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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Your example is a legitimate (albeit dead minimum) double of (3).
But that doesn't change the fact that North has the values to jump to 5. It just means that sometimes when the opponents pre-empt away 3 levels of our bidding room, we reach an unmakeable contract. Hell, sometimes that happens when the opponents don't bid at all.
Nov. 18, 2018
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Although this grand slam should be pretty easy to bid using ordinary RKCB, using “Kickback” makes it even easier.

After 1N-2-2-3-3, there is no reason not to play that a jump to 4 is Kickback for s (you could even consider using it as “6 keycard ask” including the Kings in both of responder's suits).

Anyway, after 4 Kickback just for s and 5 reply (2 keys and the Q), responder now has 5 to ask for specific kings.

Opener replies 5NT to show the K (and he could have another). Now opener continues with 6 to ask about the K.
You can have fancy agreements about how opener shows that he has it (most any bid above 6 will do). Say you play that 6NT shows he has the K too.

Now responder has discovered every high card in opener's hand and can easily bid 7, or even try 7NT (which would be even easier if opener could make a 7 reply to 6 to show the K with 3+ length).
Nov. 17, 2018
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John,
I gave this a “like” as I mostly agree with your sentiments *at matchpoints*. I certainly think it is often right to compete with 4 HCPs opposite partner's ~16 when they have stopped at the 2 level.

The worst thing about this North hand, though, (even at matchpoints) is that the shape is not quite right for the (take-out) double. The small doubleton is fine. But I think a “light” competitive double like this really ought to deliver 4 cards in both unbid suits, else you're really not offering partner much of a choice.
Nov. 17, 2018
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As I implied earlier, I believe I would have bid 3NT with the South hand.

But I would certainly have considered DOUBLE and do not consider that an outlandish choice by any means. This hand does have all the requirements for a TO double.

I also suggested that if either of the minor suit spot cards were changed to the corresponding spot, I most likely would prefer DOUBLE over 3NT (although 3NT would still be a logical alternative I think).

One can hardly claim this is a “routine” 3NT overcall with one thin stopper that cannot be held up even one round *and* no source of tricks.

On the other hand, counting points for advancing a TO double of s, the North hand is worth about 12 and all are “working hard” and with a 6 card suit to obviate any worries about partner not having adequate support.

In my view, this hand is not “close” at all between 4 vs. 5. It is plenty for 5 and I might even entertain a fleeting worry about missing a slam.

But with, e.g. x-Kxxx-AQxx-AKxx, I can hope that partner might find a boost to 6 over a 5 jump advance.
Nov. 17, 2018
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Sure, a GF 3 rebid is just another way to gamble. It does take up a lot of room making it harder to continue probing.
Partner might well bid 3NT with 5 s (of course, that might well be right).

Another alternative that no one mentioned that I think is not much worse than the others would be *3*.

That is just about right on strength (top of range in strength possibly compensated for by one too few s) and does not deny the possibility of 3 s or suggest a stopper.

Sure, you are supposed to have 6+ s, but
(a) these 5 are quite strong
(b) 3 or 2 (or 3) also lie about a suit length
© 2NT lies about stopper (and hides support)

So all in all, I Think 3 is a plausible rebid.
Nov. 17, 2018
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OP doesn't say if this is IMPs or matchpoints.

I think it makes a big difference:
* at IMPs, North's double is totally insane

* at matchpoints, insane competitive bids in partscore
auctions may sometimes be necessary.

North's double (if matchpoints) would be significantly better if he were 4=4 in s and s–the two unbid suits.

Here offering s as a possible trump suit when already bid by the opponents is not likely to be a winner.

In theory (LOTT), if N/S have an 8 card fit, it should be correct to compete 3 over 2. With both rounded suits, such an 8 card fit on this auction is much more likely.

Here, North got lucky in that his side actually has an 8 card fit.

I think South should bid 3 rather than risking a disaster defending (2X), particularly with the opponents NV where even +100 may not be good enough.
Nov. 16, 2018
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Agree.
And I would add that the “raise” to 3 (1-1M-2-3) is best played as more of a “courtesy raise” rather than as showing true game invitational values.

