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All comments by Kai-Ching Lin
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Sorry, I do not agree that “ most do not reopen with the minimum hand you describe.” What if responder has a trap pass? I would think that whenever opener is short in opponent's suit, it is mandatory for him to reopen. That is why one of the commentators thought the bidding would end at 2. Even if you add A to that minimum hand, which I believe you would reopen now, 3 can easily go down. What makes the actual hand look good in 4 is because opener has right secondary honors - his KQJ facing responder's xxx and no wastage in hearts.

Anyway, we can argue all day. My main point was that the 2 overcall should not have made the bidding easier. But it did and I thought that was counter-intuitive. Transfer rebids in a constructive auction that I described above evaluate the two hands very well, I thought.
March 23, 2015
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Not quite following you…
March 22, 2015
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“What if South had a normal minimum 3=5=2=3 hand, such as ♠Qxx ♥KQxxx ♦xx ♣KQx?
than the bid would be 1 heart 1 spade 1NT 2 dia opponents maybe 2 spades and so on”

You probably did not read my question right. I was asking what if N bid 3 over South's X and found that South had that normal minimum hand?

Maybe you would pass with that hand as South?
March 22, 2015
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I was there on BBO watching this hand as well. I found it interesting that Piekarek-Smirnov reached this good 4 when there was a 2 call and that Helness-Helgemo did not when there was no interference at their table.

How could this happen? Isn't constructive bidding (i.e. no interference) supposed to be easier? IMO, the fact that P-S could reach 4 was mainly because of Piekarek's aggressive 3 call. Was it obvious to bid 3? What if South had a normal minimum 3=5=2=3 hand, such as Qxx KQxxx xx KQx? 2 was already quite high. One of the commentators actually predicted that the auction would end at 2 after Nunes' 2 overcall.

On the other hand, H-H failed to reach 4 on their own methods. My guess was that the 1 only promised 4 cards. South, with extra values but only 3 spades, only wanted to raise spades in the third round, so he showed his clubs first. Unfortunately, the auction died at 2. What if they played Flannery? Then 1 would have shown 5+ spades, and South could have jumped to 3 or made other fancy bid to show a spade fit. 4 could have been reached easily.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a Flannery fan. But you do need a method to catch 5-3 spade fit, at least in an un-opposed auction. One way to do this is to use Kaplan Interchange:

1 - ?
1: like forcing 1NT, could have up to 4 spades
1NT: 5+ spades

Another is to play transfer rebids after 1-1:

1-1 (4+ spades)
?
1NT: 3+ clubs
2: 3+ diamonds
2: 6+ hearts
2: 3-card spade support, minimum values
2: 4-card spade support

Using transfer rebids, the bidding would go: 1-1-1NT(clubs)-2(to play)-2 (typically 3-5-1-4, extra values). North could then bid 4 (no wastage) or at least invite with 3 (South then bid 4 because he knew his club honors are pulling weight - North bid 2 earlier.)

Both methods (Kaplan Interchange and transfer rebids) won't be able to play at 1NT as their final contract. That is the sacrifice they have to pay.
March 22, 2015
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Josh-

On that disastrous 6 hand, you wrote:

“ Note this auction is not the same as something like 1♣ (3) X (4) 4♠ (P) 5, where partner might double to show one of the unbid suits with diamond support in reserve.”

You meant partner's last call was 5 , and he had club support in reserve?

I do agree with you that these two auctions are different.

Feb. 8, 2015
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Are we supposed to remember something that happened more than 80 years ago? Was any of us born then?
Jan. 31, 2015
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D-H themselves played Precision against a variety of systems.
Jan. 27, 2015
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Erik - from what I have read thus far it seems that you want to open 1 with 5-5 in majors because this hand type can't be covered in your GF relays if 1 is opened.

Yes, there is more bidding space in 1 opening than in 1. So you can handle 5-5 after say 1-1NT-2; on the other hand, it is more cumbersome to deal with it after 1-1NT-2. But bridge is bridge, you shouldn't relay for relay's sake. Opening 1 with 5-5 majors simply has too many issues when opponents interfere, as you also acknowledge it later in this post.

I actually play 1 follow-ups (in a Precision framework) as you describe: 1 is relay (0-4 spades or GF relay) and 1NT = 5+ spades. My 1-1NT is also relatively balanced or GF relays. I have no trouble with opener's weaker hands, since his rebids are all natural. The level 1-1NT-2 (4+ hearts) is a bit high to continue relays, I agree. (I use 3 for that purpose.) That's the price I am willing to pay - I can't deal with competition issues if I open 1 with 5-5 majors.
Jan. 26, 2015
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Oops, you are correct. I miscounted the trumps.
Jan. 25, 2015
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It seems that you would need either short K onside (Kxx or shorter) or both black Kings in West's hand for a black suit squeeze.

