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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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In my world, 3 here 100% guarantees at least 5 s.
Aug. 30, 2018
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Perhaps.
With that hand, 4 makes 84% of the time while 3NT comes in on only 7% of the deals (!)

But that is not really my point.
The choice to rebid 3 here (not that I feel strongly that another call is better) suffers the “pang” of suppressing a pretty strong orientation. Most hands that rebid 3 on this auction will not be nearly this oriented–few will have 3 card support, not to mention the side small singleton.

But we can only describe so much about our hands with each bid, and 3 does a reasonable job of describing our very strong 6 card suit and modest extra HCP values.

But now we have a chance for a 3rd call. This is our opportunity to refine our description and fill in important secondary feature(s) that we have not yet been able to describe.

So it seems to me that the time has come to reveal our surprise support and ruffing value with 4. 3NT, in my view, would be less descriptive as that would suggest lesser support and better stoppers.
Aug. 30, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 30, 2018
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me too.
It would never occur to me that XX showed 2nd round control on this auction. I would think that first round control would be a reasonable use for this call, but I'm not sure I would be confident that was how my partner intended it.
Aug. 30, 2018
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Inviting will not “usually get you a bad score when partner declines.”

It will sometimes get you a bad score when partner declines *and* he can't make 2NT.

But inviting will often get you a good score vs. blasting 3NT when partner declines and he can't make 3NT.

And it will also get you a good score vs. passing 1NT when he accepts and makes 3NT.

Also, declining the invite need not occur “more often than not.” How often partner accepts an invite vs. declines is determined by your partnership agreements about how aggressively to invite.

A good agreement is to set this up so that partner will accept approximately 50% of the time. That way, the invitational strategy has maximal utility. If he accepted most of the time or declined most of the time, inviting would be less useful because you could just decide yourself and “usually” wind up in the same place.

In the case of 15-17 1NT openers, this works out roughly to declining with 15 and accepting otherwise, because the 15s occur roughly 50% of the time (exact percentage depends on policies about opening 1NT with 5 card majors and/or with 2=2=(45) shapes).

Whether inviting is the percentage strategy with a specific hand (as in this OP) depends on the probabilities of gaining vs. either of the other two strategies (i.e. passing 1NT or blasting 3NT in this case).

Simulations with this particular hand clearly showed that inviting gained overall at matchpoints relative to either passing 1NT or blasting 3NT.

VUL at IMPs, just bidding 3NT turns out to be the best strategy with this hand.

NV at IMPs it is quite close. If you accept the double dummy results, inviting is slightly still the winner. But it is close enough that real-world declarer advantage might be enough to push blasting 3NT into the lead.
Aug. 30, 2018
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A set of 5000 deal simulations show that:
(a) when opener has a random, balanced 15 HCP hand,
3NT makes on about 39% of the deals
(2NT makes on about 73% of the deals)

(b) when opener has a random, balanced 16 HCP hand,
3NT makes on about 59% of the deals

© when opener has a random, balanced 17 HCP hand,
3NT makes on over 73% of the deals.

Inviting will tell you if partner has 15 HCPs (he passes) or 16-17 HCP (he bids 3NT). And that differences has quite a good chance of reflecting whether 3NT is a good bet or not.
Aug. 30, 2018
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But in Walsh style (which I play), since the 1 response denies a four card major unless opening bid strength, a 2 rebid by responder to show specifically that hand type (5+ s, 4 s, opening values) seems like a reasonable and economical way to show that specific hand. Seems like this leaves plenty of room for any further investigation that might be needed.

With “xyz” added, one can extend Walsh to allow 1 response with 4M & 5+ s with only game invitational values.
With that hand type, after 1-1-1, use 2 ==> 2 then 2 to show 4 s, 5+ s, and specifically invite strength.

With this style, responder's *1* rebid (1-1-1-1) can be reserved for problem hands with fewer than four s.
The meaning we have found useful is that it shows a NT type hand (of various strengths) without a stopper.
Opener can convert to NT (usually 1NT) with a stopper, then responder can pass or raise to 2NT or 3NT depending on how strong he is. So this 1 covers a variety of hands and gets NT right-sided.
Whether this 1 could be extended to include yet other hand types is an issue we haven't explored, probably because the “xyz” structure already gives us so many options that we haven't encountered a need to try to leverage 1 further.
Aug. 29, 2018
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If this hand is a 2 bid in their methods, then partner definitely shouldn't think 4 now shows a high card control in s (rather than an offer to play 4).
Aug. 29, 2018
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No reason to duck.
Most people will be playing 4.

It appears that they will be making at least 11 tricks (when both and finesses lose).

You must try to make at least as many tricks as the people in 4. If you go down in 3NT in the effort–who cares. Few matchpoints at risk in that case.

You could make as many as 13 tricks in NT (picture :Kx onside and the finesse working).

If the finesse is working, you can likely make 12 tricks in NT if s are 3-2 even with the finesse offside (or :Kxx or :K stiff onside).

So you win in dummy and lead a low to your J.
Later, you will take finesses. Chances of making as many tricks as people in 4 (likely 12) are not too bad.
Aug. 29, 2018
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In addition to honor distribution, shape, point count and form of scoring, VULNERABILITY is also relevent.

“Winning” the race to 1NT is more beneficial (especially at matchpoints) when your side is not vulnerable.
Aug. 29, 2018
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Seems to me this hand has exceptional support and orientation for previous bidding.

Partner has gone out of his way to alert us (and the opponents) to potential danger for NT.

Thus, 4 seems strongly indicated to me vs. 3NT.

Give partner some hand like:
KQJT-KQTxxx-xx-x
A simulation indicated 3NTE to be 44% while 4W was just short of 80%.

Of course, in light of our strong rebid, partner does not need to be as strong as this example hand to continue over 3. That would, it seems to me, argue even more strongly for 4 rather than 3NT.

For 3NT to be right, in addition to the s running, we need probably two *fast* tricks in the majors. I see no particular reason why partner has to have those.
Aug. 29, 2018
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It's a 15 count, but I agree that 3 rebid is less than obvious.
Aug. 29, 2018
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