“Courtesy raise” means 8-9 HCPs are fine. A “true invitational raise” would be around 11 (10 probably OK).

This treatment caters to opener being towards the upper end of his very wide strength range.

It does introduce the problem of what responder should do with good support and true invitational strength.
Sometimes, perhaps 2NT. Sometimes, overbid with 4SF 2.
Sometimes, underbid with 3. Sometimes, get a bad result whichever guess you choose.
Nov. 16, 2018
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Yrjo,
Now you've created a truly difficult bidding problem.

There is a reason why this opening hand type (an opening hand with from some to perhaps significant extra values with 3 card support for partner's major but not GF strength) is commonly known as the “Bridge World Death Hand.”

It is because there is no truly satisfactory solution within Standard bidding methods. Maybe this is why some play strong methods.

Anyway, your responding hand example, KJT9-Axxxx-x-xxx is not easy to handle after 1-1-2.

Especially at matchpoints, *some* would pass 2 with this hand. The gamble would be that partner does not have a very strong (near jump shift) hand or a strong hand with 3 card support. If he has OP hand, you would lose that gamble if you passed.
Passing 2 would be even less popular at IMPs where one must avoid missing good games at all costs.

A 2 “false preference” on a stiff is too bizarre for me to contemplate (responder might try this with a doubleton though in an emergency).

An alternative that would work great opposite OP hand would be 2NT. But this hand is a bit weak for that call. Opener would assume 10-11 HCPs (maybe a great 9 in a pinch) and raise to game with a normal minor 2-suited hand with a bit more than minimum opening strength (say 14-15 HCPs with, say 2=2=5=4 shape).
This might well be too high.

On the actual OP hand, of course, opener would bid 3 (forcing) and we should reach a reasonable game.

Clearly responder cannot rebid 2 (over 2) with your example hand as that would be “4th suit forcing to game”, for which this responding hand is not nearly strong enough.

Finally, that leaves 2. This is not very appealing with the thread-bare (Axxxx) suit you give but might be the best option. It could work very badly, though if opener passes with some 3=1=5=4 minimum.
Nov. 16, 2018
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I said that the 2 rebid was not forcing. It is just wide-ranging, hence partner tends not to pass unless he is very minimum with 4+ s and nothing else to do.

Opener could have some minimum hand with 5=5 (or 5=4, even 4=5 is possible) minors.
Nov. 16, 2018
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Yrjo,
I let it pass the first time, but since you've repeated your misconception, I will comment on it:

the 2 rebid (1-1-2) in no way suggests a minimum
hand.
This rebid is consistent with hands up to (at least)
18 HCPs.

That is one of the advantages of this bid–it does not “lie” about hand strength. Rather, it is consistent with a very wide range of strengths, thereby strongly encouraging partner to bid again (but no, it is not forcing).

Seems to me that it doesn't lie about value location either (as 2NT rebid would). We have values in s.

The *worst* thing about 2 rebid is that it temporarily hides the pretty good support.

The alternative is a 3 jump raise which, in my view, lies about support in that partner will expect four.
A really good partner with only 4 s and a balanced hand with some extra HCPs *might* think to bid 3NT over this 3, but more likely a 3 rebid will result in playing a contract even when that isn't right.

Meanwhile, a likely continuation after a 2 rebid is:
1 1
2 2
2
Now partner has an excellent picture of our hand–
5 s, 3 card support, extra values (our actual hand is about a maximum for this sequence but it always shows “extras” else would just raise 1 to 2 directly).

