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All comments by Craig Zastera
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While I don't know if 4NT opener asking for specific aces is “standard” or not, it is what I have always played.
I believe it is known as “Acol 4NT”.

The standard responses are:
5: no aces
5: ace only
5: ace only
5: ace only
5NT: any 2 aces
6: ace only
(although it seems one could switch the last to replies and/or add more refinement for hands with more than 1 ace).

Anyway, with “Acol 4NT”, that would seem like a pretty easy choice on OP hand. If I'm not going to “risk” it with this hand, I probably should replace it with some other meaning for a 4NT opening (Acol 4NT does not come up much :-)).
Jan. 15
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We are poorly placed because apparently our 2NT, while showing s, communicated absolutely no information about how strong we might be.

In my methods, we have 3 response *exactly* invitational in s (although admittedly it is usually oriented towards 3NT if partner doesn't want to pass 3), while 3 is a transfer either WEAK (i.e. to play 3) or STRONG (GF).

Even with my methods, it is not clear how best to bid this unusual OP hand. 3 invitational (then pass 3NT??)?
Perhaps 3 then 5 over 3?
3 then pull 3 to 4 is NOT defined as invitational to game but passable in our methods (but maybe it should be as that would be a nice sequence for OP hand).

I think penalty double definition on OP hand is a questionable choice given opener has no info about responder's hand strength (could be 0) or length.

How often will a balanced 15-17 be confident he wants to defend (3X) with so little info about responder's hand?
Rarely, I would say.

On OP hand, if I had a way to PULL partner's double while inviting him to choose between 4 and 5, I would definitely do that.

4 makes over 84% of the time opposite random 1NT openers and 5 about 56% from partner's side, 53% from ours.
Of course, it is not clear how those expected results are changed by partner's double of 3.

But it is not clear I can “pull while inviting game.”
I would guess 4 would be taken as “for play” with a weak hand, very long s and no defense.
I'd hate to be abandoning a 2 trick set to play a part score (which might not even make on a really bad day).
Jan. 15
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Looks just strong enough to double (so as not to miss fit) and decide what to do over an unwelcome advance (NT or s).
Jan. 15
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I voted for “natural” but I really don't like the gratuitous “16-18” and I'm not at all sure that range is required.
Why not just say “natural, with a suit”.

I almost voted “other” for that reason, and picked it as my 2nd choice.
Jan. 15
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Actually, since that individual was (is) a rather widely respected bridge guru in our area, I believe he was actually giving me sincere advice for the purpose of improving my bridge “deportment” for my benefit as well as others.
Jan. 14
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It is the very fact that partner *will* act ethically in the face of the UI generated by your question (or any other UI) that puts your side at a significant disadvantage because he may now be constrained (by ethics) NOT to take an action that he might otherwise have chosen (and which, presuming he has good judgment, might well have been the winning action).
Jan. 14
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Cannot some “artificial” bids still say something about the holding in the bid suit?

I am thinking of splinters as one example. No doubt there are others.

I'm only saying that I'm not sure that the single word “artificial” automatically means “says absolutely nothing about my holding in the suit bid.”
Jan. 14
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Martin,
I agree with you that a new (unbid) suit by a PH should be a “fit-showing non-jump” and hence a try for game.

Those can be useful, but are fairly specialized (need a good suit plus support).

The 2NT PH advance can cover other hand types with possible game interest opposite a “strong WJO” that want info from overcaller rather than being able to make a descriptive bid ourselves.

And advancer also has the cue-bid available to send some specific message related to possible game interest.

We actually use the first step (2 when partner has overcalled 2, else 2NT over 2) as our “modified Ogust” bid. Using the cheapest step allows just a little more room for overcaller to describe various possible hand types (5 different hand types without going beyond 3M).

Advancer can still make a “fit non-jump” with s when partner has overcalled 2 by using 2NT for that purpose.
Jan. 14
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They are not going to let us play 1NTXX (and, it is not impossible that they could cash a lot of s off the top if they did).

If I redouble first, that *might* lead to complications later in our auction.

