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All comments by Richard Lawson
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I watched as my teammates bid this grand, and I can't pin my finger on what exactly went wrong. Change West's hand very slightly - KQxx Qxxx xx AKxx - and the grand is cold. In a Flight A event, half the field bid this grand and went down.

How would you and your favorite partner bid this hand?
Oct. 8
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I did some research into gambling addiction back when I first started playing poker, so I could keep an open and honest look at my own behavior to make certain I wasn't succumbing. I'm pretty sure I did not.

One common story among gambling addicts is that they hit it big early in their gambling experience. They got addicted to the rush, the high, before finding out how rare it is. They throw good money after bad trying to recapture that feeling.

So if I had won 11 pots in a row before learning how to control my bankroll, I might be too broke to even play bridge right now. :)
Oct. 4
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I understood just fine, Serge. I have a similar dislike for Jxxx leads.

The decider in this instance for me was the quality of the intermediates.
Oct. 3
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Very good questions.

My partner in this weekend's NAP Regional Finals and I like to lead top of 9xx or lower and second-high from 9xxx. But…

Ancillary to the question posed in the poll is what do we lead from 98xx. One of us says the Nine and the other of us says the Eight. We're both in agreement on Seven from 97xx or 87xx.

Once we agree on what to lead from J98x, we'll know what to lead from 98xx.

Interested in your thoughts on this.
Oct. 3
Richard Lawson edited this comment Oct. 3
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Personally, I would bid 3NT with the above hand. Yes, I give up on slam opposite AJxx xx Qxx Kxxx. But it also avoids ambiguous auctions. By bidding 3H you can very easily end up in 5C/5D down one or just making with 3NT cold for ten tricks.

Preempts work.
Oct. 3
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I once doubled a 4C contract playing rubber bridge holding four inescapable winners in my hand. We set it one and everyone at the table made nasty comments about my double. Sure, I had them set in my hand - but what if partner revoked?

I quickly learned that most rubber bridge players are risk-adverse. Take the money in hand. Winning 7 points on the rubber is always preferable to losing 2 points even if the odds were better-than-even at making 11 points.
Oct. 3
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In my favorite partnership, this is Blackwood agreeing diamonds.

Absent that, it has to be a cuebid. There should be no choice-of-game implications since North is very clearly showing long, strong diamonds.
Oct. 3
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I like to play poker. Here is the definition of the difference between a good poker player and a bad poker player.

When the cards are running against you, a good poker player loses money. A bad poker player loses a lot of money.

When I was still a novice poker player, I got into a three-way 15/30 limit Hold ‘Em. Figuring that I was bound to win 33% of the hands, I got into every pot. Instead, I proceeded to lose the next eleven pots until I was broke. It was humiliating. As statistically unlikely as it is to lose eleven hands in a row playing three-handed, it doesn’t change the fact that I was playing bad poker and getting punished for it.

I took that lesson to heart. When things are not going your way, don't start playing badly trying to catch up. Your advantage is your greater skill; *use* it. Don't throw it away chasing a mirage.

That applies to bridge as well as poker.

Now, I had to learn that lesson personally. I did at one time push to try and make up for previous bad results. That's the fallacy of sunk costs, and it's human nature to believe in it. I did when I was much younger and inexperienced.
Oct. 3
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The above facts are true except the part about the phone call. I didn't want a “What would you lead?” poll, though. I wanted a, “If for whatever reason you decided to lead a heart, which heart would you lead?” poll.
Oct. 3
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That's actually not bad thinking on your part, and I sympathize. Why give the opponents an opportunity to find their best fit? That having been said, though, you should be able to outbid them in diamonds anyway; with their combined 17 HCP or less coupled with East's refusal to take a bid, surely they're not going to bid past the two level, and you can feel pretty good that at least 3D will make.

However, the original sin is your partner's. My partner and I have the agreement never to redouble with a five-card suit. The fact that your partner did so led your thinking astray. While we can make the strong argument that you should have come to the right conclusion anyway, it was your partner who paved the way to the wrong conclusion.

