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tough slam to bid?

#1 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 00:19



Dealer South, MP.

6D looks pretty good to me, but 70% of the field was unable to get past 3nt on these hands. How is the bidding supposed to go in normalish 2/1 methods? If North bids 2d, South can spl, but most play that you can spl with less? Then 3nt presumably, and since 2d can also be on less, unclear for South to move? Though looking at the field's auctions, no one actually used 1s-2d-3h? The majority seemed to do 1s-2d-3d-3nt or 1s-2d-3c-3nt, weird.

Or if North bids 2c (2d guaranteeing 5), how is it supposed to continue without a ton of artificiality?

My partner and I were playing a new homebrew semi-relay method after 1S-2c so South was able to show 16+ 5143 by the time 3H was bid so it was easier for us, even though we screwed up some of the subsequent gadget continuations.
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#2 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 01:23

We would bid 1s-2c;2d-4d then control-bid with turbo to 6d. There's also room to bid 4nt as RKCB if one plays that way and is prepared to risk slam without the Queen.
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#3 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 01:23

The only real artificiality there is 2c that does not guarantee clubs or deny spades fit. I prefer that to 2d that might be 4 card.
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#4 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 02:35

Opener is strong enough to bypass 3N in both cases, so I think the auction could start either

1-2
3-3N
4-etc.

or

1-2
2-3
4-etc.

So bidding slam is easy. Determining that 7 is a poor grand, however, e.g. after

...-4N*
5**-5N***
6****-?

* RKC()
** 0 or 3 key cards
*** specific king ask
**** K

, is not so easy.


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#5 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 02:40

I use responses after 2 as follows
2- any Min except as below
2-4 Min+
2-4 non-Min+
2NT-6+ with void/singleton non-Min+
etc.

So similar to pescetom, but with Kickbo to 6

1 - 2
2 - 4 SI
4 3 keycards w. control - 4NT control (4 shows 0/2/4 keycards)
5 control - 6 (use 5 to show control if you're looking for the grand)
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#6 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 02:46

1:2*
2:3
3:3NT
4: keycard to 6
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#7 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 05:03

16 facing 16 with a minor fit at MPs are the hardest when no one dares going past 3NT. But here S whatever the method with all the Aces should be confident enough and N with reasonable extras and a good Kx in opener’s suit collaborates.

Sth like
1S-2D
3D-3H
4C, the key bid and the rest is easy

If opener rebids 3NT, it is not so easy to continue with responder’s hand.
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#8 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 06:38

Not using 2/1 N knows S is 15+ from our auction starting:

1-2(not GF)
2N(GF opposite 9-10, not necessarily balanced)-

Now it depends how N treats his hand, there are several approaches he can take, but I think we reach 6 having rejected the grand when neither player has Q.
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#9 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 08:53

A classic example of what is lost due to J2N. With old standard 2N natural shows this hand and makes it easy: 1s-2N-3D-bingo

Perhaps reclaiming 2n as natural and using 3c as a forcing raise, 3D as a 3-card limit raise (12-(13), and 3M as the 4-card limit raise (10-11) would help but the idea is untested.
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#10 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 10:46

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-11, 08:53, said:

A classic example of what is lost due to J2N. With old standard 2N natural shows this hand and makes it easy: 1s-2N-3D-bingo

Perhaps reclaiming 2n as natural and using 3c as a forcing raise, 3D as a 3-card limit raise (12-(13), and 3M as the 4-card limit raise (10-11) would help but the idea is untested.

My understanding of the (very) old-fashioned natural 2N was 12-14 balanced. Hardly ‘bingo’ then, since responder is too strong for the call.
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#11 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 10:51

View Postmikeh, on 2021-July-11, 10:46, said:

My understanding of the (very) old-fashioned natural 2N was 12-14 balanced. Hardly ‘bingo’ then, since responder is too strong for the call.


Many moved on to baron style though, it was 11-12 when I learned my bridge.
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#12 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 10:58

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-July-11, 10:51, said:

Many moved on to baron style though, it was 11-12 when I learned my bridge.


