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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Presumably you guys play that the 1 advance was 100% forcing?
Otherwise, that would have been a very dubious choice IMO (BTW, we play it as forcing too, but a recent BW's poll suggests a nearly even split on that question, so would not assume forcing unless explicitly agreed).
Nov. 18
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Part of Rubens (transfer) advances (starting with the cue-bid) is that new suit advances below the cue-bid are forcing (by UPH, possibly with other stipulations too).

There are logical reasons for that choice (although I wouldn't claim the arguments in favor of forcing are 100% unassailable). Since there is no “omnibus” cue-bid available to show strong advancing hands without support (as there is in Bridge World Standard or other systems using NF new suit advances), it is useful for the simple new suit advance to be forcing so as to cover that type of strong hand.

Another argument (provided by Rubens) is that the “new suit advances below the cue-bid” occur when the overcall has consumed minimum space, e.g. (1)-1. Such overcalls, which have little/no pre-emptive value, should (at least according to Rubens) have a somewhat higher minimum than more “space-consuming overcalls”, e.g. (1)-1. Thus, playing the new suit advances as forcing is less onerous since the overcall should show some reasonable values.

A third argument (NOT made by Rubens) is that playing the low new-suit advances as forcing allows the jump advances in those suits to be played as “fit-showing”, a very useful treatment.
Nov. 18
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I didn't say 3 would be “remotely invitational”. I said it would be forcing trying to see if partner could support s (else choose best alternative, likely 3NT)
Nov. 18
ATB
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Although East's “repeat cue-bid torture” style is not my favorite (by his 3rd turn, poor confused West is likely to think “what do you want from me?”), it is almost reasonable on OP hand.

So West has shown 8-10 with a stopper with his first bid and some support the second time.
And still, East continues his interrogation.
West may not know what partner wants, but with his considerable black suit disparity conveniently showable via 3, I think that call over 3 is far superior to his actual 3NT.

Still, East might have pulled 3NT, perhaps to 4 (although maybe this East would fancy 4 instead), as his hand would seem still to have considerable slam potential.

So I think both E and W share some blame on this one.
Nov. 18
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I think 3 was OK since the s seem good enough to be trump even if partner happens to have four s. Yes, it is unusual to choose this call with an unshown four card suit since it “sets trump” and curtails further strain investigation.

Since 3 does set trump (still possible to play in NT), his 3 is just a “control bid” and doesn't promise 4+ s.

4 seems clear. My choice over this is *5* to say “I have values enough for slam but need to be sure your ”solid“ s are solid enough to be able to play opposite extreme shortness.”

With actual South hand, I would bid 6 judging :AKQJxx adequate even opposite a void.
Partner *might* “correct” this to 6NT judging that if the s run for 6 tricks, 12 tricks in NT will be cold (6 s, 3 s, 2 s, and 1 ), while 6NT *might* have a chance if the s don't run but the extra tricks can be found in the black suits, particularly with the s protected.

I will note that a 1000 deal simulation of these N/S hands with random E/W hands had 6 making on 818 deals (note that 6 is sometimes makeable even when s split 5-2) while 6NT from the North side making on 935 (!) deals.

6 (by N/S respectively) made on only 676/665 deals, so the decision to suppress the s seems to have been correct at least opposite actual North hand.

So the optimal auction might be:
1 2
3 3
4 5
6 6NT
pass
Nov. 17
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Having passed initially (I like it, but many with lower standards than I would have opened I think), I am hardly overstating my values with a 4 cue-bid now.

4 would be “fit-showing”, but I do not think the suit and the good value (A) outside the black suits makes that call the best choice.
Nov. 17
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Obviously the answer to this is “partnership agreement.”

We play transfer advances of overcalls derived from original Jeff Rubens style, which plays that new suit advances below the cue-bid are NATURAL AND FORCING.

But even before we adopted “transfer advance” methods, we had found it useful to agree that 1M advances of partner's 1 level overcalls are forcing.

We also allow such advances to me made on a decent 4 card suit with suitable overall values. Otherwise, it is hard to see how 4=4 fits in the major can be discovered as it seems clear that (1m)-1 and (1)-1 overcalls can be made with four cards in an unbid major.

It is true that in BWS all new suit advances of overcalls are NON-FORCING. They even play that *jump* new suit advances are merely (natural and) invitational. Only forcing advance is a cue-bid (which therefore does not promise a fit by UPH).
Nov. 17
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 17
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6NN is 100% cold. On the run of the s, East cannot hold all 3 suits. For example, he might come down to:
: KT : QTx : AT
(Clearly, he cannot keep any fewer s or s).
Dummy (South) will hold:
: AQ : K96 : Kx
Now North leads a small .
1. Say East rises A and exits T.
Declarer wins K in dummy, cashes A ( from hand),
and crosses to his hand with a to cash the Q,
squeezing East in the red suits.

2. Say East ducks his A
Dummy wins K and plays another round of s (ducked
by North) to Easts (now bare) A.
East, down to : QT2 : KT
is endplayed in the red suits.

6N declared by SOUTH can be beaten if (and only if) West leads a .
6 is makeable from either side.
Nov. 17
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It is a very common agreement that removing an invitational 2NT to 3M is forcing.
In some auctions, it is possible to have both by playing “Lall”, e.g.:
1-1N(F)
2-2N
then: 3 is forcing while to play 3, opener bids artificial 3 ==> 3, then 3.
(It is possible to reverse the meanings of these two sequences).
Nov. 17
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 17
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John says “12 opposite 12 is a slight favorite for 3N,”.

My simulations do not support that view (although I know it has a long history, dating back to at least K-S days).

