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Checkback Stayman

#21 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:23

View Postnekthen, on 2016-May-31, 10:02, said:

Without that style, I prefer to respond 1 with 4 and 4. If I have 4 and 5, I bid 1. Now I expect p to bid his 4 card major rather than 1 (or even 2) NT.

There is more safety in a 1H rebid by opener on a balanced 18 count that might otherwise consider rebidding 2N, than there is if his alternative rebid is 1N. This is because opener does not expect 1H to be passed (if it does get passed it is probably the right spot) and he can subsequently rebid an appropriate number of NT pretty much regardless of responder's rebid. Personally I would still rebid 2N first time round as opener, with the right values and a balanced hand, but my point is that it is certainly a closer margin of benefit.

The main problems with rebidding 1H when your alternative is 1N are

1) When responder lacks any semblance of a guard in Spades he may be reluctant to rebid 1NT at his second turn, and instead give preference to 2C when 1NT happens to be safer because opener does happen to have them covered,

2) When responder does rebid 1N at his second turn, which can be on a wider range of values than opener's 1N rebid would have been, then opener is left in doubt about whether he can raise 1N in safety or risk missing game by passing. This particular issue only arises in a weak 1N system, so bidding up the line if playing a strong 1N is safer.

3) When opener rebids 1N without denying 4 Spades it leaves the defence less confident that a spade lead is optimal, or even safe.

These are not the only points of influence in favour of rebidding 1N, but I think that they are the three most significant.

On the hand that you mentioned, if the "x" spots are predominantly low cards, I would be inclined to downgrade and open 1N at first bid as opener, which is even less conducive to finding a major suit fit if responder has to pass.

Certainly you should not be bidding checkback with just a 6 count opposite a 1N rebid. You really should have some game interest to go down that route.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#22 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:26

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 10:13, said:

As a beginner I hesitate to say it, but I find that hard to believe. Andrew Robson advocates opening the higher ranking of two four card suits except with hearts and spades. So does the EBU Modern Acol System File 2014, Ron Klinger, and every other modern Acol source I can lay my hands on. Maybe that explains why bidding knowledge of UK players is so low, all our experts are giving us bad advice.

It is I think an easier system for a beginner to learn. There is a cost in accuracy, but that may be the lesser cost than trying to play methods that are more complex than experience justifies.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#23 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:47

View Post1eyedjack, on 2016-May-31, 10:26, said:

It is I think an easier system for a beginner to learn. There is a cost in accuracy, but that may be the lesser cost than trying to play methods that are more complex than experience justifies.

The EBU system file has a 'Foundation level Standard English' section and the Modern Acol section that is for more advanced players. Both advocate opening a 4 card major rather than a minor, so it's not just for beginners.
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#24 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:47

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 10:13, said:

As a beginner I hesitate to say it, but I find that hard to believe. Andrew Robson advocates opening the higher ranking of two four card suits except with hearts and spades. So does the EBU Modern Acol System File 2014, Ron Klinger, and every other modern Acol source I can lay my hands on. Maybe that explains why bidding knowledge of UK players is so low, all our experts are giving us bad advice.


you have to consider that people writing bridge books are not doing so because they dream of improving the standard of bridge. outside the portland club [rubber bridge, where even negative doubles are banned] i doubt andrew robson has played acol in the last 20 years.

the EBU file is certainly not written by experts.

ron klinger is australian. acol is the most popular system in the antipodes (from what i've seen anyway), as it is in england. he unsurprisingly tailors his books to his market.

as you seem to doubt what people have said, i'll show you a few reasons why opening 1M on a 4 card suit with a 15+ balanced hand is bad:-
you're pre-empting the auction on your good opening hands. when you have values for game or slam it's obviously best to have as much room as possible to investigate which game or slam you should be playing. starting the bidding at 1 spade on a hand where your competitors are opening 1 club obviously makes that harder
when partner raises to 2M and you have a strong no-trump you're in a weak position. do you pass and miss game with 16/17 opposite 8/9? do you bid 2NT? this pushes you out of a frequent 4-4 fit, meaning if responder's rejecting the invitation and has 4 card support he's pushed to the 3 level
the 5th card in the major easily gets lost. for example after, 1H-(2s)-x-(p), do you play 2NT now as 15+ forcing, allowing responder to show 3 card heart support? if so, what do you bid with Kxxx Kxxxx Ax Qx? 3H would be sickening. similarly 1H - (3x) x - p you have no space to both bid 3NT with your stop and show your 5th heart.
when partner makes a 2/1 and you have support, the bidding is very cramped. let's say you have a 17 count 4234 shape. you open 1 spade, partner bids 2C, do you raise? you can't raise because that's not-forcing. so you have to bid a forcing 2NT, but now you'll have to go past 3NT to show your club support. 3NT is very often the only making game so you'll msot liekly never show your club support at all. that's clearly ridiculous.
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#25 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:49

