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This hand demonstrates the importance of showing responder's shortness below the level of 3NT. Had responder been 1=4=2=6, 3NT would have been the best contract. It would be wrong for opener to bid unilaterally above 3NT after 3.

To show shortness over 3, opener relays with 3:

1NT-2
2-3
3-?
3 = short in diamonds, typically 4-3-1-5
3 = short in hearts, typically 4-1-3-5
3NT = 4-2-2-5

Once responder shows his diamond shortness (3), opener, with all 17 HCP working, is off races.

I understand that natural bidding over 3 could sometimes achieve the same results, even for this hand. But adding a little artificiality often makes it easier.
March 30
Kai-Ching Lin edited this comment March 30
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If you play short 1 (2+ clubs) and 1-level transfers, you may want to think about transfer rebids as well. For this hand,K65 x AQ82 A9654, you would open 1. Then, over responder's expected 1, showing hearts, you would bid 2 to show 5-4 with minimum values.

1-1 (hearts)
?

1 = weak NT usually (see below)
1NT = 6+ clubs
2 = 5-4
2 = 5-4, regular reverse
2 = 4-card support

That is, transfers start at 1NT and end at 2. I know many would prefer to use 1NT = 18-19 here. But I am willing to put 18-19 balanced hands into opener's 1 rebid. So 1 = 12-14 or 18-19, balanced. It is OK to me that 1 has two ranges here, since the level is low.
March 19
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Below is a scheme of giving up garbage Stayman and focusing more on game-forcing hand types.You may find it useful or me crazy. It runs as follows:

1NT-2 ( at least one 4-card major)
2-?

Responder's 2 shows 5+ spades, invitational, as many now play; and 2NT is also natural and invitational. These do not change. However, all responder's other bids promise game-forcing strength, with 3 to 3NT showing both majors; and 2 showing all 4M-5m.

I'll show the case of both majors (3-3NT) in details:

1NT-2
2-?

3 = 5-4
3 = 4-4-4-1 (3) or 4-4-1-4 (3NT)
3 = 5-4-3-1
3 = 5-4-1-3
3NT = 5-4-2-2

Over responder's 3 (5-4), opener's can ask with 3, and responder answers: 3 = 4-5-3-1, 3 = 4-5-1-3, and 3NT = 4-5-2-2.

If responder has a 4M-5m type, he would bid 2 over 2, which puppets to 2; and following a similar scheme as above, he will be able to show various 5m4M22 and 5m4M31s. I won't bore you with details. (5431s here include 6421 and 6430.)

So what are the trade-offs: this method vs. Garbage Stayman?

1. Of course we won't be able to play at 2 when responder has weak both majors; but we can still play at 2 when responder has
weak 5-4 - he will simply pass 2 after the 2 puppet.

2. The gains are: we are able to show all 4+-card suits and all shortness whenever responder has both majors or 4M-5m. In particular, if you compare it to Smolen, we are able to identify singletons. Of course, this is because we use more bids (the entire 3-level) than Smolen does (only 2 bids, 3 and 3).

3. It does take some effort to memorize all artificial bids. But there are some symmetries behind them. In fact, the same scheme above can apply to other Stayman auctions, 1NT-2//2 and 1NT-2//2, and allow responder to show the other 4oM-5m. It further applies to transfer sequences, 1NT-2//2 and 1NT-2//2, in which responder can show 5M-4m in a similar fashion. The result of all these is: when 1NT is opened, we will be able to show 4+-cards and all shortness below 3NT when there is no major-suit fit; and all 4+-cards and all shortness below 4M when there is a major-suit fit.

4. The biggest drawback, in my view, is that the partnership needs to be careful about some simple sequences such as: 1NT-2//2-3NT. This is not the “old 3NT to play”; instead, it shows 5-4-2-2 exactly. To simply play at 3NT, responder has to go through some windy relay sequence (via 2). I have to do this in order to maintain the symmetry above. Maybe I can fix this someday, but now now.

Now it is your call. Is it worth it?
March 19
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Will be close. I would play A first, then try to ruff 2 spades in dummy. That would take care of almost all 4-3 cases, and some 5-2 cases too (e.g. E has 2 spades and 2 clubs).