In America Goren 2nt was 13-15. I think Baron (2nt = 16+) is more of a UK thing.
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#13 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 11:17

View Postmikeh, on 2021-July-11, 10:46, said:

My understanding of the (very) old-fashioned natural 2N was 12-14 balanced. Hardly ‘bingo’ then, since responder is too strong for the call.

As with everything, the range of the bid is a choice. I’ve played 13-15 and 14-16. This of course means that 3nt takes the next natural raise category . You can still find the diamond fit over 3n as long as you are aware that 4n is a place to play and a viable contract.

Btw, I didn’t claim this ideal - just showing that J2N is limited in usefulness.

But there is no reason 2n can’t be balanced forcing raise without a set upper limit - it would be un-Jacoby.😁
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#14 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 12:28

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-11, 11:17, said:

As with everything, the range of the bid is a choice. I’ve played 13-15 and 14-16. This of course means that 3nt takes the next natural raise category . You can still find the diamond fit over 3n as long as you are aware that 4n is a place to play and a viable contract.

Btw, I didn’t claim this ideal - just showing that J2N is limited in usefulness.

But there is no reason 2n can’t be balanced forcing raise without a set upper limit - it would be un-Jacoby.😁

It’s fairly standard, when playing 1m 2N as forcing, which I do, to have 2N be 12-14 (or for us, since we open almost all 11 counts) 13-15 or 18-19 (again, for us, 19-20), but it’s unusual and, imo, theoretically unsound not to split the ranges. Playing it as 14+ leaves the partnership struggling with exactly this sort of scenario. Opposite 15-16 balanced, slam is improbable absent a good mesh….and why on earth should responder be 2=4=4=3 rather than the slightly more likely 2=4=3=4?

As for opener bidding 4D over a 15-16 3N, at mps, you’d have to pay me a lot of money to offer a slam probe on Axxx! See above….why can’t responder be 2=4=3=4?

And before you say he can sign off in 4N with Kx AQxx KQx Qxx imagine opener with 5=5 in spades and diamonds.


No, for me the most plausible routes to 6D are:

1. 2D showing 4+, which I do not play

Now opener has a problem. I think it common to splinter with limited values. The idea of a splinter, usually, is to invite slam when partner has less than strong slam interest ab initio but learns of a good mesh, with all his cards working. So I’d splinter with AJxxx x Axxx Kxx or possibly Axx or KQx in clubs, but this hand is too strong imo.

So I’d bid 3D.

Over 3N, I’d bid 4C, which should get us to slam

2. 2C by responder, fetching 2D by opener.

North raises diamonds. While south’s diamonds are horrible for slam, the rest of the hand couldn’t be more slam friendly, so I can see bidding 4C. Btw, for those who start this way, you need a clear understanding of the meanings of 3H or 3S by opener.

3S should, imo, be natural, usually 6-4. 3H is more interesting.

Since the mantra ‘game before slam’ is justifiably a sound idea, 3H should be a probe for the right game rather than a slam try, at that point. Put another way, how should responder bid over 3D with AQJxx Kxx Axxx x, given that 2C didn’t show more than 3 clubs and didn’t promise a stopper? I think 3H is clear, hoping to catch a 3S call on, say, Kx Axxx KQxx Qxx or Kx AQxx KJxx xxx

All of which tends to make bidding 4C over 3D a bit easier, since we really don’t have viable alternatives. We have to hope that partner doesn’t hold xx AKJx Qxxx QJx….but now we can rest in 4N, one hopes. Of course, if 4N over 4C is keycard, we have issues🥴


Meanwhile, in real life I can well understand a lot of pairs stopping in 3N. I am, as always, amused by how, when both hands are presented, so many posters write as if getting to slam is obvious or simple.
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#15 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-11, 16:30

View Postmikeh, on 2021-July-11, 12:28, said:

It's fairly standard, when playing 1m 2N as forcing, which I do, to have 2N be 12-14 (or for us, since we open almost all 11 counts) 13-15 or 18-19 (again, for us, 19-20), but it's unusual and, imo, theoretically unsound not to split the ranges. Playing it as 14+ leaves the partnership struggling with exactly this sort of scenario. Opposite 15-16 balanced, slam is improbable absent a good mesh….and why on earth should responder be 2=4=4=3 rather than the slightly more likely 2=4=3=4?

