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The robots use Gerber sort of

Poll: Gerber (29 member(s) have cast votes)

Is Gerber a useful convention

  1. At any time (1 votes [3.45%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.45%

  2. Never (4 votes [13.79%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.79%

  3. Only over no trump openings (16 votes [55.17%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 55.17%

  4. For my opponents (5 votes [17.24%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.24%

  5. Other (3 votes [10.34%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 10.34%

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#21 User is offline   spade7 

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Posted 2020-October-11, 04:32

Such as a transfer to hearts.
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#22 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2020-October-11, 09:43

In 1992, I had a pick-up partnership with a lady who insisted that all 4 bids would be ace-asking, without exception.

This was not as difficult as I thought it would be. You just have to plan your auction with care.

Fortunately, I never was in a situation when I desperately needed to escape to 4 from 3NTx.
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#23 User is offline   manudude03 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 06:30

View Postbluenikki, on 2020-October-11, 09:43, said:

In 1992, I had a pick-up partnership with a lady who insisted that all 4 bids would be ace-asking, without exception.

This was not as difficult as I thought it would be. You just have to plan your auction with care.

Fortunately, I never was in a situation when I desperately needed to escape to 4 from 3NTx.


Reminds me of a board when the auction went 3H-(X)-P-(4C) and it was taken as gerber, it eventually ended in 6CX which was not a success. The 4C bidder had xx xxx xxx JTxxx or something.
Wayne Somerville
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#24 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 08:51

View Postmanudude03, on 2020-October-09, 03:34, said:

Gerber can have its uses, but it's rare. It should generally only be used for unbalanced hands where aces and kings are all you care about. On this hand for example, you need the diamond finesse to work in 6NT regardless of the lead, while you only need it in 6S if you get a diamond lead.

This is precisely the point that most players just do not understand about Gerber over natural NT openings. It was a tool designed for a time when transfers were not the standard and thus closed a particular system hole. With a good modern NT structure there is no necessity for Gerber at all because these hands can be bid in a different way. The OP hand is a case in point - it is a balanced slam-going hand so either start with Stayman or, if you play it, a Baron 2 (or 4) response.

Finally, for the record I play a 4 response to 1NT as showing both majors and after a 2NT opening as showing diamonds. I regard both conventions as a clear improvement over Gerber.
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#25 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 14:40

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-October-12, 08:51, said:

This is precisely the point that most players just do not understand about Gerber over natural NT openings. It was a tool designed for a time when transfers were not the standard and thus closed a particular system hole. With a good modern NT structure there is no necessity for Gerber at all because these hands can be bid in a different way. The OP hand is a case in point - it is a balanced slam-going hand so either start with Stayman or, if you play it, a Baron 2 (or 4) response.

Finally, for the record I play a 4 response to 1NT as showing both majors and after a 2NT opening as showing diamonds. I regard both conventions as a clear improvement over Gerber.


I agree with your argument, although at that point I think one might as well bite the bullet and play South-African Texas transfers over both. Or not?
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#26 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 15:06

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-October-12, 08:51, said:

Finally, for the record I play a 4 response to 1NT as showing both majors and after a 2NT opening as showing diamonds. I regard both conventions as a clear improvement over Gerber.

Sure, when they come up, they have the potential to be 1000% better than if you were using Gerber instead. But, if you have a strong minor suit hand that just needs the right number of aces to make slam, but otherwise play 4NT, then playing Gerber will make your life a lot easier.

And most players have a way to show both majors below the 4 level.
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#27 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 15:10

View PostHuibertus, on 2020-October-11, 03:00, said:

There ALWAYS is a better use for 4, including as a response to NT openings.

And yet, most experts play 4 as Gerber over NT openings, including Bridge World Standard 2017 which is a consensus of expert and reader opinions.
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#28 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 15:27

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-12, 15:10, said:

And yet, most experts play 4 as Gerber over NT openings, including Bridge World Standard 2017 which is a consensus of expert and reader opinions.

That's a big call. Unfortunately I can't seem to get system cards for the most recent world championships, but I looked through the last Australian open trials. Here we see the following agreements for 1NT-4C:
  • hearts - 19 pairs
  • 6/5 in the majors - 1 pair
  • Gerber - 1 pair
  • No agreement - 1 pair


There will always be regional trends, but good ideas do filter down here every so often. If Gerber were clearly better I would expect to see a higher prevalence.
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#29 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 16:14

View Postsfi, on 2020-October-12, 15:27, said:

That's a big call. Unfortunately I can't seem to get system cards for the most recent world championships, but I looked through the last Australian open trials. Here we see the following agreements for 1NT-4C:
  • hearts - 19 pairs
  • 6/5 in the majors - 1 pair
  • Gerber - 1 pair
  • No agreement - 1 pair


There will always be regional trends, but good ideas do filter down here every so often. If Gerber were clearly better I would expect to see a higher prevalence.

I am very surprised that South African Texas Transfers have overwhelming support in Australia. Is weak NT the norm there?
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#30 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 16:31

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-12, 14:40, said:

I agree with your argument, although at that point I think one might as well bite the bullet and play South-African Texas transfers over both. Or not?

I have alternative ways of showing a major one-suiter and asking partner for their slam suitability and ordinary Texas if just a key card ask is required. So I personally see little benefit to the SA variety. Over 2NT it is worse - SA Texas is a great way of wrong-siding a contract and losing the 4 transfer means having to find an alternative auction for a diamond one-suiter. That would probably mean for me having to mix it in with 3, meaning that Opener would no longer be able to show club support there.
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#31 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 16:54

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-12, 15:06, said:

Sure, when they come up, they have the potential to be 1000% better than if you were using Gerber instead. But, if you have a strong minor suit hand that just needs the right number of aces to make slam, but otherwise play 4NT, then playing Gerber will make your life a lot easier.

