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Responding to Stayman with 4-4 majors Alerting question

#1 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2012-October-29, 19:03

This occurred in an English event, held under WBF alerting rules -

1N:2C, 2S is the systemic bid with 4-4 in the majors. Should this be alerted? What about 2H that denies four spades? If relevant, nearly all respond 2H to Stayman with 4-4 majors in the UK.

If you think this is alertable, would it make any difference if the event was held elsewhere, or in a European/World event? I assume it wouldn't be alertable if held in a country where most respond 2S to Stayman with 4-4 majors?

What about under EBU alerting regs?
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-October-29, 22:44

View PostMickyB, on 2012-October-29, 19:03, said:

What about under EBU alerting regs?

The Orange Book doesn't say that any responses to traditional Stayman are alertable. So if it asks for a 4-card major, and you show a 4-card major by bidding it, the fact that it does or doesn't deny 4 of the other major doesn't make it alertable.

#3 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 02:25

View Postbarmar, on 2012-October-29, 22:44, said:

The Orange Book doesn't say that any responses to traditional Stayman are alertable. So if it asks for a 4-card major, and you show a 4-card major by bidding it, the fact that it does or doesn't deny 4 of the other major doesn't make it alertable.

From the OB (emphasis mine):

Quote

5 E 1 Passes and bids
Unless it is announceable (see 5 C and 5 D), a pass or bid must be alerted if
(a) it is not natural; or
(b) it is natural but has a potentially unexpected meaning.


I think it's arguable that this is an unexpected meaning.
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#4 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 03:11

View PostMickyB, on 2012-October-29, 19:03, said:

I assume it wouldn't be alertable if held in a country where most respond 2S to Stayman with 4-4 majors?

Is there such a country?
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#5 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 04:03

Regardless of what the rules say, any bridge player would make sure his opponents knew about this agreement. If you don't alert it, there is a high risk that the opponents will be misled, so alert it.

In the WBF, you should alert "Those bids which have special meanings or which are based on or lead to special understandings between the partners", and "players must respect the spirit of the Policy as well as the letter". I think that between them these rules make both the 2 and the 2 responses to Stayman alertable.

Regarding the EBU, the meaning of both bids is certainly "unexpected", which makes them alertable.

This post has been edited by gnasher: 2012-October-30, 04:09

... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#6 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 04:29

View PostCyberyeti, on 2012-October-30, 02:25, said:

I think it's arguable that this is an unexpected meaning.


I think it's definitely an unexpected meaning. According to the EBU, it isn't even natural:

Quote

5 F 1 The following are considered ‘natural’ for alerting purposes:
(a) A bid of a suit which shows that suit and does not show any other suit;


Also if the following applies, 2 is alertable as well:

Quote

5 G 1 (6) Stayman even in response to an opening 1NT, if opener’s possible rebids
include 2NT or higher

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#7 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 04:48

View PostVampyr, on 2012-October-30, 04:29, said:

Also if the following applies, 2 is alertable as well:

In the Premier League, which is played with screens and WBF alerting rules, 'normal' Stayman is alertable because it is an artificial bid.
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#8 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 04:49

View PostVampyr, on 2012-October-30, 04:29, said:

I think it's definitely an unexpected meaning. According to the EBU, it isn't even natural:

I agree it is unexpected, but I think you have misunderstood whether or not it is natural. Although the OP only states that 2 is the systemic response to Stayman with 4 and 4, I think we can assume that it is also the systemic response with 4 but without 4, so it is not necessarily showing a suit other than the one bid.
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#9 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 05:12

View Postpaulg, on 2012-October-30, 04:48, said:

In the Premier League, which is played with screens and WBF alerting rules, 'normal' Stayman is alertable because it is an artificial bid.


The OP was also interested in EBU regs.

View PostWellSpyder, on 2012-October-30, 04:49, said:

I agree it is unexpected, but I think you have misunderstood whether or not it is natural. Although the OP only states that 2 is the systemic response to Stayman with 4 and 4, I think we can assume that it is also the systemic response with 4 but without 4, so it is not necessarily showing a suit other than the one bid.


Right, I hadn't thought about that!
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#10 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 07:05

View PostWellSpyder, on 2012-October-30, 04:49, said:

Although the OP only states that 2 is the systemic response to Stayman with 4 and 4, I think we can assume that ....

You did see who the OP was? I think all assumptions are dangerous :)
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#11 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 07:32

View Postgordontd, on 2012-October-30, 03:11, said:

Is there such a country?


I have at the back of my mind that some Scandinavian countries always respond 2S with 4-4, my impression was that bidding 2H with 4-4 was far from universal outside of the UK but I may be wrong. The Wikipedia entry says "with both majors, bid the longer or stronger, with preference given to spades" or words to that effect. I suspect the rise of the hideous "non-promissory Stayman" has increased the number of pairs who bid 1N:2C, 2H with 4-4, because you now need both 2S and 2N to show invites with and without four spades. If you play 1N:2C, 2H:2S as a five-card invite then it's probably better to rebid 2S on 4-4.

With regards to EBU regs -

If your only responses are 2D [denying a 4cM], 2H [showing 4] and 2S [showing 4], you are to announce 2C as Stayman, and 1N:2C, 2D isn't alertable. If you play, for example, 1N:2C, 2N as 4-4 in the majors, or as showing five hearts, then you are to alert the 2C response, and the subsequent 2D rebid.

