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All comments by Craig Zastera
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No–“serious” or non-serious doesn't work that way when our suit is *s*.

In that case, after 3 level GF suit agreement (i.e. over 3), next to bid must bid 3 with a control whether he has serious slam interest or not.

That is, in order for up the line cue-bidding to work, the cue-bid (3) cannot be skipped over unless the skipper lacks a control. In that case, he can bid 3NT (non-serious) or make a serious cue-bid in a minor. But if he *has* a control, he must show it by bidding 3 regardless of his degree of slam interest.

After such a “strength ambiguous” 3 cue-bid, it falls to the other partner to indicate his degree of slam interest by either bidding 3NT (non-serious if that is the agreement) or making a 4m cue-bid if “serious.”.

The fact that over 3 there is a suit that must be cue-bid (or not) prior to reaching the “serious” or “non-serious” 3NT decision is a slight “glitch” in the structure as compared to when our suit is *s*, where the 3NT call is the first step above suit agreement.

For that reason, some partnerships play “serious” (or “non-serious”) *3* when s is the agreed trump suit.
That is *3* is used instead of 3NT to indicate degree of slam interest. In that scheme, a 3NT bid is a cue-bid.
That way, the “serious” or “non-serious” strength indication can be made immediately (first step) after 3M GF suit agreement regardless of which major suit is trump.
May 5
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I think this hand is too weak for 3 playing “standard Jacoby 2NT” where 3 shows a *big* hand (4 is weakest, then 3NT).

But if 3 is correct in your methods, it surely must be very minimal for that call. Therefore, over 3, it would seem to me to be 100% to continue with “non-serious” 3NT to indicate you are still willing to pursue slam if responder has a big hand, but that your hand is quite minimal for the 3 rebid.

Non-serious 3NT here does not deny any specific control.

If responder continues with 4, we bid 4, now comfortable because we have suggested not a lot for our 3 rebid.

If responder continues 4, we sign-off in 4 knowing our side has no control.

And if our NS 3NT serves to tell partner he doesn't have enough for slam, we are OK with passing his 4 continuation.
May 4
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1. Prefer 1NT by South rather than actual double.
But this choice probably not critical here.

2. South should have bid 3 instead of 2. In competition,
his 2 rebid shows little more than a TO double with
four s. So his hand way too strong.

3. North should certainly compete to 3 over (3) given
his 5 card suit (with known 4 card support) and stiff

So to me this looks like “both at fault.”
May 4
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I don't consider this hand good enough for 2.
Thus, for me, the choice is between 1 and 1NT (forcing).
Showing the 6 card suit seems like the better choice to me. I can preference back to later.
May 4
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If playing “good/bad 2NT” by North here over West's 2 as I recommend, I think a North hand appropriate for the “bad 2NT” could be much weaker than you suggest.
I would think something like:
would be plenty for a “bad 2NT” showing s.
And I wouldn't even wait for the stiff :
would be OK.

Of course those examples have 5 card support.
With only 4 s, I would expect a little more.
But as I said, I think the actual North hand:
borders on being *too good* for a “bad 2NT”. It might be enough for a “good” 3.

Whether it is better to use 2NT as the “bad” hand and 3 as the “good” or the other way around is a fine point about which I have no strong opinion. Since 3NT is a possible contract opposite a “good” hand when opener has a little extra and stoppers, it seems to me it might be better to have 3 show the “Good” (traditional “good/bad 2NT”) so that NT could be declared from the better side.

Using 2NT to show the “Good” hand would lead to responder always declaring in NT which might not be best.
But when responder has the “bad” hand, the final contract is less likely to be in NT, so it doesn't matter that responder bids NT (artificially).

In general, *every* use of “Lebensohl” or “Good/Bad 2NT” (the same convention, really) gives up alternative possible uses of the 2NT bid (whether that be “natural, ”scrambling“, or something else).

I believe just about every ”G/B 2NT“ situation is one where a natural 2NT *could* occur. So that is not really a good objection to deciding on ”Good/Bad“, because if it were, ”G/B“ would never be used.

It is always a trade-off. One must consider carefully whether the benefits of being able to show 2 different strength ranges over the opponent's 2 level competition outweighs the loss of the natural 2NT (or other use of 2NT).

My view is that the benefits of using 2NT for ”good/bad“ outweigh the loss of the natural 2NT in *many* competitive auctions of which the OP auction here is one.

