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Relay Systems???

#21 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 02:19

View Posthrothgar, on 2013-March-06, 19:45, said:

View Postglen, on 2013-March-06, 19:01, said:

In ACBL land, if you are using a lot of relays, do not call them relays, or you will get some TDs that ban them. Instead all your relays are asking bids.

As usual, Glen recommends lying about agreements to get an edge...

Still kinda disappointing, no matter how often he does so.

I won't comment on the insinuations, but instead focus on the content.

I think/hope you are misunderstanding Glen.

1) "Using a lot of relays" is perfectly allowed in the ACBL.
2) A relay is an asking bid. Calling a relay an asking bid is, therefore, not a lie. You are free to use either term to describe the agreement. They are more or less synonyms.
3) The difference between the two is that if you call your agreement a relay there is a chance that you will get in trouble with a poor TD. To those TDs the term "relay" will make all alarm bells ring, even if there is no reason for it. You might end up with an illegal ruling against you.
4) It is not merely legal to call those agreements "asking bids", as long as they are not part of a relay system, it is also wise, since it prevents a lot of trouble.

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#22 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 02:54

View Posthrothgar, on 2013-March-06, 11:55, said:

2. A transfer suggests bidding a (specified) higher suit, but responder can bid something else

This is a marionette, a form of puppet that can be broken with a particular hand. The type of Puppet Stayman that I play over 1NT is effectively a marionette, as are several flavours of Lebensohl (the ones where you do not have to bid 3 but usually do). So

Puppet = partner must make a particular bid (usually the next step)
Marionette = partner usually makes a particular bid but is allowed to bid something else on occasion
Transfer = partner shows length in a particular suit other than the suit bid (and partner is generally expected to bid the suit shown much of the time)
Relay = partner should describe their hand (but the relay bid itself says very little about my hand)

You can, of course, combine all of these together. For example, a (bad) strong club auction might proceed:

1 = strong, forcing
... - 1 = negative, any non game-force
1 = puppet to 1
... - 1 = forced
1NT = nat, some range and balanced
... - 2 = Puppet Stayman, marionette to 2 (partner may break with a 5 card major)
2 = 5 hearts
... - 2NT = transfer to 3 (shows clubs)
3 = forced
... - 3 = relay, asking for shape and strength
3NT = max with 2 clubs

Also, while a relay is an asking bid, it is not an Asking Bid in the true sense of the term. An Asking Bid is traditionally part of a scheme where there are several bids, each asking for a specific thing. A relay is generally the use of a single asking bid which asks a more general question. So, for example, if we agree spades at the 3 level, I might use 4, 4 and 4 to ask for controls in the specific suit bid. These are Asking Bids. However, if I use 3NT as a general ask for partner to show controls (and 4 of a suit for something else, perhaps a natural slam try) then this is a relay. You can, of course, also combine relays and Asking Bids but I agree with hrothgar that it is disingenuous to describe a relay system as a series of Asking Bids just to try and get around the regulations.
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#23 User is offline   glen 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 06:10

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-March-07, 02:54, said:

... it is disingenuous to describe a relay system as a series of Asking Bids just to try and get around the regulations

Note that I did not say to describe a relay system as a series of Asking Bids, and it would be disingenuous for anyone to blindly assume this was to get around the regulations (as you said) or to "get an edge", as the other person posted.

Is this example "an edge" or "getting around the regulations". At the club:

board 1:
1-P-1-P-2-P-2 Alert
What's that?
it's a game forcing relay, asks partner to further describe their hand

board 2:
1-P-1-P-2-P-2 Alert
What's that?
it's a game forcing relay, asks partner to further describe their hand
Director!
TD: Yes?
They are using a relay bid on every board!
TD: Relay systems are not allowed!

The Bridge World Glossary said:

Asking Bid: A bid that requests information about a specific feature of partner's hand

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-March-07, 02:54, said:

... while a relay is an asking bid, it is not an Asking Bid in the true sense of the term. An Asking Bid is traditionally part of a scheme where there are several bids, each asking for a specific thing ...