When West has short K, the hand plays itself. When playing for squeeze, you would probably need to time the hand carefully. You need to take a club finesse, plus two diamond ruffs. You also need to play the squeeze card from hand. That means you need 4 entries to your hand. You should finesse clubs at T2, then give up a diamond. Win, say a heart return, and ruff a diamond. Come back with a trump, and ruff another diamond. Cash A (if they did not play another club earlier), the using dummy's last trump to come back to your hand and play the last heart for squeeze.

East's pass and West's lead of a trump indicate both black kings are highly likely with West.

Henry - thanks for the hand and the history of bidding system.
Jan. 25, 2015
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True, this switch in transfers (2NT = , and 3 = ) allows opener to bid clubs cheaply over 2NT. However, when opener has a balanced hand (22+, which is the most likely hand type for 2 opening) he loses the ability to accept the transfer at 3 when responder has clubs. He may have to bid 3NT, without further agreements. 4-4 spade fit can be lost.

Opener's simple acceptance of the transfers at 3m not only announce that he has a balanced hand but also leaves room for responder to describe further. Responder's later 3/3 can be natural, if you don't want to play the crazy 3-level 2-suited bids I mentioned earlier. They can be splinters(!)if you do (Recall the transfers are 1-suited minors.). It is not that I am for this memory burden.
Jan. 12, 2015
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If people are worried about wrong siding contracts and start using transfers on the second round, why not use them in the first round to begin with?

Over 2 (2), if responder has a GF hand without a good suit to name, he can pass to show that. This frees 2NT as a starting point for transfers. Thus his

2NT = clubs
3 = diamonds

You would need to think hard as to what his 3, 3, and 3 would mean. If you don't mind a bit artificiality, how about

3 = clubs and secondary spades
3 = diamonds and second spades
3 = both minors?

Note that responder never grabs any bids that shows his own suits naturally (and this is the ONLY way to do so!). So wrong siding will not happen. Furthermore, because of these three 2-suited bids (3/3/3), the 2NT (clubs) and 3 (diamonds) bids can now be 1-suited. (Hands with primary spades, 1- or 2-suited, should start with 2.)

Armed with this new transfer scheme, responder can now show, over the 2 interference, his primary diamonds and secondary spades at the THREE-level with one bid, 3. Who needs 4-level?

Without agreements, all bids are natural to me, including 4, 4, and 4NT. And 4 is directionless cue (how about xxx xxx AKQxx xx?)

Jan. 11, 2015
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Many Chinese will miss him too.

I got to know Steen on BBO in the spring of 2013. We later played in a weekly Chinese tournament there for several months. Whenever he showed up, there was always a huge Chinese gallery following us. His skills, charm, and love for bridge certainly earned him the respect of many Chinese. When his Chinese progressed from “ni hao” (wish you well) to “ni men hao” (wish all of you well), people took notice and went berserk.

He taught me his version of Jacoby 2NT, called Bekkasin (named after BEttina, KArsten, KIrsten, SteeN), an idea originated in 1960s. More symmetric.

We'll miss him.

Jan. 11, 2015
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Also, with K10x or K10xx (no 8), East might (should?) have switched to K.
Jan. 6, 2015
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Here is a version that may be easier to remember:

2 - 2NT
3: min, but not void in diamonds
3: 4=4=0=5, min or max (later, 3 = min; 3NT = max)
3: max 4=3=1=5
3: max 3=4=1=5
3NT: max 4=4=1=4

The details in the minimum case would be identical to those in maximum case after responder's 3. This version does not go above 3NT, but it doesn't cover 4=4=1=4 with a singleton honor. It seems that no versions can solve the issue of how to invite with a 4-card major without going to 3 level.
Nov. 21, 2014
Kai-Ching Lin edited this comment Nov. 21, 2014
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Here's a way to set trumps after opener's shape is completely known.

To play only in a game, responder bids 4, which puppets to 4, responder then passes or corrects. To make an invitation, you bid games (4 through 5) directly, which is not forcing. To make a forcing invitation, you starts with 4, which puppets to 4, then you bid your suit.

