Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Craig Zastera
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
My view is that in 2nd chair with s that are at best headed by QJ, most players would have 7 for a 3 opener. Perhaps :QJTxxx and a side ace would be possible too, so perhaps I should have included that in the simulation.
Sept. 2, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
As usual, it would be nice to know if 3 promises extra values (i.e. does “good/bad 2NT” apply here) or can just be a competitive noise with good shape but minimum values.

Anyway, 4 can't be too ridiculous with this hand.
Sept. 2, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I'm not a big fan of off-shape, out-of-range, or 5 card major 1NT openings.

But even to me, this hand seems like one where we need to open 1NT as “least of evils.”

The primary considerations for me are that I consider this hand definitely too weak to reverse (1 then 2), and also unsuitable for 1 then 2 (mainly, suit too short/weak).
Sept. 2, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
True enough. And take away the J, and now game is not so good (but does have play). All of which just shows there is a lot of guess-work here, and luck about unknowable details will play a big role in determing the result.
Sept. 2, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Does it make sense to define 4NT as a slam try but *not* have opener responder key-cards?.

I presume this 4NT is forcing. How is partner supposed to respond if not # of keycards?
Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I chose 4NT under the assumption that is keycard for s.

Presumably, every partnership has a clear agreement about what 4NT is on this auction type.

If key-card 4NT not available, this is very tough.
6 (or 7) could be lay-down, or partner might have e.g.
Jx-Kx-QJxxx-KQJx.
I'd be torn between 4 and 6.
Very hard to say what the probability is that partner has what is needed for 6 (or more) on this auction.
Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think this is just unlucky.
While I won't go so far as to say partner has too much for his raise to 3, he certainly has an absolute max.

Suppose his hand were instead: xx-AQJx-AKxx-KJx.
That is a fine, sound raise to 3 (not at all scraping the bottom), yet 4 has zero play opposite your hand.

The problem is that there is just not enough bidding space for accurate bidding. If partner is going to worry too much about your having near zero for your forced 2 advance, he is going to miss a lot of games when he passes or raises only to 3 and you have something.

The raise to 3 should ideally show around 17-18 “support points”, so that if you are at the top of your bid (7-8 points), you bid game.

Here, he has 20 support points, which is quite a bit above the expected 17-18.

You have 6 “points” (counting 1 extra for the 5th ). So you are a bit thin to raise 3 to 4, but close. In a sense, you actually have 7 “support points” because the doubleton turns out to be valuable. But normally, advancer doesn't count anything for a doubleton in the suit partner doubled, because it is expected that doubler will have two or fewer cards in that suit.
Here, that proved to be incorrect which also contributed to missing a cold game.

So, in my view, you have a max pass of 3 and partner is a bit too heavy for 3 (although that choice could be the winner if he catches you with “nothing”).
Sept. 1, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Best way to start with a problem like this is to run simulations consistent with the bidding and South hand.

The constraints are pretty well-defined. Could do even better if East's (favorable vul) pre-empting style had been specified.

Anyway, I assumed East has 7 s to the QJ, QJT, or QT with no more than 9 HCPs.

Partner can have a balanced hand of up to 11 HCPs or most any hand up to 9 points (but I eliminated weak 2s or higher pre-emptive openers). I disallowed 10-11 HCP hands that count to 13 or more “Goren points” (3/2/1 for void/stiff/doubleton) under the assumption that partner might have opened those.

I did a 2000 deal simulation with above assumptions.

3NT made slightly more often than 4–58% vs. 54%

However, variance in 3NT was huge. Sometimes as few as 2 tricks are available in NT, and sometimes up to 13.
3NT made fewer than 7 tricks on 18% of the deals, while 3 made fewer than 7 tricks on only 3% of the deals.

This variance resulted in 3NT and 4 being virtual ties at IMPs: NV, 3N beat out 4 by 178 IMPs, while VUL 4 beat 3NT by 22 IMPs (remember, this is over 2000 deals).

If this were matchpoints, 3NT would prevail over 4 with about 57% (BAM scoring).

Just the above would suggest (VUL at IMPs), it is a virtual toss-up between 4 vs. 3NT.

However, the added flexibility of 3, I think, makes that call the winner. By bidding 3, we will sometimes play in 3 (when partner is weak with modest s) and sometimes in 4 (when partner has a decent combination of support and values).