In fact this OP auction is a particularly good one for ”G/B 2NT“ because it has two features that are not always present which make ”G/B 2NT“ more useful and less risky:

(1) there is no ambiguity in what suit is being shown
by the ”bad 2NT“. Here, it can only be s.
In many other auctions where ”G/B 2NT“ is used,
the suit being shown by the 2NT bidder is unclear.
For example: 1-(1)-DBL-(2)-*2NT*
opener could have s, s, or s.
This potential suit ambiguity is a disadvantage
for ”bad 2NT“ when it occurs.

(2) South (opener) is unlimited. Thus, he can have
extra values beyond his minimum opener.
The support XX shows only that he has 3 s but
says nothing about his strength.
Since South's strength is unknown, it becomes even
more imperative for North to try to show his
strength as closely as possible in case the
competition continues.

Playing ”G/B 2NT" is a powerful tool for defining
responder's strength more closely.

As my examples above show, North might want to
compete to 3 with many quite minimum responding
hands that have good support, so it is essential
for him to be able to differentiate weak competitive
hands from game invitational ones.

Finally, I do not believe a PASS by North over West's 2 is forcing to anything. South can certainly pass out 2 if he wishes.
May 3
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2, whatever it means, cannot logically be non-forcing.
Often, opener will not have support, so he will have to bid something at the 3 level (or perhaps 2NT if that is natural). Thus, responder, to bid 2, must be strong enough to support at least a 3 level contract opposite a minimum opening bid.

So 2 ought to promise at least invitational strength.
There could be an issue as to whether it promises four s or not. I would suggest “no” as responder has “double” available for those hands.
May 2
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I appreciate your thoughtful views. But I think I disagree with your choice of “natural invite” for 2NT instead of having “two ways” to show s via “Good/bad 2NT”.

First, keep in mind that South's “support redouble” says nothing about his strength. Just that he has 3 s. He could have minimum opener strength, or be very strong, or something in between.

Second, I think that a hand appropriate for a “natural invitational 2NT” by North over West's 2D is quite a rare and unlikely hand:
(a) only four s (otherwise, compete/invite in s)
(b) stoppers in both s and s. East's double has
shown both those suits, so I would think a natural
2NT ought to show stopper in each since nothing
about South's bidding suggests he holds a stopper
in either suit (or, if he has one stopped, which one
it is).
© a very narrow strength range (11 HCPs).

On the other hand, the ability for North to differentiate two strengths of raises can be very important.
As mentioned above, South can have any strength. Thus, it might be very important for him to know if North is “just competing” in clubs with less than game invitational strength *or* if North is showing not only a fit but also game invitational HCP strength.

That information might be crucial to South in assessing whether N/S has a game or not. Or, if E/W compete further, knowing (approximately) how much HCP strength to expect from North might help South in deciding whether to double them (for penalties), compete further, or just pass their (3).

Thus, I think over West's (2) using 2NT and 3 to differentiate two strength ranges (both with support) is likely to be useful more often than having a natural, invitational 2NT available.

BTW, I also believe that 2 by North over West's 2 should be forcing 1 round (not to game) and show stopper/values but not promise four s. It should be aimed towards possible 3NT if South has s stopped and some extra values.

Finally, I think the actual North hand (me!), should have DOUBLED West's 2. This would have been take-out AND BROUGHT SPADES INTO THE PICTURE as a possible trump suit for our side. So DOUBLE is way to show four s as well as playability in clubs (and with only four s).
May 2
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2NT shows the stopper, the shape, and lays the groundwork for 4NT next time to show the strength.
May 1
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I see nothing normal about 3 here.
May 1
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I strongly disagree with the 2 bid last round. That choice is the (main) source of the problem here.

This hand should have rebid 2NT, planning on a natural 4NT next round to show 18-19 points in a balanced (in the context of previous bidding) hand–a perfect description of this hand. I'm of course assuming that 2 was GF so that 2NT rebid by South is 100% forcing.

I see little point in the awkward introduction of the suit here. First, North is unlikely to hold four s. And if he happens to have them (would he bid like this with 4=5=4=0?), he will surely bid 3 over 2NT.

If it is 100% clear that North has only three s for this sequence, and that South doesn't have five (I'm not clear about either of these points, but presumably OP partnership should know), then I think 4NT now should be natural and slam invitational. With that assumption, I think that is the right choice now to try to salvage the auction.

