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All comments by Craig Zastera
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P.S.
I won't be replying for a week or so to this or any other posts.

This is not because I am sulking over the massive rejection of my opinions, but because I am happily up at the Penticton, B.C. regional perpetrating my follies on REAL DEALS.
June 13
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It appears that some (most?) of the opposition here is focusing on how “light” the 1 opener might be–many seem to feel that the deal likely belongs to N/S.

My advocacy of the usefulness of FP (by opener over (3)) here is based on the opposite view–this hand definitely belongs to E/W by HCPs, perhaps only slightly, perhaps substantially. I actually expect the opening side to typically have 22-23 HCPs.

Therefore, increasing E/W's descriptive options via employing a FP (FP certainly does this) is likely to be useful as opener might want to be able to differentiate “light” shapely opener's not wishing to defend at the 3 level (4 or 4) from *game invites* (pass, then 4 or 4), or maybe even other options) from minimum relatively balanced hands that don't want to suggest going further (DOUBLE).

I will note that a “light” minor suit 2 suiter hand type for opener actually *benefits* from FP treatment, as with that hand type (say xx-x-KQxxx-KJxxx), he can bid 4 over (3) and partner will know that this is just competitive.
Otherwise, it would be hard to differentiate between a “light” 2-suiter vs. one wanting to invite game.

Perhaps I complicated the issue by putting opener in 3rd chair (I actually took this problem from another post and left the set-up unchanged).

If you want, just imagine the 1 opener in 1st chair:
1-(1)-2NT-(3)-?? with opener to rebid. This obviously makes no difference at all for responder–the 2NT jump is natural & invitational, hence shows less than an opening bid whether responder is a PH or not.
All it does is eliminate the (apparently great) fear that 3rd chair 1 opener is significantly “light.” Personally, I don't open very light 1m in 3rd chair, so that isn't much of a concern for me.

I want to emphasize that my advocacy of FP here is ONLY under the exact given conditions–MATCHPOINT AND favorable vulnerability.
I would NEVER advocate this at IMPs (can't afford to double them into game), and it is doubtful even at matchpoints at (most) other vulnerabilities (possibily still OK at BOTH VUL since the +200 hope is still there, but less good because we risk -200 by bidding 4m).

BTW, even though not stated in the post spawning my post here, I expect the (PH) (3) bidder to have support, else 3 makes no sense to me.
I take his bid as some sort of “fit bid” or at least a lead-directing raise. Not expecting it to be particularly strong in HCPs.

I also want to mention the (only in my view) downside of playing opener's pass as forcing here.
The worst hand type for this treatment (assuming 3rd chair) is when he has a slightly light (say 11 HCPs) relatively balanced opener, something like:
xx-Jxx-KTxx-AKxx
With FP, he either has to double (3) with this hand to discourage further bidding *OR* decide with both minors and all his strength there, he wants to invite further competition (thus, PASS and accept partner's decision to either double or compete to 4m).

He (and partner) might get this decision wrong–perhaps doubling when they can make (it is hard to imagine that competing to 4m could be wrong if (3M) makes, but E/W might not figure to go to 4m).

Still, FP gives opener's side many more descriptive options. Giving up the one of defending (3M) undoubled at these conditions seems a small price to pay since it is unlikely to be the best choice anyway.

Finally, for those not knowing the original post where the problem was for *responder*, responder's hand was:
AQx-xxx-QJx-QJxx
and the question was what call he should make when (3) is passed around to him. I think it is obvious that the answer is very strongly affected by whether one thinks his partner's pass of (3) was forcing or not–if so, competing in a minor, exactly how I'll not say here, seems clear.
If partner's pass was NF, *I* think responder should pass (3) out here, although quite a few advocated double.
I think those respondents are closet FP believers because it is hard to see what about this hand would justify double if pass is an option–that is, if one would double instead of passing with *that* hand, might as well play FP since it is hard to imagine a worse defensive hand consistent with the 2NT bid.
June 13
Craig Zastera edited this comment June 13
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Just because East happens to be in 3rd seat doesn't mean he doesn't have a full opener.