So, for this hand, you would bid 4 over opener's 3 or 3, then 4 over his 4. Once he shows his A, you would bid 6.
Nov. 20, 2014
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Opening 1 with a possibility of being void in diamonds is not easy to overcome psychologically. I believe Granovetter's GUS does that too.

Holding a weak hand, responder can pass when he has long diamonds, or when the vulnerability is right (white against red, trading 50 per trick for opp's vul game, for example). These are well-known.

I would also systematically respond 1M when responder have any weak hand with a 4-card major. The rebid structure I described above would clarify opener's hand type at 1- or 2-level. So we would be able to scramble to a playable spot. This is only possible when the hand types in 1 opening is reduced to a small number. The biggest advantage of this 1-1M that I see is that responder is in full control of the auction after this start.
Nov. 20, 2014
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I suppose Kranyak knew that a spade lead (and a subsequent spade play by defense) would have destroyed the trump squeeze, but decided such an opening lead was unlikely given the 3 bid.
Nov. 20, 2014
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Nystrom-Bertheau played 2m showing either 6+ cards in the minor or 5+ cards in the suit plus 4+ cards in the minor. So they avoided the issue of finding 4-4 majors at the 2-level. But they have to open 2m on bad 5-card suits.
In US, Feldman-Pollack do play 2m showing 6+ cards, but their 1 can be weak NT.
Nov. 19, 2014
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The worst opening in traditional Precision, in my view, is 2. It is simply distasteful to open at 2-level on a bad suit such as x AKxx Axx Jxxxx; and seeking a major-suit fit (4-4 or 5-3) starting at 2-level has too many problems. No wonder many Precisionists now require 6+ clubs when they open 2.

A less problematic hand type is 3-suited hands with short diamonds. These are opened 2 or 2.The frequency is low. Even after adding 3=4=1=5 and 4=3=1=5, the probability of opening such a hand given any 13 cards is only 0.83%. (Further, you may still play on a 3-3 fit on these hand types)So, why not use 2 to show long diamonds, 6+ cards, as 6+ clubs in 2? The frequency of such hand type is 2.10%, about 2.5 times higher than that of the 3-suited hand type. Also, you do want to have an opening bid to show long diamonds, don't you? (The response structure to such 2 opening is similar to the one in 2 opening, where responder gets to discover opener's hand type and strength below the safety level of 3.)

What does this leave 1? If you are willing to accept 12-15 1NT (I know this is a big IF), it means that our 1 is an unbalanced hand without 5-card majors or 6-card minors. In other words, it must be one of the following three hand types:
1) 2-suited 4M-5m (i.e. Woolsey's X against strong 1NT)
2) both minors: 4-5, 5-4, or 5-5
3) any 3-suited 4441 or 5440

Roughly speaking, it is a flexible unbalanced hand, with 2 or 3 places to play. Limited to only 3 hand types above, this 1 is no longer ambiguous or meaningless. (In fact we will turn this opening into a weapon, see below.) We can easily sort it out in the next round of bidding. For example, after 1 - 1 (4+ spades):

1 - 1
1NT: 10-15, both minors
2: 10-15, hearts and clubs
2: 10-15, hearts and diamonds
2: 4-card spade raise, maximum
2: 4-card spade raise, minimum

Note that opener is not allowed to bid above the 2 level even when he has a spade fit and maximum strength. As a result, responder can be broke when he makes the 1 call. This not only solves our problem that our 1 can be void in diamonds, but also responder is a full control of the auction. Opponents are often in the woods, when we start the bidding with 1-1M, as to who owns the hand, similar to the situation where our bidding begins with 1M-1NT in Precision.

Competition very often would help clarify 1 opener's hand type, contrary to usual Precision. For example, say you hold a 3=4=2=4 with 10 count. Partner opens our 1, RHO overcalls with 1, and you makes a negative double to show 4+ hearts. LHO raises to 2, and partner passes. You need to alert this, since he must have both minors (he can't have 4 spades and he does not raise your hearts). If RHO passes, you would bid a confident 3. In regular Precision, where 1 usually has a weak NT in it, you can't draw such a conclusion.

With 2m = 6+ cards and 1 = unbalanced with no 5M or 6m, I feel a balance is struck between the three bids. Now I just need to find someone to play this with me. :)

Now back to the 12-15 1NT. I would admit that we would lose to the field when we miss games with 15 vs. 10. Other than that, I refer to Steve Bloom's arguments above and his wonderful earlier post about simulation on 4-point range 1NT.

Nov. 19, 2014
Kai-Ching Lin edited this comment Nov. 19, 2014
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