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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I would have bid 4 over (4) rather than doubling.
Feb. 6
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Where are the 23+ HCPs that opener promised?
Feb. 6
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I blame East for failing to lead a (high) .
Had he done that (and continued with any ), E/W would only have been -160.
Feb. 5
Craig Zastera edited this comment Feb. 5
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I would not seriously consider opening 2 with this hand.

However, if you opened 2, and the opponents got a bad result because they mis-judged your hand strength, I do not think they are entitled to any adjustment from the director.
Feb. 5
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I do not think that most would define 3 as “weak” after
1-(2)-3??

Of course, each partnership can define this any way they want, but after the (2) WJO, bidding 3 (non-jump) is very different from jumping to 3 after a (1) overcall,
i.e.: 1-(1)-3.

The latter (the jump to 3) I think *is* played as pre-emptive or at least “semi-pre-emptive” with 4 card support and probably some shape by most.

But the non-jump 3 raise after the (2) WJO is a different thing. This should show a decent hand, ideally about “constructive raise” strength (but might be forced to shade this just a little due to the pressures of their space-consuming overcall).

In the Robson/Segal book “Partnership Bidding at Bridge”, they use the 2NT response/advance after partner has opened or overcalled 1M to show a strong (ostensibly LR+) raise with 4 card support.
The 4+ card support is essential.
The strength is unlimited on the up side
On the low end, with some “shape points”, the 2NT 4 card strong raise might be shaded a tad below 10 HCPs (perhaps down to as few as 8 good working HCPs with some shape).

The 2NT bid is used this way whether it is a jump
(e.g. 1-(1)-2NT) or not (e.g. 1-(2)-2NT).
In the latter case (over the WJO), the cue-bid
(e.g. 1-(2)-3) would be restricted to a strong raise with only 3 card support (might occasionally deliver 4 card support in a very flat hand with low “ODR”).

The above agreements make it apparent (I think) that the non-jump raise to 3 must deliver a reasonable hand (likely with only 3 card support) since on the upside it has to cover all (or at least most) 3 card raises not strong enough for a 3 cue-bid.
Feb. 4
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Doesn't one show an initial psych by passing a forcing bid?
Feb. 3
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I would not have opened this hand (even though you could argue that it passes the “Rule of 22” for minimum opening bid).
But having opened and shown my 2nd suit, I have to live with my decisions and defend 3NTX.
Feb. 3
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I'm not sure that East hand is good enough for 3 after your suggested start.

3 would typically show at least a good constructive raise, possibly a minimum limit raise. Four s would be best, but 3 might suffice if the hand were appropriately strong.

After 1-2-P-?, I can imagine South blasting 6.
Feb. 3
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After West opens 2 the auction could get interesting:
2-3-P-5-6-?????
Feb. 3
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A good example is Kit's hypothetical declarer hand (after he is getting very worried about defeating 4X):
KQJx-xxx-AQJ-xxx

If that were declarer's actual hand, ANY OPENING LEAD EXCEPT THE T (or the A) will suffice to defeat 4X.

After the T lead, declarer with that hand can always make 4X regardless of the defense's efforts.

As someone else suggested, after T lead, declarer just draws trump (finessing s if/when west wins A and shifts to a ), and then plays A, Q from hand.

But after some other lead, say A, a shift to a (or a small ) will suffice to defeat 4X.

I'm not suggesting that this one example proves that the T is a bad lead. Just commenting that it *can* be a big loser on at least one possible lay-out.

On the actual deal, no lead can defeat 4X, but the T lead is the only one that will stop an overtrick with best play thereafter.
Feb. 3
Craig Zastera edited this comment Feb. 3
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I don't like your methods, but attempted to answer within their framework, hence chose 1NT.

Among the several things wrong with that choice, the fact that it is not 100% forcing is particularly vexing.
I much prefer forcing 1NT and GF 2/1 responses.

But even if 1NT is forcing, that doesn't make it a wonderful choice with this hand. In fact, that style often gives responder problems with moderate strength extreme 2-suiters.

I wouldn't consider this hand a GF even playing “sound” initial action as I do. But in a Precision context with (I assume) “light” (or at least lighter) minimum requirements for opening bids, making a 2/1 response with this hand is even less appealing.

Also, you don't mention what 3 level jump shift responses (e.g. 3) mean in your methods.
In my methods, these are natural, 6+ card suit, and game invitational strength.

This hand is about right in overall strength for 3, but the quality of the suit is well below expectations, not to mention the presence of a (good) side 5 card suit. Even a good 4 card suit on the side is distinctly non-optimal for a 3 level invitational jump shift (should be a 1-suiter).

So by default I start with 1NT and hope something good happens thereafter to help me decide what to do with this difficult hand made even more difficult by the methods available.
Feb. 3
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David,
Thanks for taking the time to elucidate more of the theory behind the “game ordered” switches.

Your comments about trying to re-order the bids to leave (approximately) the same amount of space between the call and game in the suit shown makes the logic clearer to me.