As for opener bidding 4D over a 15-16 3N, at mps, you'd have to pay me a lot of money to offer a slam probe on Axxx! See above….why can't responder be 2=4=3=4?

And before you say he can sign off in 4N with Kx AQxx KQx Qxx imagine opener with 5=5 in spades and diamonds.


No, for me the most plausible routes to 6D are:

1. 2D showing 4+, which I do not play

Now opener has a problem. I think it common to splinter with limited values. The idea of a splinter, usually, is to invite slam when partner has less than strong slam interest ab initio but learns of a good mesh, with all his cards working. So I'd splinter with AJxxx x Axxx Kxx or possibly Axx or KQx in clubs, but this hand is too strong imo.

So I'd bid 3D.

Over 3N, I'd bid 4C, which should get us to slam

2. 2C by responder, fetching 2D by opener.

North raises diamonds. While south's diamonds are horrible for slam, the rest of the hand couldn't be more slam friendly, so I can see bidding 4C. Btw, for those who start this way, you need a clear understanding of the meanings of 3H or 3S by opener.

3S should, imo, be natural, usually 6-4. 3H is more interesting.

Since the mantra 'game before slam' is justifiably a sound idea, 3H should be a probe for the right game rather than a slam try, at that point. Put another way, how should responder bid over 3D with AQJxx Kxx Axxx x, given that 2C didn't show more than 3 clubs and didn't promise a stopper? I think 3H is clear, hoping to catch a 3S call on, say, Kx Axxx KQxx Qxx or Kx AQxx KJxx xxx

All of which tends to make bidding 4C over 3D a bit easier, since we really don't have viable alternatives. We have to hope that partner doesn't hold xx AKJx Qxxx QJx….but now we can rest in 4N, one hopes. Of course, if 4N over 4C is keycard, we have issues🥴


Meanwhile, in real life I can well understand a lot of pairs stopping in 3N. I am, as always, amused by how, when both hands are presented, so many posters write as if getting to slam is obvious or simple.


Agree. Finding the 4-4 fit for slam purposes is not the easiest thing even when talking about major suits - much harder in minors. Still, I wasn't overly serious when I wrote it but now that I think a little bit more maybe there is an argument for 2N as 13+ balanced with no upper limit. I have to think on it some more.
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#16 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-July-12, 12:49

Stephen Tu 'Dealer South, MP. 6D looks pretty good to me, but 70% of the field was unable to get past 3nt on these hands. How is the bidding supposed to go in normalish 2/1 methods? If North bids 2d, South can spl, but most play that you can spl with less? Then 3nt presumably, and since 2d can also be on less, unclear for South to move? Though looking at the field's auctions, no one actually used 1s-2d-3h? The majority seemed to do 1s-2d-3d-3nt or 1s-2d-3c-3nt, weird.Or if North bids 2c (2d guaranteeing 5), how is it supposed to continue without a ton of artificiality?My partner and I were playing a new homebrew semi-relay method after 1S-2c so South was able to show 16+ 5143 by time 3H was bid so it was easier for us, even though we screwed up some of the subsequent gadget continuations.'
+++++++++++++++++++++
Hands rotated to make West dealer. Guess at a possible 2/1 auction.
I agree that 3N would normally end the auction but if opener patterns out with 4, then EW can reach the slam.

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#17 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 03:02

I feel this is one of the weakest areas of 2/1, minor suit auctions where both partners have some extras but not overwhelming strength. A lot of people say just bid out your shape and you can work it out, but IMO *high card strength matters too*. I think if bidding all strength ranges with same bids, it's impossible to work these things out without what Kaplan deemed "ye olde black magic".

Sure, on this auction opener can chance a move over 3nt and it works out here, but I think opposite different responders you may find yourself in 4nt an unlucky down 1 some portion of the time, or you may work your way to 5D but lose to 430s or even go down in 5d.

