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All comments by Ian Casselton
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Understood, Michael.

The theory at least.

I played relays for a long time. We used to continue relaying until R+2, but after a while, we dropped out of relay when the interference was natural - preferring to use T/O DBL's (or, if the auction were already FG, then normal Pass'n'Pull methods - so penalty DBL's).

In this case though, we're dealing with the majority of people who haven't - and there is considerable merit in having an imperfect method remembered perfectly, rather than a perfect method often remembered imperfectly (on the infrequent occasions it arises).

Ian C
Aug. 14
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Hi Craig.

It may not be strictly optimal, but has the merit of being easy to remember.

DOPI: Interference at 5 level or below
DEPO: Interference at 6 level or above

Mnemonic: DBL/First Step always shows “zero”

Further, I can't recall it being remembered correctly and not working, e.g. due to higher five level interference opposite 2+ keys getting us to high - a theoretic possibility as observed by Michael above.

The other advantage to this agreement is that it can be simply applied to anything relay-like by quick agreement.

Ian C
Aug. 13
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Indeed, Kieran.

However, as BWS polls have suggested, it is the North American way. There is some variance of view, but it appears the consensus only rebid 1NT with 4=3=3=3 - preferring 1 with 4=3=2=4 and similar (it can depend on which red suit was bid).

Like you, seemingly, I have blissfully rebid 1NT with this and similar hand shapes, when in range (irrespective of nominal 1NT range). However, I have though about it recently, and there is a relative case for rebidding 1 in a STR NT environment, as the likelihood of missing a spade fit is higher (responder may not be strong enough to checkback over a 1NT rebid).

Whether this makes the absolute case is perhaps in the eye of the beholder.

In my world, raising the 4th suit, if (critically) game forcing, shows 4 (and in this case, implicitly longer diamonds). However, that is very method dependent - Adam's logic further down is internally consistent - though it would be uncomfortable for me not knowing whether partner were balanced.

Ian C
Aug. 11
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Hi Mike.

I think Patrick is basically right, though I am unsure of the exact meaning of “capacity” in context.

We played 1 2 as an FG raise from the early 90's - with Balanced Hand Principle continuations - hence used the space well. In a related way, we played 1 2NT and 1 3 as BAL FG's. This has been simplified now that we play CLOR.

More recently, we have changed our inverted minor 1m 2m treatment from the more usual INV+, to FG & Natural Theoretic (in simple terms, the main difference is that with primary support and a shorter major, we would raise rather than respond in the major).

To accommodate the above, we play 1m 2NT as INV (in a 1NT 11-13 hcp WK NT context).

However, I don't see anything particularly terrible about playing 1 2 and 1 2 as you suggest, and quite a bit of potential upside.

Ian C
Aug. 1
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Hi David.

It's tough for natural methods (relay methods would do it in their sleep, at the risk of an occasional early, inadvertent, wrong-siding of NT).

In a 2/1 FG context, I think it should probably start 1 2 2 2 3 3 - though I don't hate 1 2 3 (but would rather that showed 4+ support). I don't like 1 2 2 - it quickens the auction needlessly IMO.

However, even after the preferred start, things are not all rosy. Perhaps a quantitative 4NT has merit (given than 4 could be used to set diamonds) but I've never been 100% confident that partner's are on the same wavelength in this.

Ian C
July 27
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Hi David.

No idea if it works and/or is best, but I reckon I would have tried something like the following

A
A
Spade ruff with 2
A
Spade ruff with A (and then assuming no K popping)
Heart ruff
Spade ruff with Q
K pitching club
club towards the K …

Ian C

Typo corrected as per Steve's comment below
July 27
Ian Casselton edited this comment July 27
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Also, Ed and Paul.

It may be that 1st hand, as well as 3rd hand, needs to consider the implications of trick 1.

Ian C
July 25
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Hi John.

For clarity, do you believe that holds true in all (1) to (4) above, and at any stage during the play?

Ian C
July 25
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Hi Tomaz,

If you're interested in a discussion of the broader theory of honour leads, you might look here

http://pikier.com/bridgewars/sind/Systems%20in%20Defence.pdf

pp1-11 (with Rusinow mentioned on p7). Indeed, it might cause you to think wholly differently!

Ian C
July 20
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Hi Robb.

I agree with the tenor of Chris' approach, but not some of the detail. My thoughts …

4 to ask hand type makes sense - and is also strong, interested in bigger things. 4NT should show MIN BAL in context - after which, play the equivalent of your 2NT complex.

Unbid suits should show long suit types and a stopper. As you allude to, transfers here by overcaller are questionable - the contract is likely already right sided.

A cue-bid shows a hand of, as yet, indeterminate type, but always stronger than the other types already mentioned - and I would argue strongly slam suggestive (slam forcing might be a reasonable treatment as well).

Conversely, transfers by advancer make sense. I would argue playing 4-suit transfers is best (4 -> 4NT). You can pick the use of the transfer-cue (quantitative, Stayman, whatever - I think Blackwood might be as good as anything) but many of the types you might think for this would probably start with 4 instead.

Ian C
July 18
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PS I mentioned earlier that it probably works up until the cue-bid is below game. That wasn't as clear as it might have been.

For clarity, what I intended was that it works OK until the surrogate cue-bid is 4 or below. Hence, I think this gives a practical limit of a 2 opening (where 4 is the surrogate cue-bid).

It might even be argued that use is too high (in that it bypasses 3NT). If so, then 2 would be the upper limit of opening, and so few of these are natural, that maybe we get back to where we started - only using after 1 level openings.
July 17
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That's interesting, Bill.

