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It's not a “huge problem”, but the main issue as I see it is after 1c - 1d when RHO bids. You now have to sort out the whole spectrum of balanced ranges (aside from those that will make a takeout double, and even that isn't necessarily easy since with 20-21 you might have to guess whether to raise or not). I'm assuming that the standard treatment is for 17-19 to bid 1n/pass, and 20-21 will bid 2n, but now what do you do with a bigger hand? I guess you have to start with double or bid 3N if interference is high enough, but neither of those seems that appealing. If RHO bids 3x you're probably going to be forced to suck it up and double or bid 3n, but you're just guessing - partner might be able to double back with 6-7 but he might not want to since the odds are that you have some random balanced 17. If you remove 20-21 from the mix, 22-24 has a comfy 2n rebid over 1x or 2x.

Just to see, I looked at 50 hands where opener was dealt 20-21 balanced - certainly not a definitive number but enough to get a feel. I only threw out 1 as clearly too good for a 2n opener, and in the 49 remaining hands here's what happened:

* Responder had a positive response 18 times, and on 15 of those opener/responder had a free run (I bid only if I thought it was “normal”, so I was probably on the conservative side based on watching people bid over strong club)
* On 9 of these hands opener had to bid after 1c - 1d - (2x or higher)
* Direct seat interfered 16 times and sandwich seat 18 times (including raises of a direct bid)

I also tried to figure out what I thought would happen on the hands. Basically my main conclusion was that most of the time it doesn't matter what you play. 40 of the 49 hands I thought it was clear the same contract and result would happen. Of the swings:

* There were 6 slams in the cards on the 49 hands, 5 of them were easily biddable with strong 2N as well (I assumed strong clubbers would always get it right)
* Twice the opponents got in a profitable lead-directing bid and were able to defeat a game they wouldn't have over a 2n opener
* Twice the opponents bid and raised a running suit over 1c that would have been led against 3n. Once you would clearly get to a making alternate game, the other game in a 4-3 major was touch and go.
* Once the opponents showed majors over 1c - 1d and likely talked us into 3n instead of a weak 5-3 4M where trumps were breaking badly
* Opener had two really nasty guesses over 1c - 1d - (3x) where it seemed like he would go wrong frequently. Hard to figure out what would happen on these

Overall opening 1c came out a single digit # of IMPs ahead, but really the sample size is too small to say anything definitive.
Sept. 19, 2015
Mike Gill edited this comment Sept. 20, 2015
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Kit,
We play strong 2NT because

1) While's it's great if you get to make a positive response and apply all your gadgets, much of the time your opponents bid and 20-21 balanced is an awkward range to handle in competition, since you have some extra but you still are just balanced. If you split the range, then everything is much cleaner, since 17-19 can just comfortably pass (or bid 1N) knowing partner will play him for that, and 22-23 can just bid 2N (or feels much better about 3N if it comes to that).

2) Adding an extra balanced range isn't a huge loss for the system over 1c -1d (depending on what you play anyway), but it does cost you *something*.

3) We like our 2N systems and feel they are already a gain on the field, and this way we do not introduce additional variance. We had a particularly brutal streak of several hands before we started playing Strong 2n again where it went 1c - 1d and RHO bid and that was the board. I know that's not a reason to do it, but it definitely pushed us over the edge for better or worse, heh.