And most players have a way to show both majors below the 4 level.

As do I. The 4 response over 1NT is used on 3 different hand types, weaker distributional hands that want to preempt immediately to the 4 level (I play a WNT opening); hands that are certain that no slam is available no matter how good partner's support; and hands that just want to know the better major and ask for key cards. Normal game forcing hands with 5-5 majors use the auction 1NT - 2; 2 - 3, which gives plenty of space for slam investigation on the hands that need it.

For minor one-suited hands that just want to ask, you set the suit, either directly using 3m or via a transfer, and then use your favourite key card convention, presumably Minorwood, Redwood or Kickback. You get the benefit of key card follow-ups when that is useful. For me the auction will be something like 1NT - 3; 3 - 4 or 1NT - 3; 3 - 4, where Opener's 3/3 declined the slam try. These auctions are of course extremely rare; usually Responder will want to find out some additional information along the way, which is what the space between 3red and 4red is used for. Over 2NT it is similar: 2NT - 3; 3NT - 4; 4 - 4, where 3NT declined a club fit and 4 declined the slam try, or 2NT - 4; 4 - 4.

I am sure you will argue that these auctions are such that finishing in 4NT might not be possible. That is true but my bidding philosophy is more to maximise information transfer to make it so that we can find good slams as often as possible rather than catering to special cases. It would in fact not be so difficult to construct auctions to handle this without Gerber, I just do not consider it worth the effort.
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#32 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 16:57

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-12, 16:14, said:

I am very surprised that South African Texas Transfers have overwhelming support in Australia. Is weak NT the norm there?

There are quite a few people playing weak NT in general (maybe 20-30%), but I would guess that at least 15 of those pairs play strong NT. I know two of them play Precision, so they would have a weaker NT range.
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#33 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 19:10

I always forget it exists and many experts on this site seem to regard it as unnecessary/ not useful but occasionally (a few times in several years) GiB has used it so I have to remember what it is. In fact GiB used it a few days with me after a 2NT bid - but since it had all the Aces I am not sure why - except,perhaps, as a smart deception for the EW GiB defence :)
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#34 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-12, 19:57

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-12, 16:14, said:

I am very surprised that South African Texas Transfers have overwhelming support in Australia. Is weak NT the norm there?


I have mentioned this before. South African Texas transfers only enjoy support in a very small[1] part of Australia. Will Jenner-O'Shea teaches it at the Sydney Bridge Club (Home of the NSWBA). If you go North of the Harbour to the largest club in Australia, where the actual South Africans live, they don't play it. The club where I learned doesn't use it either - they are members of the Gerber-detester fraternity.
I believe that South African is popular in Victoria.
About a year ago I played with a pick-up partner in Sydney Bridge centre who was the playing director and (obviously) much better than me. I had just learned Texas from GIB and when I bid 4 over 1NT he thought for quite a while then bid 4.
I would place it as an 'intermediate' convention.
One big problem with 'giving' people convention cards is that you assume that they actually know the stuff that's on them. This can lead to all sorts of hilarious 'understandings'.
[1] When I say small I mean in terms of Bridge players, not geography - obviously.

So, no they don't the support is underwhelming, to say the least.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#35 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-14, 19:25

Well, I don't care what Mr Namechangedtoprotecttheinnocent says. I liked playing with the other guy. That's why I bought them 3 pots of Baby food.
I just used Gerber with the robots and it was delicious Posted Image.
https://tinyurl.com/yxb7p2ed
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#36 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-15, 03:22

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-12, 16:14, said:

I am very surprised that South African Texas Transfers have overwhelming support in Australia. Is weak NT the norm there?
Recently, several Scottish pairs have ditched Jacoby 4/ in favour of South African Texas (Namyats) 4/ to show /, respectively; because this allows partner to make a safe slam-try of 4 /, with suitable hands.
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#37 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-15, 03:35

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-15, 03:22, said:

Recently, several Scottish pairs have ditched Jacoby 4/ in favour of South African Texas (Namyats) 4/ to show /, respectively; because this allows partner to make a safe slam-try of 4 /, with suitable hands.

What meaning is assigned to 4 and 4? Letting opener make a "safe" slam try when responder just has a game only hand seems like major information leakage.
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#38 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-15, 04:19

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-15, 03:35, said:

What meaning is assigned to 4 and 4? Letting opener make a "safe" slam try when responder just has a game only hand seems like major information leakage.

I would expect that everyone around here who is playing 4C and 4D as transfers will also have 4H and 4S to play. Most would not have a meaning for the intervening step, but those who do are likely to play it as a hand with super support, essentially asking responder to reconsider. I recently suggested playing it as a hand with no positional value, just in case partner has some but chose to transfer anyway, but haven't actually done so yet. I'm not sure if you lose too much by letting LHO double for the lead though.
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#39 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-15, 17:40

View Postsfi, on 2020-October-15, 04:19, said:

I'm not sure if you lose too much by letting LHO double for the lead though.

The are also lead directing implications if LHO doesn't double :)
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#40 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-15, 18:30

View Postjohnu, on 2020-October-15, 17:40, said:

The are also lead directing implications if LHO doesn't double :)

As well as implications about what to expect in dummy. It may be an idea that never sees the light of day.
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