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All comments by Craig Zastera
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A 4 “fit showing non-jump” would be perfect, but unfortunately as we are not a passed hand I think that 4 here would just be natural and forcing and not promise a fit.

I think this hand is slightly too strong for 4 (which should be “semi-pre-emptive”), so I settle for 4 (GF raise).

4 here would be a “fit-jump” (i.e. would be perfect if s and s were reversed) and not a splinter.
Sept. 10
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 10
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Can't I think it is a “stupid convention” without thinking it should be banned?

I don't see that it is any harder to defend against than many conventions which are ACBL legal even in mere club games.

So I think it should be legal in all except the lower “limited masterpoint” type games (e.g. “199ers” etc.).
Sept. 10
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I posted my vote for what I would do in the OP situation–5 which I believe is obviously Gerber–a jump to 5 over a natural 3NT. 4 would be natural and forcing.

Whether that is a good choice or not is a different question, but I hardly see how it can be any worse than the leaps to 6 or 6NT and it might be better.

If I thought that 4 would be understood as Kickback for s (which is what it would mean in my partnerships), I would prefer that to Gerber 5.
Sept. 10
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Steve,
I do not see anything in the OP that suggests that opener must rebid 2M whenever he has a minimum with 5 trumps. And I do not think that is what he meant either.

He simply says that “2M rebid by opener does not promise six,”.
That merely describes a very common 2/1 style (one which I play BTW) wherein the 2M rebid is the “catch-all” for all hands not suited for some more descriptive bid and does not promise any extra length in the suit.

It most definitely does not mean that all minimum hands with 5 cards in the major rebid 2M.
For example, with 5=4 and a minimum, opener might bid:
1-2-2.

Or, with 5332 shape, doubleton in partner's suit and stoppers in the unbid suits with 12-14 HCPs, he would rebid 2NT.
Sept. 10
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 10
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I think 4NT is a good raise to 5, i.e. a hand with which partner thinks 6 might be good.

The issue, then, is whether my hand should take him up on his slam invite.
In favor are my spectacularly good s (partner has invited 6 with terrible s !) and that I do have a control (albeit second round).

Opposed are that I'm fairly minimum for 3. I certainly could have significantly more HCPs for that call.

In the end, I would risk 6 on the grounds that partner must have a pretty good hand to be suggesting slam with his poor trump support.
Sept. 9
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Do you think ELC on this auction is “non-standard” so would require a mention if played? Or is it the other way around?

My view is that most now-adays would double a (1) opening with, e.g. KQxx-x-KQJxxx-xx, planning to correct a advance to s at the same level without promising extras.

Although “Bridge World Standard” explicitly does NOT use ELC:
    "BWS does not use minimum equal-level conversions
(minELC), in which doubler's same-level suit bids
over a suit advance may be based on minimum high-card
strength (with appropriate shape)."
Sept. 9
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 9
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Since 3, then 3 next time over (3) seems 100% clear-cut (and perfect for this hand), I did not choose any 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice option.

You might have mentioned whether your partnership employs “equal level conversion” doubles, i.e. whether there is a possibilitity that partner has e.g. four s and 5/6 s in a minimum strength hand.
Sept. 9
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Spot cards on OP hand are, at best, only marginally better than average.
The hand has 9 spot cards, so “average” would be one of each spot.
The OP hand has one 10. Average
It does have *2* 9s and *2* 8s, so a little bit better than average there, but the T9, being in a short suit with no accompanying higher honors makes those spots weaker than they would be in a longer suit with higher honor(s).

So all-in-all, I do not think you can “upgrade” this hand on the basis of spot card quality.
Sept. 9
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What would 3 be in your methods?

Some play it as “weak with 4 s and 6 s”, which would be convenient here. I actually believe that is the traditional definition for this bid in “Walsh” style (e.g. Max Hardy's 2/1 books).

Nowadays, I think some play it as
(a) a splinter in support of partner's s.
or
(b) natural and invitational, typically 5=5 in s/s

This hand makes a good argument for the weak 4=6 treatment as otherwise it is very hard to find any reasonable second call with this OP hand.
Sept. 9
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This is a good hand for Soloway Jump shifts.
Then, e.g. 1-2-2-3 shows a solid suit and more than one outside card, a pretty much perfect description.
Sept. 9
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When opener rebids 2NT, he is showing a very well defined hand type: balanced, stoppers in unbid suits and either 12-14 HCPs or 18-19 HCPs.

If he has the 18-19 type, he *must* bid 4NT at his next bid regardless of what responder does (if responder happens to bid 3, 4NT still shows the 18-19 balanced type, but if responder chooses not to pass 4NT, he responds key-cards for s).

After opener's 2NT, any next bid by him other than 4NT confirms some sort of 12-14 HCP balanced hand. 3NT by him would be natural and passable. Cue-bids (after responder's 3) still show the 12-14 type and are therefore not “serious”–just co-operating in case responder has real slam interest, as is likely, particularly in a “fast-arrival” context (I don't play “fast-arrival” in 2/1 auctions BTW).
Sept. 9
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Gregory,
I do not understand your “potential play for tricks.”