Partner can continue over this 3rd round 2 in many ways.
If he has 5 s but is unsure if we are strong enough for game, he can raise to 3 (we will raise to 4 with OP hand).
If he has s well stopped, he can bid 2NT or 3NT.
If he has something in but needs help, he can try 2
(we would bid 3 over this).
If he is very weak, he can pass 2.
Nov. 16, 2018
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But partner may not have the shape needed for convenient auction entry.
Nov. 16, 2018
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I try to avoid opening 1NT with a 5 card major when possible.
Sometimes, it is the “least of evils”, so I will do so with reluctance.
It is always taking a big risk of missing a better scoring major suit fit.
Methods that reduce the frequency of needing to open 1NT with a 5 card major are desirable.
Nov. 16, 2018
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Opener can't really double 2, even with good s because he has no idea how weak his partner is.

But *responder* can double 2 in the pass-out seat with a near max in HCPs and short s. His double is intended as TO but can easily be left in by opener with an appropriate hand.
Nov. 16, 2018
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As North, if I had “more offence and less defence” than a 3 overcall promises, I would have overcalled 4 (or more).
Nov. 16, 2018
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4 would be a “picture bid”, 100% denying a control in either minor suit.

It, perhaps, also suggests four s, but that is not an absolute requirement.

Something like AQTxx-AQTx-xx-xx would be appropriate for 4. It would be OK to have a minor suit Q (or two).
Nov. 16, 2018
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I said “mostly North” because South could reasonably have chosen a 3NT overcall instead of his actual double.

But “double” is certainly not ridiculous since he is short in s with 3+ card support for all the unbid suits.

Suppose you changed his hand slightly by giving him same honor structure but with one more small and one fewer small card in one of the minors.

In that case, he *still* could choose 3NT, but now “double” would be even more reasonable (I'm guessing probably a majority choice) because of the 4th card in the unbid major.

Anyway, what *is* ridiculous is North's 4 response which is consistent with no points at all and a 5 card suit (perhaps even a 4 bagger).

I think this North hand is pretty close to a “textbook” 5 jump advance.

Hence, most of the blame has to go to North as his choice is utterly bizarre while South's choice is just “arguably not best.”
Nov. 16, 2018
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I play 2M NFBs only after the two auction starts:
1-(2)
1-(2)

The upper limit for NFB as we play them overlaps with the lower limit for standard (1 round force) 2/1 responses in competition. Thus, the NFB could be up to 11 points or so.

Given that, it seems right that double followed by responder's bidding a major (not first bid by opener) should be GF (since stronger than top of NFB range).

We also play that responder can jump to 3M directly over the (2m) overcall as a natural, GF bid showing a 6 card suit (or possibly an extremely strong 5 card suit). This treatment takes some of the pressure off of the ambiguous negative double which could be a GF hand with a more moderate 5 card suit.
Nov. 16, 2018
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There is a difference between opening NT (1NT or 2NT) with an unstopped suit vs. rebidding NT with an unstopped suit, especially a small doubleton in unbid major.

If OP hand were weakened considerably to say:
xx-KJT-Axxxx-KQx or xx-KJT-AQxxx-Kxx
and the auction began 1-1, I suspect few would rebid 1NT. Rather, 2 would be the popular choice.

The actual hand has similar considerations, except that since it is much stronger, a raise would have to be to (at least) 3.
Making a jump raise with only 3 card support is considerably less accepted (although not 100% taboo) then a single raise.
This is what brings 2 into the picture.

Position is improved considerably by rebidding 2 (vs. 2NT) because we are at a much lower level, hence have more room for further discussion before deciding on final strain and level.
Opener next intends to show his 3 card support (and, hence his extra values by implication).

If we wind up in NT, it will be from partner's side as our bidding will strongly suggest our lack of a stopper.
Nov. 16, 2018
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Leonard,
I agree that among the choices here I consider 3 much better than 2NT. I just happen to like 2 better.

I think from my recollection of MSC polls (several), that giving a double raise of a 1M response with only 3 card support very rarely garners the “100” from the BW expert panel. But I do recall *one* case where it was the winner.
Nov. 15, 2018
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But you have to announce your NT range the moment your partner opens (or overcalls) 1NT.

That is even *stronger* than alerting as you are providing the information immediately rather than just calling your opponents attention to the possibility that there may be information available that they don't have.
Nov. 15, 2018
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