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All comments by Will Roper
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Thanks Justin for coming on and giving a unique & interesting viewpoint on multiple aspects of the game.

If you could go back in time to the early days when Hamman started mentoring you, what would your advice to the younger you be?
Jan. 15, 2015
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@Yuan:
I am fairly certain partner doesn't have Hx. Why didn't he give preference to 2M playing pairs. That said what should 4 mean here I don't know. Stiff H perhaps?
4 is dicey at best.With a 3541 14-17 count I would have bid 2 over 1 and could merely now be showing the spades. Why not 3? As perhaps that is 14-15?

I don't like giving my partner, regardless of their skill level, a chance to misinterpret a superior bid if it is even a little murky. In retrospect 4 was more murky than I thought given that I have never played GT over 3m hence didn't think it was possible. However I did know 4 was forcing so that made me more convinced about it than the alternatives
Jan. 12, 2015
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Thanks all

Barry is actual very close to the hand I held:
-,
Q9864,
AKT53
AK5

I spent a long time debating what to do over 3. What drove me towards 4 (thinking it was a cuebid) was that partner could have xxxx spades and 3NT may very well be on the nose/off (it is in fact = due to a bad heart position).

Unfortunately partner and I then crossed wires. He bid 4 thinking he was declining a game try. I however thought this was an ongoing slam try (he could have signed off with 4NT/5).

I worked out that partner must have a spade control and probably both in his hand. Therefore the question was why had he not cued it. If he had a heart cuebid he would have bid 4 therefore he does not have the A/K. Since we play italian cue bids with AKxxx,xx,Qxxx,xx I would expect 4.

This led me to the belief that partner was trying to indicate a heart shortage to me. I could count 12 tricks and therefore leapt to 6.

Of the 158 MPS available:

6D - 1 scored 6.2
5D/3NT = scored 81.3
Several people made 3NT+1/3NTx= for 120-150 MPs
Several people didn't get to game for 20-40MPs
Jan. 11, 2015
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To put it mildly as an opponent of this pair - I was guessing :)
Nov. 25, 2014
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I am as much in the dark as you are Bob I am afraid (I am the opps in this situ). I personally would take 4M to be a cuebid since we could have bid 3M as forcing (2NT = forcing as you suggested). 4 is more debatable than 4 as with 6 c*ap** hearts we may bid 3
Nov. 24, 2014
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Which we can do also :)
Nov. 20, 2014
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“Being at the 2-level with 18-20 bal is not as good as it looks if you have a good way to play in 2M. It actually is if you have to play in 2N or higher…”

Can I have clarification please? This simply doesn't make sense as a quote (18-20/not as good as it looks) or as a POV. I.e Are you pro playing 2NT as 18-20 or something else entirely?
Nov. 19, 2014
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Hi Doug,

Nice to have some Fantunes questions. We went from a Jacobs base (been working on it for 18months now) to our more preferred style. The overall system currently has a 65%-35% (Jacobs-2/1) feel to it with the former shrinking over time as we believe more in the opening structure to Fantunes rather than the superiority of parts of its interior sequences.

The Nt rebids we play pretty much as prescribed in the book. We are currently considering a 13-15NT at teams in certain seats in which case the rebids may become 16-18, 19-20, 23+.

At the end of the day I don't think being at the 2 level with 19-20bal is as bad as it looks. Look at the italian world champions playing a 2m opening as specifically that. Moreover we have a level more space and in Jacobs version you have say 1C - 1H -2S as exactly 3S which is quite descriptive for a 19-20 balanced hand below the standard 2NT. We do this slightly differently but it equates to the same thing.

It is worth noting that although it is not Fantunes or Strong Club, you may like TriBal which is Mike Bells invention. As well as some very innovative transfer ideas it is based around the TRIple BALanced ranges for NTs. So 1C is only 17-19bal, 1D = 12-13bal hands (1NT=14-16).

