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Countering the opposing system

#1 User is offline   rr9000 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 17:23

You hold AKJ3, AQ8, K2, 9632 red at imps and the auction proceeds as follows:

(1H*) P (1S**) P by you
(2D***) P (2H) to you

*forcing, 14+ with 5+ hearts or 11+ with 5+ hearts and 4+ spades
** 0-9, 4+ spades
*** 5 hearts, 4+ diamonds, 14-16 points

Do you bid on either first or second round?

Normally, you play 1NT unusual in sandwich position. Against this system, what would you want your agreements to be about what 1NT shows on the first round? About what X shows on first round?

Against this system, what would you want your agreements to be about what X should show on second round?

Thanks for your thoughts!

RR9000
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#2 User is online   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 17:55

View Poststeve2005, on 2019-May-16, 16:54, said:

Double is bizarre but assuming partner actually has their bid 3 is just as atrocious!
Surely a minor suit game or even slam is likely. I would have bid 3.

Against any system I would want my 1NT in sandwich position to be natural.

Well, not after 1 (strong) - 1(negative).
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#3 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 18:57

.
rr9000's bidding problem:
+++++++++++++++++++

Over 1, I rank
1. Pass = NAT Especially if 1N would be a 2-suited take-out.
2. 1N = if BAL 15-18 probably better to bid now rather than protect later.

Over 2, I rank
1. Pass = NAT and wimpy.
2. Double = T/O and foolhardy. You are vulnerable, Ops might have a misfit, they seem to have lots of points and your red honours are under LHO's.

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#4 User is offline   DozyDom 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 19:00

I don't think I would change the meaning of my 1NT sandwich. Opener is likely to be stronger than average; responder is likely to be weaker. If you have firm agreements of what 1NT indicates, I wouldn't change things simply because it would create too much complexity for too little advantage. The discussion of what it should normally be is for another debate.

With 1NT as unusual, I see no other available call for you on the first round. You will have to pass. And on the second round, too, I think you should pass, with a heavy heart. You have no suit to overcall, and the hand seems to be a misfit - I'd prefer to stay out.
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#5 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 20:16

View Postrr9000, on 2019-May-16, 17:23, said:

Normally, you play 1NT unusual in sandwich position. Against this system, what would you want your agreements to be about what 1NT shows on the first round? About what X shows on first round?

Against this system, what would you want your agreements to be about what X should show on second round?


Hands like this are why most (not all) experts play a strong, natural NT in sandwich position. You can frequently get frozen out of the auction and you are just guessing what to do if you take action in a later round.

Instead of an unusual 1NT, you can double, or actually take up some space and jump to 2NT with the minors.
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#6 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 20:26

With the trend of ever-lighter openings and responses, I think one cannot afford to give up a natural 1NT. Playing such I would have overcalled 1NT on the first round.

Two-suited NT can still be used by a passed hand. With this hand, I guess you have to double, with the understanding that it may not be a classical takeout double. Similar things arise even when playing natural 1NT e.g. you swap the black suits on that hand, now you don't have a spade stop.

Agree with DozyDom that the fact opps are playing fantunes style (bidding, not cardplay!) offers little reason to change your system.

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#7 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2019-May-16, 22:46

View Postjohnu, on 2019-May-16, 20:16, said:

Hands like this are why most (not all) experts play a strong, natural NT in sandwich position. You can frequently get frozen out of the auction and you are just guessing what to do if you take action in a later round.


I've had the strong natural meaning in a couple of partnerships for several years, but my partners know that I will never bid it. Every time I have been tempted, I've avoided a large number by passing instead.

Clearly there are times when it would be useful, but my experience has suggested that even with lighter openings it is a losing proposition to bid a strong 1NT in this position.
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#8 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-May-17, 05:07

Once opener shows the stronger hand, I don't think you want to compete further.

Responder's hand is still unknown, but between yourself and opener you can account for 31-33 points. That leaves 7-9 available for both partner and responder. If responder bid on zero points, you might be close to game depending on opener's count, but the problem is that your Q and K have lost some value with opener holding those suits behind you.

OTOH, if the outstanding points are split or with responder, you could be stepping into the fire by competing now.

Your system prevented competing on the first round, so stay fixed now and pass.
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#9 User is offline   rr9000 

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Posted 2019-May-20, 18:19

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-May-17, 05:07, said:

Once opener shows the stronger hand, I don't think you want to compete further.

Responder's hand is still unknown, but between yourself and opener you can account for 31-33 points. That leaves 7-9 available for both partner and responder. If responder bid on zero points, you might be close to game depending on opener's count, but the problem is that your Q and K have lost some value with opener holding those suits behind you.

OTOH, if the outstanding points are split or with responder, you could be stepping into the fire by competing now.

Your system prevented competing on the first round, so stay fixed now and pass.


We both passed and stayed fixed. Pard had Q9, 97, Q94, KJT754, so the common 3NT our way is icy and we lost 8 imps when they made their heart contract. I'm convinced by the arguments that there was nothing good to be done about it.

Thanks to all for the comments.

RR9000
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#10 User is online   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-May-20, 18:23

View Postrr9000, on 2019-May-20, 18:19, said:

We both passed and stayed fixed. Pard had Q9, 97, Q94, KJT754, so the common 3NT our way is icy and we lost 8 imps when they made their heart contract. I'm convinced by the arguments that there was nothing good to be done about it.


Except changing your methods.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#11 User is offline   rr9000 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 05:35

View PostVampyr, on 2019-May-20, 18:23, said:

Except changing your methods.


