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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Being able to stop in 4–immensely useful.

Opener has a minimum reverse (possibly, depending on partnership, even slightly shaded due to competition).

He needs to be able to send that message: “I've shown everything I've got” to partner with his NF 4.

Now it is up to responder. If he too was minimum for his previous bidding, he knows that both 3NT (no stopper) and 5 (too high on values held) are out of reach and is able to stop in the last makeable contract.
June 30, 2018
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We play 3-tiered splinters:
1-3 “medium range” splinter, about 12-13 HCPs, in
any suit. 3NT asks location, then 4/4/4 shows where.

With 10-11 HCP or 14+ HCP, 4+ card support, and side shortness, we start with 2 which promises 4+ trumpe and at least LR values.

Over this, opener rebids:
2N: all minimums (could still have enough for 4 opp LR)
3: extra values, no shortness (15+ HCPs)
3/3/3: extra values, short //
(13+ HCPs plus the shortness would be minimum)

After opener's 2N (or 3), 3 by responder shows a
splinter:
If opener had bid 2NT (minimum), 3 would promise
a 14+ HCP splinter (no need to show 10-11 type opposite a
minimum).
If opener had bid 3 (extras, no shortness), responder
would bid 3 with both the 10-11 and the 14+ types.

Opener relays with 3 to ask strength/location:
If 14+ type splinter is known (opener rebid 2NT), then:
3: unspecified void (3N asks location, etc.)
3N/4/4: stiff // (or can encode differently)

If strength of splinter unknown (opener rebid 3), then:
3: 10-11 splinter, any SS. Then 3N asks location, etc.
3N/4/4: 14+ splinter, short //
June 30, 2018
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As long as you agreements are that 1-2-3M(splinter)-4 is passable, then you are right.

Not all pairs that allow some escapes in 4m after a 2/1 would treat that auction as NF.
June 29, 2018
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My view is that opener is showing a minimum (for his reverse) by bidding his non-forcing 4. *He* is willing to hear partner pass if that's what he wants to do.

But responder's hand is not limited here–he could be quite strong. But that's not a problem–if he has enough to want to play game (or more) opposite a minimum reverse, then he bids again (e.g. 5).
June 28, 2018
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You don't win at IMPs by bidding an opaque 3NT when slam is possible. I hate it when my partners do this to me.

Please, if you know a slam is possible, make a bid that lets me in on that secret! Sometimes, I just might know what to do.
But if you make the same call you would with a balanced 12 count, there is NO chance for me to re-evaluate my hand and bid a good slam.

I like to tell my partners “most slam tries do NOT result in our side bidding a slam.” A slam *try* just lets partner know that my hand is good enough that a slam is possible–not necessarily likely.

We have lots and lots of room to explore. If my slam try is just “mild” as here, I can send that message next and partner will know not to get carried away unless he has a real maximum with slam suitable cards.
June 27, 2018
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I absolutely would rebid 2, not 2NT. This is not a balanced hand *and* it is extremely suit-oriented.

I'm not at all sure that it is “too strong” for 1NT as it has extremely poor spot cards (lots of high spots is the single most important factor for upgrading), but that is moot since it is not suitable for NT opening or rebid because of its shape.
June 27, 2018
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2 shocks me.
Isn't that what I would bid without, say, the AK?

This hand is an absolute max (in HCPs) for 1 overcall. Surely we must do *something* now to hint that this time our 1-level overcall was based on something more than our usual 8-10 HCPs with a 5 card suit.

It would, however, be nice to know if 1 advance was forcing or not. I assume “yes” as I think most play 1-level new suit advances of overcalls as forcing for a round.
June 27, 2018
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I believe DMP does support “losing trick count” specifications, although I personally have not used it.

What it does not support, to my constant annoyance, is “quick trick” specification. That omission makes it hard to conveniently specify things like “minimum opening bids” where a minimum QT count spec would be very useful.

It does support specifying “number of controls” (A=2, K=1) both by suit and for an entire hand, but unfortunately specifying a range for “controls” does not translate into quick tricks.

Between the two, I'd much rather have a way to specify a “Quick Trick” range than a “control” range, so if the issue is difficulty of adding more user interface to support “quick tricks”, a solution might be just to allow the existing “number of controls” feature to be toggled to “number of quick tricks” instead.
June 27, 2018
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That seems like a reasonable possibility if 2NT is naturalish.

I think that “good/bad” (or perhaps better “bad/good”) 2NT can handle those hands too, though.

