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All comments by Craig Zastera
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If playing Namyats, this might be an acceptable 4D opener, but personally I prefer Namyats opening not to have two outside high card controls (hence, I'd open 1S even playing Namyats, but that is a detail for partnership agreement).
Aug. 29, 2016
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I'm not sure why it is so important to scrutinize the minutiae of the ACBL Alert regulations du jour on questions like this.
The spirit of bridge ethics is that the opponents are entitled to all relevent information about our agreements and understandings during the auction.
The spirit behind the Alert regulations is to explicitly advise the opponents when a call we make has a meaning different from what they might otherwise assume.
So if your 2D overcall of their 1D (could be short) opening is *natural*, then act ethically by alerting them that they may wish to inquire about the call to avoid possible misinterpretation.
Simple.
Aug. 29, 2016
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This hand has way too much slam potential to bid 3NT.
Give partner a (likely): Ax-KJxx-AQxxx-xx
and 6D is excellent.
Giving up with 3NT here instead of probing for a very possible diamond slam (and without even going beyond 3NT) is definitely not the way to win a bracket I K/O event!
Aug. 28, 2016
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This depends somewhat on agreements.
Some play that partner's single raise (here, to 2S) in competition merely confirms *four* card support (he might have doubled with only 3) and “sound minimum” values.
With such an agreement, his jump raise to 3S is merely “game invitational.” With those agreements, this responding hand isn't much and probably should pass 3S (particularly playing matchpoints). Playing this way, if West had a huge hand (e.g. needing just 1 useful card from partner), he would either have to cue-bid 3H or else just gamble a jump to 4S.

But others play that doubler's raise to 2S (even in comp) shows extras (say, 16 support points at least) just as it would without the competition. In that context, the jump to 3S begs advancer to bid game with “anything useful.”
So with those agreements, this East hand should surely raise to game since he has a 4 card suit (he might have been forced to respond in a 3 bagger), an *ace*, and a potentially useful doubleton.
Aug. 22, 2016
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I don't think the weak NT is too relevent here (but then, I don't play weak NT if I don't have to, so I'm not an expert in the inferences that follow from that convention).

In my view, the 3 level negative double by South must show at least about 10 “points” (playing points) to be sane. Thus, in my view, South has pretty much a minimum for his negative double.

On the other hand, north's hand is worth *at least* 15 “playing points” in support of hearts. I arrive at that figure after *completely discounting* the SQ. That still leaves 12 working HCPs plus “3” for the stiff club.
And even that is an underestimate because of North's powerful 5 card diamond suit (if the king is missing, it is probably onside, making the holding perhaps as good as D:AKxxx).

Thus, it seem clear to me (particularly playing IMPs), that North ought to do the courageous thing and jump to 4H rather than waiting for his partner to bid his meager 9 HCP values (with no extra shape) a second time by raising 3H to 4H.

I thought I was being generous (to North) by voting for “mostly North's fault” rather than “100% North's fault” which is probably closer to what I actually think.
Aug. 22, 2016
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As I mentioned in related post, I would *prefer* to pass this hand, but then likely there would be no one at all that would be willing to play with me. I now live with approximately this rule for opening balanced hands:
* HCPs + QTs + (sum of lengths of 2 longest suits) >= 23
then I always open

* if sum is >= 22 with no “weak quacks”, I open
(Jx(x) and Qx are “weak quacks”)

I would like to add the rule “at least two QTs” as I believe an opening bid is supposed to have a minimum defensive trick requirement as well.

The hand in question counts to 13 + 1.5 + 8 = 22.5
putting it in my “borderline” range. It has fewer than
two QTs (1.5) and the D:QJ should qualify as a “weak quack”
holding (although this does produce a stopper opposite Txx which typical “weak quack” holdings of Jx(x) or Qx do not).

The “suggestion of 22” type guidelines are deficient in that they do not consider spot cards. A couple of tens in combination with higher honor(s) are a significant asset which are ignored by this formula.
But the given hand has no useful spots.

Thus, in my view, this hand falls just short of a comfortable minimum opener, due primarily to its QT deficiency, and secondarily because of the weak diamond holding.

But, I open it anyway because I am a slave to public opinion.

