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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Very simple. You are showing a hand which is more offensively oriented than defensively oriented.

For those of you who wouldn't play pass is forcing in the sequence under discussion, I'll ask again: None vul, you hold:

x AKJxxx AJ10x xx.

What would you bid? If you would pass (non-forcing), would you get that good feeling in the pit of your stomach if partner passes it out?
an hour ago
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Unless you have some special unusual agreements about your preempts, that is correct.
2 hours ago
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Very well stated, Steve.
2 hours ago
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If they really play “standard” (i.e. 4th best, top oh honor sequences), then yes it is a sufficient answer. Of course if declarer has some doubts about what “standard” means, he can ask for elaboration.

Personally, if playing standard leads I would volunteer the elaboration, saying: 4th best leads, etc.
2 hours ago
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Yes, on that specific layout I would go down. I never claimed my line of play was a lock.
2 hours ago
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On the other hand, if they go down your double gains the same number of matchpoints it costs if they are making, and IMO they are more likely to go down than make when you have half the deck.

More important, suppose you have a score to protect, which is reasonably likely if partner is inviting game. Now failing to double could cost a ton if you score +100 (instead of +300) vs. your 140, or +150 (instead of +500) vs. your 170 or 420.

Thus, assuming you choose to defend, when you are on game-invitational values, the upside of doubling is far greater than the downside.
2 hours ago
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Okay, it appears that West just had a mind loss of some kind, and the partnership agreement is what would be expected – that 4 is just a normal preempt. This means that North got the proper explanation, so his double stands. That much is clear.

What about South? Might he pull the double with correct information? South is entitled to the information that West actually told about the hand, of course, so South knows what type of hand West has. However, South also assumed that his partner was told the same thing. From South's point of view, his partner's double might have been largely on a heart stack, since his partner presumably was told that the 4 call showed clubs and hearts. If instead South were given the proper explanation he would not think that his partner's double was based on a heart stack.

Would this have made it more attractive for South to pull the double? I think it would, although it wouldn't be clear to pull. Thus, if I were judging it by myself. I would assign some weighted score between 5 doubled making and 5 making, depending on how likely I judged it would be that South would have pulled the double had he thought North had gotten the explanation that 4 was a normal preempt. A properly posed poll might help me to determine just what the percentages should be.
4 hours ago
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I have never seen anybody redouble on this sort of auction. How can they be that confident of making?

As to their making an overtrick, I guess that could happen on a really bad day. But the odds are way against it.

Even if one of these real longshots occurs, it means the double costs a only couple of IMPs more than it would have cost had they made 10 tricks in 4 doubled. Those possibilities and the costs involved are so small that they aren't worth worrying about.
5 hours ago
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What is there to disclose about the 3 call? The fact that a weak 2 is or is not available has nothing to do with whether the hand is or is not a 3 opener.
5 hours ago
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Once the jack of diamonds holds, I would float the 10 of spades. If they take the queen, I have 5 spade tricks, 2 heart tricks, 1 diamond trick, 1 club trick.

If the 10 of spades holds, I would then cash the king of spades and go after diamonds. Now if the opponents set up their long hearts, I will be able to take 3 diamonds, 1 club, 2 hearts, and 3 spades. If they fight it out in the minors, I have 1 heart, 2 spades, 3 diamonds, so I just need to take 3 club tricks. All the opponents will have is their 2 red aces, so they will need to get 3 club tricks. It looks like my club spots are good enough so I will win an end-play battle even if the clubs are 5-2.
5 hours ago
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I didn't miss that fact. The opponents asked if the 3 opening was standard, and he said yes. That is the correct answer, since it is standard.
6 hours ago
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Normally when there are differing explanations and there is no documentation, the assumption is that the meaning is what the bidder intended, and it was the partner of the bidder who gave the wrong explanation.

On this hand, the meaning West gave for his 4 call is so obscure that I think it quite likely that West had a slip of the mind and was thinking it was a weak 2 opener or something like that.

At any rate, I would try to determine what West was thinking. I understand one should try to avoid self-serving statements by the players. But on this hand it isn't particularly obvious what a self-serving statement by West would be, so I would bet that whatever he answers is the truth.

