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All comments by Nick Hughes
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In Australia, there is no alert for any 2 response to 1NT (in an uncontested auction). This seems a pointless exception but it's been that way for a few decades.
The designers probably said “ALL 2 responses to 1NT are going to be artificial, so an alert would carry no weight. Let's save time by cutting it out.”
There is another reason. 2 as an enquiry could be simple Stayman, extended, puppet, relay, etc. There was a time when “simple Stayman and responses” were not alertable. Then the concern was that players might alert 2 to remind partner what sort of Stayman they (thought they) were playing.
As a teacher, I certainly prefer all these 2 bids to be alerted. Stayman is the first artificial bid students will learn. It would be good to be able to say “Whenever partner makes a bid that is not natural, you should say Alert.”

No alert for ANY DOUBLE or redouble has been well-received. There are concerns that some unusual, modern doubles will throw opponents, such as 1 (1) X = 4+ s, but we are getting used to doubles as transfers.
The big plus is removing the ethical strain from unclear doubles.
What is (1) 2 (3) X? Takeout, penalty, stopper ask?
Overcaller does not have to a consult a complex set of rules in deciding whether to alert, and is freed from the embarrassment of making an informative alert “I'm taking this as ….”

Another rule over here is no alert for a suit BID OR SHOWN by an opponent. This is simple but a bit strange.

If you play something silly like TWERB over their strong club, partner is supposed to alert every bid you make, EXCEPT (1*) 2.
Works quite well most of the time. Consider
(1) no (1) 2
it's reasonable to play 2 here as clubs but also reasonable to play it as 5-5 reds. Good that partner doesn't have to wonder about whether to alert it.
March 13
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If ELC only works with 4-5 reds here, the agreement has limited value. You could extend it to hands with a shabby 5-card heart suit.
So double again with
xx QJxxx Ax AKJx

This assumes that 2NT by partner over your double is scrambling.
March 10
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When 1NT is weak, this double should strong, saying “I would have doubled 1NT for penalty”. Avoids the risk of Garbage Stayman stealing your game.
Vs 13-16 say, who knows?
Suggests a good approach by the lawmakers is no alert for this double. Have to ask.
March 10
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Offshape is becoming standard, isn't it?

K KJxx ATxx AJxx

Qx Kx AQxx AJxxx

Kx KTxxx Ax KQxx

These are all pretty clear to me. You may not agree …
March 10
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I bothered to check the ACBL alert chart, dated 2011 but seems to be current …

Under “Responses to 1-level suit bids” we have
“(Alert) non-forcing suit bids by an unpassed hand”

So 1 (X) 2 is alertable if natural, not forcing.

PS. Surely that should be “NEW suit bids”

After 1NT, we have no alert for “3-level natural responses”
Feb. 7
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Not being US-based, I'm not up to speed with US alerts.
Answer me this:
In this all natural auction:
1NT (2) 3

is 3 alertable if it is non-forcing?

Likewise
1 (X) 2
Is 2 alertable if it is non-forcing?
Feb. 6
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We played cut-down symmetric relay on a few trips across the lake some years ago. In those days, the quaint definition of “Relay” allowed full relay over our 15+ 1, 1NT & 2, so we didn't have to change much. (Previously “A sequence of relay bids is defined as a system if, after an opening of one of a suit, it is started prior to opener’s rebid.”) That seemed to allow full symmetric. (Unless you played a Marston-style 1 positive!)

In those days, a forcing 1NT response to 1M was okay, so long as it did not guarantee invitational values. That meant we couldn't easily use 1NT as relay. We tried anyway, by making opener's responses natural. Then responder could start proper relay by bidding the step next time. Still, 1NT had to include the usual 6-10 balanced-ish. To be playable, a sequence like
1 - 1NT* - 2 had to be natural, 5-4 EITHER way, so we couldn't open 1M with 5332. Had to be 6+ or a proper 2-suiter. Relay could unravel those quite nicely.
This meant that 5M332s had to open a 12-14 1NT, which suited us fine.
Couldn't do much over 1, had to be all natural.

Just had a look at the November 18 charts, which don't define Relay. Now a 1NT response to 1 or 1 can be anything, giving more options. Still can't play transfer openings in most Pairs events, though it seems that original Moscito (1 = majors, 1/1 = natural, denying the other major) would be fine under Open.

