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Responding to 1NT ACBL - SAYC

#1 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 14:27

Hey all

I have been closely following the ACBL "Learn to play Bridge" program (that promotes Standard American Bidding System)but I have come across a slight problem:

My partner opens 1NT = 15-17 pts., balanced hand

If I am the responder and I have 5 hearts and 5 spades and 10+ pts., according to the program I should always go for the higher-ranked suit and invite a game by bidding at the 3. level, thus bidding 3 in this case.
If my partner has a 3-card fit in spades, he is to bid 4, if he does not have the fit, he should bid 3NT.

The thing that confuses me is that I do not see the point in bidding the higher-ranked suit. There very likely is a reason behind it, but I just do not see it. Because if I have 5 hearts and 5 spades and my partner has 3 hearts and 2 spades, and I bid 3 my partner will sign off 3NT, even though we have a 8-card fit in hearts. Should not I bid the lower-ranking suit, hearts 3, and then he will sing off 4 if he has 3 hearts, or he will bid 3 if he does not have those hearts, but has 3 spades. If I have those 5 spades, I will know a 4 contract is possible.

Why should I always bid the higher-ranking suit, when bidding the lower-ranking suit makes more sense to me? (when 4-4 I am to bid the lower-ranking suit, which makes more sense)

Thanks
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#2 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 14:41

In this kind of situation you are always going to bid the second suit if partner doesn't support the first one. If you respond 3 and partner bids 3NT, you continue with 4. You are likely to have an eight card major fit somewhere.

You are correct that it doesn't actually matter much which major you bid first when partner opens 1NT, but there is a general principle that you bid the higher ranking five card suit first because it matters in other auctions. After you bid the second suit, partner can give preference to the first suit without raising the level. He can't do this if you bid the lower ranking suit first.
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#3 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 14:56

"After you bid the second suit, partner can give preference to the first suit without raising the level."

How does he give preference? What do you mean? By bidding 3NT? If I go for 3, he bids 3NT how do I know whether I should stick to 3NT (was it a sign off or not? - I don't know) or should I propose hearts 4?

I still don't quite get it
Thanks
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#4 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:00

in Standard American bidding, the 3 response to 1NT shows a game forcing (not invitational) hand. You have the point count correct - 10+. Opener will raise spades with 3 or more spades and will bid 3NT otherwise.

Then, you bid your other 5 card suit - hearts - at the 4 level. Most of the time, if partner does not have 3 or more spades, he will have 3 or more hearts. So you have a likely 8 card heart fit.

Partner will either pass 4 or bid 4. If he opened 1NT with 2-2 in the majors, he will bid 4 because you would have bid 3 followed by 4 with 6 spades and 5 hearts.

(Don't ask me what you would have bid with 5 spades and 6 hearts - I don't need that kind of a headache).
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#5 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:27

Right

a) I have 5 spades and 5 hearts. I force a game with 3, if my partner has 3 hearts, he bids 4, if he only has 3 or more spades, he bids 3. If I do not have 5 spades for a spade-fit, and as I know that there is not fit in hearts, I will sing off 3NT. 3NT is playing safe after investigating the fit in both major suits (which proves there is no fit).

b) You say that I should bid 3 with those cards. Now my partner does not have his 3 spades for a fit, so correctly bids 3NT. Now, having those 5 hearts, I might investigate for a heart fit, I bid 4 hearts. My partner does not have his 3 hearts for a fit, so is left to pass to keep the contract low. Now I do not even know if he passed due to hopelessness or due to the heart-fit (that would make those 4 too)

So, apparently, both strategies have investigated a major suit fit, but the first one ends up being more safe than the second one. So, intiutively, keeping the bidding low all the times, thus going for the lower-ranking suit should be a more successful strategy. Why is ACBL promoting going with higher-ranking suit? Does it have something to do with pre-empting?

