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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Oh, I see. Sorry.
July 26, 2018
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That could work, but gives up on other meanings for 4NT that could be useful in some auctions, e.g. 1-2-2N-4N or 1-2-3N-4N, etc.

Not saying your suggestion is no good. I'm only saying that
Kickback partnerships must discuss these things.

A default Kickback agreement that I believe Larry Cohen advocated (and I think played) was that “if it could be Kickback, then it is Kickback”, i.e. deciding all ambiguous, undiscussed cases in favor of Kickback whenever that was a possible interpretation.

One possible problem with your idea is that I currently do not use 4NT as a keycard ask except in s in any auction.
This would then have to be an exception.

That is not fatal–I've encountered other auctions (hard to define just what they are, but they do occur)–where the auction is beyond the Kickback bid (typically in a minor) when I first realize that keycard ask would be useful.

In such cases, it might be good to have 4NT defined as a fallback keycard ask. Haven't done that because it is hard to define exactly what the auction has to look like in order for this “fallback keycard asking” 4NT to apply.
July 26, 2018
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You need Kickback because you need to find out about the K and/or Q. So you need to ask for keycards in s.

One possible agreement (different from above) would be:
* If responder makes a 2/1 and then AT HIS NEXT TURN
* makes the Kickback call in his suit, then his bid
* is Kickback.

With this agreement, 1-2-any-4 would be Kickback for s.
But that agreement makes it impossible to show, say, a “picture bid” raise with s (or whatever other natural definition you might want to assign to such a delayed 4).

So the other way to get to bid Kickback for s after partner's 1 opening would be to start with 2 and then not show support at your second turn either.
But this could run afoul of auctions where partner shows 6+ s, whence you might reasonably want to bid 4 natural with a doubleton, e.g. 1-2-2-any-3-4 (natural?)
July 26, 2018
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So my comments below were meant to complement your logic by suggesting a possible meaning for partner's sequence.

I agree that responder cannot bid this way with 3+ card support (must show that support earlier).

And I also agree that it makes no sense for responder to be pulling 3NT to 4 naturally with a doubleton .

Didn't Sherlock Holmes say something along the lines of “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”?
July 26, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 26, 2018
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Well, sometimes you cannot get an “unambiguously agreed suit.”

So the question is:
If partner opens 1 and you have a GF, slam interest hand with self sufficient s that just wants to ask for key-cards in s, how do you do it in a partnership that plays “Kickback”?

While thinking about that, here is a possible (suggested) 2/1 GF bidding guideline which I find quite reasonable:

>>> If partner opens 1M, and we have a GF hand with 3+
>>> card support for partner's major, we must show that
>>> support at either our first our second turn.

>>> If we fail to do that, we do not have 3+ card support.

Now while that is not quite enough to determine that responder's 4 on the OP auction cannot be natural (but with only a doubleton by the above principle), I find
it hard to justify pulling partner's 3NT to 4 on a doubleton when partner has done nothing to suggest he has more than 5 s and has both bid s (the only suit where responder might be short) and said he wants to play 3NT.
July 26, 2018
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Assuming your partnership plays Kickback, how should responder have bid with:
x-AQJT9x-KQJTx-x ?
July 26, 2018
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4=4=1=5 hands are hard to bid regardless of methods :-)
July 26, 2018
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4NT undoubled -1 is a fine sacrifice vs. South's cold 4.

E/W limits vs. best defense are 7 tricks in NT and 8 in either major.

Seriously, how did 4N -1 score?

If I had held each of these hands, the bidding would have been:
3-4-all pass.
Perhaps -2 for a worse result than OP, and at best -1 to tie.
July 26, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 26, 2018
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Wow–with *that* South hand, I'd be bidding 3 “good” over East's 2. I guess it doesn't pay to try to figure out what the opponents' hands are.
July 26, 2018
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I think if 1-2 is played as GF, then responder with a four card major, 5+ , and GF values should definitely start with 2. This establishes a GF so later bidding will be more relaxed.

When the opening bid is 1, I prefer a 2 response even with four s and only four s when I have solid GF strength in order to establish the game force immediately.
Auctions that start 1-1 can turn awkward when responder
has GF values and the final strain is unclear.

I don't extend that idea to responding 2 over a 1 opening with a four card major and only a *four* card suit with GF values, but maybe I should.

More 2/1 stylistic differences arise after 1-2 as to how opener should continue.

Some believe that 2M rebid by opener should promise 4 in the major *and* 5+ s.

Others would generally rebid 2 whenever they hold 5+ s and wait for responder to show a four card major over that.

Another point of disagreement is whether a 2NT rebid by opener denies a four card major. Personally, I tend to choose this rebid even with 4=4=3=2 or 4=4=4=1 shape, as well as with 4=3=4=2 and 3=4=4=2, but rarely with a hand containing 5 s, which would typically rebid 2 but might exceptionally try 2NT with 3=3=5=2, strong holdings in both majors, and very weak s.
July 26, 2018
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Well, there is no telling how opponents might bid, particularly in a club game.

I certainly would not produce the given auction as either North or South. With the North hand I would have responded 1NT, while with the South hand I would have bid 2NT (Good/Bad) over (2) in order to compete to 3.

I will note that on your construction, South makes 3 (4 if A not led) and even 3, while E/W make 2 (but only if West picks up the trump).
July 25, 2018
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Seems unlikely to me that South with a pretty decent hand would have passed out 2 with a stiff .
July 25, 2018
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I agree with the point about the 4m jumps being natural (and slammish) *IF* you have some short-suit showing mechanism available at a lower level (otherwise, they are splinters).

A good example is auctions that start 1M-2M.

