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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Although I play ELC only after I double a MAJOR and partner advances in s, I would think there would be a significant difference between playing ELC after a (1) opening vs. after a (1) opening.

Over (1), if you double with 4=5 majors and minimum range double, you can remove partner's 1 advance economically to 1.

But over (1), if you double with 4=5 majors and partner advances 2, it seems to me that rebidding 2 as “ELC” with a minimum range double and 4=5 majors is clearly unsound since partner may have little or nothing and we are way too high.
July 22, 2018
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Jan,
I don't understand your second remark as it would appear to contradict your first comment where you said that you play upside-down count “normally”.

But that contradicts your second remark where you say you give current standard count no matter how many cards you have previously played in the suit, which would imply that you give standard count even when you haven't played any cards in the suit previoiusly. ?
July 22, 2018
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Another way to say that is that you give “current standard count” when you have previously played a non-count card in the suit.

I believe it is usual among those who play “UDCA” to give “current standard count” when the 1st count card is the second card played in the suit.

I play “standard count” all the time (but upside down attitude), so I play “current standard count” also when my first count card is the second card I've played in the suit.

Thus, “upside down count” players and standard count players mostly give count the same way when their first count card is the second card played in the suit, whether they choose to call it “current standard count” or “upside down original count”, it amounts to the same thing.
July 22, 2018
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To me that hand is a perfectly ordinary 2 opener.

I would think that any partnership that plays that that is a normal 1st/2nd seat 1 opener ought to let the opponents know somehow that that is their style.

I'm not claiming that opening 1 with such a hand should be illegal or anything, just that it is sufficiently out of the ordinary that fairness should require letting the opponents know that you bid that way.
July 22, 2018
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I picked 1 because opening 2 with 2-suiters often leads to awkward auctions.

But no one can deny that this hand can make game opposite some very weak hands with which partner will not respond to 1.

That would be an argument in favor of 2, and I would not criticize that choice as it could be the winner.

I would not open 1 as that will inevitably lead to partner not knowing my shape (he will probably wind up thinking I have 6 s and 5 s).

The only upside of 1 vs. 1 is that it is slightly more likely that someone will bid over 1:
*if partner is short in s, he should respond even
with a very weak hand. But with 3+ s and a weak
hand, he can pass 1. But he is more likely to
pass 1 with a weak hand as he knows we have 5+.

* easier to overcall or balance over 1, so when partner
is very weak, more likely that an opponent will take
a call.
July 22, 2018
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Concerning (game) invitational bids with either minor (6+):
There are really two different types of hands suitable for such invites:
(a) Something like m:AQxxxx and out

For 3NT opposite this type, opener needs just
*one* fitting honor in responder's suit plus
3 “fast tricks” on the side.
So, e.g. Axxx-Axx-Axx-Kxx would be a perfect
“accept” opposite this type.

(b) a weaker minor, e.g. KTxxxx with an outside high card
entry (typically an ace).

For 3NT opposite this type, opener needs exceptional
support for opener's minor–2/3 top or Axxx or Kxxx
would be typical, but might risk 3NT with Axx and a
max with good tricks & stoppers on the side.

With this type, there is some ambiguity as opener
doesn't know where responder's side card is, so
sometimes there might be an unstopped suit.

Anyway, we actually have methods to distinguish these two different types of minor suit invites:
(a) We show this via “Walsh Relays”:
1N-2-2-2-2N-3/3
2 is ostensibly a Jacoby transfer, but responder's
2 rebid cancels that message and forces 2N.
Then, all responder's continuations describe
various different hand types (I won't go into
details of others), with 3 and 3 showing the
minor suit invite with a good suit and little else.

BTW, if opener wants to “super-accept” the 2
transfer (assuming responder has s), his only
way to do that is with 2.
That way, if responder really has some Walsh Relay
hand type, he continues over this 2 with any bid
from 3 on up just as if the relay had gone
normally.
If responder actually has s, he continues with
2NT.

(b) We show this type in two ways depending on which
minor responder holds:
i. with s: 2 as a transfer.
Opener bids 3 unless he has the “super-fit”
in s described above, in which case he
bids 2NT.

If responder is just weak with s, he passes
3 or converts 2NT to 3 to play.

If responder has the “bad suit invite”, he
raises 2NT to 3NT or passes 3 to play.

If responder has a slam try, he can show
major suit shortness with 3 or 3, or
continue with 3N (over 3) or 4NT, etc.

ii. With a “bad suit invite”, responder bids
3 directly in response to 1NT. This
sequence shows precisely this hand type and
no other.
Opener bids 3NT with the “super-fit”, else
passes.