Thanks
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#6 User is offline   wyman 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:40

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:27, said:

Right

a) I have 5 spades and 5 hearts. I force a game with 3, if my partner has 3 hearts, he bids 4, if he only has 3 or more spades, he bids 3. If I do not have 5 spades for a spade-fit, and as I know that there is not fit in hearts, I will sing off 3NT. 3NT is playing safe after investigating the fit in both major suits (which proves there is no fit).

b) You say that I should bid 3 with those cards. Now my partner does not have his 3 spades for a fit, so correctly bids 3NT. Now, having those 5 hearts, I might investigate for a heart fit, I bid 4 hearts. My partner does not have his 3 hearts for a fit, so is left to pass to keep the contract low. Now I do not even know if he passed due to hopelessness or due to the heart-fit (that would make those 4 too)

So, apparently, both strategies have investigated a major suit fit, but the first one ends up being more safe than the second one. So, intiutively, keeping the bidding low all the times, thus going for the lower-ranking suit should be a more successful strategy. Why is ACBL promoting going with higher-ranking suit? Does it have something to do with pre-empting?

Thanks


My guess: Traditionally, one does not open 1N with two doubletons. So, with two 5-card majors, you can bid 3S-then-4H with impunity, knowing that partner has at least one 3-card major. Moreover, as has been mentioned, this treatment is consistent with other standard methods, whereby you bid the higher-ranking suit first so that partner can correct without jumping.

Also, it is kind of unnatural to force opener to bid 3S on a 3-card suit. Your idea does make sense; it's just not standard.

Hope this helps.
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#7 User is offline   campboy 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:46

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:27, said:

b) You say that I should bid 3 with those cards. Now my partner does not have his 3 spades for a fit, so correctly bids 3NT. Now, having those 5 hearts, I might investigate for a heart fit, I bid 4 hearts. My partner does not have his 3 hearts for a fit, so is left to pass to keep the contract low. Now I do not even know if he passed due to hopelessness or due to the heart-fit (that would make those 4 too)

The point is that this can't happen because partner has a balanced hand. If he only has two spades he must have at least three in every other suit.
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#8 User is offline   Statto 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:51

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:27, said:

a) I have 5 spades and 5 hearts. I force a game with 3, if my partner has 3 hearts, he bids 4, if he only has 3 or more spades, he bids 3. If I do not have 5 spades for a spade-fit, and as I know that there is not fit in hearts, I will sing off 3NT. 3NT is playing safe after investigating the fit in both major suits (which proves there is no fit).

You could agree to play that with your partner, it seems reasonable but is not standard. I think it's common to play 3 by opener after 3 as a cue bid showing support and the A (though you probably don't want to worry too much about such bids right now), so most players would simply bid 3NT if they do not have support.
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#9 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:55

Oh right, that makes sense, of course, the opener with 1NT cannot have two doubletons.


I have other question, just a brief one, but do not want to make a new thread, so:

South(me), West, North(partner), East

East opens the bidding with 1. To overcall at 1-level with a new colour I need 10 and more pts., 5-cards suit (trying to avoid minimum hands, rather having a strong suit or extra pts.)

So let's say I have those requirements and bid 1. West passes and North is to bid. Does North consider my bid as if it was an ordinary opening bid (except for the lower points, of course)? Meaning if he wants to single raise, he needs 6-9 pts. and 3-card support OR if he wants to propose a new suit at the 2-level, he needs 10 and more pts. and 4-card suit? Or are there any special rules for responding to my bid, that was an overcall, not an opening one?

Basically, do all responses to openings hold when those "openings" were played as overcalls?
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#10 User is offline   wyman 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 15:59

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:55, said:

Basically, do all responses to openings hold when those "openings" were played as overcalls?


