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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Close between 4 and 5. Both are fit-showing (obviously?). The difference is that 5 says “I know it's right for us to bid to the 5 level, and I'm showing you my hand type so that *you* can decide whether to compete to the 6 (or 7?) level if necessary”, whereas 4 carries a similar message but one level lower (i.e. “I know it's right for us to bid to the 4 level, and I want you to consider going higher based on knowing my hand type.”).

At any other vulnerability, I'd go for 5 for sure, and perhaps it's still right. But imagine if partner *misfits* diamonds badly (as is not unlikely). Then, they may well not have a slam we might go down too much, so I pull back a notch.
April 13, 2018
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If one wants to miss major suit fits on part score deals in favor of pre-empting opponents and/or obscuring distribution, then perhaps one ought to play weak (e.g. 12-14) 1NT openers.

I believe Kokish said something like “The biggest advantage of weak NT is that it pre-empts the opponents. The biggest disadvantage of weak NTs is that it pre-empts your side.”

So (IMO) if a partnership decides to eschew pre-emption/obfuscation with balanced minimum openers by choosing to play 15-17 1NT openers and opening 1m with balanced minimums, then one ought to remain consistent with that philosophy by exploring for major suit fits at the 1-level. This would suggest typically rebidding 1 over partner's 1 response when holding four spades rather than 1NT. This allows for finding 4=4 spade fits when responder is too weak to bid again over opener's 1NT rebid.

Perhaps (I've not studied the issue enough to be sure), one might make an exception when opener is exactly 4=3=3=3 with 12-14 HCPs and go ahead and rebid 1NT instead of 1 in this one case.
April 13, 2018
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Another factor (well documented in Cohen's books) that adds to the trick total is when both sides have *two* 8+ card fits. Here, both sides have two *9* card fits. That ought to add two to the raw trick total, and so it does–18 total trump with both sides having two 9 card fits = 20 total tricks, the actual number (EW make 8 in either major, N/S make 12 in either minor).
April 13, 2018
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Thanks for posting the “real deal”.
I always like to hear actual details, even though I know that a single data point doesn't prove anything.
April 13, 2018
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One needs a partnership agreement.
In traditional “old fashioned” bidding, responder's 2 would be forcing (but not to game).

However, I believe that nowadays the vast majority plays 2 on this particular sequence (1-1-2-2) as non-forcing.
This allows responder to show a weak major 2-suiter without any real drawbacks because with a better hand he can instead rebid a (possibly artificial) forcing 2 instead. This is analgous to “new minor forcing” after a 1NT rebid.

However, consider some similar sounding sequences:
(a) 1-1-2-2
(b) 1-1-2-2

It would be possible to play 2 in “(a)” as non-forcing also, and I know at least one pair that does so–they use 3 rebid by responder as a possibly artificial forcing rebid.
But this (being almost a full level higher) does not work nearly as well as the semi-artificial 2 rebid by responder in the case where opener bids and rebids clubs.
So I believe that on auction “(a)” a large majority of pairs play that responder's 2 rebid is natural and a one round force.

In auction “(b)”, responder's 2 is “4th suit forcing”, may well not show hearts at all. Most play it forcing to game, but some allow the auction to stop below game.

An alternative to solving the problem of how responder is supposed to show weak major suit 2-suiters after partner opens 1m is to play that an immediate 2 response shows at least 5 spades, at least 4 hearts, and something like 5-8 HCPs.
April 13, 2018
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Your silly set of agreements leaves no good bid, so I choose 5 (inviting slam, asking for good trump I'm assuming).

With better agreements, I would just show a spade slam try with no shortness, for which I would use 4 “reverse Baze” as that saves a step vs. 4–you can use 4 for the spade key-card ask as that is plenty low enough (even 4 would be fine for keycard ask).

