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All comments by Craig Zastera
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No reason to duck.
Most people will be playing 4.

It appears that they will be making at least 11 tricks (when both and finesses lose).

You must try to make at least as many tricks as the people in 4. If you go down in 3NT in the effort–who cares. Few matchpoints at risk in that case.

You could make as many as 13 tricks in NT (picture :Kx onside and the finesse working).

If the finesse is working, you can likely make 12 tricks in NT if s are 3-2 even with the finesse offside (or :Kxx or :K stiff onside).

So you win in dummy and lead a low to your J.
Later, you will take finesses. Chances of making as many tricks as people in 4 (likely 12) are not too bad.
Aug. 29, 2018
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In addition to honor distribution, shape, point count and form of scoring, VULNERABILITY is also relevent.

“Winning” the race to 1NT is more beneficial (especially at matchpoints) when your side is not vulnerable.
Aug. 29, 2018
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Seems to me this hand has exceptional support and orientation for previous bidding.

Partner has gone out of his way to alert us (and the opponents) to potential danger for NT.

Thus, 4 seems strongly indicated to me vs. 3NT.

Give partner some hand like:
KQJT-KQTxxx-xx-x
A simulation indicated 3NTE to be 44% while 4W was just short of 80%.

Of course, in light of our strong rebid, partner does not need to be as strong as this example hand to continue over 3. That would, it seems to me, argue even more strongly for 4 rather than 3NT.

For 3NT to be right, in addition to the s running, we need probably two *fast* tricks in the majors. I see no particular reason why partner has to have those.
Aug. 29, 2018
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It's a 15 count, but I agree that 3 rebid is less than obvious.
Aug. 29, 2018
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As I don't play these methods, I'm just guessing what seems reasonable to me. I would think that those who do play this way would have discussed policy for a common-looking situation like this.

Anyway, my judgment opinion is that if not playng transfers, a natural 1NT would be reasonable here, so I chose 1 transfer to 1NT in your methods.

But a partnership might have a policy about never suppressing a 4 card major. If so, then obviously 1 (==> ).

Given the limited nature of the 1 opening (as well as the length ambiguity), I would think PASS with these very minimum responding values (for a “free” or NT bid) would not be unreasonable either, but presumably the partnership has some policy as to values promised by a “free” bid here.

Playing somewhat “sounder” minimum opening bid requirements in a standard system, I do not think I would Pass this responding hand.
Aug. 29, 2018
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The meaning of South's 2 does not affect the support double interpretation of West's double of that call.

Support doubles are useful when responder's suit is s. You could take a poll, but my impression is that most who play support doubles use them for s as well as when responder has shown a major. I know we do.
Aug. 29, 2018
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Funny–Patrick Laborde upthread suggested that it was “obvious” that 4 would be a splinter raise of s with short s. I didn't agree with that either.
Aug. 29, 2018
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Wouldn't X here be a “support double” (3 card support)?
I am sure that is what it would mean in my partnerships.
Aug. 29, 2018
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And why can't XX show 1st round control of s?
Will partner know that XX shows specifically 2nd round control of s?
Aug. 29, 2018
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You must be kidding.
I doubt if my partners would be confident that 4 here would be a splinter in support of s.
It might be an “auto-splinter” in support of s.
It might be just some strong, forcing “cue-bid” to show a great hand without clear direction, or a direction to be clarified later.

Splinters are usually jumps, but 4 here would not be, so that alone is enough to cast doubt on that interpretation.

I'm not saying that defining 4 here as a splinter in support of s is a bad idea. But I am saying that without some explicit agreement to that effect, it is far from clear that partner would so interpret that call.

BTW, in my partnerships, we use 3 here as specifically a game invitational strength hand with s. GF or stronger responding hands with s bid 3. I have found that explicitly distinguishing invitational from GF strength immediatley can be very valuable when the opponents compete further.
Aug. 29, 2018
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Don't understand why you find these figures “suspiciously low”.
Remember, the *defense* is double dummy too.
So for some contracts (typically high level, e.g. slams), real world declarers do *worse* than DD declarers.
For low level contracts (partscores), real world declarers do better than DD.
The turn-over point is around 4M/5m.

These comparisons of real world results vs. double dummy results are from Richard Pavlicek's excellent website.
They are based on a large database of deals from top level tournaments.

Here is a pointer–you can peruse the data yourself:
http://www.rpbridge.net/8j45.htm
Aug. 28, 2018
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This hand is too good for a mere jump to 4.

4 might be OK if clearly a splinter in support of s, but there is no indication of this agreement, and it is not clear that is the ideal description anyway.

I think passing now will give me a good chance of learning more (i.e. partner's choice of rebid) before making a choice next round. I'm willing to bid (probably 5) on my own if LHO jams with 5 and partner passes.
Aug. 28, 2018
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That is not really a valid criticism of “inviting.”

The “mesh” of honors between the two hands is always important in borderline 3NT deals and, in general, unknowable (I'm thinking of 1N-3N vs. 1N-2N-? auction types).

The benefit of the invite is to ask if partner is minimum or maximum for his 1NT opening.