This flexibility should push the 3 overcall into the lead.
We will often reach 4 when it is a good contract and often stop in 3 when 4 would be too high.

Contrast this with 3NT which will almost always end the auction (for better or worse).
Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Anyone who opens 1NT with this hand should not be allowed to write “15-17” on their card.
Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Surprised I'm not the only one who prefers 1.
I just can't bring myself to suppress a powerful suit like this.

But seriously, at matchpoints there is a significant risk that the obvious 1NT will miss a 4=4 major suit fit when partner is not strong enough to Stayman.

After 1-1M, I am content with a raise to 2M with this 7 loser hand. If partner instead responds 1NT, I will pass.
Sept. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
To me, the interesting questions are whether to play in s or NT and how high.

I'm assuming methods where we can get to 4 or 5 declared by the strong side.

A simulation shows that s is much superior to NT both at matchpoints or IMPs and at the partscore or game level.

4 beats out 2NT handily at all forms of the game.
5 beats out 3NT also handily at all forms of the game.

5 beats 4 narrowly at matchpoints (it would be the other way around if the weak hand had to play the contract), but by good margins at IMPs.

Between the also rans, 2N vs. 3N, 2N is considerably better at matchpoints, while 3N squeeks out a narrow win at IMPs not vul and a clear win VUL.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I make this as between 3 and 4.

4 emphasizes the lack of a control and minimum nature of the hand. Also good to discourage with a stiff in partner's suit.

But 4 takes up a lot of room just to send a “negative” message, so I'm not a fan of using that call frequently.

So I decided to go with the more “neutral” 3: “partner, what do you have in mind.” If partner does anything other than a “serious slam interest” cue-bid, I'm out (in 4).

I hate 3 unless the partnership had a firm agreement that opener is supposed to use the “space” between 2 and 3 to bid out his pattern ALWAYS regardless of honor distribution and hand strength.
(i.e. 2N with 5=2=4=2, 3 with 5=1=4=3, 3 with 5=x=5=y, 3 with 5=3=4=1 and 3 with 6=x=4=y)
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Tempting to stretch to 2 so as to avoid playing in a 4-3 fit.

But one has to draw the (lower) line somewhere for minimum for a cue-bid even when trying to find best fit.
This one seems like it would be going a bit too low since after cue-bid, we would have to play at least 3 or 4m which could be too high.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The important question here is whether you play “Good/Bad 2N” by opener on this auction (you should, IMO).

If you do, opener's 3 rebid here over (2) shows a “good” hand, which is what you have. So if your partner passes (3), you probably should respect that.

Of course, if your 3 is “ambiguous” (i.e. might be just a minimum opener with long s or could be something like what you've got or even better), then you have to guess.

The kicker is the possibility of a fit. Of course, if partner had some values and four s and knew your 3 showed a “Good” hand, he probably would have doubled (3), which I would regard as “co-operative take-out” AKA “cards” or “DSI”.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
If I had that hand, I'd just bid 3NT over 3 as responder. 3NT is (slightly) better from responder's side anyway.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
This North hand is marginal (at best) for a 1 overcall directly over their (1). I guess it depends on partnership style.
My style would be to wait for a slightly better hand than this 5332 7 count so that our constructive bidding will not suffer from partner never knowing if I have anything when I overcall.
I think if you even changed the Q to the K I would go ahead and overcall 1 NV at matchpoints (but I'd need those nice 10s even then).

Also important to know if partner could have bid an immediate 3 to show both majors (presumably 5=5 or better).
If so, he is only 5=4 or 6=4 for his actual sequence.

So 5=4=1=3 seems likely, perhaps KQTxx-KQxx-x-Kxx at best.
That gives our side a play for 4, but it's far from cold and this is matchpoints.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Why would we be in a force?
If RHO had passed 2, we could bid 2NT or 3 and neither of those would be forcing, so it is difficult to see why RHO's (3) raise should suddenly force us to bid higher.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
On that construction, any return at all will (can) suffice to defeat 4 (although if you cash A, you must then switch to a ).
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
3 is a strong suggestion that 3NT may not be the right contract. If I bid it anyway, I better have great s.
Aug. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In my world, 3 here 100% guarantees at least 5 s.
Aug. 30, 2018
.

Bottom Home Top