BTW, a 1000 deal simulation with this hand opposite random 15-17 HCP balanced hands with 4 or 5 spades and fewer than 4 hearts had 6 making (double dummy play and defense) on 600 of them.
This shows this hand is easily worth a slam try. In fact, one might simply try 4 (your keycard ask) and bid the slam if enough are held.
April 12, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 12, 2018
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I'll agree that 4 excludes a penalty pass of 3–that is one of the virtues of that call.
But I don't see why 4 excludes partner from bidding 4.
April 12, 2018
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Trying to achieve a result you don't deserve by calling the director and appealing to a technicality is disgusting.
Everyone can see that there are 13 cold, 100% tricks on the club lead.
Sure, claiming without comment or even calling a card from dummy is probably technically incorrect, but the contract is so obviously cold that the suggestion that this slight breach of protocol should actually result in losing the slam is insane.

And what kind of person would actually want to obtain an undeserved good result this way?
April 12, 2018
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I think South's choice of re-opening with a double was terrible. 4 seems like the obvious choice, and one could make a case for 4.
I like 4 after which 5 should be reached.
North's decision to pass the double is not so great either–I'd think he'd be choosing between a very conservative 4 or a slightly aggressive 5 (I like 5).
He might even have considered 4 over 3, but I think that is a bit too much.
April 12, 2018
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I wouldn't consider 2 with the West hand.
I would consider 3, an invitational fit jump, but would reject it because the hand and trump support are too weak
so that 3 may well be too high when overcaller is
minimum and doesn't fit clubs.
With a 4th spade and one less anything else, though, I would choose 3.

After the 2, I don't think I'd bid 2 with the East hand, although I do think I would consider it as there are a lot of potential red losers to get rid of, and West is entitled to (and often will) bid again over 2.

But I certainly wouldn't commit to game either (there are a lot of potential red losers to get rid of).
Thus, as East over partner's 2 (promising spade support), I would make some sort of game try with the East hand.
3 is the simplest though rather opaque for my tastes.
I think I like 3 (help suit), which would get our side to
3.
April 11, 2018
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This is the issue, isn't it? I think some (many?) play that this negative double does “guarantee” four spades. In that case, it seems clear that 5 must be some sort of move towards slam, possibly with long clubs (also).

But if the agreement is that 3 level negative doubles (or perhaps only of (3M)) do not “guarantee” four in unbid major, then 5 here must be natural, very long (6+) clubs, without four spades, that had hoped for 3NT.
But that style clearly makes it harder to explore for slam in the major as responder's options are more limited–i.e. only key-card ask or perhaps cue-bid of their suit.

It seems to me that at IMPs it must be better to play that the 5m bid here is a slam try with opener's major agreed because responder with the other hand type could simply have bid 4 the first time.
At matchpoints it is perhaps more debatable because of the big premium for playing 3NT when an overtrick would make that contract a big winner vs. 5m when both make.
April 11, 2018
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When my choice is between rebidding 1NT vs. raising to 2 with three card support, I definitely subscribe to making the choice based largely on whether my doubleton is weak (Jx or weaker) vs. strong (Qx or better). The quality of the 3 card heart support may also factor in.

However, when my choice is between rebidding 1 vs. raising to 2 on three (i.e. 4=3=4=2 or 4=3=2=4) with balanced hands, in my style the choice is based more on hand strength.
With very minimum hands, we raise immediately.
But with extras, we rebid 1, planning to show heart support next. This sequence requires 14 HCPs minimum but could be considerably stronger. The somewhat wide range is OK because:
(a) if we later (3rd call) bid 2, partner
still has a spare level with which to
re-invite (e.g. 3) so that we can then
narrow our range (pass with e.g. 14-15 or
bid4 with e.g. 16-7)
(b) with a very very good hand, we have the option
of jumping in hearts (to 3) at our 3rd turn
This would be probably 18 HCPs.

