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All comments by Wayne Burrows
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Opposite a weak 1NT rebid I play no checkback by a passed hand.

On frequency grounds I am not worried about missing 14 opposite 11 3NT. Most decent 11s with a five card suit I would have already opened. And if partner has a great 14 they could have upgraded even with very conservative upgrades - say 14 with a five card suit, you will not miss much.
Nov. 15, 2019
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There are alternative ways to play 2.
Nov. 14, 2019
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Ron, Roy Kerr and Walt Jones wrote their book on Symmetric Relay in 1980 nearly 40 years ago.

Relays are great on certain sorts of hands. However, I am not convinced that they always best opposite a 1NT opening. In particular, it is usually more efficient with distributional hands in response to 1NT to describe your distribution and for opener to judge how well they fit.

For example, if I show a 5=4=3=1 hand with 10-12 points and opener has AQx KQxx Axx xxx opener has a great hand and can play me for most of sKxxxx hAxxx dKQx cx but if I am looking at that hand and opener shows 3=4=3=3 I have no idea whether there is a duplication by way of a concentration of honours in clubs. Slam is excellent with the given hand but make the clubs AQx and the spades xxx then it is poor.

I would rather show my five spades and singleton club and raise partner's hearts than relay and find out that partner has 3=4=3=3 and five controls (or whatever).
Nov. 9, 2019
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Answers to 1-5 but not allowing for any club upgrades - I do not know how to accurately code “some … good 5 card suit”. Since only 2-3% of hands are in the category 12 hcp and 5 clubs it won't make a big difference if you discard “some” of those.


Frequency "hcp":
10 384888
11 366632
12 248480
Frequency "5S332":
0 938254
1 61746
Frequency "5H332":
0 938688
1 61312
Frequency "5D332":
0 938417
1 61583
Frequency "5C332":
0 911303
1 88697
Frequency "any 5332"
0 726662
1 273338

I answered 6 literally by including 6M and 5M4M2m2m which you might not include.


Frequency "hcp":
10 401252
11 383744
12 215004
Frequency "5S":
0 919160
1 80840
Frequency "5H":
0 918615
1 81385
Frequency "5D":
0 919363
1 80637
Frequency "5C":
0 883999
1 116001
Frequency "6S":
0 982217
1 17783
Frequency "6H":
0 982144
1 17856
Frequency "6D":
0 981818
1 18182
Frequency "6C":
0 974315
1 25685
Frequency "Any 5 card suit":
0 641137
1 358863
Frequency "Any 6 card suit":
0 920494
1 79506
Frequency :
10 11 12 Sum
No 5 or 6 199177 190560 171894 561631
5M332 48850 46956 0 95806
5D332 24448 23313 0 47761
5C332 24463 23261 20955 68679
5M422 33777 32642 0 66419
5D422 16824 16052 0 32876
5C422 16773 16082 14467 47322
6M322 18356 17283 0 35639
6D322 9288 8894 0 18182
6C322 9296 8701 7688 25685
Total 401252 383744 215004 1000000
[\code]
Nov. 6, 2019
Wayne Burrows edited this comment Nov. 6, 2019
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A very long splinter.

Seriously, bidding the fragment has another advantage. If opener has a great hand they always have a cue of the other major below game when you bid the fragment but not when you splinter into 3 showing shortage as 4 is above 4.

I play these as even longer splinters showing four in the major and 0-1 in the other major.
Nov. 6, 2019
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Cheating is different than recording the data. Recording the data would be a big step forward. That someone can go to the bother or hacking into such a system is a problem that needs to be overcome.

The problem in poker is that the cards are read before they are played. That information leakage can be eliminated by only recording the cards as they are played.
Nov. 3, 2019
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“The HCP numbers below are routinely upgraded if we hold 10 or more cards in two suits.”

Playing more standard hcp I regularly upgrade as you say but also with six cards in one suit. Do you also upgrade with six-card suits?
Nov. 2, 2019
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For 22-23 2NT the control responses are plus one control. That is 4C is seven and 4NT is six.