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 10:13, said:

As a beginner I hesitate to say it, but I find that hard to believe. Andrew Robson advocates opening the higher ranking of two four card suits except with hearts and spades. So does the EBU Modern Acol System File 2014, Ron Klinger, and every other modern Acol source I can lay my hands on. Maybe that explains why bidding knowledge of UK players is so low, all our experts are giving us bad advice.


It's a trade off. Don't underestimate the preemptive value of 1M and 1M-P-2/3M. Some people like not letting the opps in easily at the 1 level.

In constructive auctions, opening the minor is usually better, in competitive auctions you can be better off opening the major.

If you hold a 10 count with 5 spades, would you rather come in over 1-P-1 or 1-P-1N/2 ?
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#26 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 13:11

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 10:47, said:

The EBU system file has a 'Foundation level Standard English' section and the Modern Acol section that is for more advanced players. Both advocate opening a 4 card major rather than a minor, so it's not just for beginners.
As I see it the two documents ("foundation" and "modern") serve two purposes:

1) as a teaching tool, and

2) to enable a pickup partnership to agree fast on an entire workable system with minimal discussion.

As to the second purpose, the pair is free to choose between two methods of varying sophistication based on their general level of experience. But even so, it behoves the publishers to offer limited choice based on the method of prevailing local popularity rather than marginal technical merit.

As to the first purpose listed above, the design of "modern acol" may have in part been addressed to those previously acclimatised to foundation level but who have developed enough experience to want to build on those foundations. There is certainly plenty of scope to do so without ditching the "foundation" principles, and it is understandable that the publishers would seek to minimise the inconsistencies between the two, even at some modest cost of technical merit.

I doubt that a serious competitive partnership would look to this as an authoritative resource of optimal methods, and I doubt that the publishers would seek to make that claim on its behalf. But there is no doubt that the systems are "workable".
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#27 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 13:42

View Postwank, on 2016-May-31, 10:47, said:

you have to consider that people writing bridge books are not doing so because they dream of improving the standard of bridge. outside the portland club [rubber bridge, where even negative doubles are banned] i doubt andrew robson has played acol in the last 20 years.

the EBU file is certainly not written by experts.

ron klinger is australian. acol is the most popular system in the antipodes (from what i've seen anyway), as it is in england. he unsurprisingly tailors his books to his market.


The arguments Robson, Klinger et all give for opening the major with 4432 and 15-17 HCP seem very logical, at least in an uncontested auction. The main thrust is that on your rebid your No1 objective should usually be to show your strength and shape. If you open in the minor then your rebid either hides your major or hides your balanced 15-17. If you open the major you can show both by rebidding 2NT. 1S - 2H guarantees five hearts so an 8 card fit in the major is never missed. I am sure there are counter arguments but I need to start somewhere in getting some underpinning understanding.

As for the low calibre of most English Acol players, and authors dumbing down to acommodate it, isn't there a danger in advocating opening in the minor when they are unlikely to have the additional systems/in depth understanding to make the most of it, such as some of the posters here have suggested. I only know one pair that play 5 card majors Acol in the three small clubs I play at, and I am sure noone will have heard of NMF (I googled to find it) or Walsh style or the wide ranging strong No Trump. My partner certainly won't. If we are almost all playing straightforward Acol with 4 card majors in the 'English' style it would be helpful to a novice/beginner to know whether opening the minor is better than the major without having to make a lot of other tweaks to accommodate it, which is where I started with my OP.
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#28 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 13:59

Know what you play, and know what you have agreed
to play.
Know why you play something.

If you do know this, you will be doing fine.
Certain treatment may be better than others, but
unless you start playing 100+ or even 1000+ boards
per Month with a fixed partner, dont worry to much
about advantages, that certain treatments may offer.

The propability, that it will materialize is low.

... and have fun / enjoy the game.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#29 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 14:00

A couple of examples.

1) You open 1S with a 4-3-2-4, 16 or 17 count, and partner responds 1N, 5-9. Do you raise, hoping for 9?

