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All comments by Lauritz Streck
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I chatted with Maciej some more now and neither of us knows decidedly in which circumstances one has to clarify bids meant differently to the opponents. Would one have to alert 3 afterward or to highlight the opponents to not being sure what it meant even if they don't ask? And in which circumstance does one have to tell them if the explanation of partner doesn't fit the own hand? How much should be interpreted in “probably…” anyway? I used to say “I think…” and changed to “I don't know but will take it as…” now. What is the correct way of saying it? There seems to be some disparity of opinion in the comments as well as to how “probably” should be interpreted, so perhaps there should be a standard phrase to indicate that one is not sure but still wants to provide the opponents with some information.
Both of us would be really glad if people would comment on their answers to these questions!
March 27
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Apparently, the rest together with a few sentences of me were lost when posting the comment, so here is the rest:


Greetings,
Maciej

PS. Piotr asked by TD told that he was counting if it is possible that we don’t have two aces and the queen and I bid a cue, that’s why he was thinking after 5 hearts.


Firstly, thank you for taking the time to write this statement and to clarify things!
Secondly, I'm sorry not to have asked you before posting this poll and terribly sorry that I ever believed it to be possible that you bid on after 5 without a mix-up occurring. I will handle this differently if I ever pose a ruling question again.
Thirdly, you're completely right about the issue of the queen of spades, my partner said later that he didn't notice the implication at the table.
Fourthly, the ruling wasn't important to us either as we weren't in contention either and we could live perfectly well with ”result stands". I was asking out of mere curiosity.
Lastly, it was a great tournament and we'll be absolutely happy to come again! We didn't think this to be discouraging at all.

Sorry to everyone who took the time to read or comment before all the facts were settled and I'm sorry that the poll probably can't be accurate anymore. I would be thankful if you commented on your ruling with all the information given, so what would it be?
March 27
Lauritz Streck edited this comment March 27
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Maciej, who was West in this board, forwarded me the following statement.

