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All comments by John Brady
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Opps sorry. Meant to pick 3 Spades. Keyboard on my new cell phone is not as user friendly as my old Blackberry.
June 3, 2013
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Perhaps the original poster has forgotten, but after Caesar says that line about cowardice, he is goaded by conspirators mocking his fears and hinting of the glory of being crowned by the Senate. He ignores the warning signs of danger, goes to the Senate AND GETS SLAUGHTERED!

So much for false bravado.

There is every reason to be pessimistic about this hand. Opener has length, and is a heavy favorite to have strength, in responder's void suit. Opener is a favorite to be short in responder's long suit. Opener's hand is limited to 11-15 HCP and the odds are that some of those limited values are in Hearts and wasted opposite the void. The responder has 6 losers and, in the space available, there is no reasonable way to investigate whether opener can cover enough of those losers for game let alone slam.

The idea of immediately thinking about 7C is unfathomable. If partner opened with a potentially much stronger 11-20 HCP one Heart bid would you be thinking about grand slam in Clubs?

After a Flannery 2D opening, it seems like the most rational bid at matchpoints is a natural, constructive, but not forcing 3C.

Vulnerable at Imps, perhaps the risk\reward ratio might justify bidding 5C over Flannery, hoping for a lucky dummy or favorable defense.

Over 3C, if opener raises to 4, responder can bid game. If opener jumps to 5 Clubs, there's a rational basis for hoping he has the right pattern and controls for responder to try 6. If opener bids anything else over 3C, responder can rebid 4C and, having given a reasonable picture of long strong clubs with some game interest, can leave it to opener to decide whether he has enough controls to bid game.

If partner can't take another bid over 3C, you won't be missing anything.

But unlike Julius Caesar, you won't get slaughtered.
May 31, 2013
John Brady edited this comment May 31, 2013
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I don't have enough experience playing against transfer Walsh to have strong opinions about what's best.

When you don't know what's best, go with what's simplest. That usually means what is most like your other methods.

For me that means, over transfer Walsh: double of the transfer bid is that suit just like a double of any artificial bid. I'm happy to have a chance to direct a good lead and show some length with a hand that I wouldn't have been able to overcall. With a stronger hand and\or a longer suit, bid it instead of doubling. Bidding the suit they're transferring to is takeout for the other suits. I prefer 2C to be natural and a jump Q in the suit they're transferring also to be natural … because I play 1m--1M- as natural when the opponents are just playing standard.

If you have a natural 2C overcall, you need a way to show it. The method David describes doesn't have one. On a frequency basis, the one suited hand will occur more often than the 2-suited hands. Besides you have reasonable alternatives to describe the 2-suit hands: jump to 2NT to show the other 2 suits; or start with an overcall one of your suits; or if you have the suit they're using to transfer and the other suit, you might be able to start with double and then get your second suit into the auction on the next turn. But there's only one way to get your natural constructive 2C overcall into the auction: you have to bid it. Finally, in my experience, overcalling 2C is awkward for opponents playing a short Club. It's harder to find, and compete in, a fit in the other minor, and it preempts the other Major.

After losing too many suits against them, I do have strong feelings about what's best against short or Polish 1 Club and Precision 1D: (1) Against could-be-short or Polish 1C: double=takeout for Majors, no implied support for Diamonds; 2C=Clubs, 2D=any strength Michaels. (2) Against 1D short: double=takeout for Majors, no implied support for Clubs; 2D=Diamonds; 2H=minimum Michaels; 3D=very strong Michaels.
May 31, 2013
John Brady edited this comment 12 hours ago
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Can be played several ways:

Non-forcing and invitational with 4-card Major and a fit in partner's minor. As Danny Sprung says, this is useful if your partnership frequently raises responder's Major on three card support, not useful if you don't.

(There are other ways to invite game after a raise with possible 3-card support that also allow you to stop in three of partner's minor, but that's another thread.)

One round force and at least invitational to game with a fit in partner's minor. Not very useful to play it this way, but some people do.

Game forcing with a fit in partner's minor, may be looking for the best game or may have slam interest, depending on follow-up auction

Game forcing, not necessarily a Club fit, could be a cue bid for slam. Ycch … but I have partners that play this.