To me, it looks like quite a “barren”, flat hand with only the AK as “sure” tricks. In standard methods, balanced hands are supposed to have at least 12 HCPs to be considered openers (and not all 12s qualify, although nowadays many people open almost all 12s).
Sept. 9
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My agreement is that double of (2) is a “happy stolen bid double”, meaning that I would have happily bid 2 had RHO passed (or doubled).

I like to reserve 3 for hands with four s (LOTT).
So partner will understand my double as 3 s and a reasonable hand for playing s.
Sept. 9
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It seems obvious to me that what we (should) want to do with this hand is play in 3 (or possibly 3) and not in 2NT (or, gasp, 3NT).

So the question is whether the partnership has methods to distinguish between this hand type (weak 5=5, wants to play a suit parial) vs. a strong 5=5 that wants to force to game but explore other strains besides NT.

There is a pretty well-known gadget for this auction type wherein 3 is a relay to 3. That way, opener's direct rebid of one of his suits can handle one hand type (weak or strong), while the other type (strong or weak) is handled via the 3 relay.

I believe that originally the 3 relay was thought of as sort of a “substitute” for a “bad 2NT” (aka Lebensohl) to handle the “bad” (weak) hand types. That way, a direct rebid of opener's suit (or one of his suits) over 2NT would be forcing.

I believe that these days many reverse the above meanings, so that the natural 3 level rebids are played as weak and the stronger hands go via the 3 relay.

Anyway, I voted for 3 under the assumption that it was “weak and NF”. If playing the older way, 3 relay to 3 (then pass 3) would have been my choice.

Without this gadget, partnership would need an agreement about whether 3 is weak or forcing. I think many play that pulling a NF 2NT to a *minor* is NF.
Sept. 9
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But the real question is that if you and partner don't have highly developed and agreed opening bid definitions, i.e. this is a new partnership, and you have just agreed to play some sort of “standard” 2/1 GF with 15-17 1NT openers, will he be misled if you open this hand?

My view is that he might be, as I do not think it qualifies as an opening bid in “standard” methods using any of the common metrics:
* it has 8 “losers” using either Klinger or NLTC counts
too many for an opening bid

* it counts to 19 on the “rule of 20” scale and to
21.5 on the “rule of 22” scale, so not quite there.

Here's one simulation test I tried:
Give partner either 13 HCPs in a balanced (23)=4=4 hand
or 12 HCPs in a balanced hand with a 5 card minor.
With any of those hand types, he will surely drive to
3NT if we open.

How did 3NT fare on this 1000 deal simulation?
It made on only 340 deals.

That is just one example of how opening this hand might lead partner into a losing course of action while making completely reasonable choices. I do not think that is worth risking.

I understand that this simulation is far from the only critieria. For example, OP hand does have two four card majors, so if responder bids one, we can raise, hence the final contract often won't be in NT.

Still, I believe this hand will fall short of his expectations for an opening bid and a raise, hence we are still risking getting too high, albeit not in NT.
Sept. 9
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Jeff,
I was thinking about a related ethical question.
Obviously in principle we are entitled to know in advance of need about all the opponents' relevent agreements.

But suppose the auction starts 2-(DBL)-?? to me and
I hold: void-Jxxx-T9xx-JTxxx.

I might like to try the effect of an in-tempo redouble.
But if I first inquire of them “how do you play a Pass of a redouble on this auction?”, the question might slightly dull the effect of my call.

Even looking at their card (and what are the chances that I'd find anything relevent on this point?) would serve to spoil the surprise.

So unless they were a very experienced pair, I'd probably just gamble the re-double in hopes that they had no agreement (or, less likely, that they had an agreement and that it was that LHO's pass would be “you choose our suit.”)

Still, situations like this point out the inadeqacies of the “full disclosure” principle in practice.
Sept. 9
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I think 4 is strongly invitational but not forcing.

If I just wanted to compete to 4 without strongly inviting game, I would double 3 and then correct to 4.
Sept. 9
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I find it surprising that as many as one in three consider this hand to be an opening bid playing “standard & strong NT”.

This is not a comment on the merits of other styles that systemically use “light initial action” where OP hand might be a normal opening (e.g. 10-12 1NT).

But if I claimed to be playing “standard”, I definitely would not consider this a normal opening bid.
Sept. 9
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The OP stated that double is responsive in his methods (an agreement that I happen to find reasonble, BTW).
Sept. 8
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I'm hoping that 4NT after my VUL vs. not 4 will suggest a good hand with 7=4 (minor unknown).

With 5 in the minor, I would bid it now (if bidding at all).
I'm trying to cater to the possibility that partner has:
xxx-x-xxxx-KJxxx or even xxx-x-xxx-KJxxxx
where I might make 5 but not 5.

BTW, I'm not a fan of my 4 bid on the previous round.
Sept. 8
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 8
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