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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Range Stayman is most useful when the 1NT balance is over their (1M) opener because over (1m), with a NT hand stronger than normal balancing 1NT strength, balancer can start with a double and (usually) be able to rebid 1NT after partner's advance.

After (1M)-P-(P)-1NT-2-??
the cue-bid reply is not needed to show that suit, hence can be re-purposed productively.

For example, with 11-16 range for the 1NT balance over (1M), 2 and 2OM replies to 2 “range Stayman” show 11-12 without and with 4 cards in OM, respectively.

2M reply shows 13-14 with 4 cards in OM, while 2N shows 13-14 without 4 cards in OM.

3 level replies can all show 15-16 with appropriate shape definitions.
Aug. 16, 2018
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But why can't he have the long solid hand looking for a * stop? I think the two black suits should be treated symmetrically here since both can be bid below 3NT.

In such cases, it seems normal to me to bid the suit you've got and await partner's 3NT if/when he's got the other one stopped.
Aug. 15, 2018
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I play “Walsh” style and I believe in that style it is normal for responder with *GF* strength, 5+ s and a four card major to respond *2*, NOT 1M.

This is very important as it establishes the GF immediately and, thus leads to smoother auctions. There is plenty of time to discover a 4=4 major suit later in the relaxed auction that ensues.

In fact, I believe this principle is so important that I (and many I think) extend it to responding to 1 opening with four s, *four* card minor, and GF values. It is probably better to start with 2m to establish the game force (especially if the minor is s since 2 response doesn't necessarily promise even four s but does establish the GF).

This idea could be extended to 1-2 with *four* s, a four card major, and GF values. I have not yet adopted this idea (I still respond 1M over 1 with four in the major and only four s, even with GF strength), but I think it has merit for the same reasons described above.
Aug. 15, 2018
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So I normally play all these Leaping and non-Leaping Michaels as GF, and in general that seems best.

But my inference is that OP here is suggesting that if you reverse which minor is shown by these calls (at least in the Leaping case over (2M)), when overcaller has s & OM he will overcall 4 instead of 4.

That opens up the possibility of advancer's being able to get out (or suggest getting out) in 4 with little loss.
If overcaller's hand is GF, he can always raise to 5 (or make some other call to show a really great hand).

Of course, when overcaller has s and OM, he will have to overcall 4. In that case, it will not be possible to stop in a minor suit part-score if LMs is played as forcing (as I and I think most do).
But that is no worse than current situation with 4m showing bid minor and OM.

Just because the interchange doesn't solve all problems, that doesn't mean it can't be used to solve *some* problems if it doesn't create others.

So over (2M) where both of advancer's suits are known, I don't see much downside to OP interchange suggestion. And it gains the ability to play 4 after (2M)-4 (s & OM).

I'm less enthusiastic about extending the same idea to
4 overcall of (3) (s & a major). Although that is the definition we use for 4 overcall, I prefer advancer's 4 to ask for overcaller's major.

If, instead, 4 were natural and passable, advancer would have to use 4 as “pass or correct” which could sometimes cause a problem.
Aug. 15, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 15, 2018
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We play exactly this way:
4 / (3m) = om & a major
4 / (3m) = majors
4m / (3M) = m & OM

When 4 shows an unknown major, we use 4 to ask for the major.

The idea is that these overcalls are GF just as “Leaping Michaels” overcalls of (2M) are, so playing in 4 is not on the menu.
Aug. 15, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 16, 2018
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Then what hand type does 3 show in this Precision context?
Aug. 15, 2018
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“Trend”s are irrelevent.
Each partnership has its own agreements about minimum opening bid strength.

Mine is that opening bids in 1st and 2nd seat should be relatively sound. I sometimes pass balanced 12 counts, particularly if they are 4333 and deficient in quick tricks.

It matters little to me that “sound initial action” may not be “trendy” currently.
I believe that style can be effective if the partnership extracts all value from it (e.g. more aggressive penalty doubles when the opponents interfere and more accurate game and slam bidding).

Part of that style is that 3rd/4th chair openings must include some hands that would not be opened in 1st/2nd.

Possibly partnerships that open very “light” in 1st/2nd seat do not need to open any lighter in 3rd/4th. I don't know for sure if that is true as I don't play that style.

I do not think opening a 4 card major is “much more likely” in 3rd chair than in 4th. It may be done in either.
If opening a “light” hand, there is more pre-emptive value in opening a major. We certainly don't want to open in 4th and have the opponents successfully oubid us.
Aug. 15, 2018
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Strongly prefer Ogust after 2M (feature over 2 is good).
Then, I'd know for sure that 3NT will be making if partner shows “good” suit (2/3 top honors).