There are also loads of questions:

If 1S-2d:
  • Should spl be made on mins? Should it have an upper limit and opener has to bid 3d?
  • If opener bids 3D is this the entire range, including minimums, or should the direct raise (instead of bidding a waiting 2S) show extra values?
  • How the hell does one sort out stoppers after 3D, with only one bid available? And strength if 3D can be a total min?
  • Plus if you can't spl, now opener can never really show shortness? I don't necessarily agree with nige1 that 4c is patterning out, can't it just be a cue bid?

If 1S-2c:
  • Does 1S-2c-2d guarantee 4+ diamonds for you? It doesn't, for me, I use it as a catchall. If it does guarantee diamonds, and 2S shows 6, then I guess you are bidding 3C on the entire range with 5S4c? How do you sort that out when the minor suits are swapped for both hands then and 6c is the target?
  • After 1s-2c-2d-? what hands do you raise to 3D? All hands with diamond support? Only distributional hands with clubs/diamonds, and 2nt takes priority? Only hands with extras?
  • Again after 1s-2c-2d-3d, how do you sort out stoppers with only one bid if 3s would show more spades? Especially since you don't know about club stoppers anymore since 2c can be on 4 high and facing a stiff? Sometimes I think people adopt the 2c = clubs/bal gadget & 2d = 5 without really considering the can of worms it opens. In the old days one just didn't worry about club stoppers after a 2/1 in clubs.

Basically IMO it sucks that opener can't show both range and distribution below 3nt, for most people. But it can be done! After delving into possibilities, I came to really admire the Ambra structure developed by Garozzo and others, I think it works quite elegantly. It seems to have gotten some popularity in the Netherlands also, with Brink/Drijver using some elements. It is very similar to the structure mw64ahw posted above. Basically after 1s-2c!-? 3c+ show strong club raises of various types, 2S shows extras with diamonds. After 1s-2c!-2s!-?, 2nt asks then 3c+ show the same hand types as the club raises but with diamonds instead of clubs. With minimums and not the other major just bid 1s-2c!-2d!. Then 1S-2c!-2d!-2h! unwinds this (a criminally underutilized bid playing more naturally), then 2s/3c all have the same meanings as before shape-wise, just with the weaker range. (Responder can also not bid the 2h relay to describe distributional club hands of his own). So this way you get to show all the common shapes *and* show/deny extra values, ending at 3nt or lower.

I think this is much, much better than standard, and should be adopted more widely. I tried to get my partner to play it, but he had never played a relay system and found it a bit too overwhelming given the low frequency of the auction. So I developed a cut-down, slightly rearranged version with more familiar elements, but still with the ability to show either minor, limit strength ranges, and show shortages and 5/5s below 3nt.

Even good players screwed up this hand. I was rather amused to see one of the better players from my area, an occasional teammate, who won a senior NABC+ title relatively recently, perpetrate an auction on this hand where apparently neither hand could ever show diamonds naturally nor was strength range revealed! Guess a better player than system designer.
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#18 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 03:03

View PostStephen Tu, on 2021-July-11, 10:58, said:

In America Goren 2nt was 13-15. I think Baron (2nt = 16+) is more of a UK thing.


Well IIRC CC Wei used it in early precision.
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#19 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 05:53

View PostStephen Tu, on 2021-July-13, 03:02, said:

Basically IMO it sucks that opener can't show both range and distribution below 3nt, for most people. But it can be done! After delving into possibilities, I came to really admire the Ambra structure developed by Garozzo and others, I think it works quite elegantly.

An Ambra-like structure I came up with ideas from Symmetric Relay:

https://www.bridgeba...post__p__933727

I (nullve-nullve) don't play this in my 2/1-like system (I think the MIN ("10-15"?) and MAX ("16-21"?) ranges there would have to be too wide), but still something inspired by Garozzo's GAR.