While here, I take issue with claims by people like Wayne and Ron that symmetric players could sit down opposite each other with “Let's play symmetric.” Maybe if they are from the same NZ city.
The problem is that most system geeks who start with symmetric end up tweaking Kerr's structure in a major way. There is plenty to nut out. “High or low shortage first” “Enhancer or reverser” “How many in each balanced box” “What about 3-suiters” For instance, our 3 in the 1-suiter structure would show 6331, not 5332. Etc …

Having said that, symmetric relay is not that complicated, or tough to learn. There are half a dozen structures that need to be learned by rote. In fact, relay systems are simpler than most natural systems, weighed down as they by an array of gadgets and issues about the status of natural bids. Our system summary runs to six - beautifully typeset - pages.
Jan. 30
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You COULD play double as a stopper ask, pass is non-committal. Our partnership would do that, but that would not be mainstream.

Responder might have say AKQxxx to ask for a stopper but

xx AKxx Kx Kxxxx

requires opener to show some judgement.
Jan. 27
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Charles. The squeeze is only needed when West has Hxx. If East has four hearts (H-x-x-x) the clubs should set up because they can't attack diamonds twice.
Jan. 27
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There is a difference between “We have 9 tricks if you have a spade stopper” and “I'm giving you the chance to bid 3NT if you want to. You will need extras (a source of tricks) or a double stopper.”
Jan. 26
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I think there was a time when West could have rescued to 8C, maybe in Auction bridge? Seems reasonable. Why stop West from contracting to take 14 tricks in clubs? That would be -1300 only. Maybe the lawmakers envisaged infinite auctions, with players repeatedly ripping partner's save.
Jan. 23
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Agree with Ron. Needing to cater for the strong hand stifles responder. Good multi auctions like
2 - 3 - 3NT are suddenly fraught with danger.

Also, a weak only multi allows partner to semi-psyche, if your moral code and the jurisdiction allow it.
Jan. 22
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That look pretty good.

With 7-4, declarer might (would?) draw partner's second trump before the club play.

Partner might have preferred something other than 5 with 3-1-7-2. Maybe 4 fit showing with that?
Note that the par spot opposite that shape is probably 5.
Jan. 22
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Okay, here is the follow-up for any trump leaders who are still with us.

You lead 4.

Dummy tracks with

K974
985
8
97532

Trick one goes 4-9-2-3

Next declarer plays a club up

2-4-K-?

Make of partner's club pip what you will. Your de facto signalling method is UDCA.

Do you win the A?

If you do, what next?
Jan. 21
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The popular trump lead looks safe enough.
The risk with DA is not the double void but Kx in dummy.

Anyway, I have a follow-up question for you trump leaders, which I will post after the standard hiatus.
Jan. 12
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North had a second chance to show values by bidding 4NT over 3S, planning to convert 5m to 5H as a mild slam try.
Jan. 12
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Some play 2 - 2 as game-invitational opposite hearts.
Then opener bids 3s with a minimum, 4 with a max.

That's okay but restrictive on responder.
Better is to allow opener to rebid 3/ with s & a max.
(You can chat about which minor to choose)

This way, responder can bid 2 on a crappy hand with three hearts without the fear of reaching a silly 4.
Jan. 12
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So 50-50, unless - for some reason - you think that the large(r) number of followers of the top five 2 bidders suggests that their votes should carry more weight.
Jan. 4
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DONT is quite subtle.
Not easy for partner to know when to pass the 1-suited double.

Also, with unknown 2nd suits in most auctions, tough for partner to find the best spot, or even a playable one.
For instance:

(1NT) 2 (no) ?

KT42 63 A42 KJ53

Partner has a major. If it is spades, it would be silly to play in a red suit.
More likely it is hearts, but bidding 2 could be a 4-2 fit. So maybe you pass 2 but that possible 4-3 fit may not score well either.
Jan. 1
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2 = both majors, then 2 asks for longer
2 = 1-suited major
2 = 5 s & 4+ minor
2 = 5 s & 4+ minor
2NT = 5-5 minors
3m = natural “intermediate”
Jan. 1
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