"
Hi,
I’m Maciej Grabiec and I’m the man who caused this whole problem.
First of all, I would like to apologize Lauritz and Florian for what had happened and try to explain to all of you why this had happened.
On the beginning, I would like to mention that I played with Piotr occasionally – exactly fourth time in my life, so we don’t have any strict agreements. I usually play rather natural system and we played Polish Club with Piotr. I know basics of the Polish Club, but I’m not a master in it (friends will say I’m not a master in any system, but that’s not about it)
Now what has happened. The bidding went
1 s – 2d
2h – 3 s.
And now I had no idea if it was spade fit or splinter. In first sight – I thought these are spades, cause many people use a general rule, that it is not advised to bid a splinter in partner’s suit. On the other side – I knew that because 2 diamonds were GF, Piotr could easily fit spades by bidding 2 spades.
If it was splinter, I could’t have bid 4 spades, so I bid 4 clubs so far – I had a cue, so having known that I would probably hear 4 diamonds, I could bid then 4 hearts with hope that partner would pass.
Unfortunately – partner has bid 4 nt - for sure RKCB on one of the majors. But which one? For most of you it is obvious – spades. And it is probably obvious. But my mind had completely flown away in this moment. I had a very difficult problem: whether the queen of spades is the queen of trumps and I should show it by the answer, or we have hearts agreed and that’s not the queen of trumps.
Finally I got to the solution – he could bid 2 spades, so we have hearts agreed, so I don’t have queen of trumps, so 5 hearts – without queen of trumps. Opponent passed and I got realised that I had had only one ace when answering on hearts, because this „second” one was the king of spades… But what could I do? I’m not the first person who answered not right on the Blackwood. Partner bid 5 spades – next bid should be asking for the kings. I had two kings – but one of them I already had sold as an ace, so I counted only one of them and answered 6 clubs(012) Partner bid 6 spades. Invitational to seven hearts? Nonsense, because we couldn’t have stopped in 6 hearts at that moment. Now I was sure – we had had spades agreed so I passed.
Before the lead oponent asked what was 6 clubs – partner answered that „propably void”. If we had spades agreed, 5 spades was an ending bid, but despite of that I bid 6 clubs – so it should be something extra, not bid earlier – probably void.
So it was proper explanation, my bid was improper and I hadn’t felt obliged to make an explanation for the opponent – „I’m stupid and I can’t play bridge, I have shown a void, but I don’t have it, now it’s your lead”.
Now about MI. Frankly speaking – I haven’t noticed any hesitation before Peter bid 5 spades, but I don’t want to question it, because I was so stressed and focused on my problem, that I may have missed it. I wouldn’t be surprised if opponents would suggest that I was thinking before giving answer on Blackwood, cause I have no idea how long it had taken me to process that it „were” hearts(maybe if I had thought a bit longer I would have figured out that we have spades).
But when the director came to the table I didn’t argue about it, cause for me it was all about the given explanation. Either I should give a correction to the partner’s explanation or accidentally because of my lack of conscience I made some kind of a psychic bid.
You treated us seriously, and that’s why you believed that I have a void, but there is one hole in such a reasoning. If I knew what was happening - I bid 5 hearts – 2 aces without a queen. I played a spade to the king, one of you had third ace of spades – so your partner should have had queen of spades(second) and even if he ruffed a diamond – he would ruff with natural trick, so you can cash ace of clubs. And if I had queen of spades – I made a mistake when answering on blackwood – maybe I was answering hearts, and that’s not a void… Furthermore, if I had 5440, why I hadn’t shown partner QJxx in diamonds knowing that we have at least nine cards in this suit, but bid 2 hearts probably losing a chance to bid a fit in partner’s suit. Maybe that’s another reason why TDs hadn’t changed a score, but that’s only my guess. I wasn’t asking TDs what they have decided, cause we generally had a bad day and were playing for 45%, but I was almost sure that the score will be changed somehow and was a bit surprised when I found after coming home, that I made this twelve tricks.
One of you may ask – why I hadn’t alerted 3 spades as a splinter if I was thinking it should be splinter. I didn’t know for sure what was it, so I didn’t alerted it – this would be for sure MI.
That’s all for now, I hope that now you’d understand what happened, the same explanation was given to TDs. I’m sorry that people didn’t teach me enough to play good bridge and I assure you, that I didn’t want to make any harm to you :(
I hope that this situation will not discourage you from playing tournaments in Poland and I invite you to come to Poland once and once again
March 27
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The auction seemed to me to be in tempo (except for the Bit) and didn't feel like an auction off the rails, but of course that doesn't mean anything. At least at the table, before the lead and when the director was summoned, EW didn't say anything about a misunderstanding on 3 (but see the comment below). Shouldn't West still haven't at some point alerted to the possibility of a misunderstanding though?
March 27
Lauritz Streck edited this comment March 27
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I'm sorry, I meant “West possibly denying the queen of spades”, I updated the comment and hope this didn't cause any confusion!
To my best knowledge: 3 set spades as trumps and 4!NT was thus on spade basis. The pollees were given all the information North had when he was in with the ace of spades and asked what to do then. No other poll was taken.
March 26
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I do not think that psyching a void cuebid is so impossible in this situation, it will only make matters more difficult to the opponents. If you notice after 5 that you answered Blackwood incorrectly and decide to bid on, psyching a void along the way can't cost as you will never get to seven.
Edit to clarify: I did not mean this to be accusing, actually as an argument to let the score stand. With an agreement on what 6 means it would be just something like a baby psych, similar to faking a trial bid. I wouldn't consider it to be unethical at all as long as you disclose that after the first time it happened.
March 26
Lauritz Streck edited this comment March 27
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I'm sorry if that comes across wrongly but I certainly don't want to accuse EW of cheating! I explained bids as “probably…” myself and was completely wrong just because I didn't know better and wanted to give some kind of help to the opponents. And West might well just have mixed up his blackwood response and would have bid on with any speed of the sign-off and a UI situation is still something totally different to actual cheating in any case (Edit: or a mix-up just occurred, see below). Could you perhaps elaborate on which parts came across as an accusation of cheating?
And I would be certainly glad if East or West would comment as well, I'll try to contact them in case they want to comment themselves.
March 26
Lauritz Streck edited this comment March 27
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Thanks, added.
March 26
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No, North asked about 6 and the explanation by East was “probably club void”. The people polled had this information but decided to cash the ace of club anyway. Thanks for asking these clarifying questions!
March 26
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You'll find the explanations as well as the time of the hesitation if you hover with the mouse above all the yellow bids in the diagram. But anyway:
The hesitation occurred before East bid 5 which suggests bidding on. The matter gets complicated further by West possessing the queen of spades which he possibly denied previously.
March 26
Lauritz Streck edited this comment March 26
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Nice article again, Max!
On a club lead you can win, cash hearts and then clubs, pitching a spade on the fourth one. On the last club West has to either unguard spades or pitch a diamond honor, in this case you can pitch another spade and duck a diamond. You still have to guess whether the layout is as it is or whether spades run and West has another heart winner left though, so I this is not a line I'd call easy either.
Jan. 12
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Sounds like a great idea, I'd be thrilled to read it!
There is a vast amount of people with English as the native language in this community, perhaps one of them could read your article, alter some formulations or check for spelling mistakes before you post it. Would this help? I hope we'll find someone with enough time to do this in a spare minute if that's an option.
Jan. 11
Lauritz Streck edited this comment Jan. 11
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I meant the other guys in 6NT with the “likely diamond continuation”, hope this wasn't ambiguous. Of course the A is quite unlikely to run away in 6.
Jan. 11
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Hope you're doing well too! I saw that in the vugraph archive as well, it was a little surprising.
I wrote the article, saved it as a draft and asked the official Bridge Winners account(or you could send a mail to bw (at) bridgewinners (dot) com), they'll decide then.
The nicest perk for me was the article getting edited by Eugene who replaced quite a few, well, creative formulations. Thank you Eugene!
Jan. 10
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At the table I didn't think in this direction, thought it would only complicate matters because I believed the chance of a junior in this vulnerability actually having eight hearts to be negligible ;)
But yes, it shouldn't be difficult to read the position if West has six or seven, so this line is probably better.
Jan. 10
Lauritz Streck edited this comment Jan. 11
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Hello Kit,
I saw a discussion of the treatment in one of the old articles of your excellent column (unfortunately I can't remember which) where it appeared like you pulled only if you couldn't stand playing the contract redoubled.
What made you change the treatment? Is it so much more valuable for both partners to know of the soft spot (as far as I can see the only upside) that you break your usual relay system (If you almost always redouble partner can just make his system bid in the case he has no stopper) and that you let them off the hook if someone has a trump stack opposite xx? If you don't mind could you give some examples of hands that made you change the treatment? It would be really helpful to follow your reasoning!
May 5, 2017
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Independently of how you play the diamonds you should cash the spades before you Run the diamonds, I think. If West has say xxx Kxxx xx Qxxx he remains completely untoasted otherwise by just discarding his spades. There is no way to draw trumps afterwards, he'll just win and play a heart.

