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All comments by Ian Casselton
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Indeed, Kit.

I think a WK NT versus STR NT environment makes a difference. It is relatively safer bypassing a major in a WK NT environment (i.e. making a STR 1NT rebid) as it is more likely partner has the strength to check-back or similar to diagnose any bypassed fit.

This is consistent with the environment I alluded to before (WK 1NT opening, 15-18 1NT rebid).

That said, I'd still do it (and did it) in a stronger NT environment, for many years playing a 14-16 1NT. I find other auctions, such as (reading opener's 3rd bid in) 4th suit forcing ones, much more problematic when partner hasn't denied a balanced hand for a suit over suit rebid.

Ian C
2 hours ago
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Hi Kit.

I was (from a somewhat academic perspective) interested in your methods re balanced hand rebids.

In the geography where I was brought up in a bridge sense, rebidding 1NT with one or both side 4-card majors, when in range, was completely de rigeur. Rebidding a second suit meant you were at least as shapely as 5422 or 4441.

I believe this assists considerably with hand evaluation, and, as you allude to, typically only runs the risk of missing a major suit fit in partials. I sometimes have to remind myself this is not the case when reading various Bridge World problems and similar.

In the US game, how common would you say the “bypassing the major and rebidding NT” is in the expert community?

Ian C
23 hours ago
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Hi Ed.

Many people I respect, including some team-mates, would agree with your disagreement with me on my (2).

The issue in the real world though is that no-one seems to be able to sensibly advise how to do that as a practical matter (and the other discussion re what might be suggested from a break in tempo is one of the reasons why). Even worse, it can occasion thinking along the lines of “what is the least bad outcome I can engineer within the rules”.

Hence, my approach is the most pragmatic one I can come up with. And if the gendarmes tell me post-facto that I wasn't allowed to do what I did, then fair enough.

Ian C

PS I see no reason why the things you outline can't be evaluated linearly
June 24
Ian Casselton edited this comment June 24
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Hi Roland.

The trite answer to you is “because he would have opened”. However, as I'm sure you gather, I largely share your view in general.

Certainly, the honour distribution could well have been different, and, to a degree, the suit distribution.

Ian C
June 24
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Still the same question though, Christopher.

Many such situations are bid, pass, dbl. I'm perhaps open to the view that a break in tempo might suggest bidding or doubling over passing, but more rarely over each other.

So, as in the actual case (5 bid) here, what is the specific question the “could demonstrably” version translates to, and what is the specific question the “did demonstrably” variant translates to, if meaningfully different?

Ian C
June 24
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Thanks, Peter.

I will consider your suggestion re 6/4 & 5/5 switching from the normal Gazzilli context.

I suppose there is also the possibility of playing transfers from 2NT, where they can be 6+/4 or 5+/5+? That might allow both the direct raising and the transfer into partner's 5 card suit.

On the ranges, we open 2NT with 19-20 BAL, so that limits things a little bit.

Ian C
June 24
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Hi Jeff.

I am aware of the potential difference in theory in these phrases, but how are you suggesting that should manifest itself in practise?

It seems to me that if you're applying a qualitative assessment, then they morph to being similar if not the same in the context we would be discussing them.

If not, then anything could, at the extreme, suggest almost anything else.

Ian C
June 24
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Hi David (and others).

The more I hear about “break in tempo” issues, if indeed they are all issues, the more I think the laws are either poorly written and/or poorly understood (including perhaps by me). This is going to give rise to inconsistent rulings and inconsistent appeals committee decisions.

It seems to me that some sort of flow diagram based on the laws is needed. For example, the first question might need to be did the break in tempo suggest one call over another. If the answer is no, then score stands, if not, then go to next question etc.

If people don't take a logical approach, something like the above, then we have what we have in the responses to this article - people exploring different branches of the logical tree, many of which should be mutually exclusive.

For the record, I tend to the following two views in this area

(1) Many/most breaks in tempo don't suggest one call over another, and

(2) As partner of someone who breaks tempo, you should try your best to make the same call you would have, rather than second guess the auction - and let the gendarmes sort matters out later, if needed.

Ian C

PS I have no idea why anyone has an issue with the 3 opening. Not clear-cut, but hardly off the wall, especially in 3rd.
June 24
Ian Casselton edited this comment June 24
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Interestingly, Michael.

Now I think about it, I have seen those auctions you mentioned played as light splinters (though not by me).

Ian C
June 22
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Hi Dave.

No, Michael is correct, at least in the literal sense - though I suspect he understood the intent. I was insufficiently precise.

Perhaps a clause along the lines “considering two level or higher actions” might have been sufficient to clarify.

Ian C
June 22
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Hi Dave.

I'm glad you wrote what you did - else I would have had to. In short, if a bid the level below would have been natural and forcing (or if it has some other agreed meaning, and the bid one level below it is natural and forcing), then it's a splinter.

e.g. 1 1 2 would have been forcing, so 1 1 3 is a splinter

e.g. 1 2 is natural and forcing, and (for us) 1 3 is an intermediate jump shift, so 1 4 is a splinter.

Rightly or wrongly, I think of mini-splinters as deliberately using a lower level bid for that purpose as opposed to an obvious alternate use, e.g. playing 1 3 as a light splinter (instead of a strong/intermediate/weak jump shift). Such an approach can have the odd spectacular success - it's the opportunity cost one has to make the judgement on.

Perhaps a more important question is if you get to splinter at the three level, what does a below game splinter at the four level show?

Ian C
June 22
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Hi Yu.

One or both of us is being inadvertently obtuse - my apology in advance if its me!