Probably not with 16, on frequency grounds. The chances of partner having a 5 or 6 count, and dire resulting prognosis outweighs the remote chance of hitting partner with a 9 count, and not all 25 point hands make game. Yet sometimes partner will have that 9 count, and knowing that you probably would want to be in game.

But with 17 the temptation is just too great to risk passing. And yet you will sometimes hit partner with that 5 or 6 count and wish you were a level lower. Even a combined 24 count will fail to make 2N on occasion.

And you would be a level lower if you had opened a minor and partner responded 1-red and allowed you to make a narrower range 1N rebid on 15-17.

2) You open 1S with 4-3-2-4, 15 or 16 count, and partner responds 1N. So you pass. No difficult decision there. Only problem is you are in a somewhat suboptimal spot when you find partner with a 6 card heart suit but lacking the values for a 2/1 response. Had you opened 1C partner would have been able to respond 1H and then pull your 1N rebid to 2H (assuming not playing weak jump shifts, which would have the same effect).

I am sure that others will pile in with other examples both for and against.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#30 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 14:01

View Postwank, on 2016-May-31, 10:47, said:


the EBU file is certainly not written by experts.



I thought it came from the standard English file which was written by Sandra Landy. You may not consider a Venice cup winner an expert, but I do.
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#31 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 14:33

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 13:42, said:

If we are almost all playing straightforward Acol with 4 card majors in the 'English' style it would be helpful to a novice/beginner to know whether opening the minor is better than the major without having to make a lot of other tweaks to accommodate it, which is where I started with my OP.


You don't really have to make a lot of tweaks. The only real tweak semi-necessary is to bid 1M not 1d after partner's 1c opening on 4M4d, and 1M instead of 1d on 4M5d/4M6d when not strong enough to force to game after a strong 1nt rebid. You'll reach almost all of your major fits, with the exception of 4-4 spade fit when responder is 4-4/4-5 in the majors but not strong enough to initiate some sort of checkback sequence after 1m-1H-1nt, you end up in 1nt instead. You'll do OK. You might play some schemes to be able to cater to weak 4M6d to play a diamond partial after 1nt/2nt rebids, (puppet 2-way checkback/XYNT/Wolff), but those hands come up infrequently enough and you'll survive playing those hands in NT often enough that you don't even really have to put in convention to cater to that. But for me 2-way puppet checkback is quite useful just for the other hands and you get the signoff in diamonds for free, that you should look into it. ( http://www.bridgeguy...yCheckback.html )
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#32 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 14:49

I would strongly recommend opening the major. The whole point of playing 4-card majors is that a minor suit opening denies a balanced hand containing a 4card major. That has a number of advantages. There are also advantages of not opening the 4-card major but those are arguments for playing 5-card majors. Opening the minor while not taking the full step to 5-card majors means that you have the disadvantages of a 5-card major system without the advantages.
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#33 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 14:55

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 13:42, said:

The arguments Robson, Klinger et all give for opening the major with 4432 and 15-17 HCP seem very logical, at least in an uncontested auction. The main thrust is that on your rebid your No1 objective should usually be to show your strength and shape. If you open in the minor then your rebid either hides your major or hides your balanced 15-17. If you open the major you can show both by rebidding 2NT. 1S - 2H guarantees five hearts so an 8 card fit in the major is never missed. I am sure there are counter arguments but I need to start somewhere in getting some underpinning understanding.


the counter argument to that specific point is that if you open the minor, responder will bid a major, allowing you to raise to 2. it's not necessary to differentiate between a balanced 15 count and a 5431 12 count at that stage (can clarify on the next round if responder is strange enough) because they both have similar playing strength in a suit contract. you have however shown your other suit so you're ahead in that regard.

if responder doesn't bid a major, it's either because he has enough values to bid again over 1NT (see what i said earlier about bidding majors before diamonds on very weak responding hands), or he hasn't got 1, in which case it's much better if opener keeps his major quiet as it makes it harder for the defence.

the only problem is when responder has exactly 4 spades and 4+ hearts with a weak hand. then it goes 1m-1H-1NT and the spades will be lost.
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#34 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 15:22

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 14:49, said:

I would strongly recommend opening the major. The whole point of playing 4-card majors is that a minor suit opening denies a balanced hand containing a 4card major. That has a number of advantages. There are also advantages of not opening the 4-card major but those are arguments for playing 5-card majors. Opening the minor while not taking the full step to 5-card majors means that you have the disadvantages of a 5-card major system without the advantages.


