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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Correct–our “Michaels” 2 bids (whether over (1) or (1)) promise at least 5=5 shape. And, if 6-5, the lower suit is almost always the longer. So advancer with equal length picks the lower suit.

Therefore, I see little need for a 2 advance over Michaels. This is quite different then showing “majors” over the opponent's (1NT) opening where 5=4 or 4=5 major suit holdings are relatively common (perhaps the most common) shapes. In that case, it is very useful for advancer to be able to bid 2 to allow overcaller to pick the major.
Jan. 23
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2NT is a misbid. Whether it is an underbid or an overbid is debatable–depends on partner's hand.
But it is for sure not a good descriptive bid.
Jan. 23
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“Declarer's advantage” is based almost entirely on “bad” blind opening leads (in fact, many simulations show that real-world declarer results are *worse* than double-dummy results after the opening lead).

On an auction where declarer's LHO not only has a stack in declarer's suit behind him, but has been able to direct a good opening lead with his double, I believe there definitely will be no declarer advantage.

In theory, it is the defense who should (on average) make more tricks in a given strain when defending than when playing the hand in the same strain because they have a *real* (i.e. not based on opponents' error) advantage, namely the advantage of being able to strike the first blow.
Jan. 23
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I would not as I believe “light” overcalls (say, less than 11 or so HCPs) should be made only with good suits.

Now if you made the K a small (but kept the A), *then* I would find 1 clear-cut.

Even on actual hand, I think 1NT runs a significant risk of missing a superior contract in a 5-3 (or even 5-4) fit.
Still, I did vote for 1NT, but I have misgivings.
Jan. 23
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But many of the hands with long s are handled well with a 1 overcall or with 3 or higher preempt or double followed by s. Even when you get a hand that is a perfect 2 WJO, you can usually make do with 1 or 3 depending on specific details of the hand as well as the vulnerability.
Jan. 23
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I admire those brave enough to try 4, but I chose the more defensible (in the post-mortem) 4NT.
Jan. 23
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Seemed like mainly a choice between 1 and 1NT.
I picked 1NT and am a bit surprised to find that call the leading vote getter so far as I regard 1 as more “normal”.
I recall Mike Lawrence stating that *any* 5 card major suit is adequate for a 1M overcall if the hand is a full opening bid.
Jan. 23
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We have found this to be quite useful.
Natural 2 overcall hands are relatively frequent and without the natural 2 overcall are difficult if not impossible to describe.

A pre-emptive WJO of 2 over 1 is uncommon and relatively ineffective when it does occur. With s, we choose between 1 and 3.
Jan. 23
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I didn't say “any hand”–you made that up.
I said a relatively balanced hand with strong s (usually 5, could be only 4 chunky ones) with HCP values typically just short of 1NT overcall.

When 1NT is passed around, this implies partner has some values. When I have chunky s, I know that cards don't like well for their side and it is likely that a lead will get the defense off to a good start (unless partner has an even better lead which I will likely be able to support).

It is generally easier to make 7 tricks on defense in NT than on offense because when defending we have the benefit of striking the first blow. And when I have s behind opener, I know that the first blow will be an effective one.
Jan. 23
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I think 3NT is poor–why “guess” the final contract when there are so many other possibilities?
Give partner e.g. KJx-KQxxx-KQx-xx and 12 tricks are likely.

I don't much like double either as that suggests less than GF values (and, therefore, will make continuations difficult).

I see little wrong with a straight-forward GF 3 promising 5+ s and at least a sound opening bid.
Seems like a good start on describing this hand and setting the stage for further exploration.
Jan. 22
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I don't hate the splinter either, but in another recent BW post, making a splinter raise of partner's (5+ card) suit with 5=0=3=5 shape was chosen by almost no one and criticized as being inappropriate with only 3 card support (the idea being that a splinter should deliver 4+ card trump support).
In that other post, the 5 card suit and GF values had already been shown, so the issue was whether to splinter in support of partner's s or just bid a natural and forcing 3 instead. 3 was the big winner.
Jan. 22
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Common hand would be relatively balanced, just short of values for a 1NT overcall, and typically 5 s (but could be a chunky 4 card suit).

