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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Many have a way to show a “good pre-emptive raise to 4M”.

Bridge World Standard uses 3NT response for that, although I'll admit that BWS definition of that call doesn't really match OP hand:

" G. After Our Major-Suit Opening
Responder is unpassed except where otherwise stated.

Responses:
(g) 3NT or a triple raise is a weak preemptive raise,
the former showing some defensive strength;"

We use 4 (3N is probably a better choice as it leaves more room for opener to show slam interest below 4M), but our defintion is “enough high cards and shape that there might be a slam if opener has a good hand with the right cards.”

But I readily acknowledge that OP hand is so unusual that even 3N/4 “good pre-emptive raise” could easily not be enough to inspire partner to bid a good slam, since the right 8 count in his hand could be enough.

The alternative is starting with a GF 2 to try to focus partner's attention in the right places.
June 11
Craig Zastera edited this comment June 11
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Only because it is matchpoints, I double.
We have 22-24 HCPs, so it is “our hand” (in theory).

I do not think we will get many matchpoints if we defend (3) and they make it, so I may as well double.

Too bad they are NV so that even +100 may not be a very good score for us, but such is life–it will be better than +50.
June 11
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Should clarify that my vote for 2NT Lebensohl was with the plan of 3NT follow-up over partner's likely 3.
Really need OPer to distinguish 2NT then 3N vs. direct 3N in their methods.

I play the slow sequence weaker/more doubt so the opponents will be informed that we may be too high.

The alternative, a value showing 3 doesn't seem right with so flat a hand and the K.

BTW, we DO NOT play Lebensohl after a double of (2).
So in my methods, I actually have a natural, invitational 2NT available, which would (obviously) be my choice with this hand.

You might consider whether Lebensohl is really best over (2). When advancer has or s, he already has 2M vs. 3M to distinguish two strength ranges. That leaves only hands where Lebensohl has obvious benefit.

I know that there may be more arguments in favor of Lebensohl than that *IF* you have fancy agreements about distinction between advancing 3NT and 3 both directly and after 2NT Lebensohl start. Even having two ways to bid 3M can be useful *IF* you've discussed these sequences and know what the alternatives mean.
June 11
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I am confident that PASS would be correct at IMPs.

At matchpoints, “bad bridge” is often rewarded, so it is much more difficult to choose between PASS and 2.

A 2 level overcall, to me, suggests a 6 card suit, or at least a 5-bagger with enough “stuffing” to play like 6.
Also, 5332 shape is a turn-off for a 2 level overcall.

Finally, note those three small s. All too often, partner has the same and defense starts out with 3 tricks and maybe a trump promotion after that.
June 11
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After 3, partner will agree s via a 3 level cue-bid (3).
Then, hopefully, you can ask for keycards in s (via 4 Kickback).

This will allow you to discover the Q is missing.
Whether that means you shouldn't bid a grand is unclear.
This grand will be cold if s are 3-3.
If they aren't then you need to find the Q (with some possible squeeze chances too).

That makes a grand slam around 70% or so (maybe better).
June 10
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Agree with value of “stretching” a bit to respond 3.

But also a 2 natural positive can have slightly looser requirements as it doesn't steal much (if any) useful bidding room from opener.
June 10
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A “rule” (OK more of a “guideline”) that I have used for many years in this situation is that a flat 8 count should pass a 15-17 1NT playing matchpoints.

I don't think there is enough “special” about OP hand to justify an exception. The spots (a ten and two 9s) are a bit above average, but not spectacular.

I did some 1000 deal simulations to check this conclusion.

I assumed 15-17 HCP balanced hands opposite, except that
16-17 HCP hands with 5 s and 17 HCP hands with 5 s were excluded (these might open 1M).

I found that 15 HCP hands occurred 44.6% of the time, while the 16-17 HCP hands naturally constituted the other 55.4%.

I further assumed that if we invite with 2NT, opener will PASS with 15 HCPs (so we play 2NT instead of 1NT) but will raise to 3NT with 16-17 HCPs (so we play 3NT instead of 1NT).

1. On the 15 HCP hands (44.6%) I found declarer making
fewer than 8 tricks (so 1N beats 2N) on 382 deals:
1NT beats 2NT on 38.2%; 1NT ties 2NT on 61.8%
So using B-A-M scoring, 1NT beats 2NT: 69.1% vs. 30.9%

2. On the 16-17 HCP hands (55.4%) I found declarer making
fewer than 9 tricks (so 1N beats 3N) on 512 deals:
1NT beat 3NT on 51.2%; 3NT beat 1NT on 48.8%
So using B-A-M scoring, 1NT beats 2N: 51.2% vs. 48.8%

Weighting the above results by frequency gives:
1N scores 0.446 * 0.618 + 0.554 * 0.512 = 55.9%

So this supports the view that passing 1NT is best at matchpoints.

But at IMP scoring:
3NT wins by:
1.712 IMPs/deal VUL and 0.418 IMPs/deal NVUL
on the deals where opener has 16-17 HCPs.

This result justifies inviting game at IMPs if VUL but not if NOT VUL.
June 10
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Thanks. Changed by vote from “abstain” to 3NT (but obviously close between 3NT and PASS at matchpoints).
June 10
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Why does OP not tell us what partner's 2NT bid means?
That would be useful information for choosing our action.