Say it goes XX-(2)-P-(P)-?
Will it be clear to partner that whatever I do is trying for *slam* in s? I don't know (don't even know what calls I might make at that point). But I'll bet we don't have clear agreements about meanings of calls after that unusual auction start.

What I want to do is show my interest in a slam in the clearest possible way. I'm hoping that RHO's double does not affect our normal bidding structure after partner's 1NT rebid. So, playing “XYZ”, for example, I can bid 3 and have that be an unmistakable GF, “pure” hand, slam interest, etc.
Jan. 14
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Some years ago when I was a much less experienced player (but still had played tournament bridge for a fair while) I was *severely* admonished by a very expert player (a GLM and one who is quite knowledgable about rules and proprieties) for asking “please explain” pretty much whenever my RHO's call was alerted, even when I had no intention of doing anything other than passing regardless of what the alerted call meant.

I think I was doing this for alerted calls in a lengthy and largely artificial auction following a “big ” opening, and was doing so mainly because I wanted to be able to “follow along” with what their auction meant as it unfolded.

I was told in no uncertain terms that this was entirely inappropriate–if I did not need to know the meaning of the alerted call *immediately* because I might want to take some action (other than pass), I should just pass in tempo and wait for their auction to conclude whence I would be given a complete explanation (and could ask whatever questions I wanted then).

Since then, I have been careful NOT to ask for explanations of alerts if said explanation could not possibly affect my immediate action in the auction.
Jan. 14
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When I mentioned in another post that 2NT advance by a PH of a 2 level jump overcall should be played as “Ogust” or “feature ask” (i.e. whatever a 2NT reply to a weak 2 opener would be), many seemed to think this was a strange idea.
Seems perfectly normal to me *and* it allows for jump overcalls opposite a PH to have a (somewhat) extended range.
Jan. 14
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Too bad you (apparently) are not playing Soloway (strong) jump shift responses. A more ideal hand for an initial 2 response playing that style could hardly be imagined.

Unfortunately, you say nothing about what methods you *do* have available over opener's 1NT rebid, and whether those methods are still available after RHO's double.
Without that information, it is difficult to know how to continue.

Of course, one could gamble “redouble”, but I don't really like it.
This hand has slam potential and I would like to show that.
After all, :KQJx and A opposite would be enough for 6.

A 3 rebid if forcing and slammish seems like a reasonable choice, but I don't know if you define it that way.
Jan. 14
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 14
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2 only if partner will allow for this good a hand and has methods (e.g. Ogust) to find out if you do in case he has a good hand for s with max PH values. Mine do, so 2.

If your partner cannot imagine this good a hand for 2, then you have to settle for 1.
Jan. 14
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You say “no XYZ”, so I'll presume that 2 was “4th suit forcing to game.”

So after 2-2, why not just rebid 2 since it is GF, saves maximum bidding room so that you can later show slam interest and/or decide how to continue?
This presumes that the hand does not qualify for any more specialized bid, e.g. initial 2 jump shift or 3 jump over 2 (which it likely does not).

Leaping to 4 is just asking for partner to pass (in confusion if for no other reason).
Jan. 14
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But if 3 over a *value showing 3* is “equal level conversion”, then I would find that awkward with this hand which is likely strong enough for (some) game over a value-showing 3.

3 ELC over a Lebensohl 2NT would be pretty comfortable, but I would wish we weren't playing 3 as ELC if partner were to advance with 3.
Jan. 14
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I voted for 2, mostly thinking about the fact that this hand is not strong enough for “Leaping Michaels” 4.

But I do hate the quantity and quality of the suit for a 2 level overcall, so I now think that your suggestion of “double” (which I really did not consider) with the intention of an “equal level conversion” 3 should partner bid 2NT (Lebensohl) is a good idea.

But I'm wondering what I do if partner bids a “good” 3 showing roughly 9-11 (or is it 8-11 or 8-10?) ??