For 24-25/26 the control responses are plus two controls. That is 4C is eight and 4NT is seven.

You can play similar methods over 1NT opening and 1NT or 2NT rebids with the controls adjusted accordingly.

You could optimise the control responses by frequency but there is no strict consistent pattern for the different ranges so floating the practical minimum to 4NT and starting with the numbers shown is probably good enough to preserve bidding space most of the time.
Nov. 2, 2019
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Say opener is 4=2=3=4 and 20-21 hcp and responder has 11-12 hcp and 2=3=4=4. Further for the sake of argument suppose opener has 6 controls and responder has 4 controls (ace = 2 and king = 1).

We use 3NT as a modified CONFI type ask. CONFI is a George Rosenkranz idea to ask for controls and then if enough controls are present to look for a slam.

Our responses to 3NT are:

4C = 6 controls
4D = 7 controls
4H = 8 controls
4S = 9 controls
4NT = 5 controls.

After the control response we use:

4NT to say there is no slam.
Otherwise the first step says I am interested in a small slam (it is artificial) and the second step says I am interested in a grand slam (also artificial). Other steps show interest in a small slam and are natural.

We have the additional agreement that if we bid past NTs then we are showing a five card suit.

With the above hands the bidding would go

2NT 3NT
4C 4D (6 controls and interest in only a small slam)
4S 4NT (Natural and no spade fit and no five-card suit and not significant extra values)
5C 6C (Natural and natural raise).

We shuffled the control responses so that the infrequent and often unhelpful response of 5 controls is 4NT making the most frequent responses 4C or 4D preserving as much bidding space as possible.

If opener was 3=2=3=5 then the bidding would be

2NT 3NT
4C 4D
5C … five card suit since we bypassed 4NT and bid a suit.

If responder had five clubs then the bidding would be:

2NT 3NT
4C 5C - interested in a small slam (not a grand usually) and five clubs and not a minimum slam invite - although usually the five card suit is enough unless it is a poor suit.
Nov. 2, 2019
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Do you use MSS with little or no slam ambition with this shape?

I am not a fan of that. I can get to six of either minor at least some of the time we have a four four minor fit.
Nov. 1, 2019
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It's the sad state of affairs that players forget their arguments or that others get disproportionately upset about those mistakes?
Nov. 1, 2019
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In my ideal world, this information would already be available as past history would have been recorded down to this level of detail.

Secondly, it is problematic if a defender can use the partnership history but declarer can't because the information does not have to be disclosed. That is if someone is going to defend based on a likelihood of partner holding a certain card for their lead then it seems that the declarer should also be allowed to play based on the same information.

There is a problem even there though with what is the information that needs to be disclosed and what is information that has been processed or deduced from the disclosable information.

Finally, I agree that the timing causes a problem but that can be true of other questions. That is one reason why objective data available would be better than relying on an opponent's memory of what they do and perhaps biased by what they actually hold.
Nov. 1, 2019
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Compared with what?

What is a reasonably standard approach to find a 4-4 fit with a 1=4=4=4 or 4=1=4=4 hand? I would have thought Stayman and then some sort of quantitative noise if no major fit was found was standard.

With balanced hands we play 3NT as a sort of CONFI asking controls and if we find enough controls then we can explore for fits. Its not perfect but we can find more fits than with previous more standard methods.

There are also problems with 5M4m hands in standard.

The major orientation is needed because the first priority is to get to the right game and for that you need to be able to explore your major fits as the first decision is most often between 3NT and 4M. There is sometimes a secondary decision between 3NT and 5m and rarely a decision between 4M and 5m.

Only relatively rarely is there a slam decision and then it is almost as important to find your minor fits as it is to find your major fits. We just have to do the best we can.

In summary:

1. Game going hands

a/ balanced no five-card major we bid 3C then explore for a major fit or not with the above methods.

b/ five-card major transfer and offer a choice with 3NT

c/ six-card major transfer (usually at the four level).

d/ minor oriented hands judge the best we can between various options - 3c then 3NT especially with a three card major; blasting 5m. 5/5 in minors might be difficult to distinguish between slam and game going hands.

e/ We do have 2NT 4S for a very distributional minor two suiter (usually 5=6 or better) that intially has no slam interest. Over that opener can use 4NT or 5m to distinguish between well fitting and poorly fitting minor hands.