In some methods, including mine, some mechanism for making “short suit” tries is available. We use the cheapest bid as a relay showing a SS try in an unspecified suit.

While these “tries” are usually *game* tries, they can be slam tries.

Therefore, 4m jumps–1M-2M-4m–should be defined as natural, long suit slam tries (generally at least 5=5).

But when the auction has gone 1m-1M-2M, it is likely that opener does not have a low level SS try mechanism available because most play “spiral” or some similar mechanism to inquire about 3 vs. 4 card trump support and hand strength.

In that case, one loses the natural, slammish 4m jump rebids and reverts to the catch-all rule that suit jumps are splinters when a lower bid in the same suit would have been forcing.
July 25, 2018
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It seems to me that if your system is such that 3 promises some hand (e.g. more values) that you don't have, you should not have bid 3.

Partner is entitled to assume that your hand is among those consistent with your previous bidding according to your agreed methods.

I'm not commenting as to whether or not 3 is a good “tactical” call with your hand.

But I am saying that if you think it is, then your system ought not define this call as *guaranteeing* a better hand.

And, conversely, if your methods unequivocally define this 3 as promising more values than you have, then you simply have to forgo that call this time and perhaps discuss changing your systemic definition of what such a call promises to allow for a “light tactical bid.”

If you have somehow made a bid for which you know you don't have the minimum values partner has a right to expect, then there is really no solution to your present dilemma.

You can't tell whether partner's double is so solid that (3X) is down despite your lack of values, or whether he has based his double on the assumption that you have what you've promised.

So either action (passing partner's double or pulling to 4) is just a guess.
I guessed to pull, but I think the real answer is to make sure your calls don't grossly violate any explicit systemic agreements.
July 25, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 25, 2018
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I would have opened 1 rather than 1.

Opening 1 leaves opener with rebid problems after a 1 response. Neither 1NT nor 2 is very appealing–I'd choose 1NT but strongly dislike that choice with a stiff in partner's suit.
Better, IMO, to open 1 planning 2 over 1 response.

Anyway, I “abstained” on the actual problem because I don't think whether 1 opening promises 4, 3, 2, or fewer is really relevent to the splinter issue.

1m-1M-2M-4m is a splinter regardless. However, not a great choice on this hand IMO. 1-1-2-3 (forcing) seems like a better approach.
July 25, 2018
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4 here implies controls in *neither minor* and you have controls in both minors !!
July 24, 2018
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But the big flaw with using 3NT reply to Jacoby (and/or using 3 in reply to 3 Jacoby as someone else suggested) is that we can no longer play in 3 of responder's major.

I think that is a significant flaw. It is not that uncommon for responder to have a weak hand with a 5 card major who wants to bail in 3M.

In fact, there was a recent bidding problem on BW where responder held 98xxx-9xxx-KT-xx opposite a 2NT opener.
I did some simulations which showed that transferring to s and passing was a *huge* winner vs. passing 2NT.

I sure wouldn't want to lose the ability to play 3M just to have a way for opener to show specifically 2=5 or 5=2 majors. You're trading one functionality for another and I think the losses are more than the gains for this particular trade-off.
July 24, 2018
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There are some fancy responding structures that will allow all 5-3 major suit fits to be discovered—both when opener has 5 and when responder has 5, including the cases where responder has 5=3 or 3=5 majors–he can find out if an 8+ card fit exists in either major.

However, to do this successfully in all cases requires devoting quite a few sequences to this pursuit, which means appropriating some sequences that might possibly be better used for other purposes.

I am content as responder with 5=3 or 3=5 majors to simply transfer into my 5 card suit. Yes, I will sometimes miss an 8 card major suit fit when opener has 5 cards in the other major and only a doubleton in mine.
July 24, 2018
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I think the orthodox USA view with 4=5 majors over their (1m) opening is to overcall 1 rather than doubling unless there is some unusual disparity in honor dispersion or the hand is too strong for an overcall (e.g. 18+ HCPs).

I think there is less concensus about advancing 1 after partner's 1 overcall with only four s.
But if you play new suit advances by UPH as forcing (as I do), I think this works well.
July 24, 2018
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To answer both of you, I will just quote from the “bible” of competitive bidding, Robson's
“Partnership Bidding at Bridge: The Contested Auction”.

The following is almost verbatim quotes from that work, edited slightly by me for readability:

——start quote from Robson's book———–

Sequence type:
One-major - jump overcall

First, an example sequence:
West North East South
- ……. 1 …..3 ….. ?

Meaning of South's calls:
− 3: ‘natural’, usually guaranteeing an eight-card fit;
− 4: forcing, high-card raise (not promising a control);
− 4, 4: fit-jumps to 4♠ (plus);
− 4♠: semi-preemptive.

Not a great deal to say here. Obviously you are under severe pressure, and consequently your bids must be more flexible.
Still, you must not be lazy.
With a reasonable (high-card) raise to four-major you must not jump to game, which shows a semi-preemptive hand with a high ODR.
Such carelessness will not only result in your missing the occasional slam, but also in partner overcompeting the hand when the enemy bid again.

Instead you must cue-bid. You do not necessarily show any slam interest, though you do set up a forcing pass if relevant - more anon.

In the sequence 1-(3)-?, consider:
:Q964 :AQ53 :K6 :753

With this hand, you are too strong for 3 and must bid 4.

Another example:

Love all
you, South, hold: :AJ64 :53 :KT62 :QJ7

West North East South
- ….. 1 ….. 3 ….. ?

Answer:
4.
Of course, you might not make game, but it is too much to expect partner to raise 3 to game on a reasonable
13-count opposite what might be a good seven count.

4 by you would show a much more shapely, preemptive hand.

—– end quote from Robson's book——————
July 23, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment July 24, 2018
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