Now, my hand would appear to be strong enough to have serious game interest. Would 3 still be “equal level conversion”? Should I try 3? 4? 3?
Jan. 14
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 14
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I tried a 1000 deal simulation with partner having random 15-17 HCP balanced hands.
(update: added results from a 5000 deal simulation)

I found that 5 beats 3NT both at IMPs and matchpoints:
3NT made on 456 deals (2293 / 5000 = 46%)
5 made on 530 deals (2787 / 5000 = 56%)

Matchpoints:
5 beat 3NT on 462 deals (2308 / 5000)
3NT beat 5 on 432 deals (2175 / 5000)
3NT & 5 tied on 106 deals (517 / 5000)

IMPs:
NV: 5 beat 3NT by 1221 IMPs (7,073 over 5000 deals)
VUL: 5 beat 3NT by 1841 IMPs (10,331 over 5000 deals)

The above results were for 5 played by the 1NT opener.
It makes a difference. On the 5000 deal simulation, I
checked 5 played by the long hand also.

From that side, 5 made on 2630 deals (52.6% vs. 55.74%)
5 still beat 3NT substantially at IMPs.

At NT, it was very close with 5 eaking out a narrow victory:
3NT beat 5 on 2202 deals. 5 beat 3NT on 2275 deals.


This suggests that if you just want to guess a final contract, 5 would likely be better than 3NT (but close).

Of course, none of this bears directly on the OP question of what we should do now that partner has made a penalty double of (3).
Jan. 13
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 14
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That's another way to play and I am sure it is a useful agreement when opener actually has a 5=6 hand in the reds that is an opening bid but not strong enough to reverse (IMO, it doesn't take many HCPs to justify a reverse when 5=6, but I'll agree that there must be some # of HCPs where the hand should be opened, yet is not good enough to reverse–perhaps around 10-11 HCPs?).

But I find that the “split range splinter” treatment comes up very frequently whereas the 5=6 opening hand that is too weak to reverse is a very rare creature.
Jan. 13
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I'll admit I never have played control showing responses to 2, so I'm sure I don't understand all the inferences.

Your point about 4 showing enough controls make sense to me, but I focused on the earlier 3NT bid which I'm assuming is a NF offer to play 3NT. If that is what it means, then I'm thinking that would be an odd bid with sufficient controls for slam.

But perhaps they play that when responder shows 3 controls the auction is forcing to something higher than 3NT, so that the 3NT bid was not an offer to play (?)

I would think that if playing these # of control responses to 2, the partnership would have some clear protocol for opener's indicating whether they do or do not have sufficient (10+ ?) controls for slam.
Jan. 13
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It's a splinter raise of s.
The real questions are exactly what does it show and how is it different from 4 (also a splinter raise of s).

There are various possibilities for co-ordinating the jump reverse (e.g. 3) and the double jump reverse (e.g. 4).

The one I use is:
(a) the jump reverse is either just a
*game-invitational* splinter OR it
is a “super-strong” GF splinter with
more than enough HCPs to game-force.

For me, the “game-invitational” splinter is about
14 good HCPs (none wasted in the short suit) with
a small singleton and good 4 card support
for responder's suit.

Some who are more conservative might want to make
a game-invitational splinter slightly stronger
(perhaps as much as 16 HCPs) to provide greater
“safety” in case responder is both minimum in HCPs
*and* has wasted values opposite the singleton.

Personally, I have had good luck with ~ 14 HCPs.

The “super-strong” alternative would be 4 card
support, singleton (or void) in bid suit and
probably 19+ HCPs (maybe shade to a great 18).

Responder replies under the assumption that it is
the weaker (game-invitational) type, hence 3 would
be rejecting the game-try while anything higher
would be accepting (4, 4 level cue-bids, perhaps
3NT with agreement as to just what that means).

If responder rejects (3) and opener has the
“super-strong” hand, obviously he goes on to game.
If his hand is really great, he might even cue-bid
something below game.
If responder *accepts* (4 level bid) and opener
has the super-strong type, he probably bids on.

(b) the double jump reverse (e.g. 1-1-4), is
a GF splinter but not “super-strong”.
For me, this would be roughly 17 HCPs.
Let's say 16-18 HCPs with a stiff, roughly.

A different way to co-ordinate the jump reverse and the double jump reverse would be to have one of them show a void. For example, Bridge World Standard uses the jump reverse (e.g. 3) to show a GF strength splinter with a singleton and the double-jump reverse (e.g. 4) to show a GF strength splinter with a void.
Jan. 13
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