Whichever way you play responder's 3m rebid by an unpassed hand, you still have to decide if you play 3m as non-forcing or a one-round force by a passed hand.

Bottom line is this is one of those sequences that you must discuss with every partner you have! It is not safe to bid 3 of partner's minor and hope partner guesses right about how you intended it.

If you haven't discussed it, don't do it!!! Make some unambiguous bid and then agree how to play this sequence after the hand is over.
May 31, 2013
John Brady edited this comment May 31, 2013
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Forget Love's book on squeezes. Kelsey's books on squeezes and Reese's books on play are better. Easiest and quickest way to learn about squeezes is Dorothy Truscott's one chapter on squeezes in Winning Declarer Play.
May 12, 2013
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Of the books you list, read Kelsey first, then the two Woolsey books.

For squeezes, just read the squeeze chapter in Dorthy Hayden Truscott's Winning Declarer Play. If you master that one chapter you'll know more about squeezes than 99% of the competition.

Reese's Bidding a Bridge Hand, Play Bridge with Reese, and Reese on Play, and Killing Defense at Bridge by Kelsey are classics. All of Lawrence's books are good. Put The Secrets of Winning Bridge by Rubens and Larry Cohen's To Bid or Not to Bid, and Bob Ewen's or Mike Lawrence's books on Opening leads on your list. Adventures in Card Play by Ottlik and Kelsey is dazzling.

For card reading, inferences and deductions, read All 52 Cards, How to Read the Opponents' Cards, Dormer on Deduction, Art of Card Reading, and\or Inferences at Bridge.

Of newer books, most will get more out of Mel Colchamiro's How to Play Like an Expert, and Hughes' Contested Auction than The Rodwell Files, which is too dense for all but the most serious and experienced.

May 12, 2013
John Brady edited this comment May 12, 2013
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Bridge isn't a game with a lot of absolute answers. The right answer is usually “it depends.” Overcalling at the 2 level on just a 5 card suit is a good example. There are lots of ways to get a zero. Overcalling with a 5-card suit can be one of them, but so can passing. You have to weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages based on the specifics of every hand.

So what conditions does overcalling at the 2-level on a 5-card suit depend on?

Is it matchpoints or Imps? At matchpoints the frequency of gain is more important than the risk you might go for a number on any one hand.

How good is your suit? The opponents are much less likely to double you when your suit is AKQ109 than when your suit is KJxxx.

What is the rest of your distribution? 5332 hands need lots of help to cover all the losers. You are less likely either to have a save or a makeable contract.

What's the vulnerability? If you're passed out in 2 of a suit vulnerable, the opponents might get a better score if you go down, even undoubled, than any part score they could make.

Is the vulnerability favorable, so that if it's their hand, you have some chance of a profitable save? Do you have a chance of interfering with their exchange of information?

Are the opponents in 1NT vulnerable? If your hand needs lots of help from partner to make a part score, chances are you'll set the opponents a couple of tricks in 1NT. Don't strain to bid with 5332 hands.

Have they found a fit? It's safer to get into the auction when they have a fit and you have some length in their suit because partner is more likely to have some support for your suit.

Do you have an intermediate hand with a second suit you're hoping to show on the next round? If you have a 2-suiter that you can show artificially, like Michaels, do you have an agreement that you only can Michaels with a very good hand or a very weak hand? If so, you may be faced with the unpleasant choice of either passing or overcalling with a 5-card suit with an intermediate hand and hoping to bid the second suit on the next round.

Is your left hand opponent likely to have length in the suit? If left hand opponent has only bid at the one level, it's safer to bid a suit that left hand opponent has passed over, like a Major, rather than one they could still have length in.

If you have a second suit, has it been bid on your left or your right? A second suit bid on your left needs lots of help from partner because even with a fit, right hand opponent is likely to be able to overruff dummy. It's better to have a suit bid on your right because you have a better chance of making tricks by ruffs.

How likely is it that you'll be shut out of the bidding on your hand? How likely is it that being shut out of the bidding would be a bad thing?

Has partner passed or not? If partner has already passed, do you have a chance of competing safely for part score or game?