I think OP somewhat exagerates the “asks for lead” aspect of this double.
I'd say it is more like “a lead should be OK if you don't have something more appealing.”
It is not usually showing some huge long/strong holding–more than 5 cards in the suit would be unlikely (else 2 instead of double).
Jan. 22
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Sure, you can use 2 then 3 as “invitational” (in NT) with length. One drawback is that you cannot play 2NT if you use that sequence (but I cannot play 2NT after 1-1M-1N-2-2-3).

We use 2 to sign off in either minor (pass 2 or correct to 3 to play).

Yet another alternative would be to give up using responder's immediate jump rebid of 3 as a “5=5 pure hand, slammish” as that doesn't come up too often.
Then, you could (for example) use the 3 jump as the sign-off, etc. If responder had a big hand with s, he would have to go through the 2 GF, then bid s.

Many variants have merit (and drawbacks).
My issue was whether there are enough useful distinctions to be made after responder's 2NT relay to 3 to justify using that sequence as a relay. It does give you another set of high (3 and up) 3rd bids which can be assigned specialized meanings if you can think of good ways to utilize all those (in addition to high level 3rd bids by responder after using the 2-2 relay)
Jan. 22
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Although personally I like the “ASBAF” convention, I think it is far from universal.

The alternative is “if it could be natural and NF, then it is natural and NF”. I think many would subscribe to that “rule” rather than “ASBAF”.
Jan. 22
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From “Bridge World Standard” system notes:
"Pseudo-reverses:
If opener makes a competitive rebid
that would have been a reverse in the
absence of competition, it shows extra
values but can be weaker than reverse
strength and is nonforcing;
among responder's rebids, the only
below-game forces are cue-bids and jumps."

It seems clear that this non-forcing definition for opener's
“psuedo-reverse” applies even when responder has made some
noise.
In OP auction, is seems even more obvious to me that opener's
2 cannot be forcing because responder has not done anything
to suggest he has any values at all.
Jan. 22
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 22
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You do not give enough options.
I picked the “5-5 majors” option, but that applies only for
(1)-2
in our methods.

After (1), we use 2 as a natural overcall and *2* as our Michaels bid (showing 5=5 majors).
Jan. 22
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I should mention that my second choice (after my actual 5) is *4* (natural, strongly invitational but not forcing).
That might be the correct “value bid”, but I'm persuaded to “go for it” with 5 by considering how little might be needed to make 5 on a good day, e.g. Axxx-xxxx-xx-xxx

BTW, consulting my copy of Bergen's book on “negative doubles” reveals that a negative double after 1-(3) is supposed to promise *at least* 10 HCPs and at least one 4 card major.

It absolutely does *NOT* promise 4+ cards in both majors.
This consideration is important in choosing some big rebid rather than trying for a contract.

If our methods were such that partner's double guaranteed 4+ cards in s (then, presumably in s too), I might give more consideration to playing in s, but maybe not as I reflect upon the famous saying: “what do you call an eight card suit?”
Jan. 22
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Bill,
We use the distinction described by Kit Woolsey in his seminal article on “2-way NMF”. His article, as I remember, was considering only 1m-1M-1NT type auctions.

Anyway, after 1m-1M-1N, immediate 2NT is a naturalish, invitational bid denying length.

Conversely, 1m-1M-1N-2-2-2NT is also a naturalish invite, but this one promises length.

Exactly how many s are promised (or denied) depends somewhat on which minor was opened.

But the idea is that responder is suggesting that if opener does not wish to accept the invite (i.e. bid 3NT), that from responder's perspective, 3 might be better than 2NT.

Opener is not required to convert 2NT to 3 whenever he has s and does not want to bid 3NT (i.e. he is allowed to pass 2NT).

