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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Around here anyway, 15-18 HCPs is pretty standard for 1NT overcalls.

And this OP hand is a terrible 18 (4333, no spots). How many tricks does it have?
Even if my “official” 1NT range stopped at 17, I'd overcall 1NT with this hand.
Jan. 26
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I do not think I would have shown “majors” the first time with the 2 card disparity (we use 2om to show majors BTW).

I make 1st call a choice between PASS and 2 (I'd probably Pass).

The big issue is why partner didn't bid 3 the first time.
My view is that he doesn't have a “great” 3 bid and he has tolerance for the majors. I do expect 6 s, but *at least* a doubleton in both majors (in my dreams: 3=3=6=1).
Jan. 26
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3 by North could be a LOTT violation if South has only four s (and there is no reason why he shouldn't).

Why bid “3 over 3” with an 8 card fit (particularly if not pushed into doing so)?

Meanwhile, 4 would be just as cold if the North hand were:
Qxxx-xx-xx-xxxxx
which indicates to me that South's pass of 2 is beyond just conservative.
Jan. 26
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Don't understand criticism of North's 2 bid.

“Landy” does not promise 5 cards in both majors.
Particularly in balancing seat, it might not even have five cards in either major.

And, it does not have to be particularly strong.
With 5=5, I think a “Landy” balance could be made on a near Yarborough.

Thus, North's 2 seems clear:
(a) LOTT:
he has no reason to expect more than an 8 card fit.

(b) HCP strength and location:
Of his modest 9 HCPs, *7* of them (minors) are likely
to be of little or no value.

Suppose South had something like:
Kxxxx-KQxxx-xx-x
IMO, that would be more than plenty for his balancing “Landy”. Yet 2 is the limit and even that is not cold.

On the other hand, this South has a “whale”.
Not just 5=5 majors, but way more HCPs than his NV matchpoint balance promises.
So it is *South* that clearly must do something to indicate that his hand is way beyond what is initial call has promised.

I suppose without agreements, 3 would be the least he ought to do.
Jan. 26
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How to play new suit advances of partner's overcall has been debated forever.

That is a good sign that there really isn't any satisfactory solution.

Bridge World Standard treats these as *not forcing*.
In fact, they don't even play jump-shift advances as forcing (these are desribed as “invitational”).
So in that style, only a cue-bid is forcing.

However, if partner overcalls their *pre-emptive* (i.e. not at the one level) opening, new suit advances are generally played as forcing.

Here is the excerpt from “Bridge World Standard” describing
advancer's actions after partner overcalls:

"C. After Our Suit Overcall of a One-Bid
After our simple overcall of a one-bid:
(a) A new-suit bid by an unpassed advancer is
natural and nonforcing, constructive if an
advance of a two-level overcall.
(Then: a cue-bid by intervenor is artificial
and neither shows nor denies a primary fit
for advancer's suit.)

A new-suit jump is invitational.

(b) A cue-bid may be either a strong raise or a
prelude to a forcing bid in a new suit (but a
passed-hand cue-bid guarantees a fit for
intervenor's suit).

A jump cue-bid is a mixed (i.e., semipreemptive)
raise that shows at least one defensive trick.

(c) Over a bid by responder, a jump, below-game,
new-suit advance is a fit-jump.

(d) A single raise is similar to single raise of
major-suit one-bid;

direct jump-raises are preemptive.

(e) A one-notrump advance shows 8-11 points and a
stopper in opener's suit, regardless of
vulnerability and suit opened;
two notrump is similar, 12-13 HCP (less after
a two-level overcall).
After a one-notrump advance, a cue-bid by
intervenor is artificial and forcing.
After a two-notrump advance of a two-level
overcall, intervenor's nonreverse, three-level
new-suit bid is forcing.

If intervenor overcalls and then shows a lower-ranking
suit, indicating length in two suits that could have
been shown directly with a two-suited action,
intervenor shows only 4 cards in the lower-ranking
suit.

Among advancer's actions when responder bids a new suit:
(a) a double shows length in the unbid suit plus a
tolerance for overcaller's suit;

(b) a cue-bid in opener's suit is similar to one had
responder passed;

(c) a cue-bid in responder's suit is a strong raise
of overcaller's suit;

(d) a simple bid in the unbid suit is nonforcing.

Among advancer's actions after a response of 1NT:
(a) a double shows interest in the unbid suits;
(b) a cue-bid shows a strong raise.

Among advancer's actions when responder raises opener:
a double is not for penalty (for takeout or showing
general values, depending on level).

After (suit opening) — simple overcall — (single raise)
— single raise — (same-suit rebid) — ?:

a double is a game-try when (and only when) there is
no new-suit bid available below three of the
overcalled suit.

Among advancer's actions after responder's negative
double:
a redouble shows strength."
Jan. 26
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 26
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Answering this as a bridge bidding problem (not a UI issue), I thought the choice was between DBL vs. 3.

