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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Long ago, I think there was controversy between bidding “shape first” vs. “bidding where you live” (i.e. where your strength is).

I believe that “shape first” has (and rightly so IMO) long ago won this battle.

However, I think that this victory has established this style as a nearly religious dogma, and that is going too far.

There is still enough “truth” in the “bid where your strength is” philosophy to justify occasionally deviating from the “shape first” credo in extreme cases.

Let's consider: AKQJT-x-x-765432
I for one would not open 1 with this hand, despite what current doctrine espouses.
June 30, 2018
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Normal to open 1 with this shape.

But at some point with extreme HCP disparity and very minimum overall strength, I think one needs to be “practical” and open the much stronger suit.

Hence, I voted for 1.

But I would not consider it “wrong” to open (the systemic) 1. Just a matter of judgment as to which choice is more likely to lead to a better auction.

BUT, if you do open 1, you definitely cannot rebid 3 over a 2 response as that space-consuming sequence promises extra values which you do not have.

Hence, must rebid 2. If you find that sequence unappealing on :9xxxx (as I do), then perhaps that is a good reason to exercise judgment and open 1.
June 30, 2018
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I believe there is.

First, it is important to establish how many trump our side has (a 3M jump showing 4) to facilitate LOTT competition.

Second, one of the purposes (perhaps the most common) in bidding Michaels is to pre-empt the opponents. Therefore, advancer should jump immediately to our side's LOTT limit to make life as difficult as possible for the opponents.

Third, there are multiple ways to show game invitational (or stronger) advancing hands–2NT, cue-bid their minor, perhaps bidding (or jumping in) the unbid minor.

With so many other ways to invite and so much benefit in being able to make natural, pre-emptive jumps in a major, it is easy to see that using 3M jumps as invitational rather than pre-emptive is an inferior way to play.
June 30, 2018
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I think the 1NT is terrible. South is not balanced and he has s (so he will usually have an easy rebid).

Why distort the hand and suppress your suits to describe a hand you don't hold?
June 30, 2018
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Jump advances of Michaels are *pre-emptive*, not game invitational.

To invite, use 2NT and/or 3 and/or perhaps even 3s (still leaves 2 advance natural, but might even consider using that artificially). Assign specific, agreed meanings to each.

As to whether the given hand is “good enough” for Michaels, I suppose that is up to partnership agreement.

In my style, it is not.
But then I play “continuous range” Michaels.
This style perhaps works best with a slightly higher minimum requirement than the “split range Michaels” style (either weak or very strong).

If playing “split range”, then at matchpoints and NV, the OP hand might be adequate if the partnership expects such a poor hand to be acceptable.
June 30, 2018
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Yay!
The most important thing about signals (other than not throwing away a trick) is that both partners know for sure what they mean!

Inventing “exceptions” based on subtle (and possibly dubious) reasoning that partner is not likely to duplicate destroys partnership confidence.
June 30, 2018
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Most scientific bidding structures over 1NT give up on garbage Stayman in order to make more sequences available to describe more hand types which otherwise cannot be shown.
June 30, 2018
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Being able to stop in 4–immensely useful.

Opener has a minimum reverse (possibly, depending on partnership, even slightly shaded due to competition).

He needs to be able to send that message: “I've shown everything I've got” to partner with his NF 4.

Now it is up to responder. If he too was minimum for his previous bidding, he knows that both 3NT (no stopper) and 5 (too high on values held) are out of reach and is able to stop in the last makeable contract.
June 30, 2018
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We play 3-tiered splinters:
1-3 “medium range” splinter, about 12-13 HCPs, in
any suit. 3NT asks location, then 4/4/4 shows where.

With 10-11 HCP or 14+ HCP, 4+ card support, and side shortness, we start with 2 which promises 4+ trumpe and at least LR values.

Over this, opener rebids:
2N: all minimums (could still have enough for 4 opp LR)
3: extra values, no shortness (15+ HCPs)
3/3/3: extra values, short //
(13+ HCPs plus the shortness would be minimum)

After opener's 2N (or 3), 3 by responder shows a
splinter:
If opener had bid 2NT (minimum), 3 would promise
a 14+ HCP splinter (no need to show 10-11 type opposite a
minimum).
If opener had bid 3 (extras, no shortness), responder
would bid 3 with both the 10-11 and the 14+ types.

Opener relays with 3 to ask strength/location:
If 14+ type splinter is known (opener rebid 2NT), then:
3: unspecified void (3N asks location, etc.)
3N/4/4: stiff // (or can encode differently)

If strength of splinter unknown (opener rebid 3), then:
3: 10-11 splinter, any SS. Then 3N asks location, etc.
3N/4/4: 14+ splinter, short //
June 30, 2018
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As long as you agreements are that 1-2-3M(splinter)-4 is passable, then you are right.

Not all pairs that allow some escapes in 4m after a 2/1 would treat that auction as NF.
June 29, 2018
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My view is that opener is showing a minimum (for his reverse) by bidding his non-forcing 4. *He* is willing to hear partner pass if that's what he wants to do.

But responder's hand is not limited here–he could be quite strong. But that's not a problem–if he has enough to want to play game (or more) opposite a minimum reverse, then he bids again (e.g. 5).
June 28, 2018
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You don't win at IMPs by bidding an opaque 3NT when slam is possible. I hate it when my partners do this to me.

Please, if you know a slam is possible, make a bid that lets me in on that secret! Sometimes, I just might know what to do.
But if you make the same call you would with a balanced 12 count, there is NO chance for me to re-evaluate my hand and bid a good slam.

I like to tell my partners “most slam tries do NOT result in our side bidding a slam.” A slam *try* just lets partner know that my hand is good enough that a slam is possible–not necessarily likely.

