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What is a cold contract? Terminology

#1 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 14:40

I'm sure we've hashed this one over in the past, but in the "not bidding 5 over 5" thread, it's come up twice today, and I wanted to revisit it. In that thread, the following comments were made (no offence to either of the posters):

Quote

If the diamond hook is on this is cold

When the ♦K is onside, 5♠ is cold as long as the club honors are split


I've seen this usage sporadically for years, and it always gets on my nerves. The way I learned it, a contract on a finesse was, by definition, not cold. A cold contract was a contract that always made, however the opposing cards fell -- as distinct from 'makeable as the cards lie', or a similar phrase, when we saw all 4 hands rather than just considering what was possible given our hands and the auction. Every now and then in a book of bridge problems it would be used to describe the position after the first few tricks - the position of interest at a key moment was given, and again, 'cold' meant making on any lie of the as-yet-unseen cards. Even as a Lawrenceism it wasn't usually used to describe hands where you had already survived a 50-50 finesse.

What sez the forum? Are all makeable contracts described as "cold if ..." now?

/rant
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#2 User is offline   matmat 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 14:45

Note to Inquiry. We need a "Rants" subforum.
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#3 User is offline   losercover 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 14:48

Wikipedia definition:A contract that a player cannot fail to make with best play on both sides is cold.

My definition: A contract that a player cannot fail to make unless they do something incredibly stupid.
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#4 User is offline   655321 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 14:57

View PostSiegmund, on 2010-December-25, 14:40, said:

The way I learned it


We seem to have tracked down the source of your confusion.

If we are talking about all 4 hands, i.e. 52 cards, the actual layout, then a contract is cold if it can be made on that layout. If we are talking about 2 hands, then a contract on a finesse is not cold, but it is cold if the finesse is known to be working. Thus, the usages of 'cold' in your quotes are normal and correct.
That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 17:11

  • Kibitzer sure-trick (e.g. a 2-way finesse. You can make against any distribution and any defence, if you know how the cards lie.
  • Double-dummy make (you can make against the actual distribution and any defence, if you know how the cards lie)
  • Practical-make (In real-life, normal play succeeds against the actual lie of the cards -- but there is an unlikely double-dummy defence to beat you).
  • Normal-make (If you play according to the odds, you make against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
  • Sure-trick (If you play correctly, you can make against any distribution and any defence).
  • Rabbit-proof (Any half-reasonable line succeeds, against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
  • Idiot-proof (No legal line fails against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
IMO In cases 4-7 the contract is cold. But others would exclude some of them..
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#6 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 18:51

A cold contract is a contract that makes on correct play on the given lie of the cards. So if it depends on a finesse and the finesse works, the contract is cold.
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#7 User is offline   3for3 

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Posted 2010-December-25, 22:30

Perhaps a better question: Where does the term come from? Why is not a Hot contract?



Danny
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#8 User is offline   RMB1 

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Posted 2010-December-26, 02:39

View PostSiegmund, on 2010-December-25, 14:40, said:

I've seen this usage sporadically for years, and it always gets on my nerves. The way I learned it, a contract on a finesse was, by definition, not cold. A cold contract was a contract that always made, however the opposing cards fell --

Language changes, usage expands to provide useful meanings. Ranting aint going to stop the changes (q.v. L'Académie française). :)
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#9 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2010-December-26, 07:23

I reckon a contract is cold if you don't break into a sweat figuring out how you are going to play it :)
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#10 User is offline   Hanoi5 

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Posted 2010-December-26, 08:37

I think a Cold Contract is what we call in Spanish 'tendido'. You can claim it easily. I believe it's a subjective concept.

View Postwyman, on 2012-May-04, 09:48, said:

Also, he rates to not have a heart void when he leads the 3.


View Postrbforster, on 2012-May-20, 21:04, said:

Besides playing for fun, most people also like to play bridge to win


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#11 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2010-December-26, 14:38

Quote

Perhaps a better question: Where does the term come from? Why is not a Hot contract?


