for players and directors to understand.

So, my plan is to explain to the director why double is not a comparable call, thus cannot be made without penalty.
Jan. 15
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Just the standard agreement that if the cards are equal (which they would be if he held KJ98), then they are suit-preference. So, I agree that cashing the ace is right. If partner dumps the king, you would know not to shift to a club.
Jan. 14
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I'll ask the question the other way. Unless the game plan is to cash the 4 heart tricks, what is the advantage of cashing it?

I will grant that cashing the ace of hearts and shifting to a club is as good (or bad) as shifting to a club immediately.
Jan. 14
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Why did I cash the ace of hearts?
Jan. 14
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Sorry, do not remember whether N-S were playing strong club or not.

In my opinion, for South to sell out to 2 is a lot more scary than the reopening double. The chance of an adverse double part-score swing is much greater than the danger of going for a number.
Jan. 13
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