Here are some facts:
(1) EW definitely have the balance of power

(2) EW can certainly make at least 2NT and/or 3m,
so they have +110/+120 coming to them on offense

(3) the opponents (N/S) are VUL, so defeating (3) by
one tricks DOUBLED (+200) vs. undoubled (+100) will
swing a full matchpoint vs. every table where E/W
are allowed to play in 2NT or 3m for +110/+120/+130

(4) if N/S can make 3 or 3 (not too likely),
-140 for E/W will be worth very few matchpoints.
So doubling risks very little in terms of
matchpoints since -730 will (likely) be little
worse than -140.

Thus, it is a good bet to double (3), if E/W
choose to defend, even if not quite sure they
can beat it.

(5) North (the (3) bidder) is a passed hand, so he
is unlikely to hold an extremely long/strong suit
or he would have opened 1/2/3.

All the above suggest that it is wildly unlikely that E/W's best course at this point is to defend 3 undoubled.

This argues for treating East's pass of (3) as forcing–suggesting interest in bidding higher (likely 4m), but willingness to defend (3X) if that is West's choice.

This is very useful because in general East doesn't want to bid at the 4 level unilaterally ahead of West unless he has a *very* strong and/or shapely (i.e. high ODR) hand.
At most, he might like to pass to suggest further competition.

Another benefit of FP here is that it allows East to differentiate between a *light shapely* opener with little defense by bidding 4 or 4 directly over (3) vs. a slightly better hand that wants to invite game in a minor
which would start with FP of (3), then if West doubles, pulling to 4 or 4 as a game invite (pass and pull strong)

Thus, the FP here functions much like “good/bad 2NT” in allowing east to differentiate between mere competitive 4m calls vs. game invitational ones on all hands with shape
and high ODR (i.e. not interested in defending 3X.)

So we can see that treating pass of (3) as forcing gives East a lot of additional flexibility that he otherwise would not have.
And the cost is only giving up the option of defending (3) undoubled–an option that is highly unlikely to be best given the vulnerability and form of scoring.
Seems like a good trade off to me.
June 13
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He could have as few as 11 HCPs in a balanced or semi-balanced hand, or even 10 HCPs with a minor 2-suiter.
That's about as low as I'd go.

Note that is sufficient to ensure our side has at least slightly more than half the deck, as the 2NT response absolutely promises at least 11 HCPs (and a quacky 12 would not be a big surprise).
June 12
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I say the 1NT response after the (1) overcall shows something like 8-10, although I could imagine bidding it with a great 7 HCPs (you know, good spot cards, etc.)

With less (6-7), just pass. With 11-12: 2NT.

Doesn't matter whether the NT responder is a passed hand or not since all these calls show less than an opening bid.
June 12
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This is crazy.
2NT should be unaffected by whether the bidder is a passed hand or not.

The 2NT response to 1m in competition is INVITATIONAL.
Thus, by definition it shows LESS THAN AN OPENING BID.

Therefore, it is irrelevent whether or not the 2NT bidder is a passed hand, since that call explicitly shows a hand of less than opening strength, i.e. 11-12 HCPs.
June 12
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I think doubling and then passing 1 is poor.
This is a NT balance–close between immediate 1NT vs. double then 1NT.

I'm OK with a (perhaps) slightly over-strength 1NT balance due to the lack of a full stop and 4333 shape.

If 15 HCPs is actually included in your agreed range for the balancing 1NT (over 1), then I can't imagine any alternative to that choice.

If, as for me (and many, I think), the balancing 1NT is supposed to be limited to 14, then perhaps this hand would be OK to double then bid 1NT as it does have some redeeming “ten spots”.
June 12
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Many play that “2/1 GF” allows the possibility of stopping in 4m occasionally. Many do not.

That “safety valve” (possiblity of playing 4m) I think is useful in avoiding bidding hopeless games (or requiring too high a minimum for 2/1 response and/or opening bid).