Is right hand opponent a third hand opener and left hand opponent a passed hand? You at least have some chance that it may be your hand than if right hand opponent is a 1st or second seat opener and left hand opponent an unpassed hand.

Are they in a 2 over one game force situation? If so, they've already exchanged information about their suits and their strength, so you're less likely to gain anything and more likely to lose.

If the opponents win the contract, who is likely to be on lead? If partner is on lead, how many suits have they bid and what are the chances that partner will lead the wrong suit? The more suits they have bid the more likely it is that partner will lead your suit anyway. If you are likely to be on lead, what do you have to gain by bidding?
May 12, 2013
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You shouldn't play 1430 in response to exclusion. For example, partner bids Spades and the opponents bid Hearts. You have a Heart void and otherwise have the right hand to use Exclusion. All you need is one Key Card from partner. You bid 5H. Partner bids 5NT showing zero!

Oops. Disaster. Down one.

It happens.

The idea behind using 1430 instead of 0314 in response to normal Key Card is that the 1 or 4 response will occur more frequently than the 0 or 3 response. Therefore, playing 1430 instead of 0314, you will have an additional step available for the Queen ask a little more frequently. That works well when the Blackwood bid is 4NT, or Kickback, or minorwood.

However, playing Exclusion Key Card, you don't have that luxury. You need to save the first step for 0 Key Cards because sometimes the opponents' suit is immediately below yours. This will happen often enough to forgo the slight theoretical advantage of playing 1430 to save a step for the Queen ask.
May 12, 2013
John Brady edited this comment May 12, 2013
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If a support double isn't mandatory with some hands with 3 card support, and in my view it shouldn't be, then there is no negative inference to explain to the opponents anyway.

When wouldn't you make a support double when you have 3 card support? When you wouldn't have raised on three in absence of competition. For example, you opened a bare minimum or sub-minimum 3rd seat opener, or you're 4333, or your wasted values in the suit the opponents overcalled makes your hand sub-minimum, or some number of NT would be a better bid, or bidding a second suit would be a better description of your hand instead of a direct raise on three, or you would have rebid your own suit in lieu of raising partner on three cards (just one example - you have a 6 or 7 card suit that you would have rebid instead of raising on three).
May 12, 2013
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Statements about bridge that use “always” or “never” are always wrong, never right.

The correct answer to all bridge questions is “it depends.”

The other posts named what it depends on.

If the partnership's style is that Opener cannot rebid 1NT with a singleton in Responder's suit and must have four cards in the suit to raise, it will exchange a relatively minor rebid problem for Responder for several more serious ones for both sides of the partnership.
May 12, 2013
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Slip one of the black cards into your Heart suit and overcall 1H.

I don't agree with Andy that 1H is the best of bad options. I agree with Steve. This is a great hand for a 4 card suit overcall.
May 12, 2013
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I agree with Peter that every call from 1D to 4NT was bad.

4NT was the worst of a very bad lot.

1D, hoping to be able to pass Opener's next bid, was understandable unless they were playing a strict Walsh style. However, in my experience, auctions that start like this end badly. You don't have length or strength in the suit and you have scattered strength. 1D makes it harder to find the Spade suit if the opponents compete. It doesn't even have the virtue of being a limit bid, like 1NT would be. Partner is likely to overvalue the worth of any Diamond honor in the subsequent auction. If the opponents compete, you don't want partner raising on three, and if the opponents win the auction, you don't want a Diamond lead.

The jump shift to 2H was an overbid. If partner doesn't bid over 1H, you're not missing anything. The opening hand isn't good enough to force to game opposite a minimum response.

3H, raising the second suit on only 3 cards, was unforgivable. Does Responder really expect Opener to make a reasonable decision about the strain or the level after describing Responder's hand with the parlay of 1D and 3H?

4NT was horrible. Opener already showed a big hand. 2H was an overbid. His hand couldn't be any worse. One of the worst, and most common, crimes in bridge is to keep rebidding the same values over and over. Once Opener had shown a strong hand, he must leave any forward going bidding to partner. One aggressive bid in an auction may or may not work out, but a second aggressive bid in any auction is a major felony.
May 12, 2013
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I agree with Yuan about transfers after 1m-1M; 2NT. They're simple, easy to understand, and effective. It's easy to show all your suits at a lower level, sign-off with a weak hand, make slam tries and offer choice of games. Because transfers after NT openings are so familiar, the bidding after a 2NT rebid and a transfer is simpler and more familiar than after checkback or Wolff methods.

