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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Who says 11-14 is “standard”?

I think when the 1NT balance is over a major, particularly 1, the range is more like 12-16.

With 15-16 you cannot afford to double and then bid 2NT over partner's 2X.

Many play “range Stayman” after (1M)-P-(P)-1NT in an attempt to cope with this wide range.
July 17, 2018
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Not sure why you'd want to be in slam facing “Kxxxx and out.”
You have a sure loser and likely loser (K probably off with RHO bidding s and s).

Otherwise, I think your proposed agreements of 3 being 100% forcing and 100% denying 4 s, with 4 level bids over (3) promising 4 s (I assume 4 and 4 are fit bids while 4 would be a splinter) are good ones.
July 17, 2018
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I would think that 3 would be the one bid that would most strongly suggest only 3 (usual that double followed by a cue-bid shows a strong hand without 4 card support).

However, I can accept that 4 or 4, probably even 4, directly over (3) all should be “fit bids” promising 4 card support.
This of course depends critically on the agreement that 3 would be 100% forcing (hence no need to jump to 4 unless to show a “fit jump.”).
July 17, 2018
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The proposed trump suit is :AKxxx opposite :Qxx.
Try reading my post a little more carefully.
July 17, 2018
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4 would only be a “lot better” if your partnership has a clear definition of what that bid shows and that is something resembling this hand.

I can think of several other possible meanings for this unusual 4 jump in the context of a 2/1 GF system:
1. Kickback for s
2. A strong “picture bid jump” hand type

That is not to say that playing it as showing a solid suit plus some slam interest is not also a reasonable choice. But I suspect that is not anywhere near universal among 2/1 players.
July 17, 2018
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Why isn't slam cold on a 3-2 break with my example (if partner happens to have T, slam is even better)?

Don't we have 5 s, 5s, 1 and 1 trick?
July 17, 2018
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I think most would play that double here would show both minors, not four s.

This might be affected by how you define 2NT.
I think most would treat that as Lebensohl, but some might use that call to show both minors so that “double” could be s plus a minor.
July 17, 2018
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I would not have opened with my example hand. Since he is forcing to game, he can't have much less than this example (I would expect 10 HCPs minimum).
July 17, 2018
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Too bad about the requirement to only vote for systems I have actually played.

Both “Polish ” and Transfer Walsh have more appeal to me than “old fashioned Standard American”, and I would gladly agree to try either as a basis in a new partnership.

But as I have not actually played either of these, I couldn't vote for them, so “standard” got my 3rd place vote.
July 16, 2018
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It seems to me that showing aces at the 5 level over a quantitative 4NT when willing to accept is OK.

Probably not going to be a big win often because (as someone noted) being off specifically two aces is not going to be anywhere near the most common reason why we can't make 6NT (when we can't).

If you instead want to get to slam but would like to explore alternative strains, you could:
(a) bid a suit at the 6 level to show 5
or
(b) bid 5N to ask partner to bid 4+ card suits up
the line.

But maybe someone has an alternative use for 5 level bids over quantitative 4N to complement this that is arguably more useful than showing aces?

Perhaps, if one has a worry about being off AK in some suit, one could either cue-bid (A or K) up the line over 4NT until partner either bids (or skips) the worry suit?
Or maybe just *bid 5 of the worry suit* yourself?
July 16, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 16, 2018
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I do not believe I should bid 2 here with an extremely weak hand just because it has five s.

My view is that partner is still there. If his hand is good enough that we belong in the auction (over their (2)), he will act again (often with another double) when (2) comes around to him.

Therefore, an immediate 2 by me should show some values.
That way, if partner happens to have a good hand, he can pursue game prospects without getting too much egg on his face.

It is slightly difficult for me to pick an exact minimum where I think immediate 2 would be OK, but I went for
KJxxx-xxx-xx-xxx as this counts to about 6 “support points” the way I count them (an extra point each for the 5th and the doubleton ).

That seems to me about the minimum. If partner went up or down a tiny bit from this (:KT9xxx or :AJxxx), I would not complain.

But :Qxxxx and out (or worse) seems to me like it is more likely to create problems for our side (constructive bidding becomes impossible) than it is to serve some vital useful purpose that will be lost if I pass.
July 16, 2018
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I suppose one could argue that.

But the usual agreement in GF auctions with a trump suit agreed is that a bid in an unbid suit below game is a cue-bid.

Some people (I think maybe Eric Kokish) play that in such auctions when a player has shown 9+ cards in two suits, his next bid in one of the other suits shows *shortness* there.

So playing that 3 here is a fragment implying shortness in the 4th suit would be a treatment that would not occur to me without some prior discussion. Surely if that were the agreed meaning, OPer would need to tell us that.
July 16, 2018
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Michael,
If I understand you correctly (I may not), you seem to be saying that West on this auction can (should) never rebid 3 with any hand that has primary (i.e. 4 card) support.

Your argument seems to be based on the fear that if he does so, the auction may be at (4) when it is next his turn, whence his 4 will be (at best) ambiguous as to whether it shows a big (slam interest) hand with 4 s and longer s or just 3 s and longer s “choice of game” (as you say).

