Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Adam Meyerson
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We play a different structure with somewhat similar effects. Our sequences after 1NT-2-2:

2 = 5+ exactly invite, NF, does not promise hearts
2NT = balanced invite
3 = GF relay looking for a minor-suit fit, normally balanced
3 = diamond shortness without a five-card major (i.e. 3415, 4315)
3M = smolen but always (54)22
3NT = to play

2 = puppet to 2 (opener bids 2 and then:)
… pass = 5-4 and weak
… 2NT = exactly invitational with 4-5
… 3m = shortness in the other minor with (54) in the majors
… 3 = 4-6 invitational

This lets us show shortness with both majors hands. Three-suiters short in suits other than diamonds start with 1NT-3 (short clubs) or 1NT-3M (short other major, four cards in bid major) or a minor suit transfer (3-1 in the majors, transfer to longer minor).

While I guess you could play “full transfers” rather than just the 2 puppet, we find that 2 invitational here is super-useful (lets you stop in 2 instead of 2NT/3 a lot, lets 1NT-2-2-2NT be forcing to describe hand types better, etc).
March 20
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Less than invitational, has a wide range that includes both “weak runout” and “somewhat constructive” (would start with a redouble to invite). Certainly not forcing.
March 19
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Qxx x Jxxx AQxxx
Kxx xxx AKQx Kxx

Would you rather play 3nt or 5? I think I’ll show the shortness.
March 15
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Suppose when this pair discussed their methods before the game, the pro explicitly said “if I ever bid 3NT, just pass no matter what you have” and client is following the instruction. Presumably you'd agree that such an agreement requires some disclosure!

Okay, let's assume they never had this discussion. But the pro seems sufficiently sure that partner will behave this way, for whatever reason, that he is making what seems like a very risky psych in this auction. Mightn't this rise to the level of an implicit agreement?

It's true that partner may be so oblivious at the table that he doesn't realize the pro is taking these kinds of liberties with impunity. But I don't think “I don't have to disclose my style/tendencies because even though we've played together a lot, partner is too weak a player to have picked up on anything” is a legitimate excuse for non-disclosure.
March 9
Adam Meyerson edited this comment March 9
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One big issue is investment in the future of the game. If bridge is to survive, we need to encourage/support bridge teachers and programs for players of all levels. If we had two organizations, it'd be easier for them to squabble over who pays for this effort, which would substantially reduce the chances of success. We should also do more to encourage top players to show up at clubs (good way to teach/promote the game) as well as “club players” to show up at tournaments, and the more the two organizations view each other as competition the less likely this will be to happen.
March 2
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I think it makes sense to play transfers here. For me this would be:

2 = diamonds
2 = hearts
2 = inv+ with clubs
2 = stopper ask
2NT = natural
3 = less than invite with clubs

Of course different schemes are possible, but assuming “short club” means all balanced hands out of NT range and not just 4432 exactly it's going to be balanced so often that we should probably tune our methods to that possibility.
Feb. 16
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I’ve had success playing double as takeout — it shows 0-2 in the opponents suit with usually three card support (occasionally honor doubleton) and 3-4 in the fourth suit. This helps a lot to find 4-4 fits in the fourth suit and also clarifies a lot of follow up auctions (respond to X like a takeout double and not like a raise) and avoids 2M when we are 3-3 or even 4-3 in the opponents suit. This also applies above 2M (but shows extras in that case).

Would prefer a straight support double to “penalty” or “cards” though.
Feb. 14
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Not sure I can claim credit for inventing natural bidding, but it's not something I learned from anywhere else. Compared to the original post, my method certainly wins for simplicity. There are some tradeoffs about siding 3NT and about revealing responder's second suit versus making artificial calls that can be easily doubled for the lead.