Here with “feature ask”, in my style of sound weak 2's, if he doesn't have an outside feature, he most likely does have :AQxxxx. So 3NT seems like a good shot.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Are you kidding? 4th position (and 3rd) are where partner can be light.
Must open light to compensate for sound openings in 1st/2nd chair.
And, BTW, a “light” 1 opening does not promise a 5 card suit. In fact, 4=4 majors (if light) would not be uncommon.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Eric,
I haven't played a lot of Precision and never a version where 1 could be real short.

So your point is that the 1 opener doesn't say much of anything about s, so that we really have 3 unbid suits here.

The rule I was describing applies to cases where there are two suits of possible concern for NT (again, not too important whether opponents have bid one, both, or none).

So perhaps you are right in general–if 1 opener is to be interpreted as saying almost nothing about that suit, then perhaps the “bid the suit you have stopped” rule won't apply as often as it might in a Standard 2/1 context.

Another convention that would apply in my (non-Precision) partnerships on this auction but may possibly not be so useful in your Precision context is “good/bad” 2NT.

Your auction is classic for “G/B”, so 3 or 3 would be “good” while 2NT would suggest a minimum strength (but shapely) opener that wanted to compete in a minor (could be minor 2-suiter or just long s). (With a minimum and four s, we would reverse to “B/G” and bid 3).

Yet a third convention you don't mention is “support doubles”. We play these at the 3 level, but at that level they promise extra values (e.g. at least the strength of a jump raise to 3 but with only 3 s).

Here, opener is presumably strong enough (since he cued 3) for a support double at this level. Does his failure to make one imply he has fewer than 3 s ?

So it seems in your methods, 3 is just some generic forcing bid with no implications about s (either showing a stopper or asking for one for 3NT)??

This is somewhat puzzling to me given your Precision context.

Partner can't have more than 15 (?).
You have promised only 6 (5?) points with your 1, yet partner is forcing to game (essentially) with 3.

What can he have consistent with all this?
A max of 15 HCPs and no support.

Only possibility would seem to be a maximum minor suit 2 suiter (contra-indicated by your s) or, therefore more likely long, strong s looking for 3NT (or 5?).

So this leads me to belive that s are not a worry here (because I'm inferring partner has a lot of them). So that brings us back to the issue of Eastern vs. Western cue-bids–is partner asking for a stopper or showing one with s his worry?

Logically, either x-Kx-AKQxxxx-Qxx or Ax-xx-AKQxxxx-xx
might be reasonable for his 3, but only your partnership agreements (including what 2NT and 3 by him would mean) can tell me which.
Aug. 14, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 14, 2018
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Depends on agreements about 3.

In my partnerships, we play that in these situations you bid the suit you have stopped when looking for a stopper in the other (unbid by our side) one. It matters not whether the opponents have bid one, both, or neither of the other suits.

So here, with my agreements, partner's 3 shows stopper(s) and invites 3NT if I have the other black suit stopped.
Since I do, 3NT is relatively obvious.

If partner had wanted to ask me if *I* have s stopped for 3NT, he would have bid 3.

I find that this style works quite well as long as both suits (here s and s) can be bid below 3NT.

Sometimes, auctions are such that only one suit can be bid below 3NT. When that suit is the one opponents have bid, we then play that bidding that suit *asks* for a stopper.

So, I avoid “Western cue-bid” style except in cases where there is no reasonable alternative.
Aug. 14, 2018
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On the actual deal, dummy held:
J9xx-A-AK-JT9xxx

Declarer had:
x-KTxx-QJxxx-AKx

Leaving partner with:
ATxx-9xx-T9xx-Qx

As you can see, a lead (preferably the appropriate honor) will hold declarer to 9 tricks.

After a lead (any ), declarer can make all 13 tricks.

My partner led a , but declarer played stupidly (IMO) by cashing only 1 high from dummy before playing AK.

When the s split, he pitched dummy's other high on the K, but could come to only 11 tricks when s proved not to be 3-3.

Anyway, I strongly believe that a lead here is much superior to a lead. I don't think actual deal was just a fluke.

Secondly, I even more strongly believe that if you are going to lead a , leading a honor is much better than leading a low one (although on actual deal, it matters not).

