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All comments by Craig Zastera
ATB
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I don't think your agreement that 5 on this auction is a “slam try without a control, not a command to bid slam with one” is that unusual.

In fact, at the high level of OP auction, I think that is a better agreement and not uncommon either. Defining 5 as a command to bid slam with a control seems to cater to a much less likely hand type.
Nov. 11
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I cannot fathom 2–that is almost a sign-off.
Suppose opener has some modest hand like:
KQxx-K-Axxx-xxxx
He will pass 2 like a shot with 4 lay-down.

I chose 3 under the assumption that is invitational, and I hope that will be enough.

In my partnerships, we actually play “XYZ” with 3 here GF.
In that context, I would do 2-2 relay, then choose between 2 and 3 (both invitational), probably the latter.
Nov. 11
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Why would you assume that?
OP didn't say WJS, and my experience is that most do NOT play these–preferring to use 1m-2 as one or another “gadget”, e.g. 5-8 with 5 s and 4-5 s, or even as a strong JS.
Our partnership uses 1m-2 as either:
(a) balanced NT invite (around 11 HCPs, no 4+ major)
or
(b) a Soloway (strong) JS with s (possibly with a
fit for opener's minor too, else a solid suit or
a balanced 18-19 count with 5 s).
Opener can (not required) rebid 2 to ask for further description–then 2NT is the NT invite, all others some sub-species of Soloway JS.
Nov. 11
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Tough hand. Change the 8 to the T and I would have responded 3 the first time despite the 3 card support.

On actual hand, don't want to be embarassed by going down in 3 (partner short and s break badly) with 3 making.
Nov. 11
ATB
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South's 4 was pretty aggressive with only 9 HCPs, poor 4 card suit, and stiff likely duplicating partner's shortness, not to mention possibly too strain specific.

I prefer 4 to avoid possibly playing in a 4-3 fit with 5m better. If north has 4+ s, he would show that suit over 4, so nothing is lost. Another alternative (to 4) for South would be a “responsive” double of (3), although that might suggest fewer than 4 s.

I think North's 5 is quite reasonable if it is construed as a general slam invite and NOT a demand for partner to bid 6 with a control. But if it is a “demand”, then it
is a bit agressive, although not unreasonable IMO.

Similarly, South's 6 is terrible *IF* 5 is a non-specific invite to 6, since the South hand is quite minimal for his previous 4 call.

Of course, if partnership has agreement that 5 demands 6 with a control, then South must do his duty.
Nov. 11
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 11
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Thanks for the replies.

I held this hand and chose 3 rebid like most of you.
I considered this choice slightly aggressive (i.e. I considered rebidding only 2 but decided that was a bit too conservative).

We do not incorporate cue-bid then s at 3rd turn into our structure to show some range with 4 card support–partner would assume cue-bid was a strong hand with only 3 s, although maybe I could correct this via later bidding.

We also do not have clear agreements about meanings of advancer's rebids after (double then) cue-bid:
Would advancer's 2 rebid be “default” and promise
nothing? Or would it show 5 s? values?
If advancer shows a second suit over the cue-bid, does
that promise some values? Or just another suit with
only four s?

Anyway, my partner's actual hand was:
7652-K8543-J-642

My view is that this is *easily* worth a boost to 4 over my actual 3 rebid. In fact, I think this hand is good enough to “re-invite” with 3 even had I rebid only 2 after doubling, but that would perhaps be a close call.

But my partner apparently thought differently as he passed my 3 rebid (!?).

West led a small from: 3-QJ9-K6532-AQJ9
Partner rose A (I think it is 100% clear to finesse as East must hold K or A to justify West's non- lead, hence K is almost certainly with West).

Anyway, partner made only 9 tricks–the finesse turns out to be necessary to make 4 given the bad breaks in both majors.

Not a single pair at our club duplicate reached 4 on these cards (one pair was in 4 -2 – 9 tricks are the max available in a contract as the cards lie).
So +140 turned out to be dead average, while +170 would have netted 75% of the matchpoints (and +620 in 4 making would have been a cold top).
Nov. 11
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I believe that most play that a new suit advance of an ordinary (non-jump) overcall is non-forcing.

Given that and the fact that an “ordinary” overcall is both potentially stronger than a jump overcall *and* more likely to have a fit for another suit, it hardly seems logical to play that a new suit advance of a (weak) jump overcall should be forcing.
Nov. 11
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I think this hand is close between PASS and 4 with the “right” answer depending a lot on exact partnership expectations about responder's invite.

But I think 3NT is a clearly inferior choice.
A reasonable 3NT bid would look more like:
KTx-ATxx-Axx-Axx
where we might hope to score 9 fast ones if part has 6 s to the Ace (and the Q would be nice too!).

But actual OP hand does not have enough fast tricks on the side for 3NT to be promising. If pard's s are good enough to run, then we will have a hole elsewhere.
Nov. 9
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Since I posted this problem, I am not trying to say what is the best choice.
But I do believe that the usual meaning of the cue-bid after doubling is to show a good hand (19+ typically) but LACKING four card support for advancer's suit (usually, 3 card support).
Nov. 9
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The second double *could* be played as a “relay double” (asking partner to bid 3).

That way, responder doubles (then passes 3) when he just wants to compete to 3. Conversely, bidding 3 directly over (3) would be a true game invite.

Using “relay doubles” here is sort of the opposite of “maximal overcall double”, since with RD, double (if aiming for a contract) is the weaker (competitive) bid while 3 is the stronger (invitational to game) bid.