I did choose “DBL” like the majority, but I consider “pass” a distant 3rd choice.
Jan. 26
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I think the BIT suggests a void and some unexpected high cards in s. Partner was thinking of doubling (for penalties), but decided against it.
Jan. 25
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John doesn't get that many “likes” from me, but his comment here certainly deserves one.
Jan. 25
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North is easily strong enough for a jump to 2.
But because he has 4=4 majors, it is better to cue-bid 2 then raise whichever major South bids to 3M (not forcing).
So here, after 2, South will bid 2-3-4?
South will surely insist on game after the cue-bid and invite.

Even if you somehow get to 3NT (your side does have s well stopped), a decidedly inferior spot, you will actually make 10 tricks due to the fortunate break (and all their entries in the hand with the short s).
Jan. 25
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Hi Barry,
Bridge World Standard plays sandwich position bids in either of the opponents' suits as natural after (1X)-P-(1Y)-??, so if you believe BWS represents mainstream expert consensus, that would be your answer.

Here is the relevent passage from BWS notes:

"Actions in sandwich position:
A low-level sandwich-position double after the
opponents have bid two suits is takeout for the
unbid suits.

Over an opposing opening bid and 1-over-1 response:
(a) one notrump, two or more of opener's suit,
or two of responder's suit is natural;
(b) two notrump shows the unbid suits;
(c) three of responder's suit asks for a stopper
in that suit for three notrump
(suggesting a solid suit elsewhere)."
Jan. 24
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As I would pass over (1), I chose 7.

But assuming I had somehow doubled instead, passing partner's 1 advance seems 100% obvious (I can't even imagine what the alternative might be).
Jan. 24
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Barry,
I understand your general issue of distinction between “cue-bids” in opponents' suits when two are available.

But I do not understand what this has to do with your example auction of (1)-P-(1)-??

Here, a bid in either of opponents' suits–2 or 2–is just a natural overcall.

An example of an auction where there are really two “cue-bids” whose distinction needs definition would be:
(1)-1-(1)-??
Here, advancer might bid 2 or 2. What is the difference?
My answer to this one would be that both show LR+ strength, but 2 shows 3 card support while 2 shows 4+.

Alternatively, one might choose to base the distinction on hand strength rather than length of trump support. For example, the lower cue-bid (2) might be just game invitational (LR), while the higher could be stronger.

That example was constructed so that one of the cue-bids was below 2 of our suit while the other was above it.

There could be similar examples, though, where both cue-bids would force to the same level of our suit, e.g.:
(1)-1-(2)-??
Here, both 3 and 3 would require us to play at least 3.
One could still use the two cue-bids to distinguish 3 card from 4+ card support, or make a strength based distinction.

Of course, there are other auction types where “two cue-bids” are available. For example, after an “unusual 2NT” overcall of our 1M opening or after their Michaels cue-bid of our 1m opening (so both their suits are known).

In these cases, some form of “unusual over unusual” should apply.

My preference is that the cue-bid in the *higher* of their suits should show support for opener's suit (and be stronger than a simple raise), while the cue-bid in the *lower* of their suits should show the 4th suit with exactly game invitational strength (while bidding the 4th suit would be GF).
Some would retain this same suit shown distinction, but would play the lower suit cue-bid as “invitational or better” strength in the 4th suit while the explicit bid of the 4th suit would be NF (i.e. a long good suit with little else).
Jan. 24
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Ken,
It later occurred to me w.r.t Washington Standard that you might have been thinking about how that system *does* use
1m-2NT as natural and game-forcing (but not 1M-2NT which was what I was discussing).

They make room for a natural GF 1m-2NT by a combination of:
1m-2 3-way including balanced invite
1m-2m “inverted” but could be 4 cd support, 10-11 HCPs
1-1 could be e.g. 3=3=5=2 with invite strength
1-2-2-2N is about 11 HCPs, 5 s, balanced, NF

In my methods, we also play 1m-2NT is natural and GF.
We achieve that without having a non-GF option after 1-2 by relying more heavily on the 1m-2.
Of course, with a hand like:
xx-xxx-KJx-AQJxx
it is probably a more nuanced description to be able to bid
1-2-2-2N to show 5 s, 11 HCPs, balanced hand
rather than having to run that hand through 1-2 which includes other shapes as well.
Jan. 24
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Same for me. At first, I was a bit dubious of the 3, but then decided it is probably right as showing the 6th is often important. And this suit is not too shabby.
I don't think you need :AKJxxx to make 3 right.
Jan. 24
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Well, I like to eventually post the “real deal” on my BW polls, so here it is:

T4
98763
JT653
J
Q83 AK97652
A4 T
AQ82 K7
T432 975
J
KQJ52
94
AKQ86

My partner held the East hand and opened 3, an action which I later described as “bizarre”, while my partner called it “normal” (hence this poll).

Our auction proceeded:

North East South West
Pass 3 4 4
5 Pass Pass Pass

I considered doubling in pass-out seat (and perhaps I should have), but visualized partner with :AKxxxxxx (8) and out, hence the possibility of scoring only my two red aces. Besides, I thought, partner's pre-empt suggested it was their hand, so pushing them to the 5 level and beating them should be good for us without risking a double.