If partnership allows 4m, it is a bit safer to make an immediate splinter raise on hands like this, although there can still be problems as the auction is usually too high to sort out strength, stoppers, etc.
June 12
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I posted this auction with exact same conditions (matchpoints, they only are vul) as a “general poll” with the question:
“should this pass (over (3)) theoretically be defined as forcing, assuming a practiced expert partnership, good agreements, etc.”

Although I think forcing is reasonable, the vote was something like 197-1 for “non-forcing” (I wasn't the one–I abstained).

Interestingly, though, I think there is some inconsistency with that in the vote here. Although most here did choose “PASS” (certainly consistent with the vote), a fair number chose “DOUBLE” (even me, but I apologized for it).

IF you think partner's pass of (3) is not forcing, I can hardly imagine a LESS APPROPRIATE hand than this one for you to voluntarily double. You have shown 11-12 HCPs in a balanced hand. You might be expected to have at least a little something, maybe a fair amount, in the suit.

But you actually have :xxx together with the minor QJs with length–not too good for defense.

So if partner's pass really is NF and suggests he is content to defend (3) undoubled, KNOWING you have 11-12 balanced with at least s stopped, I see absolutely nothing about this particular hand that would justify choosing to double voluntarily in spite of that.

Sure, the matchpoint logic of the bidding and vulnerability strongly suggest “DOUBLE” as a good tactic here:
* our side must have majority of HCPs
* -1 turns +100 (likely bad for us) into +200 (good)
* -140 if they can make (3) is unlikely to be worth
much for us, so little to lose.

But that is just the argument in favor of saying that we can't pass out (3) undoubled. But the vast majority disagree–they think we can do that. And if we can, surely this hand must be one where we should?
June 12
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I'd like to ask a related question to those who advocate the “lead directing” interpretation for this double and (most) doubles of artificial bids (e.g. Jacoby transfers, Stayman):

Are these doubles to be taken as LEAD DIRECTING and
nothing more,
OR
do they suggest/hint/invite the possibility of
our side (i.e. doubler's partner) COMPETING in the
suit doubled?

That is, is partner of doubler invited to compete in
that suit with a fit? Or is the double “for the lead”
only with no suggestion that partner should consider
competing in that suit (with anything less than a really
extreme hand, of course)???

Or does it depend on vulnerability (e.g. if NV, competing
would be more attractive).
June 12
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Michael,
While I don't want to debate whether OP (me) auction is forcing, I have to disagree with your “principle” that one determines if a Pass is forcing by asking whether our previous bidding has “created a force beyond the present level.”
While I'll agree that a pass should be forcing in those cases, this “rule” does not cover the most common FP situations in which the opponents have bid *beyond* our (usually game) contract.

For example, say we have bid strongly, GF, to 4 (fit).

Now an opponent bids (5). Our previous bidding has not “created a force beyond the present level” (our previous bidding was forcing only to 4).

Yet, this is the prototypical forcing pass situation–we have voluntarily bid a game on power with expectations of making, and the opponents have bid above that game. A direct pass over their (5) is therefore forcing.

One could even have lesser criteria to establish FP.

In fact, in Kit Woolsey's book “Matchpoints” he has a small section on forcing pass. He says that a *Limit Raise* by our side is sufficient to establish a FP situation for us.

He gives (among others) an example auction like:
1 - (1) - 3 (LR–quaint :-)) - (4)
PASS?

and says this pass by opener should be forcing.
(I'm not at all sure that most would agree with this nowadays, but that is definitely what his book recommends).
June 12
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more like 11-12. With 10 I'd be comfortable with 1NT.
June 12
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My partner's do not open 1 of a *minor* in 3rd seat on “8,9,10”. Opening very light 1M (i.e. a major) is very different.

Sure a 3rd seat 1m can be slightly lighter than the minimum for a 1st/2nd seat 1m, but only slightly.
The reason you shouldn't open 3rd seat 1m *very* light is because if you do you can't handle very common developments such as:
P-(P)-1m-(1)-DBL-(P)-???
June 12
Craig Zastera edited this comment June 12
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I should have specified we play strong NT–I often forget to do that as 15-17 1NT is so “standard” in US.