In the unlikely event that South were 5=6 or more extreme in the black suits and wants to ask for key-cards, I would think he could first cue-bid something over 3 and then bid 4NT next time as RKCB.
May 1
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I believe my partner (South) should definitely choose a “support redouble” here rather than 1.

First, when you play “support” Xs and XX, failure to make one strongly suggests not holding 3 card support.
Now that is not a 100% rule. For example, with weakish 3 card support and good stopper(s) in “their” suit in a balanced hand, it might sometimes be more descriptive to choose a 1NT (or 2NT) rebid instead. Such a rebid would not 100% deny 3 card support.
But I doubt if I would ever “pass” with 3 card support.

A support XX on this (OP) South hand is clearly the right choice. The support is pretty good *and* the hand has a weak doubleton in one of their suits (s) (ruffing value), *and* it is a suit oriented hand (aces and spaces).

Further, in our methods, after 1m-1 (uncontested), with 3 card support, four s, a ruffing value, and a minimum hand, we tend to raise s immediately rather than rebidding 1. That way, a 1 rebid followed by bidding s later shows more than a minimum hand.

Such “3-step” sequences are wide ranging in our methods, but I'd say that maybe a great 14 HCPs would be dead minimum, and opener could be up to 17 or 18 to bid that way (enough bidding room to clarify strength later).

In my judgment, OP South hand here is slightly below the minimum for a 1 rebid to be followed by s later in an uncontested auction.

Given East's take-out double, I believe that the support double instead of a 1 rebid (which probably would not have been right in our methods even without the competition), is clear.
May 1
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I agree with you and am now of the opinion that “Good/Bad 2NT” *should* apply to North over West's 2.
South's support double shows exactly 3 s, but does not limit his strength. Thus, game is theoretically still in the picture for N/S despite East's (PH) take-out double and West's “free” 2 advance.

Thus: 2NT = s with just competitive values
3 = s with game invitational values

With this understanding, I think the actual North hand is borderline between 2NT and 3–I'd probably view it as a max 2NT if choosing to show just s.

Another alternative for North over West's 2 would be DOUBLE (take-out) in an attempt to bring s (as well as s) into the picture, although given that East has shown s with his TO double, it was not apparent to me at the table that I should be trying to suggest a contract for our side. But since N/S can make 3 on the actual lay-out and that is our best strain, it is clear in hindsight that suggesting play in either black suit via a double would have been a good idea.
May 1
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When partner asks about 3rd round control, that generally means he wants to play a grand slam if we have it.

So actually using 6NT to show the Q is more of a matchpoint optimization in case partner is checking for the Q in order to play 6NT rather than 6.

At IMPs, that would not be a consideration, so it would suffice to bid at the 7 level when holding 3rd round control.
May 1
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Yes I meant 3rd round. Then:
6: no 3rd round control
6: :xx
6NT: Q
(I'm assuming partner has previously denied shortness using whatever J2NT structure we have).
April 30
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Here is one simple scheme that we use. I've seen it called “Swedish Jacoby”. The main idea is to avoid giving away info to the opponents when neither side has any slam interest.
With Swedish Jacoby, the 2NT response (4+ trump) can include
LR (limit raise) strength hands too if you like.

A. After 1-2NT (LR+ with 4+ s):
Opener rebids:
1. 3: minimum range, any shape
This can be strong enough to raise a LR
to game.
Responder continues:
(a) 3: asks for shortness
replies: 3/3/3N = short //
with no shortness, opener cue-bids
his cheapest A or K at the 4 level
(with e.g. AKxxx-Qx-Qxx-Qxx: 4)
(b) 3: LR (passable)
(c) 3 (optional)
This can be used to show full GF with
shortness somewhere. Co-ordinate
this optional treatment with direct
splinters to allow different HCP ranges
to be shown and/or voids vs. stiffs.
Opener relays with 3 to ask for more
info (shortness location/strength, etc.)
(d) 3N
Can be "serious" or "non-serious" 3N
Or could use as "baby RKCB".
(e) 4/4/4: cue-bids, slam interest
(f) 4: to play.
Very common: conceals info when no slam

2. 3: extras (15+ HCPs), no shortness
Responder continues:
(a) 3: optional as above
(b) 3: LR (forcing now: opener has extras)
Opener's 3NT could be "Mathe" asking
if responder has shortness
(c) 3NT/4/4/4: as above
3. 3/3/3N: extras with short //
In this context, 13+ HCPs plus outside
the short suit would probably be an
adequate minimum.