If we were playing against a system with light openings and replies, I'd be more inclined to agree. Vs this system, it's not clear to me that that's a benefit. After 1S reply and with spades stopped in my hand, I'm guessing 1H is likely the 14+ type (though it'd be interesting to simulate this). And they're playing minor suit openings 14+. In neither case is game likely for our side unless opener is a bare minimum and responder is 0-1. Even if a simulation suggested that a natural notrump might be better after 1H-1S, would we really want to play different methods against the 1H opening and the minor suit openings?

RR9000
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#12 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 09:20

I used to play sandwich 1N as takeout, but was persuaded by a very fine player, more than 25 years ago, that this was losing bridge, and have never...ever...regretted the change to strong and natural.

I do think it important that one not bid it with moderate 15 counts: while in theory it is the same as a direct 1N, in practice I almost always have 16-18 (and we explain this when it comes up).

As it happens, in my current methods, we routinely open virtually all 11 counts, and we respond with 4 or even less: say we hold K108xx xx xxx xxx and partner opens 1m: no way are we ever not bidding 1S (or 1H to 1C, as we play T-walsh).

We are very far from unique in this style: virtually all good pairs now routinely open what would be viewed, in the old days, as very light, and respond in a similar way. Giving up on the strong 1N overcall is allowing oneself to be robbed blind, as was the case here.

In theory one is of course in danger of going for a number, but note that the OP opponents are going to have trouble doing this. When the 1S response could be on a 0 count, it is extremely dangerous for opener to double merely because he has a good hand. In fact, the stronger his hand the more dangerous it is, if partner has nothing, since declarer will catch something in dummy and will likely be able to play the hand as if he could see through the back of the cards.

Of course, to be as safe as possible, one should have a good method of running should either LHO or RHO double.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#13 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 09:36

Consider the following hand which cropped up during the USBF trials



Martel opened 1 with the West Hand.
His partner responded 1 showing 4+ Hearts

Looks like a good argument to play 1NT as natural

I will note in passing that regulations in North America ensure that this 1!c opening is considered natural and the transfer advances that his partnership uses are also explicitly sanctioned whilst transfer opening schemes are consider inherently destructive....
Alderaan delenda est
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#14 User is offline   rr9000 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 10:05

View Postmikeh, on 2019-May-21, 09:20, said:

In theory one is of course in danger of going for a number, but note that the OP opponents are going to have trouble doing this. When the 1S response could be on a 0 count, it is extremely dangerous for opener to double merely because he has a good hand. In fact, the stronger his hand the more dangerous it is, if partner has nothing, since declarer will catch something in dummy and will likely be able to play the hand as if he could see through the back of the cards.


It's responder who's apt to be able to double. He knows opener has 14+.

RR9000
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#15 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 10:27

View Postrr9000, on 2019-May-21, 10:10, said:

1C by west on a four count in first seat?



Sorry, East opened 1N
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#16 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 11:39

View Postrr9000, on 2019-May-21, 10:05, said:

It's responder who's apt to be able to double. He knows opener has 14+.

RR9000

I am very much aware of that. So what?

Want a method in which your side is never in danger of going for a number? Adopt the Trappist pass method, wherein neither you nor your partner ever bid. I promise: no 1400's in your future. No success either.

You have 16-18, LHO has 14+ and RHO has not shown any values at all, and you are willing to give up?

Or wait until LHO bids and RHO passes, and you are balancing over 1N????

I am not a fan of methods that resemble what the opps played here. We encountered what seems like a very similar method on Sunday in a Sectional Pair game. My take, based on very limited exposure, is that the main gain for the method is that it is unfamiliar to most opponents and hence will generate good boards arising out of confusion. Here, of course, it won because of the OP's methods.

Yes, getting in there is not risk free but nothing in life is risk free.
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#17 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-May-21, 13:23


Here, rr9000's failure to overcall 1N, in the sandwich position, missed a good game.
Expert BBO commentators judge the overcall to be automatic.
IMO, it's both dangerous to pass and dangerous to bid,
(especially as it seems the red-suits honours lie badly for you).
Your systemic decision depends on your evaluation of the comparative risk.
Many ordinary players will sympathize with rr9000's choice.

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#18 User is offline   gszes 

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Posted 2019-May-31, 10:34

the system itself (essentially natural) should not have a huge effect on you normal bidding. I have zero problems bidding 1n over 1s. The key factor for me is the double stop against the known long suit (hearts). There is indeed danger involved with bidding (like anywhere else) but allowing oneself to get locked out with a powerful hand is much more likely to lead to disaster then bidding at a low level. If you choose pass originally having to compete with 2n is hugely vastly more dangerous. I do not like the sandwich concept so I never used it and I can't recall the last time it was used effectively against me.
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#19 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-June-03, 06:27

This thread is a good example of a "system fix". The system that OP and partner use did not fit this particular hand and the result was a poor outcome.

OP and partner need to evaluate how this hand stacks up versus other hands that they get using their system as is. If they find that the current system works well on enough other hands that they are willing to accept an occasional result like this, then they should stay with what they are using. If they find that hands like this one come up often enough that it is a net negative, then they should change.

The point is that every bidding system has problem hands that they don't handle well. Whatever bidding system and agreements a partnership use must reflect what works best with their style, ability to remember agreements and specific sequences, and ability to use their system under duress.

In a top tournament, you'll find really good players using systems from fairly basic to extremely detailed and complex. Chances are on most hands they all get to the right spots. What systems they use fit well with who they are. An extremely complex system with hundreds of pages of notes does you no good if you can't remember that much detail. If you can and if you can under duress, then maybe that's the system for you. If not, choose something simpler that works best for you. There is no one right answer when it comes to bidding systems, just what works best for you.
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