Checkback doesn't offer the option of sign-off in a suit, and makes it more complicated to show two suits, make slam tries and offer choice of games. Although the basic idea checkback is simple, there are so many options, even about the most basic auctions, that any form of checkback requires more discussion to be on the same page with partner, and a better memory to remember which version you play with which partner.

Wolff has all the disadvantages of checkback (look at the different variations of Wolff just on this page) although it does offer a signoff option.

May 12, 2013
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Simplest is to play 1C-1S; 2C-2D sequences similar to new minor forcing sequences had Opener rebid 1NT: 2-level rebids invitational, raising Opener's 2H to 3H or Opener's 2S to 3S invitational, other 3-level rebids game forcing. Bypassing 2D and bidding at the 3-level is natural and invitational.

Of course, as Henry Bethe points out, if your partnership plays Reverse Flannery responses that changes everything. 2D artificial and 2H non-forcing isn't a sensible use of bidding sequences when you have initial responses available to show 5 Spades and 4 or more Hearts with less than invitational values.

The impact of Reverse Flannery on sequences like 1C-1M; 2C-2D artificial or 2H non-forcing is just one example of why you can't discuss sequences and conventions in isolation. You have to consider how, or if, your bidding methods fit together.
Feb. 18, 2013
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If the partnership method is to give count in “obvious” situations “when it only helped the defense,” that partnership is already playing “what would partner like to know” and a method “open to interpretation and second-guessing.”

If the method is to use “rigorous logic” coupled with the evidence from signals, why would any partnership limit itself to just one kind of evidence?
Jan. 14, 2013
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Perry's method seems to differ from most Italian versions of Gazilli in several ways:

In Perry's method, after 1H-1S; 1NT seems to include all balanced hands not strong enough for a jump to 3NT except 13+-14HCP 5S(332) patterns like AJxxx Qxx Ax Kxx. I couldn't find a systemic method to distinguish 11-14 HCP from 15-17 balanced. Seems like Opener either has to always open 1NT with 15-17 and a 5-card Major, or the partnership has to play a Crowhurst-type size asking 2C rebid by Responder after Opener's 1H-1S; 1NT rebid. In Italian Gazilli, with 15-17 balanced, Opener rebids 2C Gazilli and follows with 2NT (15-17) next. I assume that the Italians don't have a 5-card Major when they open 1NT.

In Italian Gazilli, after 1M-1NT; 2C-2D by Responder is artificial, forcing, and promises at least 8 or 9 HCP depending on the version you use. Non-2D bids will therefore be limited HCP. In Perry's method, 2D is just waiting and denies a more descriptive weak bid. The Italian versions limit Responder's hand better, but leave Responder with no sensible bid when weak with some hand patterns, such as 1444 after a 1S-1NT; 2C sequence.

In Italian Gazilli, 1M-1NT; 2NT shows 6M and 4 of a minor. Some versions play this as a GF, some as a good 14-16. In Perry's version, 1M-1NT; 2NT specifically shows a 4-card Diamond suit with GF values.

In Italian Gazilli, 1S-1NT; 2H is a minimum with either 3 or 4 Hearts. A maximum with 4H usually is shown by bidding 1S-1NT; 2C-2D; 2H artificial with either 5S and 4C\D\H 17+ or 5S and 4C 15-16 or 6S and 3H. (Other treatments are possible.) In Perry's version, 1S-1NT; 2H is a minimum with 4H. 1S-1NT; 2C-2D; 2H is specifically defined as a minimum with a 3-card Heart suit.

3-card fragments in strong hands are shown in either method by using relays.

Both these methods are interesting. Their chief advantage is to define Opener's 2nd round bids much better than standard methods, and to give Opener a chance to make a 3rd descriptive bid with strong hands. In standard methods Opener's non-jump rebid has both a wide HCP range of 11-17+, and a wide range of shapes. It also has a wide-range of playing strength where Opener is frequently guessing whether to go low or go high. Unless the partnership uses the Meckstroth adjunct, Opener also has to guess whether to make up a jump shift in a non-suit, and Responder has to guess whether Opener's jump shift is in a 3, 4 or 5 card suit. Responder frequently has to guess both the strain and the level with minimum information. Finally, in standard natural methods, Opener may badly need a 3rd bid to describe the complete shape and strength of the hand.