Senior's book is very good, if patchy - indeed, I built and played a system for many years (called Sandgroper) based on Hole Transfers from it. It also has a very good base for a defence against Ferts and similar.

I had a ring-bound version in Australia, but left it there when I moved to the UK, so when I wanted it again, I had to buy a second hand paperback here. Same reason why I don't have pre-1997 Bridge Worlds.

That said, I can't remember anything like this in the book - but will go and check tonight …

Ian C
July 17
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Hi Bill.

You may be right (as I said, I no longer have the article).

For clarification, are you saying that the July 1989 article by Barry Rigal attributes it to Stern, or something else?

Ian C
July 17
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Hi Christina.

I think many of the problems you allude to can be sorted by the use of STA1D*. The acronym means something like “Systemic Transfers After 1-level Doubles” (though it need not be so limited - anytime the cue-bid is below game probably works).

In short, play normalish methods, but with transfers starting from the cue bid in response to the DBL. Hence, in the 1 example you begin with

2: TRF to
3: TRF to
3: TRF to
3: Functions like a classic cue-bid (or even 3 in a Rubensohl context) forcing to suit agreement.

I'm sure it's fairly self-evident how this helps most/all the constructive hand types.

It means double/triple jumps can be for shaped hands (or if to game, and each-way bet). It doesn't solve the xxxx xxx xxx xxx hand for you, but not much does, and I'm not a big fan of yanking the advancing structure around to try and do so.

If you like the (ultra?) modern treatment where (1m) DBL (P) 2m can be only a modest hand with both M's, and where 2M thereafter would be NF, you would lose that, but that's not my preferred style in any case.

Ian C

* I attribute this to Barry Rigal, but it was so long ago, I no longer have a copy of the relevant Bridge World article. I played it successfully for many years though.
July 16
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Interesting question, David!

I don't think it's a game try in spades (a la a “Maximall Overcall Double”) as this typically requires explicit suit agreement - whereas this would be implicit. Also, the wide range with which I might try 2 as partner in this auction begs the question as to strength of hand I would be game trying opposite!

I would accept the reasonableness of the view of any partnership which said it was penalty. However, the frequency of use of this seems low, and with trap passing being relatively out of fashion, even lower still.

Hence, partly by deduction and partly because of philosophy (if in doubt, I am likely to define just about any partscore DBL as takeout'ish) I judge it to be responsive - reasonable frequency and efficacy in context.

Ian C
July 11
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I mostly agree, Michael.

One point I would observe, though, is that very few partnerships have two strong theoreticians, or at the very least, have two very opinionated ones.

Hence, one wanting to change is often enough.

Ian C
July 10
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Hi Mike (and noting Barry's answer above).

With a MIN 4=3=1=5 (say), would you have considered raising to 2 in the first instance?

If I changed the 1 1 1 1NT 2 auction to 1 1 1 2 2, would that change things not at all/a little/a lot in what opener was showing?

I'm not familiar with the tendency you allude to above - is that predominantly a UK thing?

On the footnote, are you referring to its existence, or sharing a similar sentiment to Berkowitz (i.e. to its efficacy)?

Ian C
July 10
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Hi Barry.

I'm not sure I agree, unless you are talking bridge judgement alone, e.g. treating your four good clubs as a five card suit (or vice-versa, i.e. bypassing 4 poor spades).

Yes, what you describe won't cause a direct/immediate problem usually, but, as you acknowledge, the continuations might.

If I might ask, what would your usual partner expect from 1 1 1 from you, and then if they bid 1NT and you continued with 2, what would they then expect?

Ian C
July 10
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Hi Benoit.

I just went back and opened up my 1993 methods (needed to adjust the MS Word “Trust Settings” to do so).

In response to 1 (3+, 11+ hcp) we played

1: 4+
1: 4+
1: either (i) FG with primary , or (ii) 5-8 hcp with 1/2 minors and unsuitable for a club raise
1NT: 9-10 hcp with 1/2 minors or 11-12 hcp with primary

I've seen Barry Rigal and current partner play something superficially similar to this, in a recent The Bridge World CTC match, but I'm unsure exactly how close it is.

For what it's worth, we used the space so allow both balanced ranges cheaply - complete the transfer with 11-13 hcp and rebid 1NT with 17-19. Then, as I think you were alluding to, it allows 1 1 1 1 to show spades - getting the best of both worlds, so to speak.

The trouble with that was, it didn't work as well over 1 openings. However, if you switch to a WK NT, e.g. 11-13 hcp, it works a little better. You can mess with the NT rebid ranges, making 1NT 14-17 and 2NT 18-19 over 1 (but keeping the ones over the transfer responses the same).

Then you can go a step further, as we have now, making a 1NT rebid 14-16, and with 17+ BAL, go through a Gazzilli-like sequence (we call it Gazzevery: “Gazzilli Everywhere”).

Ian C
July 10
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Hi Michael.

Most of what you play makes complete sense to me. However, you may have made a conscious decision to play this way, whereas I almost inherited it. If so, then your view is arguably more credible than mine.

Your 2=5=3=3 is the kind of shape (maybe the exact one, though I think that was 3=5=2=3) that the MSC question asked about. You, like me, could have confidence that 2 would represent a sound strain.

With respect to your last paragraph, once again I agree. Indeed, a similar line of thinking underpins my move back to WK NT's. Once you rule out partner having one of those, constructive auctions become a whole lot easier.

Nevertheless, the expert US community has a wealth of experience to draw upon in this area, yet, collectively, they disagree. The question then reasonably arises - why?

Ian C
July 10
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