Since (2), when not a strong hand, shows both majors, I think there is a (good?) case for 2NT showing some good hand with both minors because “double” could be used with a strong balanced hand.
June 10
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Thanks, Dave for saving me the trouble of having to write what you just wrote.
June 10
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I think 2 should show a better/longer suit.

Partner is expected to raise with :Hx as well as any xxx.
Those are good support for someone who has opened a weak 2 in another suit.

I would guess that 3NT will be the right contract 3 or 4 times for each time 4 is right.
June 10
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We play double here would be support (with extra HCP values), i.e. 3 card support with about the strength of a 3 jump raise.
So that is out on this hand.
That leaves PASS, 3NT, and 4 as the alternatives.
3NT seems like the best shot to me.
June 10
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I don't see where we were told much at all about what the bids meant in OP situation. That is part of the problem.

And I see nothing odd about 3 response to 2 denying a 4 card major.
Similar to, say, 1-3(invitational) denying a 4 card suit.
Bids that take up a lot of room must be narrowly constrained.
June 9
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Barry,
My observation is that very few top pairs use the “2 immediate 2nd negative” that you seem to be advocating.

The biggest drawback is that it wrong-sides contracts *and* (assuming you use 2NT response as a positive), it also often wrong-sides NT contracts.

That is a big price to pay for a bid which simply says “I don't have anything.”

I don't understand your dislike of a “waiting” 2. That call gives back half of what was lost by abandoning “strong 2s” in favor of weak 2s, etc. That is, after 2-2, opener with a major suit can rebid 2 or 2 and be in the same place he would have been after a strong 2 or 2 opening.
Further responding 2 instead of 3 or 3 allows for opener to show 2 ranges of strong balanced hands (e.g. 22-23 vs. 24+ via Koksish relay) without going beyond 2NT. This allows all the carefully designed 2NT responding tools to be employed for 22-23 and 24-25 point hands as well as 20-21.

But I certainly agree with you that no structure after a strong 2 opening (when that is the only strong opening) is really satisfactory. Maybe that's why there are so many variants.

Some improvement can be achieved by using both 2 and 2 as strong openings with carefully constructed methods based around that idea. Of course, that sacrifices other uses of the 2 opening.
June 9
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I believe that 2/1 GF methods work poorly when combined with “light opening bids.”

The problem is illustrated by OP hand here–“light” openers combined with 2/1 GF put too high a requirement on the 2/1 response, so responder is forever bidding 1NT with hands like OP responder here.

Better to play “sound” 1st/2nd position openers so that responder can make a 2/1 response with decent 12 HCP hands with a reasonable 5+ card suit.

Sure, it is still possible to occasionally get too high when opener is minimum and the deal is a big misfit, but that sort of problem is minimized by not opening feather-light hands in the first place.
June 9
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True, but this one isn't very “inferential” if you accept that a hand that responds 3 to a 2 opener (yuck) doesn't have a 4+ card major that needs to be shown when opener shows a one-suiter.

I have one partner who believes that the ONLY response allowed to 2 should be 2. His theory is that the 2 opener needs all the room possible to describe his hand, and the last thing he wants is for responder to gobble up precious bidding space showing some suit that opener doesn't care about.

Now I personally think that partner's views are TOO EXTREME, but I think he is on the right track.
I think responder should GENERALLY bid 2 unless he has some very specific, and narrowly defined hand type to show via an alternative response.

And the *higher* that response is, the more specific and narrowly defined it should be.
So a 2 reply to 2 doesn't waste much of opener's bidding space–likely *none* since he probably wasn't going to bid 2 himself.
So the hand types allowed for a 2 response (suit length/quality, hand strength, shapes allowed) can be a little bit wider-ranging than for higher “positive responses”.

So I do think that responding hands with a good enough 6 card suit for 3 that contains either a biddable four card major or a side ace should probably just start with 2 and wait to see what opener has got.

Often, opener will rebid in NT. Then, responder has a huge arsenal of bidding tools available to investigate the best strain and level.

And when opener instead has a 2 opener based around a long, strong suit of his own, the partnership will still likely be better off allowing opener to show this cheaply rather than having to start at the 3M level.
June 9
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Bridge is all about statistics (probabilities).

The aformentioned “LAW” tells you what is likely, not what might befall you on some particular foul lay-out.

Choose actions that will work more often than not. That's the best you can do.

I agree that here competing to 3 is more likely to get a good result than passing out 2.
June 9
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I picked 5, but the 3 3-suit stopper ask mentioned by OPer is an intriguing alternative.
June 9
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I bid 3 (invitational) and consider that a very conservative choice.
That is, I strongly considered a stronger (GF) action, either a jump to 4 or possibly 3 then next time.

I cannot comprehend anything less than 3 (e.g. 2) with this power-house hand. At IMPs, I would not risk stopping below game.
June 9
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It would have been nice if OPer had told us the range of his partner's 1NT since OP South hand is good enough for GF opposite even 10-12 variety.

But assuming 15-17 for partner's 1NT, then I think this hand needs to make a move towards slam.
After all, give partner:
AQx-xxx-AKxx-Qxx or AQxx-xxx-AKxx-xx (only 13 HCPs!)
and 6 is good.

5 seems like the right move.
June 9
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