Further, we don't open all balanced 12 counts–generally balanced hands need to count to 22 (HCPs + Quicks + length in two longest suits), so 4333 12 counts would usually need 3 quick tricks to be 1st/2nd chair openers (might shade this a little with good spots, etc.).

But the PH 2NT absolutely guarantees at least 11 HCPs, and a flat, “quacky” 12 would not be uncommon.

I'm not saying that any of these points should change your answer, though–I posted this question because I wanted to know how many would think this pass should be forcing at matchpoints at least (you know, to “protect our equity” since we can surely make at least 3m).

Anyway, sorry I neglected to specify possibly relevent info like strong NTs and “sound” 1st chair openers.

I do agree, though, that a 3rd chair 1m opening will never be extremely light (as 1M might be).
June 11
Craig Zastera edited this comment June 11
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I believe 5 here should in fact show support–I don't think it pays to start looking for a suit to play in at the 5 level.
Yes, I'm sure you can construct hands where a natural, non-forcing 5 would be useful, but I will claim that my alternative interpretation will occur far more often (as here) in practice and be far more useful.

But keeping with the terms specified, I choose 5 (this bid also promises support) since it wouldn't take much for us to have a grand (xxx-AKxxxx-Ax-Qx), although a “fit non jump” 5 would obviously be much better–not so much because that would allow us to stop in 5, but because it would clue partner in to the extreme value of the Q–in fact, if he bid 5 over 5, I would be tempted to bid 5NT GSF.

I guess 5 here is an OK alternative.
I suppose partner won't think this denies control. Two reasons–at this high a level, there is not room for such subtlety (particulary when 5m bids are not available as “fit showing”), and second he will probably have enough s to know we have to be short (but that's not 100%–they could have 11).

But do I really want to force poor partner to know to raise to 6 when he is looking at, e.g.
xx-AKxxxx-Kxx-Qx ? (that was meant as a rhetorical question)

At matchpoints there is much to be said for the unscientific bash of 6.
Often, there won't be a legitimate grand, but we might make 13 tricks when
they lead a instead of a (heck, we might even make 6 when it can be beaten with a lead)
June 11
Craig Zastera edited this comment June 11
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Gee, Leonard
you let us off the hook easy by defining your range for a balancing 1NT when their (1) is passed around to us as extending up to 15 HCPs.

I think most limit balancing 1NT over (1m) to 14 HCPs (but may go higher for 1NT balance over 1M), with a lower limit of 10 or 11 HCPs.
In that case, this would be a harder problem–i.e. whether to balance with an overstrength 1NT or to start with a DOUBLE planning to make a minimum NT rebid (hopefully, 1NT!).
June 11
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I don't have a strong disagreement with your preference for lead-directing or your reasons for that preference.

However, a counter-argument is that with a marginal strength take-out hand it is much safer to double the artificial 3m response than it is to wait for them to get to 3M (if indeed they stop there) and then come in with a double–if we do that, we *have* to commit to playing a high level contract.

Doubling the artificial 3m for take-out may sometimes uncover a good fit for our side (in which case we can compete, perhaps even to a high level) without much risk.

This all is particularly true when their suit is s where we might be able to compete in s if 4th hand can show take-out shape by doubling responder's 3m.
June 11
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But you also have to assume that 2NT bidder has to have s stopped, else his bid makes little sense.
June 11
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I don't play Bergen, so I'm guessing which minor JS shows the Limit Raise (I guessed 3) because this hand strikes me as a perfect LR.

Having so many of our HCPs in the doubleton AK is not a good thing.

In my methods, we use 2NT to show a LR or better (with 4+ card support), so I don't have to decide initially whether my hand is a LR or better than that.
June 11
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Right, Richard about the s.
There is a similar post where the (2) was Drury. Here, the location of your honors is an additional “plus” factor. Geez–maybe I should be making a slam try :-).
June 11
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