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All comments by Ian Casselton
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That's theoretically best (IMO), Andy.

Though I would express it as T/O or penalty of .

However, I answered above as per your latter case.

Ian C
May 10
Ian Casselton edited this comment May 10
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Hi Helene.

It dangerous to be absolute in a poll scenario - and looking at Steve's answer above, this reluctance would appear to be warranted.

But, genuinely, I can't conceive of (let alone choose) any other possibility than T/O of .

This could be the result of a sheltered upbringing, but I doubt it ;)

Ian C

PS I wouldn't regard 2 (P) 2 as a “relay”, rather as “PoC” (Pass or Correct)
May 10
Ian Casselton edited this comment May 10
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Also true, Richard.

Ian C
May 7
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Agreed, Kieran.

But you still need a re-entry at some point that running the C10 doesn't.

That re-entry may be convenient or may not be, depending on other developments.

Ian C
May 7
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Fair enough, Richard.

In my original comment I had probably overlooked stiff J offside.

Ian C
May 7
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Indeed, Frances.

But wouldn't one have rather ran the 10 still were that the case (otherwise, you need to make an early call for a re-entry to avoid the loss of an extra club)?

Ian C
May 7
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Hi Richard.

It's not entirely clear to me that it is - would you perhaps explain your thinking?

It strikes me that with KJx(x) onside you're immediately in a better place and otherwise, it's roughly equivalent which club honour you hope is onside, if only one is.

Ian C
May 7
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No problems, Sam.

That's why I commented on the Sharko document separately as a digression and dealt with the theory contained therein (and the assertion it was “modern”).

If you have your own way of working around its limitations in practise, whether accidental by being R+2, or deliberate, that's fine.

Ian C
May 6
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OK, Sam.

The digression. I know more than many, perhaps most, though certainly not all re Symmetric (Relay).

The Sharko PDF looks a well-written guide for people wishing learn Symmetric. However, rather than being modern, it looks rather archaic to me. To illustrate, it has a brief and poorly written mention of what it refers to as “Submarine” on p45 - something that Marston and Burgess were doing in Forcing Pass Relay in the 80's.

To give an example of where it's theoretically questionable, it makes no attempt to mitigate/eliminate the wrong-siding of BAL hands after 1 1NT. There are a bunch of ways this can be done, e.g.
{1} Swap 1 1NT with the combination of 1 2 and 1 2
{2} Make 1 1 the contain what 1 1NT and 1 1 1NT 2 would normally show (with 1 1NT containing what 1 1 1NT 2+ would normally show)
{3} Something like the Meckstroth-Rodwell structure, where 1 1 shows a POS with 5+ and some BAL range. I'm then guessing after 1 R that 1NT shows the spade hands and 2+ the BAL hands (but could be completely wrong in this)
{4} etc

Also, the Colour, Rank, 4333 etc resolution for BAL hands went a long time ago. You want something oriented on 2 showing most hands with hearts, 2 showing most hands with spades etc.

Finally, on semi-POS hands (though we've addressed the misunderstanding under separate cover). For me, these are direct responses to a strong club or strong Pass. To give you an example structure in response to a 13+ hcp Strong Pass …
1: ART FG, 11+ hcp
1: ART NEG, 0-7 HCP
1+: semi-POS, 8-10 hcp, Symmetric style

To flesh this out slightly

Pass 1 1: Reverse relay, probably BAL, asking partner to continue Symmetric Style from 1+

Pass 1 1+: Symmetric Style relay (if BAL, defined range, else Reverse relay as above)

Please note - the optimisations you might apply to a FG Symmetric sequence may not apply to a semi-POS sequence - not least because you may want 1 1NT to play.

Ian C
May 5
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Ah, Sam.

I now see what you are referring to. I would be very careful about using that term with other Symmetric Relayers - I suspect it means something different to us/them (more on this in a minute).

May I suggest that R+2 is a better way of referring to the generic concept you are trying to describe, i.e. Symmetric Relay up two steps.

Ian C
May 5
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Hi Sam.