4) There isn't anything we are all that crazy about playing 2n as. You probably have a lot more experience with it so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never viewed the minors 2NT opener as a huge win.
Sept. 19, 2015
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Both of my first two actions are clearly wrong. However, sitting for this double is substantially more ludicrous than both combined.
March 23, 2015
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I've never played attitude leads before but it seems like a 5-card suit to two honors and some potential entries warrants leading low
Jan. 17, 2015
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It seems like the difference in likelihood of a ruff is minimal at best - seems like you would lead a singleton in either major here or you wouldn't. Seems like hearts is strictly better aside of that - I have very good chances to make an extra trick if they either lead the wrong minor or continue the minor they lead.
Dec. 31, 2014
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Partner could have been considering Pass, X, 4 or something stronger than 5. Even if we take Pass out of that group it seems to me that there are enough things partner could be thinking about that I wouldn't feel I had an ethical obligation.
Dec. 20, 2014
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Next time I suggest my partner hold a 1345 21 count for his 3NT bid?
Oct. 27, 2014
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I'm a big believer in keeping it in the fairway, especially when you're on a strong team at BAM, but I really just don't think it applies to situations like this. Maybe 3NT was an aggressive/swingy action, maybe they went slower at the other table and you got a chance to get your hand in and get a heart lead against 3N, maybe your hand passed and got in both majors. I have had really poor results trying to guess what's happening at the other table, but here you're SURE that LHO does not want to hear you bid 4, almost no matter what he has.
Oct. 18, 2014
Mike Gill edited this comment Oct. 18, 2014
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4 seems clearcut to me given the table position. If the 3NT bid were on my right, I think pass would have a lot more going for it, since if I step in it LHO will get a chance to double and stop RHO from saving me.
Oct. 17, 2014
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My favorite of these is from the WBL unit game in 2006. In a 2-section A/X game, scored across the field, I was playing N-S, had a 62.6% game, and was 4th in section out of 9 pairs. The 5th place pair in our direction had a ~57.5 and didn't even scratch, and 7 of the 9 pairs were above 50%. In the other direction in our section, an E-W pair got a section top for a 49.8% game, and a 47% made the section overalls. This also featured the lowest score I've ever seen in an A/X game (24.5%), and it wasn't even a pair that had never played at that level before!

(I have the saved printout, but unfortunately the link on the WBL site to the archived file is broken so I can't link to it).
Sept. 13, 2014
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My initial thought was “this really can't matter so I'll just lead a count card” but I guess it can if pard has AQJT9x so best not to be blowing it in that case.
Aug. 8, 2014
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The more I sit here and think about it, the more I think 2 is clear. If partner has the K, this will make slams opposite many minimums - if not, then it's just a 4 bid. We need more information before telling partner whether we have extras or not. I think 4 is ok, since most of the time we don't have a slam, and it's not clear we will find out what we need to know anyway. I think I would actually bid 4 at matchpoints to avoid giving anything away. The bid I'm sure is wrong is 4. It holds a gun to partner's head when we have no 5-level safety, we have a source of tricks in clubs AND no spade control AND only 3 trumps instead of the ~4414 partner will expect, and since we're unlimited does this show 14 HCP? 16? 19? How is partner ever to determine when to move?
May 5, 2014
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- AKQT AKJTx Kxxx was the hand that prompted this discussion
Feb. 13, 2014
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I really don't understand why so many people want to put the whole board on guessing how RHO lost his mind. There are just so many ways for passing to be wrong w/w at BAM. Even if RHO did pass a game force, maybe game was down (on the spade lead you're about to get or otherwise) and you're losing the board because they're going plus in 1d.
Oct. 30, 2013
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While Kit's line of reasoning seems infallible from a bridge logic perspective (well, provided declarer didn't make a mistake, anyway, which may or may not be a valid inference), I'm not satisfied with it as an answer to Ron's question. If you think of that inference, then sure, you have an ethical obligation to not cash out. But what if you don't? Surely no bridge player at any level will always think of everything. I have no doubts that Ron did his best to think of a logical reason for the position of the J, but he missed it, as I'm sure I might have.

Should we punish a player who probably just made a normal mistake on a hand where his partner gave UI because his behavior is indistinguishable from one who DID think of it but chose to act unethically? Does it depend on the level of the player/the level of the mistake? And (maybe most importantly) if the answer to the first question is yes, what the heck are you supposed to do when you're in this situation, knowing that if you have missed anything your result might be rolled back anyway? I personally tend to err on the side of always punishing myself unless I'm more or less 100% sure, but is that the right course? And can you ever even be 100% sure you haven't missed something, especially given it's harder to think of such inferences when you “know” the right answer…
Aug. 17, 2013
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Sylvia is correct. We play 2d = min 3-card raise (and a hand that wants to raise on 3). Usually this is a hand with a singleton or shortness in the other major. We do have a way to show a max 3-card raise as well. Over 2d we play:
- 2OM = ART 5+M, inv+
- 2M = only nf bid
- 2N, 3M = inv
- everything else GF with the obvious meaning

Responder does have to rebid 2N on all inv hands without a fit. It's not the prettiest part of the system but inv hands are rare, especially when opener is so limited in strength.

FWIW I would have opened 2c on the actual hand and I'm really shocked only one other person has mentioned this.
July 10, 2013
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