To complete this minor suit structure, we have the following:
1. 1N-3 is s weak or strong (GF+).
Opener must bid 3.
Responder passes with the weak hand, continues
with a GF/slam try hand:
3M = shortness slam try
3N = mild slam try, no shortness
etc.

2. If responder has a single suit slam try in either
minor with shortness in the other minor:

He starts with 2, ostensibly a transfer.
Whether opener replies 2N or 3, responder
continues with 3. This says “partner, I have
a slam try in one minor with shortness in the
other minor.”

Opener (with possible slam interest) relays with
3 to ask which minor responder has, then:
3: I have s with short s
3NT: I have s with short s
(with s & short s and extra strength
responder can bid higher since 3NT
is passable).

This leaves the sequence 1N-2N.
We use this to show both minors:
(a) 5=5 weak or GF
(b) specifically 2=2=4=5 or 2=2=5=4 with enough strength to have some slam interest.

Opener replies 3 unless his s are longer than his s, whence he replies 3 instead.
* With a weak 5=5, responder passes.
* With a strong 5=5, responder bids his short major at the 3 level.
* With 2=2=(45) slam try, responder bids 3 with 2=2=5=4, 3N or higher with 2=2=4=5.
(when opener has replied 3, 3N must handle both)

With 3=1=(54) or 1=3=(54) GF hands, we respond 3M to the 1NT opener (jumping in the short major).

You might note that the above does not use 1N-2 as a “range ask.” That forces us to go through Stayman, then 2NT to invite in NT.
Not the best, I know.

Some partner's have suggested that all the above could be played with 2 still including the “range ask” as well as all the other hand types described above.

But I don't like this because opener's good hands for a “weak minor invite” are not necessarily the same as his “good hands (i.e. max HCPs) in general, hence including ”range ask“ in the 2 response compromises the integrity of having opener's ”super-accept" promise a very strong holding in s, not necessarily a max in HCPs.
July 22, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 23, 2018
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South does not have a terrible holding in s opposite a proper help suit game try.

Suppose North's hand were:
Axxx-KQxxx-xx-Ax

Now *that* looks a lot more like what one should expect for a “help suit” try in s.

Put that hand opposite South's actual one and 4 (or 4) looks pretty good even with the “wasted” K–likely to lose just 2 s and a .
July 22, 2018
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The fact that it is pairs and/or that N/S is non-vul does not change the meaning of 2 cue-bid. It just shows 3 card support and 10+ HCPs, possibly 4 card support with no shape.

I suppose with just 10 HCPs, it would be acceptable to downgrade with Q or J as part of those 10.

But downgrading this hand to a mere raise to 2 is going way too far.

First, it has 11 HCPs, so it has an extra HCP.

Second, it has spectacular spot cards in both majors–probably worth an *extra* point.

Third, almost all the HCPs are in aces and kings.
The one point that isn't (J) is accompanied by extraordinarly strong spots and in a long suit.

The fact that the hand is 4333 is no big deal–a cue-bid raise suggests not much shape.

In my view, raising to 2 rather than cue-bidding here is a gross misrepresentation of this hand's strength.
Often referred to as “masterminding.”
If it happens to work, great. But don't pretend that it is correctly describing your values to partner.
July 22, 2018
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This hand is (just) good enough to reverse, so do not choose the sometimes necessary but never pleasant alternative of opening 1 planning to rebid 2 over partner's 1 (you have a different problem if he responds 1 instead).

So here, just open 1 planning to rebid 2 over 1.
If, instead, partner responds 1, you will still reverse with 2, but now will have an easy 3rd bid (s) to describe your difficult hand perfectly.
July 21, 2018
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My experience is that “masterminding” by failing to show your actual values leads to bad results too often.

Just because West has opened the bidding does not make the kings automatically worthless.

South clearly has the values for 2, so he should make his normal bid so partner knows what he has. Plenty of time to minimize his hand later.

Further, depending on partnership agreements, the cue-bid should suggest this hand type–relatively balanced with only 3 card support. A 2NT advance can be used for good hands with 4 card support and some shape.
July 21, 2018
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We play a special defense when the opponents make any call 2 or below showing both majors.

It is a slight enhancement (or at least a slight modification) of Larry Cohen's method which can be found on his website.

The Cohen method applies only when their action showing both majors is X, 2, or 2 (so, not including 2).
His method is:
* 2 is GF with s
* 2 is GF with s
* 2N is Lebensohl. Then after 3:
. pass to play 3
. 3 to play
. 3 invites 3N with s (only) stopped
. 3 invites 3N with s (only) stopped
. 3N to play with both majors stopped
* 3 is invitational in s
* 3 is invitational in s
* DBL suggests interest in doubling them in (2!M)

We modify this slightly and extend to cover (2) DONT:
* We use DOUBLE to show both minors (at least 54)
(i.e. negative doubles)

* Over their DONT (2) showing both majors:
* DOUBLE is either s GF (stolen bid) or
competitive with both minors.
Opener assumes the latter, but then responder
with a GF can correct by biddng again.
July 21, 2018
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Patrick,
With regard to your “now or never” suggestion that I advance 2 immediately (or not at all), on actual hand that might have ended much worse for us.