Back to Fantunes is an overall system view rather than individual sequences which you either like or dislike. Strong Club gains from limited openings but struggles with shapely hands where all 4 sides are bidding. Fantunes is imho the best system made for competitive bidding hence why I play it since this is what causes most average pairs problems these days. You lose some accuracy (not always a bad thing against gd defenders) but gain so much in the competitive auctions it is worth the payoff. I play Strong Club with one partner as thats what he likes however even he sees the edge that Fantunes has on other systems atm.

Over 1 - 1 (Say)- ….- 2NT which is 1-2 19-20HCP we play the following:

3 = 5+
3 = Retransfer
3 = Transfer to Spades
3 = 5+

So we get the ability to show 5m and 4,4MM but lose the ability to play in 3M if 4, 5+. We think this is a better tradeoff.

Regards,

Will
Nov. 19, 2014
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I would also imagine that a player of his calibre has come across cuebidding jic you were not certain.
Nov. 18, 2014
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I would imagine if we splintered my partner would probably……be able to work it out ;)
Nov. 18, 2014
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Hard when ones common system is either Fantunes or a Blue Club variant :)
Nov. 17, 2014
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“Maybe 2NT-3♣-3♥-3♠-3nt-4m should be showing minor-suit shortage rather than showing 5/5 minors?”

This doesn't show 5/5 minors. It shows a 5+minor normally with a 4 card major.

I would put 5-5 minor hands through 3. 5-4 hands mostly go through 3 also. However I leave it up to the readers digression and hand evaluation.

“It seems like you are missing a way to bid 4414/3415”

See above for the latter shape. The former is a tricky hand for any system. Personally after a denial I bid Quant/5NT and then my partner will show a 4Cm hopefully before blasting 6NT/7NT.
Nov. 16, 2014
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I concur that you can give unwanted information. However that is why some people hate Puppet in the first place.

In reality though how many hands at the table does:
a) Giving information help the defence find the fatal defence they wouldn't otherwise find.
b) Find a good contract that others may not have found (by being able to show 5-4/5-5 more exactly).

If someone could do the research on this I would be very interested. I do like systems that are vague in nature such as Fantunes since they do not help the opponents much.

Interestingly your reordering doesn't seem to benefit you original point of free information given? 3 as No 4CM/4 is probably a lot easier to read than 3 I have a 4CM or am I just mad? I.e the sequences 2NT - 3 - 3 - 3NT should hide as much information as possible? However the 3 waiting bid over 3 could be rather nice. I will have a think on it. Thank you.

Over 3NT we use a simple retransfer such that:
4 = 3+
4 = 5+ slam try

It can be a bit crude in places but it works.
Nov. 16, 2014
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I have considered these two optioned 3m bids and quickly came to the conclusion that whilst they have plenty of play they do mostly lose the right siding advantage which I have come to like. I think if you were going to have have both minors + single minor then it has to be diamonds, no?
Nov. 16, 2014
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This was a worry with one of our coaches when we started playing it. However there is so much emphasis on it that, even with one of my partners who really struggles with the memory strain , it surprisingly is not a problem.
Nov. 16, 2014
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X = Values (Sets up a penalty double and forcing pass to 2NT)
2D = Natural to play
2H = 5+C, 4D any strength (can be 5/5 if invite)
2S = 5+D, 4C any strength
2NT = Leb
Higher = Leb (3M usually natural but can be a stop ask).
……………
Pass then 3m = Invitational
Pass then X = T/O
Pass then 2NT = 5/5 minors Weak/Strong

Not overly complex but gets me from A to B
Nov. 14, 2014
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If I was to play Transfer Walsh I would follow Mike Bells approach:

Completion = Diamonds + Clubs unbalanced

Sets up so many more descriptive auctions
Nov. 6, 2014
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Why doesn't 2/1 matter…..He is a passed hand
Nov. 6, 2014
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To those among you who are Passing: What do you bid if partner doubles?
Nov. 6, 2014
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I was playing 2/1 but there is no implications or difference from any system Steve. Moreover this was with a very highly regarded player with whom my agreements stretched to:
2/1: Strong NT 5CM
Reverse Attitude, Standard Count
Multi Landy with a Woolsey Double
Common sense
Nov. 6, 2014
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