The chief drawbacks of the Italian versions seem to be minimum opening hands with a 3-card Heart fragment, and responding hands with a singleton in Opener's Major but no 6 card suit. Bart and Lisa may handle this hand type better.

The chief drawbacks of Perry's version seems to be sorting out whether the balanced hands are 11-14 or 15-17 HCP, whether opening 1NT hands can have a 5-card Major, and the ambiguity of Opener's distribution after 1S-1NT; 2C-2D; 2H (the example given in the link is AJxxx Qxx Ax Kxx).

Methods like Bart and Lisa give Responder more options to describe his hand at his second bid but don't address the problem of Opener's wide range second bid. Since they don't help narrow the range of the opening bid, both Opener and Responder have to allow for a wide range of hands and have to guess more frequently whether to go high or low. They also don't give either partner a way to describe hands that need 3-bids.
Jan. 1, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Jan. 1, 2013
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Gazilli and other methods that use a conventional 2C rebid by Opener are allowable under the General Convention Chart, Responses and Rebids, #8 which allows: “ALL CONSTRUCTIVE CALLS starting with the opening bidder’s second call.”

Jan. 1, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Jan. 1, 2013
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I also prefer 2NT as an artificial game force for the same reasons as Bob.

But I like using 1H-2S as an artificial 3-card raise of Hearts. It can be either limit or forcing. Opener usually relays with 2NT to ask which.

Using 1H-2S as a raise allows Responder to distinguish between a 3-card limit raise with a singleton or void (bid 1H-2S) and a 3-card limit raise where you had no more than a doubleton ruffing value outside and would not be disappointed if Opener passed a semi-forcing NT(bid a semi-forcing 1NT then jump to 3H if you get the chance).

Using 1H-2S as a raise allows Responder to differentiate between different types of game-forcing 3-card raise, i.e. a game-forcing 3-card raise with no good long suit on the outside (bid 1H-2?), a game-forcing 3-card raise with a good suit on the outside (bid 2\1 in that suit), a game-forcing 3M(433) hand with doubts about the final strain (bid 1H-2C and bid NT later if it seems appropriate), and a game-forcing 3M(433) hand with all outside suits solidly stopped (bid 1H-3NT).

I agree with Bob on raising a 2\1 on high honor third support and a ruffing value. If you don't raise on three with an appropriate hand, you have to find another bid. The more you have in partner's suit, the more likely it is that any alternative will have more disadvantages than a direct raise. Next, a hand with a high honor third and a singleton should encourage partner to look for slam by raising. Finally, if you are lucky enough to have two honors third and a ruffing value, and fail to raise, partner's trumps won't be strong enough to go slamming. He needs direct support.
Dec. 20, 2012
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The leading Italian pairs play the nebulous 2C GF idea in response to 1M to show Clubs or a balanced game force.

They combine this with an artificial 2C Gazilli rebid by Opener after a 1M opening and response to show either a minimum with Clubs or significant extra values with any pattern. So after a 1M opening, 2C by either partner is nebulous.

However, the Italian pairs all play different variations of the basic ideas. It's hard to play a method, especially with different partners, without complete follow-up sequences. It would be nice to have complete details of how the Italians' follow-up sequences differ, the reasons behind the different approaches, and what the relative merits of each approach are. Perhaps Andrew's Gazilli article here will start a thread with both details of the method and an assessment of different follow-ups to that basic idea.
Dec. 20, 2012
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Opening a weak NT with a 5M332 pattern merely switches the decision about whether to avoid wrong-siding a NT contract from the rebid to the opening bid. In a weak NT system, Opener still has to decide whether to treat the 12-14 5M332 hand as Major-oriented and avoid opening NT just as, in a strong NT system, Opener with a 12-14 5M332 hand has to decide to treat the hand as Major-oriented and avoid rebidding 2NT.
Dec. 18, 2012

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