Computer simulations of two relatively balanced hands with combined strength in the “borderline 3NT” range (around 25 HCPs) shows that each additional HCP raises the statistical probability of 3NT making by about 20%.

So if 3NT is statistically 40% opposite a wide range of random 15 HCP balanced hands, it will be 60% opposite random 16 HCP hands (and in the upper 70%s opposite 17).

The 40% will not be good enough (except VUL at IMPs), but the 60% will be good at all forms of the game.

I will add that specifically VUL at IMPs, it is doubtful that a NT invite is ever the percentage action. Since a below 40% make percentage is sufficient under those conditions, it is probably best for responder to simply make a “go/no go” decision himself (i.e. pass 1NT or bash 3NT.)
This is because there is a significant “penalty” incurred by inviting–when opener declines (with 15), if he can't make 8 tricks we lose to passing 1NT. When he has 16-17, he will accept, and we will be in the same place as the bashers.

But at other vulnerabilities and at matchpoints, there are responding hands that will show some net gain (statisically speaking of course) from inviting 3NT rather than responder's simply deciding himself.
Aug. 28, 2018
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The computer simulations don't tell you too much about what would happen at the table on any one specific deal (because of double dummy deviations from at the table play).

But statistically, over *thousands* of deals, all with constraints such that they satisfy the actual given hand and bidding, they tell you all you need to know about whether this hand is worth a pass of 1NT, an invite to 3N, or a bash of 3NT.

You say that DD bias will persist even over thousands of deals? True. But the amount of this bias is pretty well known (around 3% - 6% for 3NT contracts–closer to the lower number when hands are balanced).

So you can just adjust your DD thousands of deals simulation results for this bias.

On this particular hand (OP), you will find from large simulations that the correct answer is quite clear.

On some other similar hand, DD simulations *might* yield sufficiently borderline results that a clear “answer” might not be available. That's OK too–it just means that that hand is a very close call (not this one though).
Aug. 28, 2018
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This sort of question is very easy to answer using computer simulations.
Aug. 28, 2018
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I don't pre-empt at unfavorable unless I have a near perfecto Rule of 2/3/4 (i.e. within 2 tricks of my contract) so that my bid is highly descriptive for partner.

So this hand is an easy pass for me.
Aug. 27, 2018
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Interesting point you make, Michael.
And somewhat surprising to me.

I personally have always liked the idea that after 1m-1-?
opener with 3 s and 4 s and a minimum hand should generally raise to 2 rather than rebidding 1. That way, his 1 then later “correction” to s shows a better hand.

But I have been told by a bidding mentor that this approach is aberrant because it risks missing a 4=4 fit to instead play 2 in a 4=3. So he advocates that opener should rebid 1 with four s and 3 s (except 1NT with 4=3=3=3), even with a minimum opener.

Anyway, I think your points have some validity, but they are perhaps counter-balanced by the additional system complexity required if we DON'T play XYZ after 1-1-1 but do play it on (all?) other 1X-1Y-1Z auctions.

Your way, we have to remember some different structure and set of definitions for continuations after 1-1-1.

One of the great virtues of “XYZ” is that it provides a uniform framework for handling all of a rather large set of auctions. Sure, the details of “XYZ” might be fairly complex and require some memory work, but once learned, the payback is that the same structure applies to all these auctions.

If you introduce 1X-1Y-1Z auctions where the XYZ methods are not played, you add a lot of additional memory work for what seem to me to be relatively small optimizations.
Aug. 27, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 27, 2018
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For me, your suggested mini-splinter hand is slightly too strong.
I would treat it as a minimum GF splinter (hence 4).

Admittedly, when partner is minimum with wasted secondary values in s, this evaluation may be too aggressive.

But I have played these “jump reverse mini-splinters” (actually, split range as they can alternatively be super strong splinters) for a long time and have found that about 14 HCPs with a small singleton in the splinter suit seems to be about “perfect” for this treatment.

I've tried it occasionally with a great 13 and would also makes this bid with 15. But 16 I've found is getting to be too strong as it will miss good games.

Of course, all 16s are not equal. The one you've constructed is not as good as it would have been had you reversed the majors: AJxx-QJxx-x-AKJx. I can't imagine settling for only 3 invitational splinter with that hand.

The OP's auction with the opponents bidding s argues for more aggressive splinters than if they were silent, as the short s are less likely to be opposite secondary values.
Aug. 27, 2018
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I have an occassional partner who refuses to play xyz after 1-1-1 for the reason Michael states–no way to play 2.

I do not find this argument compelling as *that* objection would apply to 2-way NMF and even “checkback Stayman” after 1NT rebids just as much.

If you adopt 2-way NMF (aka “xyz” particularly when “z” is not NT), you accept the *one* drawback of not being able to play in exactly 2.

The presumption is that with a fit and values so limited that you need to stop in 2, you are rarely if ever going to be allowed to play in 2 anyway, so having no sequence that allows you to do so (after 1x-1y-1z) is not really much of a loss in exchange for the versatility and descriptive options unleashed by a well thought-out xyz structure.
Aug. 27, 2018
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I wasn't advocating 1 then 2NT. This hand is too good for that.
Aug. 27, 2018
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