We have lots and lots of room to explore. If my slam try is just “mild” as here, I can send that message next and partner will know not to get carried away unless he has a real maximum with slam suitable cards.
June 27, 2018
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I absolutely would rebid 2, not 2NT. This is not a balanced hand *and* it is extremely suit-oriented.

I'm not at all sure that it is “too strong” for 1NT as it has extremely poor spot cards (lots of high spots is the single most important factor for upgrading), but that is moot since it is not suitable for NT opening or rebid because of its shape.
June 27, 2018
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2 shocks me.
Isn't that what I would bid without, say, the AK?

This hand is an absolute max (in HCPs) for 1 overcall. Surely we must do *something* now to hint that this time our 1-level overcall was based on something more than our usual 8-10 HCPs with a 5 card suit.

It would, however, be nice to know if 1 advance was forcing or not. I assume “yes” as I think most play 1-level new suit advances of overcalls as forcing for a round.
June 27, 2018
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I believe DMP does support “losing trick count” specifications, although I personally have not used it.

What it does not support, to my constant annoyance, is “quick trick” specification. That omission makes it hard to conveniently specify things like “minimum opening bids” where a minimum QT count spec would be very useful.

It does support specifying “number of controls” (A=2, K=1) both by suit and for an entire hand, but unfortunately specifying a range for “controls” does not translate into quick tricks.

Between the two, I'd much rather have a way to specify a “Quick Trick” range than a “control” range, so if the issue is difficulty of adding more user interface to support “quick tricks”, a solution might be just to allow the existing “number of controls” feature to be toggled to “number of quick tricks” instead.
June 27, 2018
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That seems like a reasonable possibility if 2NT is naturalish.

I think that “good/bad” (or perhaps better “bad/good”) 2NT can handle those hands too, though.

Say 2NT “good”, and if partner has some values he can perhaps try a cue-bid to reach 3NT when opener has their suit stopped, or responder just bids 3NT himself with a stopper.

I think this would also work if 3m (or 3om) is “good”–responder could bid 3 to ask for a stopper or 3NT with one (and values), willing to play 4m if necessary.
June 27, 2018
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Kit,
I love your description of the options–clear, complete, and succinct.

But now I would even more love to hear which you prefer.
And, would it matter if the game were Matchpoints instead of IMPs?
June 27, 2018
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The “rule” that applies here is:
“when, in a competitive auction with no major suit fit,
we have tried for 3NT and that has been rejected, 4m in
a known fit is non-forcing.”

So, even if you believe that opener's competitive 2 promises “full reversing strength” (as I happen to believe, although I've found that *many* do not–they think this competitive reverse can be just big shape without full reversing HCPs), opener's 3 cue seems to me to be consistent with a “try for 3NT”.

And responder's 3 would seem to be a rejection of that try (or at least not an acceptance).

Can responder have 5 s here, or would he have rebid s
over 2 instead of 3 if he had such?

My view (and this applies in non-competitive reverse auctions too), is that when responder has enough strength to force to game with a fit (3+) for reverser's first suit (s here), he is generally better off showing that fit and GF strength by rebidding in opener's first suit rather than showing the 5th card in his major (2) which leaves both his strength and his fit for opener's primary suit unexpressed.

Bidding this way, when opener has 3 card support for responder's major, he has room to show it and 4M can still be reached.

So here, assuming more or less the same methods apply as would in a non-competitive reverse auction, responder's 3 confirms support (3+) for that suit and enough for game opposite a reverse (9 HCPs should be enough, some might say even a good 8 is adequate).

With support and a weaker hand, responder would:
(a) rebid 2 with 5+
or
(b) bid 2NT Lebensohl, planning to pass 3 from opener.

So here opener's 4 is a “plea for mercy”. It say's
“I've done all I can to get us to game with my
minimum reverse, but apparently we do not have
what is needed, so I'm willing to bail out in
4 here.
If *you* have extras for your bidding,
you are welcome to raise to 5.”

So, this 4 is not forcing, but neither is responder required to pass if he has more than a minimum for his previous bidding.
June 27, 2018
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I do not consider this hand good enough to double first planning to bid s freely later.

But it is close.
If you moved the J into one of the red suits, I would consider the hand an acceptable minimum for “double then s”, although possession of only two s (vs. 3) likely would push me towards still just overcalling 1.

Now that an unfortunate turn of events has forced me into needing to bid at the *3 level* at my second turn, I am even more unhappy with my initial choice.

Since I didn't think the hand strong enough for the initial strategy, I should agree with “not enough to bid 3 now.”

But “in for a penny, in for a pound”–since I have embarked on this dubious over-bidding plan, I may as well follow through with 3. At least I have 6 of them (typically, double followed by a new suit is a stronger hand with only a good 5 card suit and 3 in the other major).

Now I have to try to figure out partner's 3.
He's already limited his hand sharply with his initial 1 advance. In my world, something like Axxxxx-Kx-xx-xxx would be enough for him to have jumped to 2 initially.

An initial 3 would have shown 6 s in a weakish hand.

Now, I do not think his 3 is meant as forcing, choice of games because with that hand (if he can even hold such on this bidding) he ought to bid a COG 4 now.

So since I have already overbid twice, I think now is the time to bail and hope partner can make 3.
June 27, 2018
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Since an “other” option is not provided, I abstain since none of the choices match my methods.

If 2NT here were defined as “natural,”, it would seem obvious that it must show 18-19 just as it would without the interference. The fact that that is an unlikely hand-type is one reason for using 2NT to help solve more frequently occuring problems.
June 27, 2018
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