So, referring back to my first post: playing Modern Acol, 4 card majors etc., if partner insists on opening in the minor, and the bidding goes 1C - 1D - 1NT, can we use 2C as Checkback, just like we do with 1m - 1M - 1NT? I can't see why not, but don't want to extend our current understanding on Checkback if there is a good reason not to. If responder is 5-4 mM it allows discovery of a major fit if there is one.
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#35 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 15:31

View Postwank, on 2016-May-31, 14:55, said:

the counter argument to that specific point is that if you open the minor, responder will bid a major, allowing you to raise to 2.

If partner has Kxxx xxx KQJxx x, and I have four spades and 15-17, then in our system partner would respond 1D and I would rebid 1NT, giving preference to showing shape and strength.
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#36 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 16:25

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 15:22, said:

So, referring back to my first post: playing Modern Acol, 4 card majors etc., if partner insists on opening in the minor, and the bidding goes 1C - 1D - 1NT, can we use 2C as Checkback, just like we do with 1m - 1M - 1NT? I can't see why not, but don't want to extend our current understanding on Checkback if there is a good reason not to. If responder is 5-4 mM it allows discovery of a major fit if there is one.

You can but to find a major suit fit, responder can just bid his major:
1-1
1NT-2(or 2)

Note that if you don't play CBS in this auction,
1-1
1NT-2/3 (or 2/3 )
are all nonforcing. So how to you force to game with club support here? Maybe it is so that with 10-11 points you would have made a limit raise initially, and with more you would have made a strong jump shift in diamonds?

Playing CBS, you can bid 2 first and then 3 or 3 afterwards to show a hand with interest in a minor suit slam.
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#37 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 17:32

There are two ways to play NMF.

One is always to support first and the other is to show any unbid 4 card major first. Whichever way you play changes the meaning of the 3 bid. If you play "support first", then 3 shows 4 and less than 3 . If you play "show the other major first", then 3 shows 4 but doesn't necessarily deny 3 .

So it's important to be sure that you are aligned on how you'll respond to the NMF bid over 1 NT. And it's probably smart to play the same way over 2 NT to eliminate any possible confusion.

Here in the US, most people will always bid 1 over a 1 m - 1 auction when holding 4 . So after a 1 NT rebid, a NMF bid after an initial 1 response is virtually always asking about support. I think that's probably why it seems like most people play "support first" here rather than "bid the other major" first.

I don't see any problem with playing NMF over 1 - 1 - 1 NT either.

It just takes time to work out the bidding sequences and what they mean.
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#38 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 17:40

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 15:31, said:

If partner has Kxxx xxx KQJxx x, and I have four spades and 15-17, then in our system partner would respond 1D and I would rebid 1NT, giving preference to showing shape and strength.


this hand isn't a problem. responder can bid 2S natural, or you can take up some version of checkback and locate the fit that way.

the problem hand is kjxx xxx kxxxx x. now this hand is too weak to introduce spades after 1C-1D-1NT. the solution whilst opening the minor first, is for this hand to respond 1S. you should only do that on 1-bid hands, otherwise bid up the line.
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#39 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 18:36

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 14:49, said:

I would strongly recommend opening the major. The whole point of playing 4-card majors is that a minor suit opening denies a balanced hand containing a 4card major. That has a number of advantages. There are also advantages of not opening the 4-card major but those are arguments for playing 5-card majors. Opening the minor while not taking the full step to 5-card majors means that you have the disadvantages of a 5-card major system without the advantages.



by the way, i agree with helen's comments about opening 1 major in isolation. however, an individual bid in a bidding system is never in isolation. it's the combination of the major first approach with a weak no trump which has unfortunate side effects. the major first approach works very well with a strong no-trump.
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#40 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 18:44

View Postwank, on 2016-May-31, 17:40, said:

this hand isn't a problem. responder can bid 2S natural, or you can take up some version of checkback and locate the fit that way.

the problem hand is kjxx xxx kxxxx x. now this hand is too weak to introduce spades after 1C-1D-1NT. the solution whilst opening the minor first, is for this hand to respond 1S. you should only do that on 1-bid hands, otherwise bid up the line.


Arguably you should also do this with 4x4x, bid 1s rather than 1d, even with GF values worth multiple bids. Let's you differentiate vs. 4M5+d with less artificiality & less revealing auctions.
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