Let me respond directly first and then digress slightly in the next response.

If you start with 1 1NT+ as an FG relay auction, you are already at R+2. It works in theory as you allude to (i.e. you get shapes you list in below 3NT, and if you put the 5332's in the “right” place you can get the 7222 and 7321's in too - and maybe even the 7411's sort of if you're prepared to overwork the 5422's).

However, I'm not sure I'd bother. The higher the strength of opener, the more likely I would simply resort to more natural sequences (and make my money off the limited openings). Hence the opinion on opening groupings I expressed.

I have already addressed the 1 (if UNBAL) 1NT risk of wrong-siding: on a frequency and shape base from opener, it's not a big issue. If you however think it is, fair enough.

I cannot find any reference to semi-POS's in the linked PDF - sorry if this is my fault. More on this PDF below. If you can explain exactly where you propose to use semi-POS's, it would be helpful.

Ian C
May 5
Ian Casselton edited this comment May 5
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Hi Sam.

If you're looking at or into this sort of thinking, look at “Crimson Death” (a la Appleton, Coles et al) or one which I can't quickly find named something like “Red Menace” (a la Green, Appleton).

Here's a link to Crimson Death: http://www.bridgeguys.com/pdf/CrimsonDeathColes1999.pdf

Please note, I am neither endorsing this or otherwise.

Ian C
May 5
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Hi Sam.

You've mixed some stuff together, at least for ease of reading, so I'm not always sure what you're referring to in each case.

Re the 2NT opening, yes, if it stays the same, I would probably advocate 3 as INV or better. However, the Kiwis would probably be the best to discuss this with - they played this opening in a “Submarine” system back in the 90's.

I'm not sure what the semi-POS vs POS track refers to.

Re 1 denying spades, when I advocated switching them around, I was also advocating which denied which switching as well, i.e. 1 would deny four or more hearts.

I'm assuming that there are no legal restrictions on my proposed 1 & 1 switch? If so, your 1 catered for the 18+ hcp UNBAL hands (amongst other things) and your 1 catered for 16-17 hcp one or both minors UNBAL (amongst other things). I was advocating moving both of these into 1 (and conversely, moving 15-17 BAL into 1). I don't believe this prevents opening any hands.

In context, playing 1 1NT as a negative (followed by 2, if needed, as an FG, with others not and 2NT showing primary clubs {or 4441's} - no BAL hand needed to cater for) is not an issue - 3NT is a much less likely end spot.

Similarly, it's not just about getting shape out with the BAL (& semi-BAL) proposed 1 opening. Being able to get out in cleanly after 1 1 1NT with 15-17 is good and the extra step is never useless with the most common hand type (BAL hands) - especially when you have range to sort as here.

{Martin} I'd be grateful if you elaborated on the thoughts underpinning your assertion re which way around to play 1 and 1?

Ian C
May 5
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Hi Sam.

The following thoughts are mostly instinctive, rather than the result of deep deliberations on the upside vs downside. Also, I'm unsure of the ACBL legalities of any suggestion.

I would switch the meanings of 1 and 1. I would want the next step to be a “relay” in both cases - the current arrangement precludes that. The resultant 1 1 NF (and similarly 1 1) seems fine.

I would juggle within the 1 and 1 meanings. I would make them

1: 15+ BAL (and, perhaps, semi-BAL)
1: 16+ UNBAL (with some other additional restrictions, e.g. your minor suggestions)

This allows, amongst other things, a simple 1 1 1NT sequence to show 15-17 BAL. Also 1 2any NAT, NF (or you could play Stayman and transfers, or even two-step transfers).
Knowing that the 1 opening must now be UNBAL makes playing 1NT as a relay/negative less problematic.

As an aside, with one partner, we do the above at the two level, e.g. we use 2 and 2 for various aggressive purposes, and play 2 FG BAL or semi-BAL and 2 FG UNBAL.

I'm also wondering whether the 2 and 2NT openings should be switched, but I'm less convinced on this - there is certainly an advantage in the current arrangement where 2NT 3 can be a relay step. In short, the need to use 2NT for one of these is a net downside for the method, IMO, so it's a question of where to take the pain.