I initially misread this as stating that no responses to an announced 2C are to be alerted, thus thought it clear that 1N:2C, 2M wasn't alertable regardless of your response with 4-4 majors. IMO my initial reading of it makes more sense than some "non-standard" methods involving the alerting of 2C and others the alerting of the responses to 2C, and I suspect I read it as the author intended.

I disagree with Gnasher that it's obvious to alert it even if the rules dictate that you shouldn't. Playing without screens, unexpected alerts can confuse oppo, and may lead to UI issues.

The situation occurred behind screens. I didn't alert but volunteered the information to my screenmate. My partner is only in his second event behind screens, and I had [mistakenly] told him that it definitely wasn't alertable, so he didn't say anything.
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#12 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 08:00

No, it is not alertable. One of the problems I see in answering questions in a magazine aimed at lesser players is the number of players who assume their way is the only way. I am continually fighting to get players to accept that their way does not make it standard and normal.

The norm in England is affected by the methods. If you play, as many do, that the only way to raise to 2NT is via Stayman, and that 1NT - 2 - 2 - 2 shows a raise to 2NT with four spades, then you have to respond 2 to 2 with both majors. If you do not play this, which I suppose is true for 80% of English players, then there is no reason to respond with one major rather than the other. Of course individual pairs will make an arrangement for whatever reason, usually something really meaningful like John Collings told them it was correct.

So the norm in England generally is that there is no norm, unless you are playing the specific methods outlined above.

Of course, this depends somewhat on the class of player. In a higher class event then I expect a majority, perhaps a vast majority, to respond 2 with both. But I have no sympathy whatever for people at that level not allowing for players to play differently from them.

View Postgordontd, on 2012-October-30, 03:11, said:

Is there such a country?

Yes, England.
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#13 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 08:35

Playing Walsh, 1C:1M is alertable but 1C:1D is not, at least when under EBU regs. By the same logic, it feels clear that 1N:2C, 2H is not alertable if it denies 4 spades, even if you deem 1N:2C, 2S alertable because it may have four hearts.

If a 1S opening can be 4-4 in the majors, is that alertable?
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#14 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 09:38

No.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 10:41

Oddly enough, that's one of the "basic" questions I ask in all(*) partnerships I expect to play regularly in - what do you respond with 4=4 majors? Around here, it's always "hearts first", but I've had "best major", "hearts with minimum, spades with maximum" and others.

I wouldn't believe that either major is "unexpected", except in monocultures like I currently live in.

(*) Okay, almost all. I don't play Stayman with one partner :-)
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#16 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 11:05

View PostMickyB, on 2012-October-30, 07:32, said:

I disagree with Gnasher that it's obvious to alert it even if the rules dictate that you shouldn't. Playing without screens, unexpected alerts can confuse oppo, and may lead to UI issues.

I was talking about what you should do when using screens, because that's what I thought you'd asked.

If not using screens, I'd probably just tell them before they led. But I think you should definitely tell them at some point.

Quote

The situation occurred behind screens. I didn't alert but volunteered the information to my screenmate. My partner is only in his second event behind screens, and I had [mistakenly] told him that it definitely wasn't alertable, so he didn't say anything.

Maybe it would be better if you left your partner to use his common sense? He's an intelligent man, so I expect he could follow the train of thought "We have an unusual agreement. The opponents don't know about it. I'd better tell them."
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#17 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 14:26

View PostMickyB, on 2012-October-29, 19:03, said:

This occurred in an English event, held under WBF alerting rules -

1N:2C, 2S is the systemic bid with 4-4 in the majors. Should this be alerted? What about 2H that denies four spades? If relevant, nearly all respond 2H to Stayman with 4-4 majors in the UK.

If you think this is alertable, would it make any difference if the event was held elsewhere, or in a European/World event? I assume it wouldn't be alertable if held in a country where most respond 2S to Stayman with 4-4 majors?

What about under EBU alerting regs?


Playing with screens, I wouldn't alert it; I would just write down the agreement and show it to my screenmate whenever we respond 2 or 2 to Stayman.

Playing without screens, we have to decide whether this constitutes a "potentially unexpected meaning". I think that if partner has announced the 2 bid as "Stayman", you are fairly safe alerting the 2/2 bids, as the opponents would expect partner to hold 4 cards in the major bid anyway.
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#18 User is offline   lalldonn 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 14:43

It wouldn't occur to me to alert either way, any more than it would to alert 1 2NT p 3 or 1 2NT p 3 when I have an understanding about which minor we bid with equal length. These are issues of partnership style. If I'm on defense and I need to know has opener denied four in the other major then I will ask.
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#19 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 17:20

View Postgordontd, on 2012-October-30, 03:11, said:

Is there such a country?


View Postbluejak, on 2012-October-30, 08:00, said:

Yes, England.


Odd reply, since the rest of the post in which it appeared, even if one agreed with it - which I don't - doesn't support this conclusion!
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#20 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-October-30, 17:37

View Postlalldonn, on 2012-October-30, 14:43, said:

It wouldn't occur to me to alert either way, any more than it would to alert 1 2NT p 3 or 1 2NT p 3 when I have an understanding about which minor we bid with equal length. These are issues of partnership style. If I'm on defense and I need to know has opener denied four in the other major then I will ask.


Are you saying that, where you play, there are many people who respond 2 to Stayman with 4-4 in the majors and many othes who respond 2 on the same hand type?
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