This style is useful in allowing opener to give more accurate description, but it does suffer from the problem of occassionally playing in a 4=3 heart fit when a 4=4 spade fit exists (i.e. opener raises to 2 with a minimum hand and 4=3=(2=4 or 4=2) shape, and opener with some minimum responding hand with 4=4 majors has to pass).
April 11, 2018
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After 1-1-?:
with 4=3=3=3: 1NT
with 4=2=3=4: generally 1
rarely 1NT (only if spades were very weak)
with 4=3=2=4:
2: minimum hand with 3 decent hearts
1: some extras (say 14 HCPs or better)
1NT: rare, perhaps xxxx-Qxx-AQ-AJTx or such

After 1-1:
with 4=2=4=3: 1
with 4=3=4=2: 1 or 2 (as above)
April 11, 2018
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Leonard,
Your points are all well taken. I suppose at matchpoints 2 could be a winning misbid–that is, if it doesn't work it is surely your fault as partner can never place you with this good a hand. Still, if the misfit you sense is real, you will be the hero.
April 10, 2018
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The usual (and best) agreement for 4th chair 2M openings is more like 10-13 HCPs. And even that definition requires elaboration–if you are in the 12-13 HCP range, these will be “soft” points, e.g. KQJxxx-QJx-Qxx-Qx.
If you have a “hard” 13, e.g. KQJxxx-Axx-x-Kxx, it is better to just open 1.

With such agreements about 4th chair weak 2s, a raise to 3 here would be marginal but not insane as game would
be good opposite, e.g. KQxxxx-xxx-AQx-x.

It might be wise to play that new suit responses to 4th seat weak 2s are “help suit” game tries. In that case,
3 here might be worthwhile to discover when partner has an (unlikely) fitting perfecto
April 10, 2018
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Sure, I'd very much like to have more HCP strength for my Leaping 4, but I think it's still my best shot here.

BTW, I play this 4 as forcing, so more strength would be very nice indeed and “usual” for this call.
Also, I don't play that LM requires 5=6: 5=5 is good enough with sufficient HCPs. With the honor dispersion of this hand, though, I would *not* bid 4 if only 5=5–I'd have to content myself with 2.
April 10, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 10, 2018
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Jay,
I did not mean to imply that I thought playing partner's PASS of (4) as non-forcing was crazy–that's why I used the word “questionable.”

I only meant to say that *if* partner's pass of (4) is non-forcing, then his double simply cannot be “pure penalty” because if it were he would then have no way to invite you to bid on without committing to playing at the 5 level.

Further, if the partnership deems it essential to have a pure penalty double available here (I do not), then it needs to play the PASS as forcing (thus incurring the risks that you point out when we have bid on minimal combined values).
April 10, 2018
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This hand will likely require room to investigate (and even that might not be enough), so I would start with 2NT to establish a GF in spades as quickly and cheaply as possible and hope to gain some useful info via partner's rebid (BTW, in our version of Swedish Jacoby, partner's jump rebid of 4 would show a 5 card (club) suit headed by 2/3 top honors in a hand with not too much overall extra values).
April 10, 2018
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Your 4 next round almost certainly will not be interpreted as shortness in clubs. Most likely (depending on what partner rebids over 2NT), your 4 follow-up will simply be interpreted as a cue-bid, perhaps one with serious slam interest if you also had a (non-serious) 3NT call available.

However, after starting with 2NT, it is likely that I will still be able to bid *5* next time as an Exclusion Ask should I decide that is the best option (BTW, it is not clear to me whether an immediate jump to 5 over partner's 1 opening would even be Exclusion unless we have a clear agreement to that effect).
April 10, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 10, 2018
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I play immediate 3 level jump shifts (e.g. 1-3) as natural and invitational and would probably have chosen that call with this hand (although it's not ideal because of the good four card second suit).
But without that agreement, why wouldn't this be a delayed jump to 3 showing a natural invite? 2 seems out of the question as that is almost a demand for partner to pass (i.e. a weak hand with long hearts).
The alternative of 2NT (OK on strength) seems wrong as we will routinely miss 6-2 heart fits (and even 6-3 heart fits if partner is too weak to commit to game).
April 10, 2018
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