Say 2NT “good”, and if partner has some values he can perhaps try a cue-bid to reach 3NT when opener has their suit stopped, or responder just bids 3NT himself with a stopper.

I think this would also work if 3m (or 3om) is “good”–responder could bid 3 to ask for a stopper or 3NT with one (and values), willing to play 4m if necessary.
June 27, 2018
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Kit,
I love your description of the options–clear, complete, and succinct.

But now I would even more love to hear which you prefer.
And, would it matter if the game were Matchpoints instead of IMPs?
June 27, 2018
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The “rule” that applies here is:
“when, in a competitive auction with no major suit fit,
we have tried for 3NT and that has been rejected, 4m in
a known fit is non-forcing.”

So, even if you believe that opener's competitive 2 promises “full reversing strength” (as I happen to believe, although I've found that *many* do not–they think this competitive reverse can be just big shape without full reversing HCPs), opener's 3 cue seems to me to be consistent with a “try for 3NT”.

And responder's 3 would seem to be a rejection of that try (or at least not an acceptance).

Can responder have 5 s here, or would he have rebid s
over 2 instead of 3 if he had such?

My view (and this applies in non-competitive reverse auctions too), is that when responder has enough strength to force to game with a fit (3+) for reverser's first suit (s here), he is generally better off showing that fit and GF strength by rebidding in opener's first suit rather than showing the 5th card in his major (2) which leaves both his strength and his fit for opener's primary suit unexpressed.

Bidding this way, when opener has 3 card support for responder's major, he has room to show it and 4M can still be reached.

So here, assuming more or less the same methods apply as would in a non-competitive reverse auction, responder's 3 confirms support (3+) for that suit and enough for game opposite a reverse (9 HCPs should be enough, some might say even a good 8 is adequate).

With support and a weaker hand, responder would:
(a) rebid 2 with 5+
or
(b) bid 2NT Lebensohl, planning to pass 3 from opener.

So here opener's 4 is a “plea for mercy”. It say's
“I've done all I can to get us to game with my
minimum reverse, but apparently we do not have
what is needed, so I'm willing to bail out in
4 here.
If *you* have extras for your bidding,
you are welcome to raise to 5.”

So, this 4 is not forcing, but neither is responder required to pass if he has more than a minimum for his previous bidding.
June 27, 2018
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I do not consider this hand good enough to double first planning to bid s freely later.

But it is close.
If you moved the J into one of the red suits, I would consider the hand an acceptable minimum for “double then s”, although possession of only two s (vs. 3) likely would push me towards still just overcalling 1.

Now that an unfortunate turn of events has forced me into needing to bid at the *3 level* at my second turn, I am even more unhappy with my initial choice.

Since I didn't think the hand strong enough for the initial strategy, I should agree with “not enough to bid 3 now.”

But “in for a penny, in for a pound”–since I have embarked on this dubious over-bidding plan, I may as well follow through with 3. At least I have 6 of them (typically, double followed by a new suit is a stronger hand with only a good 5 card suit and 3 in the other major).

Now I have to try to figure out partner's 3.
He's already limited his hand sharply with his initial 1 advance. In my world, something like Axxxxx-Kx-xx-xxx would be enough for him to have jumped to 2 initially.

An initial 3 would have shown 6 s in a weakish hand.

Now, I do not think his 3 is meant as forcing, choice of games because with that hand (if he can even hold such on this bidding) he ought to bid a COG 4 now.

So since I have already overbid twice, I think now is the time to bail and hope partner can make 3.
June 27, 2018
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Since an “other” option is not provided, I abstain since none of the choices match my methods.

If 2NT here were defined as “natural,”, it would seem obvious that it must show 18-19 just as it would without the interference. The fact that that is an unlikely hand-type is one reason for using 2NT to help solve more frequently occuring problems.
June 27, 2018
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2NT here is not natural for those of us who play “good/bad” (or “bad/good”) 2NT.

This is actually a classic auction for that convention.

The idea is to be able to differentiate between opener's mere competitive hands (which might be just a 1-suiter in “m”, or if “m' = , it could be a minor 2-suiter) vs. hands with the same shape but with game-invitational strength.

2NT shows one range (traditionally the competitive hands) while 3m (or 3 when ”m" = and opener has a good hand with 5=5 or 6=5 minors) shows the stronger ones.
June 27, 2018
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He might have said it, but I do not believe that view is in accordance with majority modern views which, in general, would advocate overcall with this shape (as the voting supports).

