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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Methods which allow advancer to escape to two of any suit with a poor hand and a 5 card suit make 1NT overcalls considerably less dangerous then when 2 (and often 2) are usurped as artificial bids.

We use the cue-bid as Stayman, and overcaller needs to show both strength and his major suit length in reply, hence sometimes needing to jump.

So here, 2 would be Stayman, 2NT reply would show a minimum without four s, 2 a minimum with four s, etc.

3m advances are natural and invitational, while 3M (unbid major) advances are natural and GF (choice of game).

The one loss with this method is that 2NT advances must show invitational strength hands that don't fall into another category.
This includes invites with 5 cards (but not 4–those use Stayman cue) in an unbid major.

Over such an invitational 2NT, overcaller must pass with all minimums, thus possibly missing a superior 3M in a fit.

But if he has enough to accept an invite, he bids any four *or three* card major at the 3 level (forcing), so 5=3 and 5=4 major suit fits will be discovered.
July 3, 2018
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Besides general dislike for opening 1NT with 5 good s (missing superior contract too often), this particular hand also suffers from having two essentially unstopped suits–a significant negative for 1NT openings. Such hands fail in 3NT when partner has adequate strength to bid it significantly more often then balanced hands with more spread honors.
July 3, 2018
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Simple rule:
In competitive auctions, the only suit(s) you can make a splinter in is their suit. Jumps in other suits are fit-showing.
July 2, 2018
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And in my methods, partner can bid 2any (except 2) for play.
July 2, 2018
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Wouldn't I have a similar problem without the (1)?
I would bid 1 in either case.

If partner rebids 1NT, I can rebid 2 (pass or correct).
If partner rebids 2, I can also bid a NF 2 if I deem that best.

BTW, some play that a 2 response shows 5 s & 4-5 s in a weak (say 5-8 or some such) hand just to try to improve chances with this hand type.
July 2, 2018
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Well, the first problem is that the range for the balancing 1NT is too wide–a 6 point range cannot be handled when advancer has a reasonable hand.

Assuming he wants to be in game (say 3NT) when his side has 25, that would suggest an invitational raise with 10.

But if balancer has only 10 HCPs, 2NT will be way too high (for safety, it is best to have 23 HCPs for 2NT).

So what can advancer do? I guess try to split the difference and invite game if 13 opposite will be enough.
That would suggest about 12 HCPs with a balanced hand.
July 2, 2018
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We play 3 tiered splinters:
4 is a GF splinter, roughly 16-18 HCPs

3 is a split range splinter:
either just game invitational (about 14 HCPs), the usual
or
super-strong (like 19+ HCPs plus the shortness)

You could adjust the exact ranges slightly to taste, but the idea is that 4 is “enough for game, but not more than that”
while 3 covers splinters that are either weaker (game invites) or stronger.
July 2, 2018
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I too would open 1 with this in 3rd chair.

If it weren't for the vulnerability, I might choose 2 instead, so 1 is a bit of a compromise in recognition of the vulnerability.

I also believe that many (probably most) would open 1 in 3rd seat with this hand.

The problem (if there is one) is with partner's double of 1NT. He knows I may have opened light (the 1NT overcall is a bit of a clue, don't you think?), so a sound penalty double as a passed hand seems unlikely, although I suppose he could have something like :KQJTxx and a side ace.

But partner supposedly knows all this and has made a penalty double anyway. I simply have to assume he knows what he doing and PASS as I can't imagine what else I can do.

If we get a bad result, it certainly won't be my fault.
July 2, 2018
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I too think this is a stupid auction–why not just start with a forcing 1 response and then continue appropriately next round?

However, here is a very useful rule about negative doubles:
After starting with a negative double, NOTHING you bid
later is forcing except for a cue-bid.
July 2, 2018
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I still don't get what is so trivial about this hand.
I chose “pass” also, but I don't pretend that this call has to be the winner.

Suppose partner holds, for example:
Qxxx-Kxx-x-xxxxx
Now that is a pretty unspectacular 2 raise, yet 4 is cold.

Conversely, partner might hold:
Qxxx-KJ-Jxxx-KJx
Too much for a mere 2 raise, yet 4 has no play.

It seems to me that whatever call opener chooses could easily be wrong (or right), and will be at best a guess about the relative liklihood of responder's holding the right hand or the wrong one.

