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Gazzilli: A Work in Progress Over 1
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Previously (here, here, and here) I tried to explain the theoretical foundations of 6 M Gazzilli. In this article, I will describe a similar variant after an unbalanced 1 opening bid. Previously, I played transfer rebids, which were OK. I won't be able to go into full detail, but hopefully what's left unsaid can be filled in by the reader.

I'm going to take it for granted that the theoretical gains/losses of an unbalanced diamond are understood (for an old introduction, see here).

I've seen 1 -- 1 M -- 2 as artificial, with responder bidding 2 as an artificial positive. This has obvious losses. In most unbalanced diamond treatments, opener's 1 NT rebid is artificial in any case (the obvious alternative is a club transfer). 

 

Opener's rebid

1 -- 1 M

?

  • Gazzilli
  • 1 NT = Gazzilli, 6+ diamonds or any 17+
  • Natural
  • 1 over 1 , limited? (see below for discussion about this "?")
  • 2 , limited
  • 2 / 1 = reverse with 6+ diamonds
  • 3 = 5/5, intermediate
  • 3 = 6+, intermediate
  • Major-suit raise
  • 2 = 3-card raise, NF
  • 2 M = 4-card raise
  • 2 NT = good 3-card raise, with 6+ diamonds, forcing

Follow-ups are similar to after 1 -- 1 . There is a problem hand-type where responder is weak with a 4-card major and long clubs. This problem is not really present after a 1 opening bid, since in that scenario responder can (and should; nay, will in a Flannery context) bid 1 NT. I will point out a possible solution.

 

? discussion

Although it might seem intuitive to have 1 be limited over responder's 1 , you will be somewhat awkwardly placed on 4-x-5-x hands if responder is weak and the auction proceeds 1 -- 1 ; 1 NT -- and responder doesn't bid a positive 2 .

1 -- 1 ; 1 is hardly a broken auction, so I wouldn't try to fix it too much. It is however true that you do not need the 2 strong jump rebid (bid 1 NT and then 2 over whatever partner bids). It's sensible anyhow to use 1 -- 1 ; 2 ! as artificial heart-raises. 

 

Small alternative tweak

Bidding hearts over spades is always troublesome. Say you hold x-4-5-x and don't even have a natural 1 NT rebid after 1 -- 1 . As such, you might prefer after 1 -- 1 :

  • 2 = 4 hearts
  • 2 = 3-card spade raise

Since this spade raise is artificial, this treatment also frees up 1 -- 1 ; 2 NT, for whatever you prefer (maybe 6 diamonds and 4 clubs, intermediate). 

 

Responder bids NT 

You might try Gazzilli after 1 -- 1 NT, but I think that's a bad idea. The 1 NT response often shows clubs, and so I think if anything 1 -- 1 NT -- 2 must be natural. My own follow-ups are straight forward:

1 -- 1 NT

?

  • 2-suit = natural
  • 2 NT = artificial GF
  • 3 / = natural, invite

 

Responder's bid over 1NT Gazzilli

1 -- 1 M

1 NT -- ?

    • 2 = Gazzilli positive, 8+
    • 2 = weak preference
    • 2 M = natural, weak
    • 2 OM = natural force *
    • 2 NT = balanced GF+
    • 3 L = natural GF+ *
    • 3 M = natural GF+

In my opinion, the Gazzilli positive hands should be invitational-to-mininal-GF hands, or unsure about strain (responder could be 4-4 in the majors, for instance). It's important to remember that if responder forces game directly, he is still unaware if opener has extras or not. It is incumbent on opener to make a forward move. 

* If you recall the problem hand-type of weak 4 M - 6+ hands, you might use one of 2 OM, or 3 as weak-with-clubs. I'm too stuck in my ways of preferring slam-positive bids.

 

Follow-ups after positive Gazzilli sequence

By example, rather than in complete. (1 -- 1 follow-ups are left as an exercise to the reader).

1 -- 1

1 NT -- 2

?

  • 2 = 6+ diamonds, min
  • 2 = 3 hearts, <6 diamonds; 2 asks
  • 2 = 4+ spades, denies 3 hearts; 2 NT asks
  • 2 NT = 5+ diamonds and 4 clubs; 3 asks
  • 3 = 5/5
  • 3 = single-suited
  • 3 NT = 3-2-5-3, 18/19 HCP (alternatively other shapes if you choose)

Notice that in 6 M Gazzilli, there is a 3+ OM bid, but here the new major suit is 4+. Hopefully the reasoning is obvious. I don't want to go into the full detail, but as always whenever you have an asking bid, responder can also not ask and instead show, e.g. over opener's third-round 2 bid: 2 NT is balanced 11-12; 3 is natural; 3 shows support; 3 sets hearts; 3 or 4 m is a splinter.

As a flavor of the asking bid, in the same example where opener exhibits three-card heart support and 17+HCP, after 1 -- 1 ; 1 NT -- 2 ; 2 -- 2 , opener bids "naturally":

  • 2 NT = 5332 with 5 diamonds and 3 hearts
  • 3 = 1-3-4-5
  • 3 = 1-3-5-4
  • 3 = 4-3-5-1 (allows 3 to agree spades) 
  • 3 also 4-3-5-1 but chicken
  • 3 NT = also 5332 but chicken.

There's some redundancy, but that's OK. In my own notes, I deliberately did not choose "optimal" follow-ups; instead everything is natural-ish. 

 

When opener is minimum

That is, after:

1 -- 1 M

1 NT -- 2

2 -- ?

    • 2 M = to play
    • 2 OM = artificial force (invite in diamonds, or hearts)
    • 2 NT = natural invite
    • 3 = natural(ish) GF
    • 3 = courtesy raise
    • 3 also a heart invite, suggests no diamond tolerance

Note that responder has two opportunities to use third-suit forcing (over the artificial 1NT, or after clarification), and consequently promise different values. Also notice that you have a clear distinction between a courtesy raise and a sound raise to 3 .

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