If the diamond holding were changed from D:QJ to D:K2, then the hand would be a comfortable opener.
Aug. 22, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 22, 2016
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If you skip over 2H in order to rebid 2S, and then later bid hearts (e.g. 3H), that would not show a four card heart suit–it would simply suggest heart values and inability to bid NT, e.g. 1S-2D-2S-3D-3H might be bid with something
like AQJxx-AKx-xx-xxx
Aug. 21, 2016
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Very refreshing to hear someone suggest that this hand is not worth an opening bid. I used to think that way too, but the pressure of mass public opinion has crushed my spirit, so that nowadays I open this garbage, and soon probably won't even remember to feel disgusted.
Aug. 21, 2016
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2H here is automatic. 2S rebid doesn't promise 6 spades and, in fact, denies 4 hearts. Raising diamonds on 9xx is not a consideration.
Aug. 21, 2016
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I think double here shows “values” with a defensive orientation, inviting partner to pass with a suitable hand.
Second choice would be a natural 2NT, but I'd rather try for +200 when we have no game.
I suppose if I thought partner was just going to woodenly remove my double rather than seriously consider defending, I might pass.
Aug. 21, 2016
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But the new ACBL rule only permits 1NT openings with singleton A, K, or Q. Thus, you still can't use the Fantunes 1NT as that includes opening 1NT with 12-13 HCP
4441 hands with *any* singleton.
Aug. 21, 2016
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No, because opener's 2S rebid is essentially unlimited (and doesn't promise 6 spades in my style).
Your Kxx-Kxx-Axx-Kxxx is a fine control-rich hand with spade support. Express that by bidding 3S. Then, if partner has an extreme, non-slammish minimum, he can bid 4S.
With reasonable controls but only moderate strength, he can bid a non-serious 3NT (you will *then* bid 4S as you don't have independent slam interest).
If he has a good hand (say, 16+), he can cue-bid (or take over with RKCB), and you will then co-operate with a return cue-bid.

I would rebid 4S as responder (1S-2C-2S-4S) with something
like: KQxx-xx-xx-AKJxx (or AQx-xx-xxx-AQJxx). Key is
that the 4S jump denies a control in either red suit.
Aug. 19, 2016
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Chris,
What you say is not wrong–it is just a trade-off.
In the version I outlined (right out of Robson's book on
Partnership Bidding, actually), the jump to 4H is defined as “semi-premptive”. Stronger hands (starting with maximum
LR hands that need to “step up” and commit to game in the
face of the competition) start by cue-bidding.

Thus, responder initially has only 2 “strength ranges” for
raises (not counting “fit jumps” in new suits or splinter
jumps in opponent's suit):
3H: support, not strong enough to commit to game
(ranging from good single raise through minimum
LR strength, 3 or 4 trump)
3S: strong raise, ranging from good LR on up

4H: semi-preemptive, ideally 5 trump but might be
only 4. Less than 10 HCPs, perhaps quite a
bit less depending on vulnerability and heart
length.

In this style, there might be ambiguity when responder
is *very* strong, but the gain is in clearly defining
the 4H jump as pre-emptive.

The style you suggest defines the 4H jump as “intermediate” in (high card) strength–stronger than 3H, but not as strong as a 3S cue-bid, i.e. from a maximum LR up through a minimum range opening bid, so that the cue-bid becomes very strong(say 14 HCP+ at least).
The cost is that you have lost definition
for the 4H bid which must also be made on pre-emptive
type hands, hence opener will sometimes not know what
is going on after responder makes such an ambiguous jump to 4H.
Aug. 19, 2016
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Leonard,
Not a problem for 2 level Smolen to show game invitational OR STRONGER hand. Also, can handle more shapes than just 5=4 and 4=5 majors (e.g. 4=6, 6=4, 5=5).
There are a couple of variations of 2 level Smolen.