4. 4/4/4:
5 card suit to 2/3 top honors in an
otherwise relatively minimum hand
(as in most standard Jacoby 2NT structures)

B. After 1, can use 2 to initiate "Swedish Jacoby"
Then, entire structure is as above but one step lower.
Alternatively, if not interested in having any
responder splinters included in Swedish Jacoby
response, can use 1-2NT as Swedish Jacoby with
same response structure as in "A." above.
April 30
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I often prefer a 2/1 into a good (but not solid) 5+ card suit even with 4 card support for opener's major.

But not on this OP hand.

This hand is so strong that I just want to set trump (s) and continue with a key card ask. If we have them all (and Q), I can bid 6 to ask partner to bid a grand with 3rd round control.

With a lesser GF hand, I would likely prefer 2 so that then when I support s and show slam *interest*, partner will know his Q is gold. That strategy would be for hands where I'd like to pursue slam only when partner fits the s or has considerable extras.

Some hands might start with 2 and then jump in s “picture bid jump” to show good s and s with no control in either rounded suit, e.g. KJ9x-Qx-AKJTx-xx.
April 30
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 30
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I think much depends on whether partner's pass of (5) is forcing or not in this partnership.

(a) If his pass is forcing, then he is inviting us to bid
on, while permitting us to double if we choose
(although he could be planning “pass and pull” slam try).

In this case, our hand is spectacular and 6 would be
the least I would do. I'd be worried about missing
a good grand, but not entirely clear how to investigate
that safely. 6 would be tempting.

(b) If his pass is not forcing, then the question arises
as to how (if he can at all) would he show offensively
oriented extras, inviting us to bid on?
I would suppose that “double” might carry that message
i.e. double would show “extra values” and NOT be
just a unilateral penalty double.

In this case, his “pass” would suggest a minimum
with no suggestion that he'd like us to bid further.

Then there is risk in bidding again as he might misfit
s and not have enough to make 6 (he could even
have an offensively wasted honor).

Unfortunately, he also doesn't know to what extent our
4 is based on serious HCPs and not just a very long
strong suit.
Because East is not a PH, partner might fear that
East's (5) might be based on a strong hand while
our 4 was of the “long strong suit and not much else”

Thus, I think our best course in this case is to double
to confirm that our 4 bid was based on HCPs. This
would give partner the option of bidding on with some support.
April 30
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“They always do” is a *huge* overbid. I would say that they bid 3 in this situation less than 50% of the time.
And when they do, it is often not a problem (see my comments above) because doubler will (often) know what to do.
April 30
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I think doubler will rarely if ever have a problem when he is 1=4=4=4 because he has equal support for all suits.

Thus, if he is strong enough for the 4 level (opposite a “bad” 2NT), he doubles (3) for TO. If he has a minimum TO double, he passes and knows his side does not belong at the 4 level.

It is when doubler has some (but not huge) extra values and unequal support among the 3 unbid suits that he might have a problem if opener bids (3) directly over partner's “bad” 2NT because in such cases we might belong at the 4 level if advancer has the “right” suit (i.e. one in which doubler has four or five cards) but not if his suit is one in which doubler has only 3 cards.
April 30
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I think many/most “G/B 2NT” aficionados use it by both opener and responder (and perhaps as in your example by advancer too) whenever an opponent has bid at the 2-level in a suit *higher* than the one that that 2N/3x bidder wishes to show *and* the auction is such that it is not obvious that our side cannot have a game (sometimes, e.g. when both of us have passed initially, etc., it is clear that our side can only be competing for a partial).

In all such cases, the ability to distinguish a “competitive” 3x from a game invitational 3x is useful.

Your example of (1X)-2Y-(2X) where our “Y” suit is lower ranking than their “X” suit is a good example of a case where using a 2NT advance to show one strength of raise of “Y” and 3Y to show a different strength is useful. This is because cue-bidding their suit (3X) would take us above 3Y and, hence, is not available as a LR in our suit.

Strangely (perhaps), I think that in that auction class
((1X)-2Y-(2X)-??), most use 2NT as the game-invitational raise and immediate 3Y as the competitive raise (i.e. “Bad/Good” rather than “Good/Bad”), although one could debate which way is better for this and other potential “G/B” auctions (with perhaps not the same answer for all auctions).
April 30

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