How to play the diamonds is quite an interesting question though. The problem is that East can beat you legitimately by covering from Jxxx as you don't have the entries to untangle the diamonds afterwards. Whether he'll find that is a different matter. He knows a lot about the hand, the trump position, your likely shape and he probably has quite a good idea of the honors you have. Still it will be really hard for him to picture such an unintuitive play and to work everything out at the table I guess, even though there doesn't seem to be a position where covering costs the contact. So taking the finesse can't win against perfect defense but it might well be the percentage play. It probably wouldn't have occured to me at the table to cover in a suit declarer has AKQxx or AKxxx in, even though it appears to be the right play.
May 3, 2017
Lauritz Streck edited this comment May 3, 2017
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I would certainly play a club to the king. If clubs are 3-2 you're cold now as long as diamonds aren't 5-1 by establishing the fifth diamond. Even if East has been cute from QJx (so the queen doesn't come down) you can just pitch your losing heart on the Q and subsequently ruff your diamonds good.

But even if West has Qxxx you're still making as long as the Diamonds are 3-3 provided you cash the spades first: AK discarding a heart, AKQ, Diamonds. West can ruff high, low, or not at all but he can't stop you from cashing the diamonds, overruffing if neccessay and ruffing the heart in dummy with the two trumps as entries to hand. (If you haven't cashed the spades he could beat you by discarding spades though).

So all in all it's a great slam considering you're cold with Clubs 3-2 and diamonds not 5-1 and still have good chances in this variation.
May 3, 2017
Lauritz Streck edited this comment May 3, 2017
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Great Article as always, this series really helps to improve a lot. Thank you!
Two minor points though: In the second diagram on page 11 the A is already played.
And West discarding on the third diamond isn't an issue in this particular hand as you can ruff low in dummy and afford to ruff the last spade high.
April 29, 2017
Lauritz Streck edited this comment April 29, 2017
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The hand is just too weak to expect anything to make. And bidding could be VERY costly.
April 28, 2017
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