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All comments by Andy Hung
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This seems to be a common trend in AU, to swap the NT ranges whereby the “weaker” goes via 2H. When I first heard of it, I thought it was a great idea and decided to employ it. When it first came up at the table, I was excited but when the auction went 2-2; 2-… and I held four spades and enough points for game.

That's when I decided it was no longer a good idea. Unless you have some good/complex follow-ups after 2-2-2 whereby game forcing hands with spades can break the relay, then I don't think it's worth it. Basically it's a tradeoff. By putting in the “weaker 2NT” via Kokish, you can get out below game with a long suit that's true. However, if you have enough points for game and 4+, wrongsiding the contract can be a serious issue when a game (maybe slam?) swing might be at stake. And given that the “weaker” 2NT comes up more often (with the range being 22-23, it will start with good 21's too), responder on average will have about 5-6 HCP i.e. enough points for a game, which means a lot more chances to wrongside the contract.

So now I just prefer the original way of 2-2-2NT as the “weaker” one, and hope to survive by playing in 2NT when responder has the weak hand, than to go via Kokish for the “weaker 2NT” and survive a potential game/slam swing on the opening lead.
Aug. 10
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It's probably been more than 4, but my sample size isn't that big as I don't play that often!
It's just that I find it hard to be transferring with a 4-card major with say a 4144 type shapes as responder, so I think ‘upgrading’ with a max and 44 majors is a big winner.
July 13
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Sorry, I'm not a big fan of the auction. Could E/W have been playing a potential slam with xx opp KQxxxx, and have missed a potential eight or nine-card heart fit? Or was 4 a re-transfer showing hearts? If East wanted to RKC in spades, then the hand could make a 4-level texas transfer then 4NT.

Also, I think South's hand is worth a preempt at first seat favourable.
July 11
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I've been a very firm believer for a while now that 17 with 44 in the majors should be ‘upgraded’ to 18 so you don't miss out on games when responder has a semi/unbal hand with a 4-card major around 6-7 HCP. So far I'm 4 out of 4.
July 11
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After a strong 2NT opening (or via 2, but not a 2NT overcall), I think it's a good idea that over a transfer, to play some sort of responses to show whether you have a fit or not. The downside is that with a weak hand and 5cM, you'd generally pass 2NT (which isn't too big of a deal), but it will help on auctions such as 2NT-3; 3-4m to know whether you can have a spade fit or not.

I used to play Step 1 = no fit, Step 2 = 3-card fit (or bad 4), Step 3 = 4 card super accept, but now I play Step 1 = 3-card fit (or bad 4) so that responder can now respond to that with None/L/M/H shortages. 3NT over the transfer is no fit.
June 27
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Seems bad defence by West. Even on a spade lead to the ace, it can't be wrong to switch to the A to get a signal, especially looking at dummy with seven diamonds and the A.
June 27
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I mentioned above that I play it as 5/5 majors. 5/5 minors sounds interesting, as it's true it's a hand type that you can't show opposite a 2 opening as you'd need to bypass 3NT.
I guess the one potential problem might be is that you can have a 5-3 minor fit and still belong in 3NT and now it may wrong side the contract. For example, opener has a strong balanced 3532 opposite 1255.
June 27
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I play it as 5+/5+ Majors with at least 1.5honours in each major suit. That way, it seems like a hand where you won't need to play in NT's, and it relieves pressure off the sequences 2-2-3m-3.
June 27
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Is your 2NT rebid forcing? If it is, then fine that's OK to be rebidding 2NT. But if it isn't, what is responder meant to do over the 2NT rebid with 4(144) or a hand with 5 (e.g. 5(431) or 5(422)) that had stretched to respond 1?
June 27
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Completely agree with Stephen here. Unless you play a conventional 2NT rebid where it's forcing or something (and one of the hand types is 18-19 with 4-card support), then you should never be in favour of hiding four-card support.
June 27
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Barbara makes a great point that you might need to tread carefully when South has responded 1NT. Given the hearts are badly placed, there might be more harm in competing to 3, although down three is a bit unlucky! (I would think down two would be more normal if it was doubled).