Of course, shape alone should not be the only criteria.
Relative honor strength in the two suits as well as overall hand strength are also relevent.

Thus, if you made the hand AKQJ-xxxxx-x-KTx, you might get a different vote, even though this hand has same shape and HCP strength.
June 26, 2018
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As I read your comment, it sounds like you are advocating that this *is* a FP situation, but just using “pass/double inversion” semantics.

You say “North doesn't need a penalty double in this situation.” Why? The only reason I can imagine is that you must believe that South must double if North passes (or at least, not pass). Because if that weren't the case, then North *would* need a penalty double for all those cases where he thinks N/S can defeat (5).
June 26, 2018
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Leonard,
No, I think it is an algorithm–for any specific hand, I can tell you for sure what I would do. Now, there are surely hands where my current algorithm is *wrong*, i.e. some other action is demonstrably (via careful simulation) superior.

As those cases are discovered, I may tweak my algorithm slightly to bring it closer to matching theoretical results.

What I was saying is that the full details of my algorithm are too difficult (perhaps impossible) to encode into “DealMaster Pro”. That software only allows a maximum of *20* hand type descriptions for each hand (N/S/E/W).

That number (20) is often not enough to descibe exactly every detail of the factors that I would in fact consider relevent to my bidding choice at the table.
So when setting up simulations using DealMaster Pro, I generally have to simplify and approximate my at the table algorithms so as to be able to describe them within the limitations of DMP.

Sometimes, due to sheer laziness, I may not even reach the limits imposed by DMP when describing constraints.

For example, imagine some simple uncontested auction like 1N-3N vs. 1N-2N (invitational).

One should specify for the E/W (defensive hands), a complete description of every hand type they *cannot* have because they passed throughout rather than doubling, overcalling, pre-empting, etc. etc. But to describe all these “negative” cases would be very time consuming and would often run up against the “20” limit.

So often I explicitly eliminate only a few of the most obvious hand types the (passing) opponents cannot have
and hope that any ommissions will not materially affect the conclusions I draw from the simulations.
June 26, 2018
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Need an agreement about what 3 shows.

I do think a popular agreement is that 3 is a cue-bid in suppoort of a contract. In this style, opener would bid 3 to confirm that suit as trump, else 3NT if not wanting to encourage a high contract.

But an alternative agreement would be for opener to assume responder is usually just looking for the best game rather than likely having slam interest. Thus, his transfer to s followed by s should be thought of as suggesting “worry” about one (or both) of the unbid suits for 3NT.

In this style, opener would still bid 3 if wanting to agree that suit, but could use 3 and 3 to show good values/stoppers in that suit while suggesting that 3NT might not be good unless responder has some help in the remaining unbid suit. Opener's 3NT instead would suggest adequate holdings in both pointed suits, only a doubleton , no great enthusiasm for 5 or 6.
June 26, 2018
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I assume such 1 advance is forcing? That's the way we play it anyway.
June 26, 2018
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I advocate playing “forcing pass” in more situations than seems to be fashionable nowadays (“forcing pass” popularity has been in decline for some time I think).

Nevertheless, even I would not advocate for FP on this auction.

We have not voluntarily bid game here–we kind of forced partner into 4 unless he wanted to risk passing (4X).
Typically FP only applies on auctions where we have voluntarily bid game, presumably with expectations of making it. Not the case here.

We are limited (no 2 opening) and partner has not promised any values at all.

But an interesting question is: “what if South really wants to encourage North to bid 5 if he has anything at all?”

If pass is not forcing, how does South send that message?
Tough one.

In theory, since PASS wouldn't be forcing, DOUBLE would be the only way to show “more” (of an offensive nature) than already indicated.

But wouldn't South also want to double here with some strong hand that is confident they aren't making 11 tricks without seriously wanting to invite partner to bid 5? I would think so.

The only solutions I see are:
(a) they win. South's double of (5) is just
accepting the consolation prize of a probably
smallish plus score. Not inviting North to bid
5.
or
(b) If South Doubles (5), he is showing offensive
extras and *is* inviting North to bid 5.
If he doesn't want to do that, he must just pass
(5). This isn't forcing, but hopefully North
will often DOUBLE anyway as they are very high
and opener has shown a very good hand.
or
© play forcing pass here, so that
* opener's pass of (5) explicitly invites 5
* opener must double to suggest “we're done.”
* we cannot defend (5) undoubled.
June 26, 2018
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