That's another agreement my partner and I have; whoever makes the first bidding mistake assumes responsibility for the bad result.
Oct. 3
Richard Lawson edited this comment Oct. 3
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In a text message to my partner, I invented this system out of whole cloth:

After 1N - 2C - 2H, you bid 2S ostensibly denying 4S. Partner bids 2NT or 3NT.

Now you bid 4D. This shows a strong slammish hand with four spades (that is obviously too strong to bid 3NT over 2H). Partner's responses:

4H = four spades, non-minimum (re-evaluated in the context of now knowing partner has four spades)
4S = four spades, minimum
4N = Not four spades

This, of course, suffers from the problem of forgetting the agreement when it comes up again ten years from now.
Oct. 1
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I was reminded of how I executed a very similar squeeze the day before my daughter was born. I simply called it an endplay:

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/endplays-and-babies/
June 2
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Partner has AKTx Axxxxx KQx -

Instead of playing 6S we defended 5C and set it a trick

Not much of a moral here except to say that preempts work.
May 7
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I thought style was irrelevant. Since partner jumped to 3NT, they clearly have game-going values and would have bid 1D with four diamonds and four spades.
April 13
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Would you and Jean be able to get to 6C after a 1D opening? After 1D - 1H would you rebid 1NT or 2C?
April 13
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I created a followup poll that assumes you voted for 4D:

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-2-zth5pu1xmj/
April 13
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I completely agree with what you said in any other context.

A human, though, holding Q9x of trumps against 7D and seeing the dummy come down with T8xx, knows that the grand is going to fail. Opponents have clearly overbid and you're about to get a terrific matchpoint score. What purpose does falsecarding serve? Are you somehow hoping to set it two and turn 98% into 100%?

First of all, it's pretty evident there's no way this contract is going down more than one. Second of all, by playing the Nine you give declarer false hope, which is then crushed when you show up with Qxx.

What purpose does that serve other than screw with your opponent's emotions? I mean, if this is the early stages of a long knockout match, *maybe* there's value in trying to mess with your opponent's mental state, although I don't like to play like that. But in any other context, it's just cruel for the sake of being cruel.

I remember a couple of years back, in the Vanderbilt (I think?) finals, both pairs got to 7D off the Ace of trumps. One table doubled, the other table did not. Although it turned out the reason there was no double is that the player holding the Ace of diamonds boxed his cards early in the long auction and didn't realize he had the Ace of trumps until he spread it again to make his opening lead, there was a lot of discussion on bridgewinners about whether doubling was even necessary, since you'd expect to be winning a double-digit swing anyway and there's no reason to taunt your opponents about the fact that they misbid the hand.

I think the same level of sportsmanship applies here. You're about to get at the very least a tie for top, 95% or better; why rub it in?

Again, I exempt the robots because what do they know, they're just randomizing from equals as you said. A human, though, should know better.

All my opinion, of course.
March 9
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Thanks, Jeff, for your kind words. They are much appreciated.

There's a couple of college students who have joined the regular game here in Minnesota, and I convinced one of them to try exploiting the robots in the Individuals. Yes, I'm corrupting today's youth. :)
March 9
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Thank you so much, Jeff, for taking the time to proofread these and add your commentary. It's good work you do, and I appreciate it. :)
March 7
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I looked at how other people played the hand on board 5. If you lead low to the King of clubs and a low club back, the robot puts in the Eight. If you play the Nine, the robot covers. These are both 100% losing options but the robot seems oblivious to this, blindly covering an honor with an honor, so to speak.

Likewise on board 7, from what I saw in the play records, if you lead the Jack, the robot covers. So maybe that's why this result is universal and I got lucky. If you play the Jack and the robot doesn't cover, it doesn't have the Queen. Then playing the King is called for.

Huh. Learned something new. Thanks for making me look, Bob. :)
March 6
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