We are not given club spots. I could have asked for T if necessary.
Jan. 6
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I suppose North would have bid 3 if s/he had had 4, since 3 was explained as “cards for 3N”. So, given that North had shown 6-4, shouldn't South have moved passed 3NT to seek a slam in clubs - his red suit AK and A would take care of North's 3 red-suit losers.
Jan. 6
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You may not like relays. But the responding structure to the 2 inquiry below should be useful to you:

2 (10-15, 6+ clubs) - 2 (ask)
2: 10-15, no 4-card majors
2: 10-15, 6-4
2NT: 10-12, 6-4
3: 13-15, 6-4

Over opener's 2(10-15, 6-4), responder can ask again with 2NT. Opener's 3 = 10-12, 6-4; and 3 and up = 13-15, 6-4. Over opener's 2 (10-15, no 4M), responder's 2 is now a GF ask (2NT is invitational), with opener's 2NT = 10-15, 6-4; 3 and up = 10-15, 1-suited 6+ clubs. Note that opener gets to show his 4-card major (if he has one) and his strength (min or max) before the level 3. This makes it safer for responder to conduct the 2 inquiry. And the structure is similar to the regular Stayman as well.
Jan. 6
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Not trying to show off (well, maybe)…Below is how we would bid it:

2 (10-15, 6+ clubs) - 2 (ask)
3 (short in diamonds) -3 (ask)
3NT (13-15, 4-2-1-6) - 4 (key cards in )
4 (3 keys) - 4NT (spiral, ask for K)
5 (K yes, no K) - 5 (ask for J)
5NT (J yes) - 7 (knowing partner has AKxx xx x AKJxxx)
Jan. 6
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Not so much about MP vs. IMP. As West, you have essentially one club stopper (OK, maybe 1 and 1/8 with that T), and your other honors (J and QJ) are slow, you have to rely on your partner to take immediate 8 tricks at 3NT once a club is led. So, what if, for example, his diamonds are headed by K only? KQxx AK KTxxxx x? Note that this is a 6421 hand. (You would pull 3NT with this hand? What if he has Jx Qxx JTxx KQJx?)

On the hand, partner has at least about 17-18 HCP in the three suits other than clubs. So you have at least 21 or 22 HCP in them. 5 rates to be more reasonable. And 6 is possible when opener has extra strength or shape.
Jan. 6
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“East can make another move over West's 3N.” And then found West has Jx xxx QJxx KQJx opposite my first hand?

Yes, both of my hands are pretty good hands (so that there are no disagreements in reversing). But I could have made them weaker. How about AKxx KQJ ATxxx x or KQxx AKx ATxxx x?
Jan. 5
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For people who criticize West's 4 bid (and prefer 3NT), why can't East have AKQx KQJ ATxxx x or KQxx AKx AKxxx x, etc.?
Jan. 5
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I assume the simulations were conducted after the auction went: 1-1NT-2. Your result (1) suggests that responder should bid 4? Can this be right?
Sept. 9, 2018
Kai-Ching Lin edited this comment Sept. 9, 2018
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We would have a similar relay auction - with balanced hand as Asker and distributional hand the Teller.

Pass - 1 (strong)
1 (GF balanced) - 2 (16-18, both majors)
2 (relay) - 3 (5-5 majors)
3 (relay) - 3 (short in clubs)
3 (relay) - 4 (5=5=3=0)
4 (KC in S) - 5 (3 keys)
5 (Q?) - 5 (Q, no K)
5NT (K?) - 6 (no)
6 (no 7)
Sept. 8, 2018
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In the 1991 July/August issue of Bridge Today, Marty Bergen in his column, “Bergen's Baker's Dozen”, wrote as his first recommendation (page 48):

“Getting into a 2-over-one Game-Forcing Auction”

Playing a “2-over-1 game-forcing” is a plus, but won't help you when you bid 1-over-1.

After partner opens 1, we have learned to respond 2 rather than 1 with hands like AQxx Qx 10xx AQxx.