In one, after 1N-2C-2D-2H, opener assumes 5=4 invitational,
thus replies:
2S: non-max (15-16), 3 spades
* responder can pass with 5=4 min. invite,
“re-invite” with 3C/3D/3H (shape showing),
bid 4S with GF values, or bid above 3S
with slam interest. Details TBD by each
partnership

2N: minimum, 2 spades
* responder passes with 5=4 invitational
* bids 3NT with 5=4 GF
* re-transfers with 3D or 3H to show
5=5 or 6=4 respectively
* transfers at 4 level (4D or 4H) to show
5=5 or 6=4 slam tries
(1N-2C-2D-4H shows 6=4 with no slam interest,
1N-2C-2D-4C shows 5=5 with no slam interest)
3N: maximum, 2 spades
3S: maximum, 3 spades

When responder has more hearts than spades (e.g. 4=5),
he bids 1N-2C-2D-2S. Now, opener continues:
2N: minimum, 2 hearts
responder passes with 4=5 invite, raises to
3NT with 4=5 GF (4N with slam invite)
Or, responder can re-transfer with 3D or 4D
with 4=6 shape (4D is 4=6 slam try)
3N: maximum, 2 hearts
(with 4=6, responder can correct via transfer)
3H: minimum, 3 hearts
3C: intermediate (16), 3 hearts

Each partnership can supply more details as desired.

There is an alternate version of 2-level Smolen which
recovers 50% of the benefit of “Garbage Stayman” (note that 2-level Smolen as outlined above loses “Garbage
Stayman” when responder 5=4 or 4=5 majors with less than
game invite values).
In this alternative version, after 1N-2C-2D-2H, opener
is required to continue with 2S (regardless of how many spades he has or whether he is min or max). This way,
responder can bid like this with 5=4 majors and a hopeless (less than game invitational hand), passing the forced 2S.
If responder has a 5=4 game invite, he shows that by
bidding 2NT over 2S (opener can correct to 3S or 4S with
3 spades, raise to 3NT with 2 spades and a max, or pass
2NT with 2 spades and a min).
You will see that this version gives up some of the sophisticated continuations available in the original
version for the benefit of being able to play in 2S when
responder has a weak 5=4.
When responder has longer hearts (e.g. 4=5), the alternate
version works the same as the original. When responder
has a weak (less than game invitational) hand with
4=5 majors, he just has to transfer to 2H and pass (hence, 50% loss of garbage Stayman functionality).

I actually prefer the first version described, but with
partners who bemoan the “loss” of Garbage Stayman, I
often settle for the second version.
Of course, with either version responder can still bid
2C with a weak hand if he has enough diamonds to be willing to pass a 2D reply.
Aug. 19, 2016
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Playing 2 level Smolen (1N-2C-2D-<2H/2S> as invitational+ with 4+ in bid major and 5+ in other major), one can
EXCLUDE the 4=1=4=4 and 1=4=4=4 GF hands from 1N-3M auctions.
This is because these hands can now be shown via:
1N-2C-2D-<3H/3S>
as these sequences are no longer needed for Smolen.
Aug. 18, 2016
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I think with four hearts up to H:Jxxx I would open 2S
Aug. 12, 2016
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I dislike opening offshape 1NT when alternatives exist.
Here, with the easy 1S rebid, I would not consider a 1NT opening. Good way to miss a spade fit when partner is not strong enough to bid Stayman over 1NT.
Aug. 12, 2016
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2NT should show a heart stopper–you don't have that.

3H must logically show a partial heart stopper, since you
cannot have 4+ hearts (would have rebid 1H not 1S)
H: Jxx is suitable.

2S is just “catch-all” when nothing else fits–it does
not promise 5=6 black suits.
Something like, perhaps, AKJx-xx-Kx-Jxxxx

In my style (Walsh), this problem cannot arise
because opener would rebid 1NT, not 1S, with this hand.
A 1S rebid promises an unbalanced hand.
Also, I play XYZ after 1C-1D-1S, so 2H would be natural and GF for me.
Aug. 12, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 12, 2016
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Really a silly problem if I'm supposed to guess whether agreed XYZ applies by PH. You're supposed to discuss that.

But as it seems clear to me that logically XYZ should still apply by PH (else, how does responder show game invitational hand with hearts, distinguish between invites with or without club support, or get to 2D?), I bid 2D “XYZ”.

A nice feature of my version of XYZ is that 2C (->2D) followed by 3C is the way responder gets out in clubs, so
I will have no ethical issues if partner should remove 2D to 3C–that's “to play” in XYZ as I play it.
Aug. 12, 2016
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I have the spades. Points are about even. So a plus score seems more likely than not if I open.
Aug. 12, 2016
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