Had partner opened a “normal” (IMO) 1 instead, the auction might have proceeded:

North East South West
Pass 1 2 3 (LR+)
4 4 5 ???
By our agreements, a PASS of (5) by me would be forcing.
Should that be my choice (vs. DOUBLE)??
I think it is close, but the fact that I have full opening values (when I might have had only LR strength) and that I have no wasted secondary honors in s (A should presumably be good for offense or defense) leads me to believe that a forcing pass would be my choice.

And what should partner do over that?
One might argue that he should DOUBLE because his hand is minimum, but I believe in real life he probably would choose 5 based on his 7 bagger, stiff , and sub-standard defense vs. their contract (he knows that at most 1 will cash).

So had partner chosen the “normal” 1, we might well have gotten a worse result in 5-1 (maybe doubled) than we got defending (5) -2 for +100.

This deal was played 9 times, all at the 5 level.
There were four 5E (two doubled) and five (5) (two of them doubled).
We got exactly 50% for +100.
Had I doubled, +300 would have given us 75%.
5 -1 would have been 25% (if doubled, 0.5 matchpoints).

What can we learn from this deal? I'm not sure, but I still don't like partner's 3 opening!
Jan. 24
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Some sort of forward going move is indicated as 6 is excellent opposite e.g. x-xxx-AKTxxx-KJx (and has
play opposite even less, e.g.x-xxx-AK9xxx-Kxx).

From what you say, partner can be expected to have a better hand than either of these examples.

I don't think a 4 splinter jump is ideal with stiff Ace.

So perhaps just 4 (forcing with slam interest) is best.

If a “Bluhmer” were available (great hand for slam in context with NOTHING wasted in s), that would be perfect.
Could a leap to 4 here possibly carry that meaning? Probably too exotic even if a reasonable idea.
Jan. 24
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David,
I have the same intuition as you do that ideally game tries should be accepted about 50% of the time.
The idea is that way you are getting the most benefit out of the invite. If the invite is accepted (much) more often than 50%, you might as well just bid game yourself.
Conversely, if it is accepted much less than 50%, then perhaps you should just pass at a lower partscore level.

Like you, I do not see how to “prove” that this “aim for 50% acceptance rate” is the optimal strategy.

There is a factor that might argue for biasing this towards slightly more conservative game tries.

That is the fact that there is a “price” to pay for making the invitational bid when it is not accepted.
That is, that you have to play 1 level higher.

So if you issue the game invite (say 1N-2N or 1-2-3x), if partner declines that invite, you NEVER GAIN vs. having passed a level lower, but you sometimes lose (-1 when you might have been making one level lower. Or even -2 instead of -1, etc.).

This “price” would suggest that perhaps you want your game tries to accepted more than 50% of the time.
The 50% would perhaps be correct if the rules permitted partner, when not wanting to accept the invite, to go back to the previous level (e.g. 1N-2N-1N). But since he can't do that, then maybe it is better to aim to have your invites accepted more than 50% of the time in order to compensate for the “may lose, but can't gain” price of issuing an invite that is declined.
Jan. 24
Craig Zastera edited this comment Jan. 24
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Leonard,
I remember once several years back using this type of sequence with a great, very strong minor but support for partner's major that was not as good as is being suggested by here.
I cannot remember my exact hand, but my major support was something like QTxx or maybe Kxxx.

I was roundly criticized for not having strong enough support for partner's major. I remember asking several experts about it, and they all seemed to agree that the support for the major had to be quite excellent–2/3 top honors at least.
Jan. 24
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I do not quite see how your opening 3NT as a “substitute” for normal 1m-1M-3NT can work.

With 1m-1M-3NT, opener typically has a stiff in responder's major with a running “m” and stoppers in the other two suits.

But in opening bid position, you do not know what suit (if any) partner has, so I don't see how you can open 3NT with a hand that might have bid 1m-1M-3N if partner happens to respond in your weak (usually stiff) major.
Jan. 23
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One issue when using 1M-2N as including limit raises is when (if at all) forcing passes apply if the opponents interfere.

My (perhaps old-fashioned) view is that when 1M-2NT is a GAME FORCING 4+ card raise, it would be usual for forcing passes to be “on” for our side if the opponents interfere.

But it is somewhat less clear if (or when) FP should apply when 1M-2N might be just a limit raise.

1. 1-2NT-(3)-??
Are we forced? Does it depend on vulnerability and/or
form of scoring?

2. 1-2NT-(3)-??
I would suppose we would be in a force now, at least
to 3.

3. 1M-2N-(4m)-??
Forcing Pass now?
With GF 2NT, I would think yes, but not so clear with
2NT maybe only LR.

4. If the opponents bid to (4) after our 1-2N or
to (4) after our 1-2N, is FP on?

5. If we bid (maybe with comp) to 4M after 1M-2N, and the
opponents bid above 4M, does FP apply?
Does it depend on vulnerability?
Jan. 23
.

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