Basically yes. Bidding a new suit at the 2-level should show 5+ cards, not 4+ (this was true after an opening 1-bid as well, I think, but you should defer to the LTPB software).
"I think maybe so and so was caught cheating but maybe I don't have the names right". Sure, and I think maybe your mother .... Oh yeah, that was someone else maybe. -- kenberg

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#11 User is offline   HighLow21 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:39

The best auction would be 1NT, 2H (transfer), 2S, 4H. This shows an insistence on a major suit game and asks partner to choose which major, via pass or 4S.
There is a big difference between a good decision and a good result. Let's keep our posts about good decisions rather than "gotcha" results!
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#12 User is offline   HighLow21 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:40

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:55, said:

Oh right, that makes sense, of course, the opener with 1NT cannot usually will not have two doubletons.

There is a big difference between a good decision and a good result. Let's keep our posts about good decisions rather than "gotcha" results!
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#13 User is offline   dwar0123 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:48

View PostHighLow21, on 2012-April-04, 16:39, said:

The best auction would be 1NT, 2H (transfer), 2S, 4H. This shows an insistence on a major suit game and asks partner to choose which major, via pass or 4S.

That is how I played it for a long time, but I have sense learned that standard treatment for 4 in this auction is a splinter showing 6 and at most 1.
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#14 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:54

Isn't 1NT-2H!; 2S-3H game forcing showing 5/5 in the majors?
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#15 User is offline   HighLow21 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:57

View PostCthulhu D, on 2012-April-04, 16:54, said:

Isn't 1NT-2H!; 2S-3H game forcing showing 5/5 in the majors?

Maybe. I would bid game because I play with a lot of randoms and don't want a confused partner to leave me in 3H. :-)
There is a big difference between a good decision and a good result. Let's keep our posts about good decisions rather than "gotcha" results!
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#16 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 16:59

a) 2H (transfer) what is it? It is not jacoby transfers, right? ACBL teaches me that a 2-level response to a 1NT is a sing-off, denying possibility for game or higher contracts. So your 2H (transfers) is some kind of a convention, right?

What about playing stayman in that case? Or that might not be as effective, since I would be quite happy with 3 cards in that suit to have a fit with my 5 cards, and stayman asks for 4 cards in major?

What about a 3C jump as a respond to 1NT? Could it be something like a stayman, asking the partner to bid his strongest (at least) 3-card major suit? He would bid 3H or 3S and then I will immediately know if there is a fit and i will sign off a game in trumps, or 3NT?

b) I have also been struggling with planning the play. The ACBL software teaches me to count winners in no-trump and losers in trump plays. I have no problem with counting winners, but I struggle with counting losers. Are all trump cards considered winners, and thus not losers in this sense? How do I actually count losers?

And also, If I have AKQ and my dummy has J10 all in the same colour, that only makes for 3 tricks won, right? Or is there a way I can get 5 tricks out of it? Perhaps cashing some trumps or other colours from the declarer and discarding those J10? Is there any point in that?
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#17 User is offline   HighLow21 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 17:02

View Postdwar0123, on 2012-April-04, 16:48, said:

That is how I played it for a long time, but I have sense learned that standard treatment for 4 in this auction is a splinter showing 6 and at most 1.

I like that treatment. I think I'll add it with trusted partners.

And to answer the other post yes, it seems 3H is game-forcing, but I've had too many GF bids dropped in my lifetime. It also could be a 4 OR 5-card heart suit. So I guess the right auction would be:

1NT-2H-2S-3H-3NT-4H-(Pass or 4S)

OR

1NT-2H-2S-3H-4(S or H)
There is a big difference between a good decision and a good result. Let's keep our posts about good decisions rather than "gotcha" results!
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#18 User is offline   Statto 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 17:14

View PostHighLow21, on 2012-April-04, 17:02, said:

It also could be a 4 OR 5-card heart suit.

It depends if 1NT-2;2-3 would be used for the 5-4 GF hands, or for a 6-4 hand.
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#19 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 17:36

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 15:55, said:

Oh right, that makes sense, of course, the opener with 1NT cannot have two doubletons.

Usually. But most players will usually bid 22(45) in the NT range by opening 1nt. So the 3 followed by 4 scheme can end in a 5-2 fit. But most likely you will soon learn and join the 99% of players playing a Jacoby transfer based scheme, so this problem goes away.

