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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I would expect a weak hand with (typically) a 5 card suit.
With a weak hand and a 6 card suit, I would (usually) jump to the 3 level.
8 hours ago
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Because 5 is a DEMAND to bid slam if partner has a control. You are saying that lack of a control is the only possible reason (based on previous bidding) why slam might not be cold.
Do you think OP hand is that good?
Could opener hold, e.g. K-xxx-AKQJx-AQJT ?
If you think so, then OP hand is not good enough for 5 as partner would bid 6 with that hand.
Dec. 6
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It would be nuts to interpret 4NT directly over partner's natural NF 3NT as any kind of ace ask. It is simply a NF “quantitative” NT slam invite.

It is possible that 4NT bidder was expecting “pass” or 6NT (or maybe 5NT), but it is hard to imagine what else the actual 5 could be but “showing # of aces while accepting the invite provided we have enough aces”.

Now I happen to think that North, having invited slam and gotten an acceptance *with sufficient aces* (only one missing) is not supposed to try to sign off below slam.

But that means only that the “hesitation” before 5NT might provide the UI that the partnership is NOT missing two aces but that North still has doubts about slam.

Sof if South had raised 5NT to 6NT after North's hesitation, then *THAT* IMO would be making illegal use of the UI from the hesitation.

But South did not do that. Instead, he ethically ignored the “UI” transmitted by the hesitation and assumed that North's 5NT must be a sign off based on too many aces missing for slam. So he passed as requested.
Dec. 5
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The difference between 5 and 5 is:
5: I do not have a control;
I have a high honor
I'm strong enough to invite you to bid slam

5: BID SLAM IF YOU HAVE ANY CONTROL!!
If you have 1st round control, you can try for a grand (or bid one)

Note: I am not saying OP hand is not good enough for 5. I am just making the point that 5 100% demands that partner bid at least 6 with s controlled
5, while also denying a control, merely invites slam–it is still possible to stop in 5 even if partner has s controlled. In fact, over 5, partner could bid 5 (last train) to indicate that he does have a control but is not sure he as enough to commit to slam.
Dec. 5
Craig Zastera edited this comment Dec. 5
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I disagree. He's already GFed with his 3 JS, so with support, I expect 4 at his 3rd turn. 3 would not be a clear raise.

Give opener x-Ax-AKxxx-AQxxx which I regard as extremely minimal (perhaps sub-minimal) for his GF 3 JS and slam is nearly cold.
With significantly more than I've shown with my sequence so far and a HUGE K, I owe him another bid. 5 seems like the obvious choice.
Dec. 5
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You've picked the worst conditions for a “light” overcall–VUL at IMPs.

Still, I regard this hand as close to the border-line.
Change the s to QT762, and I definitely would overcall 1. But the actual hand, not quite.

If the conditions were matchpoints, NV, it would now become purely a tactical question as to whether 1 on the ratty suit has more to gain than to lose. It has maximum pre-emptive value (for a 1 level overcall), so I think I would risk 1 NV at matchpoints.
Dec. 5
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Assuming 2 established a GF, 2 now, as 3 would promise a solid suit.
Of course, if 2 is not GF, then is a 2 rebid even forcing? I don't know as I don't play that way.
Dec. 4
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Lebensohl seems obvious in any partnership that plays Lebensohl advances of doubles of weak 2s.
Thus, 3 now but probably remove 3 to 3. Partner will then know we aren't strong (else wouldn't have “accepted” the Lebensohl transfer to 3), and might figure out our hand type.
Dec. 4
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continuing with 3 is not a committment to bidding game. It is merely completing our hand description and showing sufficient values that game is still possible if partner has the right cards.
Dec. 4
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I guess this problem was kind of a dud. I wanted to find out how many would choose a 1 overcall. Clearly, not too many (although a few more at least apparently would find it at least marginally acceptable). Personally, I do not find a 1 overcall at all clear (I probably would not have) because I think a better suit is needed when making an (unusual for me) four card overcall.
But on the “real deal” we were bamboozeled because RHO had opened a 9 count devoid of any quick tricks (!). The full deal was:

872
K963
KT
A543
K654 Q9
85 QJT7
AJ7543 Q98
7 QT86
AJT3
A42
62
KJ92
both vul. Bidding:
West North East South
Pass Pass 1(!) Pass
1 Pass 1NT all pass
As you can see, our side can make 2NT, 3, 3, or 3.
Still, you might think defending 1NT against VUL opponents shouldn't be so bad. Double dummy, we can actually take 10 (!) tricks on defense.
But partner chose what I regard as a horrible lead–6.
I thought that might have been from :Q86, so inserted my T at trick 1. East won his Q after which he can run the s for -1 at worst. But he gave us another chance and returned his 9 to dummy's J (!). I won and shifted to a low , J, A. Now partner strangely returned his 2. I won and perhaps should have found a black card, but I was mesmerized by East's bidding and couldn't figure out that partner had so much stuff remaining. So I returned another . Now declarer has 7 tricks (and a zero for us), but we managed to discard poorly enough on the run of the s that he actually managed 9 (!) for an even rounder zero.
Dec. 3
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Even AQT84-QJ84-2-AK2 would be too good to pass VUL at IMPs. Couldn't pard have e.g. Kx-Kxx-xxxx-Qxxx (or even more, e.g. T and/or J)?
Dec. 3
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This hand is plenty good enough for a TO double using Kaplan's rules (from “Competitive Bidding in Modern Bridge”).

That book also makes the excellent point that “when partner makes a take-out double, he generally does NOT want to hear a NT advance” because TO doubles are often “shape based” (as OP example) so want to hear a suit.

In Kaplan's book, a 1NT advance of a TO double showed 9-11 HCPs with suitable shape and stopper(s). This standard has eroded over the years, but I still like 8-11.
I believe BWS for 1NT advance of a TO double is 7-10 HCPs and a stopper in their suit.
Dec. 3
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Thanks for the replies. One hand proves nothing, but here is the full deal from which this problem was taken:

754
Q95
Q74
K854
AT32 KJ86
T7642 K83
J9 63
93 A762
Q9
AJ
AKT852
QJT
My partner opened the South hand 1NT (15-17) in 3rd chair and this was passed out. He won the lead in hand and immediately “ran” the J. But RHO won the A and switched to s which West continued, holding partner to 8 tricks. On this deal, 8 tricks (only) are always there in NT because of the even split. But in s, +130 is easy for a potentially better matchpoint score.

Had partner opened 1 and rebid 2NT over my 1NT response, I would have had an automatic raise to 3NT and a dismal result (assuming no bad defense–one pair in 1NT made 9 tricks, but the only pair that bid 3NT was -1).

At the table, I thought partner's 1NT opening was both an underbid and a misbid. But I've done some simulations which suggest 1NT is not so bad. I looked at this hand opposite various balanced and semi-balanced responding hands with 7 HCPs (which would surely bid game over a 2NT rebid).
I found that when responder had 4-5 s, 3NT was *still* below 50% (but very close). When responder had 4-5 s, the make percentage for 3NT dropped into the 30s.
And when responder had 7 HCPs, balanced with no 4+ card major, 3NT was below 30%.
Thus, if opening 1, the simulations suggest a 2NT rebid would be reasonable only over a 1 response. Over 1 or 1NT, a 3 jump rebid would probably be best, and even over 1, a 2NT rebid might well propel the partnership too high when responder is border-line.
Dec. 3
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The ACBL Alert Procedures document says that an “announcement” is “one word or short phrase.”

The example given in that document for after a 1NT opening showing 15-17 HCPs is that partner should announce “fifteen to seventeen”.

But in the ACBL AlertChart document, it says that after partner's natural NT opening one should:
”State the agreed range for all natural 1NT openings“

So how to apply the above ACBL guidance to OP situation?
It might be right to say ”fifteen to eighteen“ omitting any further details until asked.

Or, maybe ”fifteen to eighteen minus“ or ”fifteen to a bad eighteen“ would still meet the ”short phrase“ requirement and be considered as describing only the ”agreed range.“

But can you go ”all in“ and say ”fifteen to seventeen and also eighteen if exactly 4333 shape“ ? That doesn't seem like a ”short phrase to me“ (but who knows really?), and also it goes beyond just a statement about the HCP range as it talks about hand shapes as well.