I think The Bridge World glossary definition is more accurate than this idea that an asking bid is traditionally part of a scheme of several asking bids each asking for a specific thing. For example Blackwood is usually taught and explained as one asking bid. Generally using the glossary definitions can be helpful in describing bids.
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#24 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 06:43

Again, describing fourth suit forcing in this way strikes me as wrong. It is an artificial game force, often a hand looking for NT but without a stopper in the suit bid, but can also be a hand with slam interest (or however you use it in your partnership, since there is variation). In other words, simply describing such a call as a relay would be wrong because it shows something, as well as asks. Similarly, the important part of this BW explanation is "specific feature". Relay systems tend not to ask about specific features but rather the whole hand.

Single relays within an otherwise natural context are a somewhat different kettle of fish because they pretty much always show something as well as ask. And most club level opponents would simply not understand any explanation of such a bid that started with "It's a relay..." It is best to describe what a bid shows if you possibly can. Even playing "a lot of relays", this should practically always be a possibility unless you have moved into actual relay system territory.

Notice also that relays starting with Responder's rebid are legal in every jurisdiction I know. Can you provide an example of a relay that is not part of a relay system that would actually cause a problem? As Adam has pointed out, this is not as simple as it sounds.
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#25 User is offline   glen 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 06:56

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-March-07, 06:43, said:

... And most club level opponents would simply not understand any explanation of such a bid that started with "It's a relay..." ...

I agree, that is why it is best to describe relay bids in other ways that would be more meaningful to them.
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#26 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 07:03

Glen is right : a relay is an asking bid, by definition.

If some people find certain words offensive, then you use an alternative word that means the same thing. 3 in response to 2NT is an asking bid, and if other words may cause upset, I am happy with this description.

Similar to the situation I am sometimes in when partner opens a potentially short club.
"An opening hand, but not necessarily long clubs or strong, it could be a doubleton."
"So it's an asking club?"
"Yes, it usually denies a 5 card major and asks me what I have."
I've never thought of describing it as a relay !
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#27 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 07:16

Every bid can be described as an asking bid if you use such a general form. If I open 1, then I am asking partner if they have a hand that matches the definition of Pass, or 1NT, or 2, and so on. In particular, a forcing 1NT response is an obvious candidate to be described as a relay, since it asks partner if they hold 4 hearts or 6 spades, or (some other stuff). The point of an Asking Bid is that it asks something specific, hence the BW description. Generally, on the first round of an auction there is no such specific question and therefore asks that begin at this stage are usually part of a relay system, since they are asking generally about the whole hand and not about something specific. It does not have to be so, like I wrote, you can define any bid as an ask if you are so inclined, but that would be the norm.
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#28 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 08:16

I once wrote Beye (top ACBL director?) a question as to the legality of relays in a certain situation. To my surprise, he wrote me back asking what relays were! Between that, discussions with at least one other ACBL director and a few relayers, I've gotten the impression that relays are a bit unfamiliar to directors.

I think of myself playing a relay system, but I wouldn't describe it as such to a director because that terminology has a different meaning in the ACBL. I'd be comfortable saying that we use relay bids because I know how to clarify that our system doesn't meet the ACBL definition of a relay system, but if another person used "asking bids" to describe their own similar and legal system, I'd understand their word choice.

I understand how the terms "relay" and "asking bid" are chosen for different situations, but I think they amount to the same thing.
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#29 User is offline   glen 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 08:17

1NT forcing is a good example, and let me point form the two key points you make about it:
> a forcing 1NT response is an obvious candidate to be described as a relay, since it asks partner ...
> on the first round of an auction ... asks that begin at this stage are usually part of a relay system

If you are at the club how would you describe 1NT forcing to someone you think might be unfamiliar with the term?
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#30 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 09:12

View Postglen, on 2013-March-07, 08:17, said:

If you are at the club how would you describe 1NT forcing to someone you think might be unfamiliar with the term?

Over a 1 opening? Any hand less than GF strength and without spade support except (insert exceptions list here), or (insert other hand types here). FWiiW, I sometimes like to play 1NT (over a 1 opening) as any hand of invitational or better strength without 4 card support. I would call this a relay (it asks if 4 hearts are held and, if not, the range) even though it shows something as well as asking. Indeed, it is the start of a relay system since all GF hands can be relayed thereafter. However, I am informed that this would not be a relay system per the ACBL definition, perhaps because invitational hands opposite a minimum are bid naturally.