Your scheme of responding 3 with 5-5 in the majors is playable, but very non-standard (std meaning of 3s in response would be cue in support of hearts, not 3+ spades). The recommendation of responding higher suit with 5-5 is just keeping it consistent with how you bid 5-5 in almost all other situations, you bid the higher one first, because you often plan on showing both suits, and want partner to be able to get back to the higher one at the same level.

Quote

East opens the bidding with 1. To overcall at 1-level with a new colour I need 10 and more pts., 5-cards suit (trying to avoid minimum hands, rather having a strong suit or extra pts.)

So let's say I have those requirements and bid 1. West passes and North is to bid. Does North consider my bid as if it was an ordinary opening bid (except for the lower points, of course)? Meaning if he wants to single raise, he needs 6-9 pts. and 3-card support OR if he wants to propose a new suit at the 2-level, he needs 10 and more pts. and 4-card suit? Or are there any special rules for responding to my bid, that was an overcall, not an opening one?

Basically, do all responses to openings hold when those "openings" were played as overcalls?


No, they generally don't. There are many reasons for this. The main reason is that the range for overcalling is a lot different than the range for opening, the lower limit is a lot lower, and the higher limit is a bit lower also. 1 level overcalls, a lot of people will overcall on as few as 7 pts, say AKTxx in spades and out. Overcalling light helps you compete for the partscore and obstruct the opponents when partner has a fit and can raise, and generally doesn't hurt you too often as long as partner knows you don't have to be that strong. Getting in early & low saves you from having to guess whether to come in higher later. It can also direct the best lead if the opps end up with the contract. Also, the upper end is generally dropped to about 17 or 18 hcp or so, stronger than that will generally double first.

Raising with 6-9 is still pretty standard. But responding 1nt is going to be roughly 8-11, with 2nt maybe 12-14, both bids stronger since overcaller is weaker on average. You don't have to scrape up a 1nt call with 6-7 pts, because partner is limited by failure to double. New suits are usually played as non-forcing (to cater to the lesser chance of game given the opp's opening, and partner's limited strength), and would need a decent 5 cd suit not a 4 card one.

You also have a new tool, the cue bid of the opponent's opening suit. This is usually a strongish 10+ raise, though you can also use bid it first before forcing in another suit. Since you can bid this with your invitational raises, a lot of people play the jump raise as weak instead of invitational, this is subject to partner agreement and would vary widely, especially with other beginning players in a random BBO environment.
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#20 User is offline   Statto 

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Posted 2012-April-04, 17:38

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 16:59, said:

a) 2H (transfer) what is it? It is not jacoby transfers, right? ACBL teaches me that a 2-level response to a 1NT is a sing-off, denying possibility for game or higher contracts. So your 2H (transfers) is some kind of a convention, right?

Yes, it is Jacoby transfer, showing a 5+ card suit and asking partner to bid 2.

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 16:59, said:

What about playing stayman in that case? Or that might not be as effective, since I would be quite happy with 3 cards in that suit to have a fit with my 5 cards, and stayman asks for 4 cards in major?

Indeed, Stayman is best for finding a 4-4 fit in a major, but is also very useful when you have one 4-card major and one longer major, to check for a 4-4 fit first.

View PostLesh18, on 2012-April-04, 16:59, said:

What about a 3C jump as a respond to 1NT? Could it be something like a stayman, asking the partner to bid his strongest (at least) 3-card major suit? He would bid 3H or 3S and then I will immediately know if there is a fit and i will sign off a game in trumps, or 3NT?

A jump to 3 is normally natural with a 6 card suit; it might be invitational or game forcing depending on agreements - in SAYC (and probably also in the system you are learning) it is invitational.

Some play "Extended Stayman" where after a 2 response to Stayman, you follow up with a 3 bid asking for a 3-card major. It's not particularly standard, but does have a name - though be aware that there is more than one convention with this name :o
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