Low lead has way too much chance of allowing their side to win a cheap trick with T whether it be short in dummy or with length in declarer's hand. Actual deal was somewhat lucky in this respect because of stiff A in dummy.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Some further simulations suggest that 2 is better than 1NT at both IMPs and matchpoints.
2 make percentage is significantly higher than 1NT.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Richard,
I did some smaller simulations (because it takes a long time to generate deals with these restrictive constraints), looking only at balanced openers with exactly 15 HCPs consisting of the three missing aces and the K with various shape constraints.

I looked at how often both 7 and 7NT would make.
In all cases, 7NT declared by the 1NT opener and 7 declared by responder.

Here is what I found:
1. Opener 4=3=3=3 (as your example)
result: 7 & 7NT made on 107 / 200 deals (same ones)

2. Opener has a 5 card red suit
results: 7 made on 191 / 200; 7NT on 76 / 200

3. Opener has a 5 card suit
results: 7 & 7NT made on 74 / 200 deals (same ones)

4. Opener has 2 s and 2 4 card suits:
results: 7 made on 139 / 200; 7NT on 113 / 200

5. Opener has 3 s and 2 4 card suits:
results: 7 made on 122 / 200; 7NT on 56 / 200

In the 4=3=3=3 case, there are a lot of possible squeezes which account for the perhaps surprising finding that the grands seem to be makeable over half the time.

Cases (1) and (3) above were much rarer than cases
(2) and (4) and (5).
Aug. 14, 2018
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I have had second thoughts about this problem.

Although it is certainly possible to construct North hands consistent with her bidding where 3NT is good
(Kxx-AJT-Txx-JT9x makes 3NT almost cold), I did some simulations giving North 10 HCPs (certainly the most possible, and she is unlikely to have that many) with < 4 cards in both majors and not a strong 6 card suit (else 3 invitational).

I found 3NT making only 48% of the time.

When I tightened the constraints on North requiring 2-3 cards in each major, 3NT make percentage went up to barely 50%.

Since partner is likely to have < 10 HCPs and will surely bid game over any invite with 8-9, I am now convinced that moving towards game with this hand is too aggressive.

Thus, pass 1NT or possibly “correct” to 2.
Aug. 14, 2018
Craig Zastera edited this comment Aug. 14, 2018
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But why must opener be “solid”? He could have a light opener in 4th seat (just not as light at the low end as in 3rd seat).

I do not think this hand necessarily needs to force to game if partner indicates a sub-minimum opener in response to Drury and then also refuses a second game try by responder (say 3).

Another consideration is that if partner does indicate a light opener, he is likely to have some length in s (3 or 4) because he would have had to have been prepared to pass a 1 response and also because of the “Rule of 15.”

length in opener's hand is likely to be *bad* for our side's 4 prospects since we have :xxx.

Picture something like Qxxx-AQJxx-xx-Qx, which would be a fine hand for a 4th chair 1 followed by 2 reply to Drury and 3 over 3.

If this is partner's hand, he will likely not make even 3.

Those who think OP hand should insist on 4 regardless of partner's input after Drury are not giving proper consideration to all the hands partner might hold where 4 would be utterly hopeless.
Aug. 14, 2018
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I think 3 is OK on this hand with :xxx.
Typically, 3 would show a “partial stopper” meaning Jxx or Qx. But “xxx” is borderline acceptable. Partner will know he needs to have help in s for 3NT to be viable.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Normal aggressive style for pre-empts is “rule of 2/3/4” which suggests the number of tricks you will fall short of the bid you open if partner provides no tricks based on vulnerability (favorable/equal/unfavorable).
You can find this documented in, for example, “Pre-empts From A to Z” by Auken and Anderson.

Therefore, at unfavorable vulnerability (as in OP), a 3 opening bid ought to have 7 nearly sure tricks in hand.
Obviously, these should nearly all come from the suit.

Thus, 7 solid (AKQ) and out would be a reasonable example of an unfavorable 3. Or KQJ eighth and out.
Or, KQJ seventh with a side Ace (if you do not consider that a 1 opener).

These are all what I consider “normal” 3 pre-empts at the given vulnerability.

The hand you suggest (QJT98xx-x-KTxx-x) is about 5.5 tricks.
This would be a fine 3 at favorable vul and an aggressive but acceptable 3 at equal vul.
But at unfavorable, I would not consider 3, although I might try 2.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Pass might be a reasonable gamble at matchpoints but unthinkable at IMPs.
Aug. 14, 2018
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I agree that KTxxx-x-KQ9xx-xx is not an opening bid, but I do not see any game that has any play at all much less “a reasonable one” unless the opponents misdefend.

Still, not relevent to OP problem since opener is known to have 14-16 HCPs with his 5=5 shape, so game likely *will* be reasonable.
Aug. 14, 2018
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