Ian C
May 4
Ian Casselton edited this comment May 4
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Hi Barry, Charles et al.

Ideally, you want two point ranges.

Typically, that's not possible, without artificiality being introduced, e.g. split the load across the 1 and 1 openings to some extent.

Assuming you don't want to do that, you have to decide where to take the imprecision. All other things being equal

1-> It's easier to have a wide 1NT bid or rebid range than a wide 2NT bid or rebid range
2-> It's easier to have a wide 1NT rebid range than a wide 1NT opening range (same idea for 2NT rebid vs openings) as some information has been shared which may help handle that wide range
3-> For two bids at the same level, it's better to have the less frequent one being wider ranging (e.g. opening 2NT rather than 2 then rebidding 2NT)

There's other stuff than listed above to consider, e.g. can you risk opening 2NT lighter than most and what risk getting to a bad game with a powerful hand but a 3 hcp range, but that covers the main points.

Where this gets my partnership is

1NT opening: 11-13
1NT rebid: 14-16
2NT rebid: 17-18
2NT opening: 19-20
Various 2any openings: 21+ hcp in 2 hcp ranges

I don't pretend this is the only way to play an 11-13 hcp 1NT base, indeed, I could be convinced easily to play a 1NT rebid as 14-17 hcp. But you get the idea.

Back to your question, I much prefer Jump 2NT Rebid 18-19 and 2NT opening 20-22 on frequency grounds, as per (3) above.

Ian C
April 28
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Hi Avon et al.

In the 90's, we played

1M 2M+1 as FG raise (i.e. 1 2 & 1 2NT) with “Balanced Hand Principle” style continuations

1M 2M+2 BAL FG (i.e. 1 2NT & 1 3)

Obviously, you can't bid clubs conveniently over 1 3, which is the imperfection, but otherwise, it worked incredibly well.

Ian C
April 28
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Hi Michael.

Interestingly, a 1 1 2 starting auction is another problem hand from the same session - but I'll cover that in another article.

Ian C
April 27
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Hi Steve.

I think Michael would disagree with you about your examples being limit raise auctions.

On your last example (and the one in the OP), I would have previously assumed it forcing, based on an over-arching rule re Back Preference, but was positing that it needs to be a limit raise.

The general (but not universal) take seems to be ignore the spade suit with a 3-card heart limit raise.

There's a lot more above as the conversation broadened, but that seems to be the bit directly pertinent to the original question.

Ian C
April 27
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Hi Michael.

Re ABBA, me too. To no doubt the amusement of some, the first two singles I bought were Dancing Queen (a black sleeve as I recall) and Money Money Money (a yellow sleeve)!

Back to bridge, I note your clarification as to intention.

I think we're mostly in agreement, e.g. respond 1NT on the actual hand, rebid 1NT with balanced hands, 4th suit game forcing etc.

On the one bit where we're not (jump preferences needing to be forcing), as alluded to, you've got me thinking.

Ian C
April 27
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Hi Michael.

I wasn't referencing you per se, I was referencing Dave referencing you

“As Rosenberg noted above, with a 4=3=4=2 game force, we would start with 2C”

What I was trying to ascertain, was whether

(1) - This was accurate and your 2 response is artificial, or

(2) - This was inaccurate and he meant 4=3=2=4 - an idea I first saw Bergen promote.

If (1), it's not to my taste - I prefer CLOR where 2 is clubs or an FG raise of the major (with 1M 2NT getting back its classic BAL FG meaning).

If (2), then once again, it's not to my taste, but I can see the merits and therefore I regard it more of a style issue.

Ian C

PS I've just seen the logical omission from my original post which led your and some other responses. I meant to say

“and you have a BAL or semi-BAL hand with INV values, 4 & 3

rather than what I actually said

“and you have a BAL or semi-BAL hand with 4 & 3

I think the context becomes clear from the continuation, but it was me that permitted the confusion. Once again, my apology.
April 27
Ian Casselton edited this comment April 27
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