Luckily I do not live under ACBL jurisdiction and therefore do not need to try and understand what is allowed. If I needed to know I would probably ask Adam, straube and hrothgar, since they seem to have had some experience of dealing with the relevant people. The fact that any bid (other than puppets and unconditional sign-offs) can be described as an asking bid, regardless of how natural it is, should make it obvious that this sort of regulation is pretty silly. It is to me anyway.
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#31 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 09:18

View Postglen, on 2013-March-07, 08:17, said:

1NT forcing is a good example, and let me point form the two key points you make about it:
> a forcing 1NT response is an obvious candidate to be described as a relay, since it asks partner ...
> on the first round of an auction ... asks that begin at this stage are usually part of a relay system

If you are at the club how would you describe 1NT forcing to someone you think might be unfamiliar with the term?


This thread has degenerated into a semantic argument. The last post, suggesting that a forcing 1NT response to a major suit opening is part of a relay system beginning before responder's second bid, just pushed the argument over the cliff.

Come on, people. A relay system is a system in large part, if not primarily, based on sequences in which one partner asks a series of questions without describing his hand by making the cheapest bid available and the other partner describes his hand based on a predetermined set of responses that are, typically, not "natural" bids (in the sense that natural bids have something to do with the strain mentioned).

Asking bids may or may not be relays, but they are not typically part of a relay system. And well known conventions - Forcing 1NT, New Minor Forcing, Fourth Suit Forcing, Stayman, Blackwood, etc., are asking bids but are not part of a relay "system." They stand alone as asking bids.
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#32 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 09:22

Something that I think is particularly silly is that one is allowed to use an artificial response that says nothing about the hand except that it establishes a GF as long as it isn't part of a relay system.

So 1S-2C can be an artificial GF bid and opener can rebid artificially (for example a 2D rebid could show an unspecified minor)but at some point presumably responder has to break relay. 1S-2C, 2D-2H as an artificial ask and we could run afoul of the law. This makes no sense to me. We're in a GF auction, it's the second round of bidding and 2H as a relay could be interpreted to be illegal...but most of the time having responder continue to solicit information will make the most sense.
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#33 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 09:30

View Poststraube, on 2013-March-07, 09:22, said:

Something that I think is particularly silly is that one is allowed to use an artificial response that says nothing about the hand except that it establishes a GF as long as it isn't part of a relay system.

So 1S-2C can be an artificial GF bid and opener can rebid artificially (for example a 2D rebid could show an unspecified minor)but at some point presumably responder has to break relay. 1S-2C, 2D-2H as an artificial ask and we could run afoul of the law. This makes no sense to me. We're in a GF auction, it's the second round of bidding and 2H as a relay could be interpreted to be illegal...but most of the time having responder continue to solicit information will make the most sense.

It is illegal because it is pretty clear at this point that the bids are part of a relay system. Responder made an artificial game forcing call, opener made some sort of artificial informative response and responder made another artificial inquiry by making the cheapest bid available. That is exactly the definition of a relay system.

Indeed, those relay systems that I am familiar with use a 2 response to one of a suit (other than the strong 1 opening) to commence a relay sequence.
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#34 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 10:06

View PostArtK78, on 2013-March-07, 09:30, said:

It is illegal because it is pretty clear at this point that the bids are part of a relay system. Responder made an artificial game forcing call, opener made some sort of artificial informative response and responder made another artificial inquiry by making the cheapest bid available. That is exactly the definition of a relay system.

Indeed, those relay systems that I am familiar with use a 2 response to one of a suit (other than the strong 1 opening) to commence a relay sequence.


I think it's stupid. In the second round of bidding folks should be allowed the best bidding that they can devise. I can see an argument whether 1S-2C (for example) should be allowed as an artificial GF bid, but once it's been decided in the affirmative, it doesn't make sense to me to hobble continuations.
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#35 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 11:11

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-March-07, 07:16, said:

Every bid can be described as an asking bid if you use such a general form. If I open 1, then I am asking partner if they have a hand that matches the definition of Pass, or 1NT, or 2, and so on.

But that's a useless interpretation. The whole auction is a process of players passing questions and information back and forth. If everything is an asking bid, then there's no point in having the term -- it needs to mean something more specific than just "call". "Asking bid" is generally interpreted as a bid whose only purpose is to get more information from partner, not say anything specific about their hand. If a bid isn't artificial, it isn't an asking bid.