If you were to allow that, then should a partnership that has some additional explicitly agreed rules and requirements about their 1NT openings, say pertaining to if (and/or when) a singleton (A,K,Q only by ACBL regulations) would be allowed? Maybe they never open 1NT with a singleton, or allow only stiff K, etc., etc. If they have such hard-and-fast partnership rules, should *those* be part of the announcement? I don't think that could be done within the ACBL announcement regulations since that goes way beyond stating ”the agreed range“, but then so does mentioning ”only 4333" for 18 HCP hands.
Dec. 3
Craig Zastera edited this comment Dec. 3
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“15-17” would clearly be wrong since they (apparently) open 1NT with all 4333 18s.

I'm somewhat unsure whether “15 to a bad 18” is right and explain the specifics of what a “bad 18” means to you (always and only 18 with 4333 shape) if asked, or if the announcement should just be “15-17 or 18 if 4333” since the partnership has such a specific definition of what a “bad 18” is for them.

I kind of like the latter as otherwise opponents might just assume “bad 18” is less explicitly defined and depends on opener's judgment (which apparently is not the case) so not ask for details. But I'm not sure whether the rules about the “announcment” allow for such extra verbiage unsolicited.
Dec. 3
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We play it as a CAB (control asking bid in the suit bid) just as described in “Pre-empts from A to Z” by Anderson and Zenkel.
We also use 3 response to ask for shortness (that idea from the same book).

Neither of the above come up often at all, but on the rare occasions when a suitable hand arises, they can lead to a good result found by few.
Dec. 3
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Playing Walsh style as we do, after 1-1 start, opener would normally rebid 1NT (2NT) with balanced 12-14 (18-19) HCP hands, even those with a (or even two) 4 card majors.
So the shapes you mention are not possible after 1 rebid.

1-1-1 shows an unbalanced hand.
He could be 4=4=1=4 which would rebid in NT (over responder's 1) even if the s were weak.
Otherwise he will have 5+ s, so will tend to rebid that suit lacking a stopper. Strong hands (e.g. 1=4=2=6 17 count) might jump (but with care since responder's 1 doesn't promise more than a minimum).
With 1=4=3=5, he might try a 2 rebid (or 3 if strong).
Dec. 3
Craig Zastera edited this comment Dec. 3
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You would alert 3 since it is a Jacoby Transfer which OP specifically stated was agreed over 2NT.

Presuming you have not discussed what 3 is over a 2NT opening, you have no idea what it is, so you should not alert. If the opponents *ask*, you would explain that you have not discussed this response, but that you play Jacoby transfers, hence you presume 3 is not natural.

I absolutely would not presume that because we play four suit transfers over 1NT, that the same would apply over 2NT. I play the 4 suit transfers over 1NT, but not over 2NT. For us, 3 (over 2NT) is simply a relay to 3NT, but I would not assume that (fairly unusual) interpretation without specific agreements.

My *guess* as to what 3 might mean given OP agreements would be “minor suit Stayman”, but I think it would be inappropriate to alert and explain it as that without ever having discussed it.
Dec. 3
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Playing Walsh style, 1-1-1-2 would be game-forcing with four s and 5+ s.
Invitational with same shape would bid 1-1-1-2-2-2.

The first sequence, 1-1-1-1 can be played various ways. We use it to show a hand that would like to bid NT (i.e. fairly balanced) but lacks a stopper. It could have strength for 1NT, 2NT (invite), or 3NT (GF). If opener has a stopper, *he* bids 1NT. Then responder can pass, raise to 2NT or to 3NT depending on strength.

Playing that style, 1-1-1-2 would be GF with four s and 5+ s. Invitational strength with the same shapes would bid 1-1-1-2-2-2.
Dec. 3
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1m-1-1N-2 is played as 4=4 majors invitational in most XYZ methods, so is an example of an invitation that does not go through 2.

In some xyz versions, 1x-1y-1N-2N would also be invitational. In the version I play, the immediate raise of 1NT rebid to 2NT denies length, while going through 2->2, then 2NT shows s. That way, partnership can get to 3 instead of 2NT when opener is minimum but has s (even when he opened 1 !).
Dec. 3
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