Otherwise the big difference seems to be where we play on invitational hands where we find only a 4-3 major fit; I'll land in 2NT rather than in 3m. It's fairly easy to imagine either being better, and it may also depend on how often you raise with 4243 type patterns and a small side doubleton.
Feb. 13
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The comparison to weak 1NT is not really valid. The weak 1NT is harder to double and defend because partner hasn't opened a weak two. Your chances of scrambling to a playable partial at the two-level may be better than a three-level partial after 2-2. And many of the opponent hands that can beat 1NT by two tricks can make a game of their own (so 1NTX-2 or 1NTX-3 maybe not so bad) whereas hands that can beat 2NT by two tricks are less likely to make their own game.

The 3NT overcall after a three-level preempt offers a very high reward (game making) which trades off against the chances of being doubled down two. So if you get some spread where a quarter of the time you are down two or more (probably doubled) and half the time you make that's better than passing. Making 2NT isn't a big win like this unless you bid/make three, so going down two or more (probably doubled) a quarter of the time isn't as good a deal.
Feb. 13
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This was a hand I kibitzed in the Polish league. At one table the Q was lead, the other chose the 6. This time, a club was the only setting lead (partner had AQTxx and A; Jxx was in dummy).

Double dummy sims say that a high diamond is the best lead (4.48% to set), but a club is a fairly close second (4.02%). Also interesting is that a club is significantly more likely to yield a TWO-trick set than a diamond (0.84% vs. 0.36%). Spade lead is significantly worse (2.32% to set).

Of course it's possible that double-dummy misrepresents something about real play, but none of the leads here seem really mysterious to partner nor do we see the “lead an ace and always find the best switch” situation applying here.
Feb. 3
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I think the trick is to make 3NT artificial also. Something like:

4, 4 = to play, not slam interested
4m = cue for hearts
3NT = 6, 0-1, choice of games
3 = either wants to play 3NT, or an extreme two-suiter, or mild slam try
… 3NT = usual bid, willing to play in 3NT (now 4m=natural forcing, 4M=mild slam try)
… 4m = natural, 6-5 hand or the like
… 4 = self-sufficient hearts
Feb. 2
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I’ve never encountered anyone who has an opening that shows 5-5 in the majors. Somehow it seems like this is not worth devoting a bid to. Yet so many people think it’s so critical to have an overcall showing this hand type that they’re willing to sacrifice a very useful preempt in hearts for it.

I’ve never really understood that. In fact for years I played without any such call and can’t remember ever losing a board because of it (in fact there were some wins when I overcalled in spades and opponents tried to play in hearts on a bad break or in notrump with hearts wide open).

Anyway I usually treat the 1 as natural if 2+, and just play the 2 direct overcall as natural if 1 can be less than two. And I don’t pay much attention to minor suit holdings when doubling or overcallung 1nt.

The first auction given is natural for me regardless of the length promised by 1. The second auction is the same as a direct overcall 1-2 and the third is a cue just like if 1 were natural.
Jan. 15
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With a non-GF minor suit hand, we pass 2 or bid 2M in the major we can tolerate followed by 3m. We don't really have a way to force game in a minor, but this is rarely a big problem (we will usually end in 3NT anyway).

It's true that slam bidding in a minor is hard, but this rare since we play 2 really weak (like 4-8, better hands open 2M) and it hasn't come up. And the sequences I've seen after a natural 3m aren't great in any case (usually they have opener bidding 3M to clarify, and then you don't get any useful info about minor suit slam until the four-level in any case).
Jan. 12
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Here's what we've been using:

Pass = long diamonds or can be any very weak at NV
2M = “pass if this is your major”; does not necessarily imply a fit for the other major
3M, 4M = pass/correct
4 = transfer to your suit, 4 = bid your suit
2NT = asking
3 = strong with hearts; opener's 3 now shows 2+ and is GF, 3 is NF with spades and no heart fit, others GF with spades
3 = strong with spades; opener's 3 now is NF with hearts and no spade fit, 3 shows 2+ and is GF, others GF with hearts

After 2-2-2, bids of 3 and 3m are to play. After 2-2, opener bids 2NT with hearts and min or 3 with hearts and max. After either of these, 3m or 3 are to play.