Perhaps that is a good policy (don't supress primary support in a competitive auction), but then the partnership needs some clear agreements as to how West should bid here with some hand like:
AQxx-x-AQxxxxx-A

With this hand, slam will be good if partner has the K and the K–certainly not too unlikely a possiblity given his “free” 2 and the opponents' bidding in s and s.

Thus, after (1)-DBL-(2)-2-(3)-?, it seems to me that West ought to plan some sequence that attempts to prod his partner into bidding a slam when he holds those two beautiful pointed kings.

Without a lot of prior discussion in a practiced partnership, I think West might be excused for thinking a (forcing) 3 now followed by 4 (ideally, a jump) next might send that message.

Perhaps, for the reasons you suggest, that isn't the best agreement. But how, then, should West show my example hand?

Would a jump to 4 (over (3)) be defined as “fit-showing” with slam interest? If so, that would be a better choice. But without discussion, I would fear partner might not read a 4 jump this way.

Or perhaps West should first cue-bid over (3) (I wonder what the distinction between 3 vs. 4 might be?).

But the “usual” agreement about double-then-cue-bid is that such sequences suggest only 3 card support for advancer's suit in some strong hand.
Perhaps West could later over-ride that message with a bid, but even if so, he would not have brought the crucial suit into the picture.

Anyway, on the OP deal, despite the risk of ambiguity of a later bid if West risks 3, he has lucked out in that the auction is only at (3) when it is again his turn.

So he was able to JUMP to 4.
Whatever we might believe about the wisdom of his bidding 3 last round with four card support, it would seem to me that his jump to 4 now must indicate that that is in fact what he has done.

Otherwise (i.e. with only 3 s), he would surely choose 4 as a clear COG bid I think.
July 16, 2018
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I believe that at this vul, my 4NT shows a good hand with two suits.
Might be a more difficult case if vul were reversed.

Anyway, I think FP is very useful here because otherwise one would have to DOUBLE to show strength and that would be ambiguous w.r.t whether it is inviting slam or just settling for our penalty plus.

With FP, a pass here is an unambiguous slam invite.
July 16, 2018
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I believe this is a forcing pass situation, so I pass (5) to invite partner to bid 6. I think to double here would be to discourage partner from bidding on.
July 16, 2018
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If J were Q, I would be tempted to try 4 (assuming it is a reasonable hope partner could figure out what this means) as slam would be good opposite e.g. xxx-AKxxx-Jx-Kxx.

With actual hand, this might be pushing a little too hard, so settle for 4 and don't confuse partner.
July 16, 2018
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At some point one must give up on looking for best strain for game and move on to exploring for slam (in agreed strain).

Some people think that responder's new suit after major suit transfer already suggests slam interest.
I don't think that and suspect that most good players don't either–3 here is just GF and bringing another strain into the picture (although it is not unusual for such a sequence to be based on as yet undisclosed slam interest).

But over 3, opener said he has 3+ card support and wants to play in that suit. He could have bid 3NT or 3 or 3, but he didn't do any of those things–he said “s is good.”

So now it is time for responder to indicate whether he has slam interest or not. 3 or 4 or 4 do that.
Maybe even 3NT depending on agreements.

Failure to recognize when “strain search for game” has ended and “suggesting slam is possible” has begun will lead to confused auctions, IMO.
July 15, 2018
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If West has a strong hand with s and *3 card support* as many seem to believe, why wouldn't he simply have bid 4 at his final turn (Choice of Game cue-bid)?

That sequence would seem clear to me as offering advancer a choice between 4 and 5.

His actual sequence must instead be showing some massive hand with 4 card support, long strong s, and slam interest.
July 15, 2018
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But how can doubler “set trump first” while still making a forcing bid? I don't think an immediate cue-bid (3 over (3) would do this–normally, that shows a good hand with 3 card support.
July 15, 2018
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I agree with Kit that “double” is very clear here without the UI for the bridge reasons he states.

But one thing that bothers me about “LA”s and talk about “some percentage of player's peers would seriously consider” a call making it a LA bothers me.

If I were in East's position, I would have to *think about* the situation in order to figure out that PASS is a poor choice here (at matchpoints).

Only after realizing that -140 is likely to be a poor score for us, hence that taking a call other than passing is risking very little, would I come to the conclusion that DOUBLE is clear.

I would suppose that many other players would have to do a similar conscious analysis before they realized that PASS is much inferior to DOUBLE. Maybe some very experienced players would just know this in a flash without much need for detailed thought, but many would require some consideration to reach this conclusion.

But one could argue that all such “thinkers-then-doublers” had considered PASS, hence PASS must be a “logical alternative.”

But that seems wrong to me.
Sure, they all thought about PASS, but that thought led to their realizing that it was an inferior choice.
So I don't see why that should make it a “LA.”

IMO, to be a Logical Alternative, some %age of East's “peers” would need actually TO CHOOSE PASS in East's position without any UI being present. It should not be enough that they merely considered PASS if that consideration led to rejection.
July 15, 2018
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