But RDs is slightly more flexible as responder with only four s but good support also then has two ways to show s–double then remove 3 to 4 “just competitive, *or* 4 directly over 3 (game invite).

We play a lot of relay doubles, but our usual agreement is that they DO NOT apply when our side has found a fit (i.e. bid and raise same suit). In those cases, we go with ”game try doubles“ and/or bidding a new suit (or NT) to show game tries (so bidding 3 of our suit is just competitive).

But OP auction is an odd case as it is not clear whether our side has established a fit or not. Opener's support double shows just 3 card support, and there is no particular reason why responder should have more than 4 s. So it is not clear that our side has a true fit on OP auction.

Still, an advantage of playing double as ”maximal" (hence a game invite) is that opener is permitted to pass for penalties if not wishing to bid game. Playing relay doubles pretty much gives up defending (3X).
Nov. 8
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I would certainly double with this hand in real life and it wouldn't occur to me there was any reasonable alternative.

But presented with this as a problem, I can see the argument for passing:
* partner is a passed hand, so they have balance of power
(particularly if we play a “light initial action” style
as I think OPer does, although he does not say so here)
* they hold the s
* therefore there is a good chance we cannot outbid them
profitably.
* doubling will give them possibly helpful info

Nevertheless, I think I would still stick with habit and double.
It is certainly possible (even if not likely) that our side holds a good enough fit and sufficienct HCP resources that we have at least a profitable save against their highest makeable contract, and I expect most to be doubling with my cards.
Nov. 8
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That hand doesn't look like enough to invite game at matchpoints to me.

We have 21 (maybe 20) to 23 HCPs, and likely some wasted values opposite our singleton which partner won't be able to evaluate.

This depends somewhat on partnership agreements about game invites.
For my invites, I expect opener to be accepting at *least* 50% of the time, perhaps a bit more.
With this responding hand, I do not think 4 will be good opposite that fraction of 1NT openers that couldn't super-accept.

For example, I tried a 1000 deal simulation with this responding hand opposite random balanced hands with *3* s and 15-16 HCPs. I would expect such hands generally would accept the 3 invite.
Yet the simulation found 4 making on only 444 of these deals. To me, that is pretty good evidence that this responding hand is not good enough to be inviting with 3 at matchpoints.
Nov. 7
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 7
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On the following choice, either I'm misunderstanding, others are misunderstanding, or other pollees play very differently than most I know:

"After an opening bid of 1m and a reopening suit bid,
2m is fit-showing"

To me, that choice seems to be talking about a *cue-bid* advance of partner's re-opening suit bid. An auction like, for example:

(1) Pass (Pass) 1
(Pass) 2??

My view is that most (if not using transfer advances over the balancing overcall), would play this 2 cue-bid as a strong raise of partner's s (hence “fit showing”), yet few (so far) have selected that option.
Nov. 6
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The choice doesn't specify that opener passes.
Nov. 6
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Of course this question is only answerable if you have a good idea what the limits (lower and upper) for partner's sequence are, as well as what shapes are possible.

I tried a simulation with the following constraints on partner's hand:
1. exactly 6 s
2. fewer than 4 s
3. no voids
4. no (other) 5+ card suits
5. 8 HCPs or 7 HCPs with an A and a King

The above is not an attempt to capture every possible hand partner might hold, but rather to describe “typical” hands that will encompass the bulk of the cases.
If you do not think these constraints are correct for “typical” responding hands using OP sequence, then the results of this simulation will not be useful to you.

Anyway, on 1000 such deals I found:
4 made on 611 deals
3NT made on 525 deals

4 beat 3NT on 570 deals
3NT beat 4 on 337 deals
3N/4 tied on 93 deals

4 beat 3NT by 1456/1773 IMPs (NV/VUL)
Nov. 6
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Will partner always have 6+ s for his sequence?

Or might he sometimes try this auction with only 5 s in a HCP light but shapely hand (e.g. 5=5) ??
Nov. 6
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I pass, with 2 my second choice.
Nov. 4
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no. Mostly guided by “Rule of 22” (I do make exceptions both ways though).

So for me it is fairly common to pass 4333 12 counts with not too many quick tricks.
Could even pass other (balanced) shape 12 counts that were really QT deficient.
Nov. 4
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I was confident to vote for “I play 4NT as RKCB s”.

Somewhat less confident to vote that was “standard”, but I did so meaning that is how I would interpret this call if made by a competent but infrequent partner without discussion.
My experience is that *most* play far more 4NT bids as key-card asks than I do, so since RKCB on this one seems reasonable even to me, I would guess that that meaning would be “obvious” to most others.

I declined to vote for what is “theoretically best” as I don't feel I have enough basis for an opinion on that one.

My thought, though, is that since 3NT does not promise a balanced hand *and* that the strength shown by that overcall is quite wide-ranging, that the 4 transfer to 4 should be based on a very long suit (at least 6).

Therefore, it seems more likely that advancer with said very long s might want to continue with a key-card ask than explicitly invite slam in NT. But if I had a (new) partner who wanted to discuss this auction *and* wanted me to agree than 4NT here is slam invitational in NT or s, I would agree to play it that way.
Nov. 4
Craig Zastera edited this comment Nov. 4
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Yeah–I solved the 2 vs. 3 dilemma by rebidding 2NT.
That way, everyone will disagree with me :-).
Nov. 4
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