After 2-2NT, we use:

3 = min either suit (now 3M is pass/correct, 3 asks for bid of the other major)
3 = , good hand, not a great suit
3 = , good hand, not a great suit
3 = , good hand with a good suit
3NT = , good hand with a good suit

After 2-2NT, we won't play in a suit contract other than opener's suit. This means a lot of “new suit” continuations become cuebids.
Jan. 12
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The problem is not “what do responders bids mean” — any half decent partnership will know this, and using double as takeout of the one suited option is quite normal. The problem is the meaning of bids later in the auction. If responder bid a natural suit, or responder doubled and opener bid something, or responder passed and advancer bid or passed and opener bid… now the question is as follows:

Do we continue to act as if overcaller has the one suited option even though we don’t know for sure (and won’t necessarily find out until the play)? This gives us a cuebid which can be useful in a lot of cases to ask for stoppers or show strength if we’re not forced to game yet, etc. But it will make it very hard to find our fit in the suit overcaller bid when he has the two suited option. Playing this way you will do as well opposite the one suited hand as against natural overcalls (even a little better) but will have serious problems against the two suiter.

Alternatively we can make sure we always have ways to show overcallers suit. This means we can’t be stolen from when overcaller has the two suiter, but means we’re quite a bit behind against the one suiter when compared to natural overcalls, because we’ve devoted a number of calls to show length in a suit where we don’t really want to play.

An experienced partnership will have an agreement here (I always did) but you basically have to accept being stolen from when overcaller bids your best fit, or accept that you are behind where you would’ve been against natural overcalls.
Jan. 10
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Ian: I think you're missing the key aspect of Psycho Suction, which is that direct overcalls are VERY non-forcing. If responder passes he will often not get another chance to bid, and if overcaller has the two-suited option it's quite possible that BOTH opener and responder have too many cards in overcaller's “suit” to double for takeout.

Psycho Suction essentially gives you all the advantages of natural overcalls, while also creating utter mayhem when overcaller has a two-suited hand (especially when we pick off the opening side's best fit).

There are also frequent issues about which bids should be natural even in simple auctions. For example after 1-1-2-Pass, is 2 natural? If so, you've basically wasted a bid in the common case where overcaller has hearts; if not, then you'll find it very hard to discover a heart fit here when overcaller has the blacks.
Jan. 9
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Clear to bid on, but I feel like slam should be in the picture here. Partner could have for example Ax AKQxx QJxxx x? Or a wide range of 5-6 hands?

A 5 call here should convey that I have a diamond control and some interest, and I’ll pass if partner tries 5 next.
Jan. 8
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As a strong club player, I like to see any of the following on my opponents card:

1. Frequent calls of X,1 that are ambiguous about the suit(s) held. These calls give us MORE space and also help us in the play. Why are you even bidding? The only gain is when partner can bump the auction but the ambiguity makes this much less likely than if your suit(s) were known.
2. Overcalls which are essentially forcing on advancer. These give us lots of ways in since we can pass and come in later. Much easier to deal with than a NF call.
3. Transfer overcalls. Almost forcing on advancer (yes I know you can pass but it’s rare and often ineffective especially red) plus there’s a known suit. Much easier to deal with than natural overcall.

My own defense mostly avoids these — Mathe if Vul and Psycho Suction at NV.
Jan. 8
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I think there are a few exceptions here. The ones that come to mind:

1. If the opponents act over the limited call, a raise is strictly competitive (typically more than the minimum number of trumps and/or extra shape, but not really invitational). Examples include your 1-dbl-1-1-2-2 auction and sequences like 1-p-2-2-3.

2. A voluntary raise to four of a minor (NOT situation #1 above) by an unlimited hand is forcing, since a hand interested in inviting game would normally take a shot at 3NT (either bidding it, or showing a major suit control). Your 1-1-dbl-P-3-P-4 is an example, since a hand just wanting to invite bids 3 (stopper ask) rather than bypassing 3NT.
Jan. 1
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While one hand proves nothing, double followed by double collects an easy +500 here if partner leaves it in. This is a better score than 4 or 5 making and a much better score than the table result of 4-1.
Dec. 24, 2018
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