The only theory I've heard was an analogy between laying your cards out on the table to claim and laying a dead body out for embalming and/or displaying said embalmed body at the funeral. The point at which there's absolutely nothing left to do except move on to the next hand.

People who use the term in reference to positions where there are still key plays to be made would probably want a different theory. I freely admit that theory ties in with cold = laydown = claimable-right-now meaning which I appear to be in a minority for holding.

Quote

If we are talking about all 4 hands, i.e. 52 cards, the actual layout, then a contract is cold if it can be made on that layout. If we are talking about 2 hands, then a contract on a finesse is not cold, but it is cold if the finesse is known to be working.


I can see how the meaning could get extended that way. But even when all 4 hands are posted we're usually talking about the situation a single-dummy player was in or would be in, and we already have other words - "makeable" if it can be made on a layout, or "par result" if neither side makes an error, for instance - for describing the result on the actual layout. (Of course we already have a word "laydown" for my use of cold too...heh.)

Such an imprecise language we are blessed and cursed with.
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#12 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-December-26, 15:27

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_deck
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#13 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2010-December-27, 06:45

I think it means "making on the actual lie of the cards, by any line which isn't clearly wrong".

When I say (as I often seem to have to), "Sorry - I went off in a cold game", I mean that I chose a line that was stupid or inferior, and got the result that I deserved.

This post has been edited by gnasher: 2010-December-27, 06:47

... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#14 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2010-December-27, 09:37

Note that in matchpoints, "going off in a cold game" doesn't necessarily mean that you played stupidly. Sometimes you have to risk the contract to try for that all-important overtrick. This may be especially true if you think you're in a different contract than the field; if they're in 4S making, and you're in 3NT, you need an overtrick or you're getting a bad board anyway.

#15 User is offline   pooltuna 

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Posted 2010-December-27, 10:45

This must be a language issue as I interpret "cold if..." to simply state the requirements to make the contract with all other conditions being irrelevant.
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#16 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2010-December-28, 05:49

I have heard players discuss 3 or 4 different squeeze and endplay possibilities for a hand, discover one that works, and therefore decide that it is cold...
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#17 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2010-December-28, 08:59

One often hears "Easy of you know how", "warm for January", "rich by the standards of the community" and so on. I see "Cold on any lead except a spade" or "cold if the hearts split" etc in a similar way. A warm day in January may not be very warm and a contract that is cold on any lead except a spade providing the hearts split, the diamond hook is on, and declarer correctly runs the club spade squeeze may not be very cold.

I take your point but it doesn't much bother me except when the implication is that I should therefore have bid the silly slam.
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#18 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2010-December-28, 17:58

Here I thought "Rabbit-proof" was a hand that most people playing the normal line would go down in, but if you forget that the HA isn't out and "cash the K", the hand with the A is stepping-stone or ruff-and-sluff squeezed.
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#19 User is offline   cloa513 

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Posted 2011-January-09, 04:38

View Postnige1, on 2010-December-25, 17:11, said:

  • Kibitzer sure-trick (e.g. a 2-way finesse. You can make against any distribution and any defence, if you know how the cards lie.
  • Double-dummy make (you can make against the actual distribution and any defence, if you know how the cards lie)
  • Practical-make (In real-life, normal play succeeds against the actual lie of the cards -- but there is an unlikely double-dummy defence to beat you).
  • Normal-make (If you play according to the odds, you make against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
  • Sure-trick (If you play correctly, you can make against any distribution and any defence).
  • Rabbit-proof (Any half-reasonable line succeeds, against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
  • Idiot-proof (No legal line fails against the actual lie of the cards and any defence).
IMO In cases 4-7 the contract is cold. But others would exclude some of them..

There is also the case where the bidding (especially where the opponents don't pass) if normal suggests the correct line of play even if nominally unusual like dropping a singleton King or against the odds- Maybe call it the expert case of a cold contract.
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