My auction:



nullve(S)-nullve(N):

1(1)-2(2)
3(3)-3(4)
3(5)-4(6)
4(7)-4(8)
5(9)-5(10)
5N(11)-6(12)
P

(1) "10-21, 5+ S, unBAL"
(2) 3-way (NAT, a not-too-unBAL GF hand or an INV+ raise)
(3) "16-18, (3)4+ D, not 5S5D"
(4) relay (GF)
(5) 16-18, 5143/5044
(6) slam try not in D
(7) 5143
(8) Parity Key Card Blackood in D
(9) odd # of key cards, no trump Q
(10) K ask
(11) K, no Q
(12) contract
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#20 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 06:14

View PostStephen Tu, on 2021-July-13, 03:02, said:

I feel this is one of the weakest areas of 2/1, minor suit auctions where both partners have some extras but not overwhelming strength. A lot of people say just bid out your shape and you can work it out, but IMO *high card strength matters too*. I think if bidding all strength ranges with same bids, it's impossible to work these things out without what Kaplan deemed "ye olde black magic".

Sure, on this auction opener can chance a move over 3nt and it works out here, but I think opposite different responders you may find yourself in 4nt an unlucky down 1 some portion of the time, or you may work your way to 5D but lose to 430s or even go down in 5d.

There are also loads of questions:

If 1S-2d:
  • Should spl be made on mins? Should it have an upper limit and opener has to bid 3d?
  • If opener bids 3D is this the entire range, including minimums, or should the direct raise (instead of bidding a waiting 2S) show extra values?
  • How the hell does one sort out stoppers after 3D, with only one bid available? And strength if 3D can be a total min?
  • Plus if you can't spl, now opener can never really show shortness? I don't necessarily agree with nige1 that 4c is patterning out, can't it just be a cue bid?

If 1S-2c:
  • Does 1S-2c-2d guarantee 4+ diamonds for you? It doesn't, for me, I use it as a catchall. If it does guarantee diamonds, and 2S shows 6, then I guess you are bidding 3C on the entire range with 5S4c? How do you sort that out when the minor suits are swapped for both hands then and 6c is the target?
  • After 1s-2c-2d-? what hands do you raise to 3D? All hands with diamond support? Only distributional hands with clubs/diamonds, and 2nt takes priority? Only hands with extras?
  • Again after 1s-2c-2d-3d, how do you sort out stoppers with only one bid if 3s would show more spades? Especially since you don't know about club stoppers anymore since 2c can be on 4 high and facing a stiff? Sometimes I think people adopt the 2c = clubs/bal gadget & 2d = 5 without really considering the can of worms it opens. In the old days one just didn't worry about club stoppers after a 2/1 in clubs.

Basically IMO it sucks that opener can't show both range and distribution below 3nt, for most people. But it can be done! After delving into possibilities, I came to really admire the Ambra structure developed by Garozzo and others, I think it works quite elegantly. It seems to have gotten some popularity in the Netherlands also, with Brink/Drijver using some elements. It is very similar to the structure mw64ahw posted above. Basically after 1s-2c!-? 3c+ show strong club raises of various types, 2S shows extras with diamonds. After 1s-2c!-2s!-?, 2nt asks then 3c+ show the same hand types as the club raises but with diamonds instead of clubs. With minimums and not the other major just bid 1s-2c!-2d!. Then 1S-2c!-2d!-2h! unwinds this (a criminally underutilized bid playing more naturally), then 2s/3c all have the same meanings as before shape-wise, just with the weaker range. (Responder can also not bid the 2h relay to describe distributional club hands of his own). So this way you get to show all the common shapes *and* show/deny extra values, ending at 3nt or lower.

I think this is much, much better than standard, and should be adopted more widely. I tried to get my partner to play it, but he had never played a relay system and found it a bit too overwhelming given the low frequency of the auction. So I developed a cut-down, slightly rearranged version with more familiar elements, but still with the ability to show either minor, limit strength ranges, and show shortages and 5/5s below 3nt.

Even good players screwed up this hand. I was rather amused to see one of the better players from my area, an occasional teammate, who won a senior NABC+ title relatively recently, perpetrate an auction on this hand where apparently neither hand could ever show diamonds naturally nor was strength range revealed! Guess a better player than system designer.


As a reminder the approach I use is based on Advancing a Nebulous 2 Response (bridgewinners.com). where I don't have immediate support for the opened Major

With a bit of use it I now find it straightforward to remember especially as the responses after 1M-2-2-2 are the same, but with a Min

I use similar responses structure with GF 5+ & 5+
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