Calling a natural opening an asking bid is like calling "Hello" a question because it "asks" the person you're speaking to if he wishes to converse with you.

You might be able to get away with calling a takeout double an asking bid -- it usually asks partner which is their longest suit. But it also usually says something about the doubler's hand: either it's short in the opponents' suits and has support for the other suits, or it's very strong. So it's a descriptive bid, not an asking bid.

#36 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 11:47

View Postbarmar, on 2013-March-07, 11:11, said:

But that's a useless interpretation. The whole auction is a process of players passing questions and information back and forth. If everything is an asking bid, then there's no point in having the term -- it needs to mean something more specific than just "call". "Asking bid" is generally interpreted as a bid whose only purpose is to get more information from partner, not say anything specific about their hand. If a bid isn't artificial, it isn't an asking bid.

Calling a natural opening an asking bid is like calling "Hello" a question because it "asks" the person you're speaking to if he wishes to converse with you.

You might be able to get away with calling a takeout double an asking bid -- it usually asks partner which is their longest suit. But it also usually says something about the doubler's hand: either it's short in the opponents' suits and has support for the other suits, or it's very strong. So it's a descriptive bid, not an asking bid.

In keeping with this thread's semantic and nitpicking bent, I am going to point out that a double is a call and not a bid. Therefore, a takeout double is a descriptive call and not a descriptive bid (let alone an asking bid).
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#37 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 12:05

View PostArtK78, on 2013-March-07, 11:47, said:

In keeping with this thread's semantic and nitpicking bent, I am going to point out that a double is a call and not a bid. Therefore, a takeout double is a descriptive call and not a descriptive bid (let alone an asking bid).

Yeah, I know that. Notice that earlier in my post I was careful to refer to just "call".

From then on I reverted to common parlance -- "bid" can be used as a synonym for "call" when context makes it clear what is meant (which I think is at least 90% of the time).

#38 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 12:12

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#39 User is offline   glen 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 12:26

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-March-07, 09:12, said:

... I do not live under ACBL jurisdiction and therefore do not need to try and understand what is allowed ...

point taken

View PostArtK78, on 2013-March-07, 09:18, said:

... A relay system is a system in large part, if not primarily, based on sequences in which one partner asks a series of questions without describing his hand by making the cheapest bid available and the other partner describes his hand based on a predetermined set of responses that are, typically, not "natural" bids (in the sense that natural bids have something to do with the strain mentioned) ...

This is excellent definition, and another one might be "a system that uses artificial initial responses to ask opener to describe hand type artificially", which is what I think they were trying to ban.

ACBL TDs do not have your excellent definition, and almost all of them have never played a relay system, or defended against a relay system. They are given this definition by the ACBL:

ACBL said:

DEFINITIONS
5. A sequence of relay bids is defined as a system if, after an opening of one of a suit, it is started prior to opener’s rebid.

There is no definition of "relay bids", except for this:

ACBL said:

Relay: A bid which does not guarantee any specific suit; partner is requested to make the next-step bid (usually) or make another descriptive bid if appropriate (e.g., a diamond bid which usually shows hearts but may not have hearts in some cases).

http://www.acbl.org/play/alert.html

(note that this idea of a relay to next-step would produce an interesting "relay system")

Using that, the ACBL TDs are asked to enforce this:

ACBL said:

DISALLOWED
5. Relay (tell me more) systems.

In another section, it notes:

ACBL said:

Relay systems (one player tells nothing about his own hand while interrogating partner about his hand through a series of conventional calls) are not allowed.

http://www.acbl.org/...ntion-Chart.pdf

Make things easier for the TDs and opponents, and describe the bids as you would properly explain them to a club level player. Do not assume your definition of "relay" is their definition of relay. Likewise do not assume they will know what a marionette is, and who advancer might be.
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#40 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2013-March-07, 12:47

ACBL said:

Relay: A bid which does not guarantee any specific suit; partner is requested to make the next-step bid (usually) or make another descriptive bid if appropriate (e.g., a diamond bid which usually shows hearts but may not have hearts in some cases).


This sounds like a marionette to me...

Zelandakh said:

Marionette = partner usually makes a particular bid but is allowed to bid something else on occasion

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