Had I bid 2 directly, partner would have much less reason to “pull” to 2 as he would expect (hope for) a better suit (and perhaps a better hand).

As it went, he surmised that my s couldn't be too good given my failure to bid that suit immediately and therefore “guessed” to pull to 2. Of course, he had no winning action at that point if the opponents had not screwed up.
July 21, 2018
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In my view, North here has a good hand for PASSing the double with that call defined as showing a better hand than an immediate 2 (which is defined as North's weakest action).

North has a bit more than a minimum overcall but (IMO) not enough for a 2 game try. The “a bit more than a min” PASS seems just right.

Second, in my view “xxxx” is not appropriate for a “help suit” game try (if that is in fact the meaning of 2).
For me, HSGT shows something (Axx(x) or Kxx(x) would be ideal) in the suit such that minor honors opposite would be useful.

Third, having overbid already with 2, raising partner's NF 3 to 4 is really over the top, cementing North's 100% blame for this disaster.

Finally, and this is just a comment on OP's methods, I do not like ELC doubles over 1m–I think it is too important for doubler to be able to show a strong single suiter when he pulls advancer's 2 to 2 after having doubled (1).

Anyway, even with “ELC” as OP describes, I don't think that should apply to this North hand since he has no reason to pull a advance (so I think 1 overcall is clear).
July 21, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 21, 2018
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Seems like a case of too many CRAIGs posting bidding problems with “ELC” methods involved.

On my problem, my partner actually did double with (apparently) ELC in mind as the auction went:
(1)-DBL-(1)- P
(1NT)-P - (P) - 2
(P) - 2 -

This could have been a disaster as I held xxx-Kxx-Q9x-J9xx, and we could be -3 in 2 (or anything else as the opponents can make 8 tricks in all strains & 9 in s).

Fortunately, responder bid (2) and, although cold, declarer managed to go -1 and we reaped an undeserved “Top” (only + score N/S).

One N/S pair actually played in s–3X by South.
That was -1100.
July 21, 2018
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This hand would be ideal (near max) for double followed by an “ELC” conversion of a advance to s at the same level had only the opening bid been 1.

I think “ELC” should apply only over MAJOR suit openings (can be 1M, 2M, even 3M) but not over minor suit openings.
July 21, 2018
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So you obviously have a very different idea of ELC than I (and most others) do.

An ELC double (of a major suit opening) is really an *overcall* in s with a “kicker” of 4 cards in the other major.

That is, such a double is ideally 4=6 in OM=. With a strong suit and a good hand, 4=5 may suffice.

But my poll hand was only 4=4. I think few would consider this shape suitable for an ELC double because there is no “safety” in running to s with only a 4 card suit.

Similar to why making a 2 overcall on a 4 card suit would not appeal to many.

On my referenced problem, although I prefer “pass”, I consider 1 far superior to DOUBLE with the intent of pulling s to s. I suppose one could double if willing to sit for partner's advance, but that is a gamble also.
July 21, 2018
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I agree.
Polls with poorly constructed choices are terrible.
Let's get rid of those.

But putting in a polling question (bidding or otherwise) to “prove a point” seems to me to be what polls are about.

I might phrase it slightly differently than “prove a point”, but the idea is that the poll is motivated by some actual occurence in which the OPer and presumably his partner strongly disagree.

The purpose of the post/poll is to find out what the concensus view of a large number of bridge players is on the issue in question (or if there is a concensus at all).

I don't think it is necessary to phrase the motivation pejoratively with “shame partner” or even “prove a point” (not that I think there is anything necessarily wrong with trying to prove a point if it is in fact provable).
July 21, 2018
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How can opener “double for take-out” even if that were what he wanted to do?

It would seem likely that partner might decide to leave it in, and perhaps opener doesn't want that.

I do not see why opener can't have a minimum HCP opener with both minors and simply wants to compete to 3m in whichever minor responder prefers.

This is consistent with his pass of the 1NT response as with both minors he can't risk bidding one and have it be the wrong choice.

But now the opponents have given him an easy way to show both minors in an offensively oriented hand.
July 21, 2018
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That seems like a poor policy to me.

So my partner and I have 20K points between us.
We're playing a pair with only 15K.
They get to know that we cannot be psyching, while they are free to psych against us?

Seems blatantly unfair to me.

I'm not sure that *any* legislation against psychs is warranted, but the one you've described certainly isn't.
July 20, 2018
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