Your comment about 1 1NT not expecting to have a negative value makes me wonder whether you misread Pavlicek's stats as formatted. In each case, he expresses it in terms of the “winner”, as opposed to consistently in terms of either (a) the major, or (b) 1NT.

For clarity, the IMP-based expectation of opening 1 versus 1NT was 58.38% over the period, i.e. 1 was the winning action. Conversely, the IMP-based expectation for opening 1 versus 1NT was 41.28% (%100 - %58.72), i.e. 1 was a losing action.

Pavlicek didn't (and didn't need to) bother with ranges, strong, medium, weak or mini - he just looked for hands where experts went one way at one table and the other way at another.

Relying on anecdotal experience, especially with a small sample-set, is always dangerous - but its often all we have at bridge. It also explains why so many of us have formed different views about the best methods/treatments etc. Pavlicek's analysis does not have this problem - he has a fairly large sample set drawn from competitive expert matches.

Ian C
June 21
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Hi Yu.

If I've understood you correctly, you are morphing it into a different question, along the lines of which is the superior opening: 1 vs a WK NT, or something like that.

Pavlicek's presumed question is simple: if in range for 1NT, whatever that range is, how do 1 vs 1NT and 1 vs 1NT perform respectively. At expert level, the evidence seems clear, and also remarkably consistent over each of the sub time periods.

This ties back to the original article posting (someone who “lives” what Pavlicek determined - that 1NT might contain 5 but not 5) and Benoit's refutation of the Forcing NT structure being the determining factor (as suggested by Michael).

Anyway, I just gave you the link to the summary before - here are (the first 100 hands) of the detail of each …

1 vs 1NT: http://rpbridge.net/9x14.htm

1 vs 1NT: http://rpbridge.net/9x13.htm

You can put your opinion to the test, if you wish?

Ian C
June 20
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Hi Ed.

Initially (IMO) you should assume overcaller has one minor - which is also the same assumption that advancer will be making.

Assuming you agree, you should play the equivalent of your preferred method to a Multi 2 (as it shares similar characteristics). Against the Multi 2, we play DBL as T/O of spades, and 2 as T/O of hearts.

By analogy therefore, we would play RDBL as T/O of diamonds and 2 as T/O of clubs. Everything else natural, in the partnership Lebensohl or equivalent style.

In the event that opener corrects advancer's 2m, mostly likely 2, to 2, then I prefer 2 as T/O and DBL as penalty interest. Others might prefer differently. In any case, the same defence you would play as to 1NT (2) ? showing the majors.

It remains to decide what to do with a generic good hand. If unsuitable for any of the above three types (i.e. T/O of diamonds/clubs/majors) then I would put it through the RDBL. In this way, RDBL acts like a normal DBL, i.e. MIN T/O or strong.

Ian C
June 20
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Hi Yu.

I suspect it would be as clear - as the key determinant, or at least, one of the key two (the other likely lesser one being rebid considerations) is likely to be the ability to overcall 1 over 1 but not 1NT.

The mini NT may well be losing - but that might be because it fundmentally stretches the opening range. A choice between WK and STR NT doesn't.

As it happens, I'm a fairly late convert to WK NT's, I mostly played 14-16 hcp or some strong variant. In the current method, I play 11-13 hcp, but that is somewhat forced by the rest of the system.

Ian C
June 20
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Hi Erik.

In fairness, I focused on your link rather than your response (which I'll reconsider).

However I suspect, even if might work, that giving up the natural 1NT rebid may be a step too far for us.

Ian C
June 19
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Indeed, Benoit.

Statistical analysis of top level bridge bears this out: http://rpbridge.net/9x41.htm

In short, opening 1NT rather than 1 when in range appears a winner, opening 1NT rather than 1 when in range an even more clear loser.

To quote Pavlicek: “Evidence strongly suggests to open 1 NT with hearts but not spades. Experts have long been aware of the rebid problem after a balanced 1 opening, but the extreme difference compared to spades is remarkable.”

Ian C

PS Weak NT's are pretty effective as well :)
June 19
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Thanks, Erik.

In so far as it's a solution at all, it's a specific one - as it relies on 1 (or in our case, it would be 1) showing a 5 card heart suit.

Our solution needs to also cater for openings which promise no more than a 3 card minor.

It was interesting anyway - and some of the technology may become applicable.

Ian C
June 19
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Hi Yuan.

I'm familiar with spiral cue-bids/scans, but not spiral asks in this context. Would you explain?

Ian C
June 19
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Thanks, Peter.

You've touched upon the big question (assuming you don't choose to keep one or more of the three-card-raise types in a natural NT rebid, direct or delayed).

We do play 2 as you describe (Gazzilli-like), but we also currently use jump shifts in the Gazzilli spirit - as intermediate (say 14-15 hcp) 5+/5+'s with concentration, and a jump 2NT rebid similarly, but 6+/4. We only cater for lower ranking suits this way (so after a Pass showing 3+ opening, a jump 2NT rebid shows a semi-solid suit).

When I've considered this before, I have thought maybe it's worth losing the jump 2NT rebid to show 4 card support (initially indeterminate strength) but I would be reluctant to lose the 5+/5+'s. So, one could play

1NT rebid: doubleton in partner's 5M (possibly 4333 as well)
Single raise: 3 card support, 13-14 if BAL
Double raise: 3 card support, 15-16 if BAL
Triple raise: 3 card support, 17-18 if BAL
2NT: 4 card support, 13-18 if BAL
etc

Certainly plausible - instinctively, I like the idea of raising immediately where possible, but also like the idea of distinguishing 3 versus 4 where possible. I have a vague recollection that we decided to change the original method after a triple raise where the fact opener only had 3 card support made the slam we ultimately reached anti-percentage.

Ian C
June 18
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