There are different possible branches depending up what West says. Without that knowledge, I can't comment further.
6 hours ago
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I wasn't able to construct a consistent hand where a heart continuation was better than going back to spades, so I discouraged. If I could construct such a hand, I would have encouraged.
6 hours ago
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Undiscussed, I think the mainstream interpretation would be takeout. However, it is probably better played as lead-directing (regardless of whether the 2 call could be “short” or not). It is unlikely you are going to want to be competing against a game-forcing response, so a takeout double will generally be more helpful to the opponents.
7 hours ago
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Assuming you are right, our follow-up sequences are as follows:

2, then 2NT = 4-4 majors, invitational

2, then 3 = 4-4 or 5-4 majors, game-forcing

With 5-4 majors invitational, we bid 2. Partner assumes this is a normal transfer to hearts, and if he super-accepts we simply get to 4. After partner's expected 2 call, we bid 2, which shows 5-4 (either way) or 5-5 majors, invitational.
7 hours ago
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As your opponent, I would be quite comfortable with your explanation, since I would know what you meant. However, for the beginners, the literal-minded players, and the Secretary Birds, I suggest you say 11-15 points, not 11-15 HCP. That covers all bases, since points can be distributional points. If an opponent asks further (which isn't likely), you can say that if partner is balanced you would expect 11-15 HCP, but if partner is distributional his high card count might be weaker.

On the second hand, clearly there is nothing to say. I would open 3 on that hand even if I had a weak 2 bid available, and I'd bet that you would also. If an opponent wants to draw some inference from the fact that you are or are not playing an opening 2 as a weak 2-bid, he can easily ask or pick up your convention card and look.
7 hours ago
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Exactly. Your side has at least half the deck in high cards. Why should the opponents be able to take 10 tricks? Sure, they might have the right distributional fit to make, but there is no way you can determine that whatever methods you play. The odds are that when you have at least half the deck in high cards, the opponents aren't taking 10 tricks. If they make, big deal.
7 hours ago
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I don't understand. It looks like you are talking about some different auction.
7 hours ago
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The defenders generally have a fair amount of information about the hand. They have heard the bidding. The partner of the opening leader has seen the opening lead. They can see the line of play declarer is taking. That one more piece of information about count on the suit declarer is playing may be the information which gives a defender a complete count of the hand or a count of declarer's potential tricks, which may tell the defender what the best defense is.

It is true that when you give a count signal it might not be apparent what good it will do. However, from partner's point of view, that information might be the key to the hand.

Consider this hand. East can infer that declarer has at least 4 diamonds since that is the suit declarer is attacking. However, East doesn't know whether declarer has 4 diamonds or 5 diamonds. If declarer has 5 diamonds that may mean declarer has enough tricks ready to take, and an aggressive defense may be necessary. However, if declarer has only 4 diamonds that is one fewer trick for declarer, which may mean that he doesn't have enough tricks and passive defense is called for. West can't tell whether or not this information is going to matter to East, but it might matter.

There is also the danger of helping declarer by giving count. On this hand, West can see that giving count in the diamond suit isn't going to affect declarer's play in that suit – declarer has what he has. On other layouts, giving count might help declarer play a suit. Of course declarer will have to decide whether or not to trust that count, and most declarers will tend to be suspicious and not risk being misled by a false count signal. Thus, signaling honestly is not as risky as it might seem.
13 hours ago
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We play that if we have invited game we are in a force unless one of us has had the opportunity to limit his hand.

The logic is that since we have game-invitational values, the assumption is that we can take 9 tricks in hearts. If so, it is seldom right to sell to 4 undoubled. If they are going down, we want to be doubling them unless we can make 5. If they are making, 5 is probably a profitable sacrifice.

Suppose you hold a hand something like: x AKJxxx AJ10x xx. You can be pretty sure that it is right to either double them or bid on, but you don't know which. That may depend upon whether partner has wasted spade values or not. Only partner can make that decision, so you want to pass that decision to partner. However, if your pass isn't forcing and partner might sell out, that isn't good.

It is true that opener will have to double on a minimal balanced hand. If the opponents have sufficient distribution 4 may make when partner has a normal minimal limit raise. When that happens, you will be -590 instead of -420. That isn't the end of the world.

Keep in mind that being in a force doesn't necessarily mean that it is your hand. A forcing pass doesn't show extra strength in high cards. It shows a more offensive orientation, while double shows more defensive orientation. A forcing pass may lead your side to a profitable save.
13 hours ago
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