But anyway, it seems like most people were discussing whether South should double 3 or not - what about North's opening hand along with a heart void? The hand is so powerful in that North should be the one doubling for takeout! Imagine South has about 8-10 points but the heart stopper was shaky something like Qxxx. Now all of a sudden, if N/S have a good fit in one of the minors, a 5minor contract is well within reach.

Say South has xx Jxxx QJx KQxx. If North passes 3 (or 2 if West bids 2), what is South meant to do? Pass of course, as North didn't double for takeout, but now N/S have missed a minor suit contract. Maybe South has xx Kxx Qxx KJxxx, and same story but now 5 seems like a great contract!

Yes you might say South probably has more HCP in hearts for the 1NT bid, but the thing is, that's not guaranteed. Sure if South is loaded in hearts, you can now consider defending 2X or 3X. If you're not defending a doubled heart contract, that's OK, you can still play in a minor suit partial - North's takeout double doesn't force your side to a game. You must compete.
June 27
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Just be a bit careful about designing or following these type of rules. It's much better to exercise your judgement rather than to apply some mathematical forumlas.

On this hand, I'd just be thinking as South that I probably have 2 trump tricks, A, and might be possible to get a diamond (or spade) ruff/overuff, and partner has opened the bidding, so I would be happy to make a penalty double.

As for North's bid over 3, see comment below.
June 27
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100% North. Playing a convention shouldn't mean you forget about judgement. Four trumps is too huge. Say partner has clubs. You have 3 red suit losers, so partner has Qxxxx and AQxxx and game has chances. Sure partner might have KQxxx and there are 4 top losers, but in that case, perhaps 4 is cold. I think it's just a very fine line, because quite often, South will be evaluating based on 3-card support and South may need more to raise to 4.
June 18
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That's a bit deep Kate, isn't it? I wouldn't always re-open with 3244 and Hx in hearts, and if partner has three hearts we may still have nine tricks in NT.
June 18
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I would definitely respond as North if my partner opened 1.
June 15
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If anything, it's the other way around? Matchpoints you hide the information to get a favourable lead but at IMPs it is absolutely important to get to the right contract.

But it doesn't make any sense. By opening 2NT:
- If you don't play puppet stayman then you lose out the 5-3 fit
- Partner has 4333 and decides not to Stayman (which is fair enough with 4333 and I'd usually wouldn't Stayman either) and once again we miss the 5-3 fit
- Partner has a bit club fit and we miss out on 5 or 6 contract
- There is no heart fit and we play in 3NT, but from the wrong side and the diamond lead goes through partner

By opening 1 followed by 3, we can handle any scenario and we can get partner to be the declarer if the contract is 3NT.
June 15
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I don't see much problem with opening 1, planning to make a jumpshift with 3?
As to the actual auction, North's 2 overcall makes it slightly complicated, but I think I would take the risk of reopening with a double (maybe partner has a penalty pass!), but if partner bids 2, I will remove it to 3. Partner probably won't be strong enough to jump in spades given the lack of negative double.
June 13
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Did the 3 bid in your Gazilli auction guarantee 5-5? What would you do with 54(31) and 19 points?
June 13
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I agree with 3NT. In these situations, especially in IMPs, it pays to just overbid a little to try for the game bonus. There may even be situations where 3 goes down but 3NT makes (imagine if partner has five diamonds)!

Sure we'd like to bid an inviting 2NT, but without that, I go for the high road. This “8HCP” hand is a really good one with two aces and a five-card suit. Contrast this to a 9HCP 4333 hand with no aces, I sure know which one I would want!
June 13
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Long ago I used to play it as splinter, but now definitely prefer natural. It just shuts out the fourth seat (i.e. if we bid 2 they can easily overcall 3m) and is just very effective.

A potential workaround solution now would be to play 1S-3NT as a heart splinter (so the replacement of 1S-4H splinter). Alternatively, you can also play 1H-3S and 1S-3NT as an undisclosed 10-12 splinter (next step asks with responses of Low, Middle, high), and 1S-4m and 1H-3NT(spade)/4m as 10-12 voids (but give up the 1S-4H void and put that in the 1S-3NT splinter).
June 1
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