I was not aware that you had an article on the topic in Bridge World.
For others who might want to read it, it is in the Aug 2012 issue.
Feb. 3
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West hand has 14 HCPs, not 13 as you say.
Feb. 3
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Chose 3 but perhaps should have abstained as I would not have bid 2 last round. Instead, jump to 3 to show a “mixed raise” (4 card support, about 7-9 points).
Feb. 3
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no–4 is (at least) a slam try.
Feb. 3
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How should partner bid with something like:
Axx-xxx-KQ987-Ax ?

I would suggest just as he has.
Feb. 3
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Bud,
I have played these 3 level invitational jump shifts for a long time.
And I certainly won't claim that they lead to uniformly beautiful sequences to the optimal final contract.

BUT, I am very confident that playing opener's same suit rebid as forcing is much superior to playing it non-forcing.

There is an entire universe of more-than-minimum hands opener might hold that want to be in *some* game but need more bidding to decide on strain.
The forcing 3M rebid (1M-3x-3M) as well as forcing below game rebids in new suits (e.g. 1-3-3) are very frequently employed tools to aid in such strain searches.

Sure 1M-3x-3M non-forcing might occasionally be a winner when opener has a dead minimum hand with a very long suit with very strong intermediates *and* a void in responder's suit. But such hands are relatively less common *AND* when they do occur there is no guarantee that 3 of opener's suit will be a better contract than 3 of responder's suit.
So with such hands, I just pass responder's 3X bid and hope his suit is as good or better than mine.
Feb. 2
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Michael,
I have noticed on more than one occasion in the past that your reading comprehension is quite selective.

My opening comment in my first post here said:
“Michael,
I am certainly not an apologist for ”NLTC“ or any
other ”losing trick count“ method.”

I really don't know how I could be any more clear than that.

The thrust of the question on this OP problem was to determine which (if either) of E vs. W was more responsible for reaching an obviously very poor 4.

How is one going to attempt to answer such a question without merely stating a personal opinion?

Well, to me the obvious way is to look at standard hand evaluation methods and standard requirements for various bids and see which (if either) of East and West here deviated most from those standards.

I chose to use “NLTC” because that is generally regarded as a modern and empirically tested method whose predictive accuracy is reputed to be better than older methods e.g. “point count”, not to mention earlier “LTC” methods (e.g. Klinger's “Modern Losing Trick Count”.

So I used “NLTC” theory to show that the West hand was within the accepted parameters for his invitational raise while the East hand was clearly significantly below the requirements for accepting the invite.

I quoted from the original NLTC source in order to explain how NLTC “losers” are calculated and also what the requirements were in that method for opener's invitational jump and responder's acceptance.

This in no way justifies your referring to NLTC as “my Bible.”

I could just as well have used more traditional Goren point count to arrive at the same conclusion.

I think an invitational raise of responder's suit is supposed to show something like 16-18 “support points.”

How many “support points” does this OP West hand have?
Well, clearly it has 14 HCPs. To this I believe one is supposed to add 3 points for a side suit singleton.
So that would put this West hand at 17 “support points”–right in the middle of that 16-18 raise for an invite.
Even if you wanted to deduct a point for the stiff J, that would still leave you “in range” at 16.

How about the East hand?

Well, 6 HCPs (about the bottom of the traditional range for the response). But to that you get to add either 1 point for the doubleton or 1 point for the 5th (but not both I think).

That would put the value of the East hand at about 7 points using traditional point count methods.
A minimum range responding hand is supposed to be 6-9 (or maybe 6-10) “points.”
So responder ought to accept an invitational jump raise if he is in the “upper half” of his 6-9(10) range.
Thus 8-9 points would be normal to raise to 4, while 6-7 points would be normal to decline and pass 3.

Thus, traditional point count analysis points to the same conclusion, namely that West is minimal but “in range” for his invite, while East has definitely overbid with his raise to 4.

I'm sure you will read this and conclude that I have now “changed religions” and become a point count zealot.

But the truth is that I am merely trying to analyze this deal and this E/W bidding using some objective and recognized have evaluation criteria rather than just giving a purely subjective personal opinion.
Feb. 2
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Kleinman's evaluation methods are also described in the Lawrence Diamond book–it is quite a comprehensive survey of various hand evaluation methods and definitely not confined just to “NLTC”.
Feb. 2
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I have no desire whatsoever to convince anyone to adopt NLTC methods.

But you might as well ask “why 4/3/2/1 for A/K/Q/J ?” when someone is describing standard “point count” evaluation.

I think “that is how the method works” is the right answer since it is known that those simple integers to not reflect the actual relative values very accurately, nor do they account for the synergy of combined honors in the same suit, nor the importance of 10 spots, etc.

If you want to learn more about NLTC methods, I recommend the book by Lawrence Diamond:
“Mastering Hand Evaluation”

Here is a pointer to that book on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Hand-Evaluation-Lawrence-Diamond/dp/1771401532/ref=sr_1_2/133-1300853-4218426?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1549149211&sr=1-2&refinements=p_27%3ALawrence+Diamond
Feb. 2
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