Nor is responder required to use the slower “ showing” sequence whenever he has s–he is allowed just to raise to 2NT and thereby not suggest 3 as an alternative partial. Judgment is allowed (yikes!).

We have had a number of small triumphs (largely at matchpoints) using this method.
The most satisfying is when the auction has started
1-1M-1N-2-2-2N-??
and we can back into 3 when opener is 4=4 in the minors (we generally open 1 with 4=4 minors).

The more mundane (but more frequent) case occurs after
1-1M-1NT. Now, responder with 4-5 s and 11 points (or so) bids 2-2-2N, and minimum opener also with 4-5 s “corrects” to 3.
You might be surprised how frequently 3 proves superior to 2NT in these cases.
Of course the “judgment” comes from knowing when to choose 3 vs. 2NT as *sometimes* 2NT=120 vs. 3=110.
At IMPs, in these cases 3 is often the *safer* part-score, so this method is useful at that form of scoring also (then, a safe 3 is certainly better than a riskier 2NT that might score 120 and might go down).

Another benefit of our 2NT vs. 2-2-2NT distinction is in helping opener decide whether or not to bid game (3NT). Knowing responder does or does not have length (and presumably values) in s might be just what opener needs to resolve a close “go/no go” decision about bidding game or stopping in a partial.

NOTE:
There is a slightly different alternative definition for the 2-2-2N vs. immediate 2N rebid which we have tried and has some merit:
use the slower sequence to show 4+ cards in opener's minor whichever one it is and suggesting 3m instead of 2NT as a final contract (when not bidding 3NT).
This is essentially “the same” when the opening bid is 1, but when it is 1, the slower sequence is suggesting 3 vs. 2NT while the direct 2NT is suggesting 2NT or 3NT but not 3.

Because we do not use this variation, after 1-1M-1N-?,
if responder wants to invite 3NT but offer 3 if opener doesn't want to bid game he has to bid:
1-1M-1N-2-2-3
Not so bad, but now 2NT is no longer an option for final contract.
END NOTE.

We try to use similar distinctions in “other” XYZ type auctions for consistency:
1. 1-1-1NT-2-2-2N
We use this sequence as invitational with
4 s and 5 s, sugggesting that minimum opener
with 3 s convert 2NT to 3 to play.

Direct raise of 1NT to 2NT also natural and
invitational but suggesting 3NT or Pass.

2. 1-1-1N-2-2-2N
Natural and invitational with 5 s and 4 s.
Opener may convert to 3 or 3 if he doesn't
want to play game (he may also pass 2NT)

Again, direct raise of 1NT to 2NT would also be
natural and invitational but not suggesting any
alternative strain(s) to NT.

3. 1m-1-1
Here we use 2NT vs. 2-2-2NT similarly to the
cases where opener's rebid is 1NT, i.e. s for
the slower auction.

4. 1-1-1M-??
2 is still a marionette to 2.
1-1-1M-2-2-2N shows 5 s and 4-5 s.
Opener should correct to 3 if he doesn't want
to bid game.
Direct 2NT over opener's 1M is natural and
invitational but without length.

Note:
After 1-1-1M, we also use 2-2-3 to show
a weak hand with 5 and 4 s. Opener passes
or possibly corrects to 3.
Jan. 22
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 22
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That is the reason I am dubious about the value of the 2NT as a relay to 3 treatment. I find that just the 2 relay generates enough sequences to show all the hand types I can think of (by using responder’s continuations above 3 of his suit). Sure, adding the 2NT relay allows for even more sequences (by continuing over opener’s forced 3), but can all those sequences be usefully defined to bid more accurately to high level contracts?
Meanwhile, I know there is value in having two ways for responder to rebid a NF 2NT (directly and after the 2==>2 dance).
Jan. 22
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I don’t play strong methods much, but I don’t see why such a strong hand as your example should be required for a splinter raise of strong 1 opener’s primary suit. I would think most any GF hand with appropriate shape would suffice. Now if you are just saying that 4 card trump support is required for the splinter, then I have no problem with that.
Jan. 22
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