You might also notice that opening 1NT (yuck!) with this hand does nothing to solve this problem.
With the first hand, you will play 1NT with 4 cold.
With the second, you will most likely play 4 -1.
July 2, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 2, 2018
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Ah, I think I understand your point about “P/D inversion” possibly being beneficial if the two members of the partnership are not on the same wavelength as to whether PASS is forcing or not.

I have attempted to make this point myself in defending the benefits of “P/D inversion”, but have always been laughed at.
The prevailing feeling is “first, every partnership must have clear rules for when a PASS is forcing and when it is not”, so talk about the “benefits” of a convention occuring when we don't know whether FP is “on” or not is just silly.

So let's assume that a serious partnership *KNOWS* whether FP is “on” or not in every situation. Then, is there a benefit in playing “P/D inversion” (when FP is “on”) vs. using the traditional FP semantics???

The only one I've been able to think of is the one about P/D inversion making the two meanings of “PASS” (weakest call, or else a slam try if PASSer later pulls partner's double) as far apart (in terms of strength) as possible so as to minimize adverse rulings in case of hesitation situation.
July 1, 2018
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Well, your spot cards for East in the first diagram are inconsistent with what the text says was played.

But anyway, it seems to me that with the 2nd hand, East should pitch the K in order to get West to shift to a after he finishes the s.

In fact, in the original problem, even if he has only the K he should signal for a shift (low playing USDCA, or high if no easy to read low available).

Only some combination of hard-to-read (or too valuable to discard) spot cards in both majors should cause East any signaling problems if he holds the K or the KQ.

If he doesn't have or can't afford a “clarifying” discard in a major, then I guess all he's left with is to select his 2nd pitch in a way that attempts to give suit preference between the majors. Maybe partner won't be able to figure it out, but that might be the best East can do.
July 1, 2018
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Michal,
I don't understand your “bidding after a simple raise should be trivial with this hand” comment.

Do you mean that we should be playing some methods such that this hand fits well with one of them? If so, what methods?

Or are you saying that you think the correct rebid with this hand is “trivial” with standard methods? If so, what is that trivially correct rebid?
July 1, 2018
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Steven,
Perhaps you should re-read the “Revision Club” documentation on responding to 1NT. Here is the relevent excerpt for your benefit:

“1NT- 2C:
Forcing Stayman.
With 5-4 either way or 5-5 in the majors, and a hand
that just wants to sign off at the two level, pick a major and transfer to it.

Never Stayman with a weak balanced hand and 4-4 in the majors.
Our auction 1NT-2C, 2D-2H is not choice of majors at the two level–it is Smolen, and forcing.

WE DO NOT PLAY ‘GARBAGE STAYMAN.’
I have been monitoring occurrences of this treatment for a long time, and do not see it accomplishing much.
I see GS players responding 2C with 5-4 either way in the majors, and ending in 4-3 fits (when opener is 3-2 the wrong way in the majors) that play much worse than the 5-2 fit that could have been reached by a simple transfer. And what is opener supposed to do when he is 2-2 in the majors, which our 1NT openings can be?

Whatever merits there may be in playing GS (I am convinced there are not many), it has no place in Revision.
We prefer to concentrate on bidding games and slams.
If you have a five-card major (or two) and a weak hand, transfer out and be done with it.

However, it is acceptable to bid 2C on less than normal strength, with hands that are planning to pass partner’s response at the two level.
The usual holdings for these would be 4=4=4=1,
(4-3)=5=1, and 4=4=5=0.
A hand likeKxx=Qxxx=xxxxx-x would bid 2C.
These hands do not pose a problem as long as at least one four-card major is held; if partner rebids 2NT, showing both majors, the worst that can happen is to play three of a major in a known fit.”
July 1, 2018
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I'm not sure I understand why “pass/double inversion” is any better than traditional forcing pass semantics.

Both are just (different) ways of using “forcing pass”, so
in both cases North's Pass of (5) would be forcing and, hence, it is not possible for the partnership to defend (5) undoubled in either case.

As I understand it, the difference is that using traditional FP, North's DOUBLE would suggest we not compete higher (hence defend (5X), while his PASS would invite partner to compete to 5 (while allowing him to double instead if he doesn't think we can make 5).

But with “Pass/Double inversion”, the meanings are reversed:
*PASS suggests North does not want to bid higher.
He expects South, then, usually to double unless his
hand is such that he wants to bid on anyway.