My simulations of random 12 HCP balanced hands with another random 12 HCP balanced hand opposite (no 8+ card major fits) shows 3NT making barely 40% of the time.

Yes, I know that 3NT makes more often in the “real-world” than in double-dummy simulations. Richard Pavlicek's statistics suggest that in high-level play, the “real-world” make percentage for 3NT is about 4.3% higher than double-dummy expectations (this appears to be based on a sample of over 10,000 deals, so is probably a pretty good estimate of average deviation).

So let us round up to 5% and conclude that 12 opposite 12 (balanced) will make 3NT around 45% of the time.

That is certainly good enough to bid VUL at IMPs and probably marginally OK NV at IMPs.

But it is not good enough for matchpoints where we would need > 50% expectation of success to justify bidding game.

I wouldn't be surprised if that old “12 opposite 12” being good enough for game idea developed in an era when most play was either rubber bridge, total points, or IMPs and was not focused on matchpoint strategy.
Nov. 17
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I would say that I almost never open a balanced 11 count (maybe some AK/A *might* be an exception) and often pass flat 12 counts (particularly 4333). So for me a PH can definitely have a (bad/flat) 12 HCPs.
Nov. 16
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3 forcing.
Nov. 16
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Why is this a problem given partner is a PH? We don't have enough to look for slam, particularly with AK not furnishing much “combining” value.

Conversely, this hand is surely too strong for a mere invitational 3 given that 4 is good opposite, e.g.
AJxx-xx-Qxx-xxxx
Had the bidding gone 1-1 (no interference), I would have rebid 4 (splinter).
If I thought 4 would carry that meaning on OP auction (I don't), I might try that here too.
Nov. 16
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 16
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We have an agreement that when our side is forced to a certain level and strain (e.g. to 4 in OP auction), and the opponents interfere below that contract, BIDDING THAT CONTRACT IMMEDIATELY is the *WEAKEST* action. Pass is considered a stronger action.

On OP hand, my view is that I want to take my weakest action as I consider this hand quite minimal for previous 2 raise (actually, I would probably have bid 3 “pre-emptive” last round).
So 4 for me.

I do think that OPer should have specified the distinction between PASS vs. 4 in his partnership if he wants meaningful poll results. Otherwise, he can't be sure what the respondents are intending by their PASS or 4 calls as it is conceivable that some might evaluate OP responding hand differently than I do.
Nov. 16
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 16
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I was not suggesting playing different system by PH.
Rather, I was suggesting using “2-way NMF” (or, just 2 checkback) by responder in all positions.
This simplifies your bidding since you don't have to have different methods by PH (which would be the case if you played “system off” by PH)

Old-fashioned “NMF” really is inferior when responder has to use 2 for his checkback call (i.e. when opening is 1) because he cannot make “light” game invites for fear of getting beyond 2M when opener is minimum.

I don't understand the willingness to sacrifice 25 HCP games. Studies show that these (with two balanced hands) make 3NT around 60% of the time. I certainly don't want to be missing such games.

The real issue for bidding thin games is not 25 vs. 26 but rather 24 vs. 25. Double-dummy studies shows that 24 HCP (combined) in two balanced hands is not quite enough to make 3NT percentage. But some think that in the “real world” where 3NT makes more often than double-dummy results suggest because of “declarer's advantage” (mostly non-optimal opening leads), that bidding 3NT with 24 combined HCPs shows a profit over the long haul.

Meanwhile, what is “sacrificed” by playing “2-way NMF”??
Only the ability to play in 2 (rather than 1NT or 2M, or 3) with a fit. I don't see that this is a big loss since opponents are rarely if ever going to let you play 2 in a good fit when your values are so limited that that is your last makeable spot.
Nov. 16
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 16
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Pass, but I would double at matchpoints with OP vulnerability.
Nov. 16
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The main problem is OP method of NMF rather than “XYZ” (or just using 2 as the checkback rebid regardless of which suit was opened). Making one of these adjustments to methods prevents needing to play in 2NT (will play 2M instead at worst).

Perhaps playing “light initial action” it is not necessary for PH responder to have a checkback call, but in our methods where 1st/2nd openings are reasonably “sound”, we find the retaining our checkback structure is useful.

After all, the only loss with “checkback” is that partnership cannot play exactly 2, which seems like an insignifcant loss to me.
Nov. 16
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North's 4 is 100% a cue-bid in support of s.

When South has shown a self-sufficient suit with his 3 jump rebid, partner DOES NOT go looking for a new strain to play in at the 4 level. Period. North's options include:
* pass 3 (not with OP hand of course)
* bid 3NT to play (again not with OP hand)
* rebid 3 (FORCING). My choice with OP hand
* raise to 4 (not OP hand)
* bid an unbid suit to agree s, show a control, and
show a good enough hand to have slam interest
opposite South's limited 3 rebid
* ask for keycards in s (4NT?)

Thus, with a super-max for his 3 rebid (some might say South hand is too strong for 3), I think his key-card ask is entirely reasonable.

That said, bidding slam with two KCs missing is not reasonable.
Nov. 16
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PNW
Nov. 15
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I play it as non-forcing and I'm sure that is how most good players around here at least play it.

To force, bid 2 (NMF).

The more interesting question is whether it is different when the auction goes:
1 1
2 2 (forcing??)

We play that one as forcing (but not to game) since otherwise one has to use *3* as the “NMF” potentially artificial rebid, and that seems awkward to me.
I believe that most play 2 forcing on this second auction, but I know at least some who play it NF also and do use 3 with forcing hands.
Nov. 15
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