2. Slam interest hands

a/ balanced we start with 3NT then opener shows controls and then we explore for a fit if slam is in the picture.

b/ 5-card major transfer then bid a minor this always shows a singleton or void somewhere as we would bid 3NT with a balanced hand.

c/ 6-card major transfer then raise to 4M as a mild slam try. Something else and mostly quantitative with more.

d/ 6-card minor transfer to the minor.

e/ 5-card minor

i) with a 3-card major we start with puppet
ii) balanced (including 5422) we start with 3NT
iii) 5/5 we can transfer to clubs then bid diamonds if no fit has been found. We might do this on some game only interest hands. Or we can use the 4S response above.

f/ Anything else make do the best we can. I think that is reasonably common in most systems over 2NT. There just is not enough room to show everything over 2NT.

There is a little room for some additional sequences:

2NT 3S
3NT 4M/4NT are not used.
Nov. 1, 2019
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Do you usually need many more pages to explain the obvious?
Nov. 1, 2019
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With balanced hands we use 3NT as a slam try. Which gives us more sequences but comes at the cost of information leakage as we have to go through 3C to play 3NT.
Nov. 1, 2019
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I am not sure how anyone does that with say 1=3=4=5. If you look for the 5=3 major fit there is no clear way to look for a four-four diamond fit and if you start with minor suit Stayman you miss a 5=3 major fit.
Nov. 1, 2019
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If you mean 5-5 then they are not dealt with that well. One option is to bid 3S then if partner bids 3NT showing a hand unsuitable for clubs then you can bid 4D.

With (5-4) in the minors then start with puppet Stayman with 5-4-3-1s.

With 5-4-2-2 raise no trumps. I have played that since with a three card major you would bid puppet Stayman therefore 4NT (and other quantitative invites show 2-2-(5-4). I have even played 4NT is specifically 2=2=5=4 and 3S then 4NT is 2=2=4=5.

6-4s are just too hard. On some auctions you might be able to show your long minor and then offer the other minor via 5NT pick a slam.
Oct. 31, 2019
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To are not missing anything i didn't say.

I play 3s as clubs and 4c as diamonds.
Oct. 31, 2019
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Yes there is information leakage but every 4M5m or single suited minor hand with slam interest can be shown at or below 4m.
Oct. 31, 2019
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There are alternatives to Muppet that circumvent this problem. I was talking with my partner about the merits of changing to Muppet after seeing several pairs playing those methods in the recent world championships.

What we play is over 3:

3 promises three or four spades or four hearts.
3/ promises a five card major.
3NT shows at most two spades and at most three hearts.

Over the ambiguous 3 rebid we then play:

3 asks for four spades (but does not promise four spades).
3 promises four hearts
3NT promises both majors.

So 3 is used both to find a spade fit and to play 3NT. Opener bids 3 with spades and 3NT without. Responder then either raises spades if appropriate or corrects to 3NT (or passes 3NT).

… 3
3 3
3NT = I want to play 3NT.

This means that at each juncture responder can depart from the major enquiry and make a minor suit slam try:

… 3
4m = slam try in the minor (and I was interested in a five-card major)

… 3M
4m = slam try in the minor (I was interested in the other major)

… 3
3 3NT
4m = slam try in the minor (with four spades since otherwise you would not ask)

… 3
3 3
4m = cue for spades otherwise you would not have asked.

… 3
3 3NT
4m = slam try in the minor.

If in addition you play non accepts as transfers to show five cards in the other major you can find a 4=4 or 5=3 major fit whenever at least one exists with these methods at the cost of some information leakage and not being able to play a transfer and pass as a bail out.

2NT 3
3 = five spades and only two hearts

2NT 3
3NT = five hearts and only two spades.
Oct. 31, 2019
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