This tells partner immediately that we are on our way to game. Natural, descriptive bidding can follow without any need to jump or manufacture bids.
Sept. 8, 2018
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Steve - what do you do with 2=4=4=3 or the like?
May 12, 2018
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Let's take “shape before strength” one step further and play transfers: East's 2 = 5+ hearts and 2 = 5+ diamonds. West would have an easy call of 4.
May 12, 2018
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My take on this is the following:

1. 1-1-1M-2 shows 6-7, 3-card support is relatively safe, since we have at least a 7-card fit and 22 HCP.

2. 1-1-1M-2 shows 6-7, no 3-card is perhaps most troublesome, since we don't have a fit yet. Should either player show their 5-card minor? There could be a 10-card fit or no 8-card fit.

3. To me, 1-1 is simply too crowded - too many hand types covered by the 1 response. Here, we focus on major-suit fits (rightly so, given the constraints imposed upon ourselves): 4-3 first, 5-2 later. Part scores, particularly in minors, have to suffer.

4. On the other hand, we have the responses of 1 and up all for game-forcing purposes. In particular, 1-1, whatever it means, already forces to game. Precision is one the few systems would force to game at the 1 level. Could we or should we afford this luxury?

5. In other threads, people were wondering how a passed-had Meckwell Light player should differentiate 1-1 and 1-1NT (and up). If you look into their comments, there are so many DNE bids. So, why not use 1-1 to deal with some hand types or further segregate strengths in the negative response?

6. The easiest way is perhaps to play 1- = semi-positive; and 1-1! = double negative. (By the way, not a new idea at all.) If you do that, then this sequence 1-1-1M-1NT would be just like the old-fashioned forcing 1NT. Opener can rebid his minor naturally (if he has one). In fact, you can play opener's minor-suit rebids as FORCING. Think about the benefits you now have. e.g., Standard bidders may have to bid 2-2-3 to show 5-4 and we may able to start with 1-1-1-1NT-2.

7. The price you pay is that you lose the ability to play 1-1 forcing to game. Is this critical? Note that we still have 1 and up for game-forcing purposes, which should be sufficient.
April 1, 2018
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Transfers are possible only because 2NT is present. So a simple rule can be “we play transfers when 2NT is available; otherwise natural and forcing (or non-forcing).”

As to strength, (A)x Axxxx Qxxxx xx for “purely competitive”? And (B)x Axxxx KJxxx xx for “invitational”? If you allow Hand (A), then opener has to more or less always choose between hearts and the minor; if opener expects at least Hand (B), then he can do something else. Which to choose is partnership's style. I don't think you can have both. Neither can other methods. On the other had, we are probably cutting too fine here - in the heat of the battle, I'll bid both hands, and then say GLP. :)
Feb. 20, 2018
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More transfers? 2NT = hearts and clubs, INV+; 3 = hearts and diamonds, INV+; 3 = Hearts only, INV+, 3 = to play.
Feb. 20, 2018
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@Paul - Not a problem. Not only do I play transfers over 1 opening, I also play transfer rebids. :)

@Bill - Thank you for your compliment.
Feb. 20, 2018
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@Paul - When there is an unexpected action, I thought it is you who will have more problems. Let's say, opener bids 1 and jump shifts to 3 over our 1NT. How do you sort out slam tries in majors and 1-suited minors (to play)? I have heard one approach is 3 = spade fit; 4m = cue-bid for hearts; and 5m = 1-suited minor. In my case, since no 1-suited minors, it would be 3 = punt, asking for more information; 4 = slam try in hearts; 4 = slam try in spades. Isn't it easier? Same in competition. Say after 1-(P)-1NT-(3)-P-(P) to responder, in your case, you need to worry about if you have a hidden 10-card minor-suit fit; in my case, my responder may be looking at extra strength in a balanced hand. I can show my strength with a double; but you will have more trouble finding your fit.

@Richard - If 1M is opened, 2M-1 would be clubs. That is, 1-2 = clubs; 1-2 = clubs. No, I don't get to play at 2, but you probably don't either. Yes, when responder has clubs, it gives me some headaches. One way to manage this is to use 1M-3 = intermediate 1-suited clubs; while 2M-1 = weak or strong.

Don't we all want to follow the principle of suits/hand types first, strength later?
Feb. 19, 2018
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