* DOUBLE invites South to compete to 5 (but he can
over-rule and pass the double with a poor hand).

Both allow for “pass then pull” as a slam try, although the P/D inversion semantics does make the two uses of “PASS” (worst hand or a slam try) further apart than with standard FP semantics (where ordinary pass invites 5S, so is stronger than DOUBLE, and if PASSER then pulls partner's double, that is a slam try).
This might ocassionally help in a committee where it should be easier to convince that you were always planning a “pass and pull” slam try (even though there might have been some hesitations at the table), because a slam try hand is very different from the weaker alternative PASS asking partner to double to defend.

But since the slam try stuff doesn't seem to be relevent in OP here, I don't see the benefits (nor the harm) of playing “P/D inversion” vs. plain old FP semantics.
July 1, 2018
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The definition of Garbage Stayman as far as I know is that
1NT-2-2-2 for sure and often 1N-2-2-2 also are played as sign-offs (weak).

That idea is that responder can show weak 5=4 and 4=5 major suit hands in a way where he will find a 4=4 fit if one exists but play in his 5 card major otherwise.

Of course, GS aficionados do not restrict their use of this convention to 5=4 major hands. They likely do it with weak 5=5 and 4=4 major suit hands too.

This is unfortunately quite a common way to play in US anyway.
Whatever benefits it may have for scrambling with weak responding hands, it gives up other uses of the above sequences including (but not limited to):
* Puppet Stayman where 1N-2 forces 2 unless
opener has a 5 card major. Then, over 2,
responder describes his hand by bidding the major
in which he doesn't have 4, etc.

* 2-level Smolen, where after 1N-2-2,
responder's 2 shows 4+ , 5+Hs (s longer) with
game invitational or better values.
1N-2-2-2 can be played in various ways:
traditionally it shows 5+ s, 4+s, inv+ values.
But it is possible to play 2 here just as a relay
to 2, after which responder can pass with a weak
hand with 5 s (presumably he had 4 s too), or
continue with 2N to show 5=4 invitational, 3N 5=4 GF,
and many other bids with useful definitions assigned.

There are other NT engines (see “Revision Club” for an example) that give up “Garbage Stayman” in order to use those sequences to describe other (inv or better) hand types.

Of course, those playing some of these methods can still bid 2 with very weak hands that can pass any of opener's replies (e.g. 4=4=5=0 weak). I'm not sure even
this is possible with Puppet Stayman, though.
July 1, 2018
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But on this hand, if 4 is NF (as I believe it should be), North would not bid 4 as his hand is worth about 20 points including distribution.
So he knows the partnership has enough strength to attempt an 11 trick game.

Thus, you could bid the same way except that North jumps to 5 over his partner's 3 (assuming he doesn't want to risk 3NT).

If North chose the non-forcing 4 instead, he would have hit a home run on the actual lay-out.
South is certainly dead minimum for his bidding, hence would pass 4 and a 50% (probably less given West's overcall) game would have been missed.
July 1, 2018
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I think this is a close one, especially if 2 is “semi-constructive” (i.e. would bid 1NT with 3 s and a weak hand).

This hand would be perfect for “weak suit game try” in s, a treatment which is not widely played, I think.

Of course, some make alleged “help suit” tries with “xxx”, but in my view this is a poor practice (A help suit should have honor(s), e.g. Axx(x)).

Game will probably be decent if partner has *short, weak s* (imagine him with a stiff small ), even :xx will do if he has e.g. K & K (and Q too would be really nice).

But at matchpoints I think game requires too much of a perfecto for me to make an “imperfect” game try with this hand where none of what I have available (short suit, help suit, general strength) are ideal, so I pass.

About the best I could do would be a “general strength” game try, or perhaps a ** help suit try, neither of which is very descriptive.

This would be an even harder problem VUL at IMPs, where I think I would risk a “general strength” game try.
July 1, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 1, 2018
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Matchpoints *and* favorable vulnerability?
Where I play, almost no one would pass this hand under those conditions.

I think 2 would be the popular choice if no specialized convention available.

But some would choose a “funny Michaels” while others might double and worry later about what to do when partner advances 2.
July 1, 2018
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I'm a fit jump guy myself.

But I'm wondering whether a FJ into a major in support of a minor is forcing? Particularly by a passed hand.
Particularly if the jump is to game (e.g. 4 here).
June 30, 2018
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