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Here are a few related ones:

1. When should opener raise a major-suit response with only three cards (1-1-2?)?
2. What should opener rebid with a pattern like 1453 after 1-1?
Jan. 16
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There are a couple styles around the 1nt bid:

1. Opener always has 2-3 and would never raise spades on three with a balanced hand.
2. Opener has 1-3 (including 1435/1345 for example) but would often raise spades on three with a suit-oriented balanced hand.

In style 1, opener can always pass 2 if minimum, but responder may be tempted to invite on marginal shapely hands that can give play for game opposite three card support (for example a 5-5 8-9 count). Here it makes sense for 2nt to be max with doubleton, allowing to play 2nt or 3m when reponder has one of these hands. Blasting 3nt can be 3334 max.

In style 2, opener needs to bid 2nt with min and a singleton to avoid the 5-1 fit. But responder doesn’t need to invite with light shapely hands (most of the suit-oriented three card support opener hands that make game would’ve raised).

My preference is style 2 here, but I use methods like style 1 after a 1nt opening (followed by stayman and 2 showing 5+ invite).
Jan. 7
Adam Meyerson edited this comment Jan. 7
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I prefer takeout of the mixed raise, but lead directional against the invitational raise.
Dec. 5, 2019
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I wouldn't read anything into the first time the event is held. There are always lots of people who want to play in the inaugural instance of a new major event.

The longer-term question is how many of the strong players in the Soloway would:
1. Attend fewer NABCs if the event was not on the calendar.
2. Attend different NABCs if the event was not on the calendar.
3. Attend the Fall NABC anyway, and just play in different events (LM pairs, BR pairs, etc).

Some of us suspect that in the long run the Soloway will retain a strong field but it will be mostly #3. If this is the case, all that's really been accomplished is to water down the other national events.
Dec. 5, 2019
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I think this has a lot of merit at the two level, where you gain a lot of flexibility on advancers hands with four (only) spades and where you’re basically never converting a responsive double.

At the three level I don’t like it though — the missed opportunity to convert a responsive double seems expensive and the benefits are much less.
Nov. 29, 2019
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Just establishing a force. Could be looking for a real stopper, could be looking for alternate strains.
Nov. 23, 2019
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With around 13-14 raise 1nt to 2nt, with 15 likely bid game. Two of openers minor is available as a check back of sorts.
Nov. 23, 2019
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I'm not sure what the point of these posts is, since it seems considerably more complicated to me to play non-forcing advances. Here's what I usually do after the given auction of (1m)-1-(P)-1-(P):

1nt = balanced or nearly so, usually has a stopper in opener's minor, about 8-13
2m/2om = natural 4+ card suit (yes, bidding opener's minor here is natural)
2 = six-plus hearts, something like 11-14 since weaker hands would overcall 2
2 = frequently three-card support, something like 8-13
2nt = like 1nt, but 14-16; note that 1 advance has a minimum around 8 so not a disaster
3m/3om = natural, 5-5 max, pretty close to forcing
3 = six-plus hearts and 15-16
3 = usually 4 but three are possible in a pinch, around 14-16
3nt = typically some 17-18 with short spades like 15(34) that doesn't want to start with X

With a 2533 shape and no stopper it's possible to be a little stuck (with three spades, prefer to raise). Possibilities include 1nt without a stop, two of the other minor on a strong three card holding, or 2 on a strong five card suit with appropriate values. I tend to prefer 1nt on these hands on the rare occasion they come up.
Nov. 23, 2019
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Thanks for a link to a very interesting read on 4-card majors. There are a number of points in the article I disagree with, but I’ll focus on two.

1. Some of the advantages for four card majors read as though a 1m opening nearly denies a major (for example making a negative double without four in the unbid major or responder bypassing a weak major to raise the minor). But other advantages read as though only a really robust four card major will open (raising on three, getting to good 4-3 fits all the time). In the more typical case of an “okay” major there is no real answer. The trend is probably to guess and blame “judgement” and not system if you get a bad result, but that’s not really true when it’s a pure guess.

2. Openers fifth card in a major is hugely powerful opposite four card support. It’s basically a full trick on offense, and also guarantee that opponents have at least an eight card fit (often nine) which gives a huge amount of protection in competition. The result is that preemptive raises on four are hugely effective, whereas opposite a four card major the three level raise is often just too high.

Beyond better slam bidding, I think the competitive auction is a big winner for five card majors. It’s true that opponents are sometimes guessing how high to compete after a four card major… but our side is often guessing too!

More modern methods like 1nt semi forcing also solve some of the issues mentioned with 2/1.
Nov. 12, 2019
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It seems a bit problematic that this rating system ignores “strength of field” in the context of pairs events.

The worst case is an event where you somehow have all the strong pairs sitting the same direction. Then the strong pairs are “expected” to get a high matchpoint score every round because they are facing a weak pair, but of course this is impossible since the strong pairs must average 50% (all sitting same direction).

In case this seems contrived, there's a recent article on Bridgewinners about running pro-am games where the pros all sit north and the amateurs rotate around them. It was mentioned in this same article that the pros typically end up around 50% (with the winners being amateurs) because the pros are inevitably compared with the other pros and this is a really hard field. Such an event might be disastrous for the pro's rating (or “average rating of pairs in which the pro has played”).
Oct. 27, 2019
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For me this has a lot to do with shape. On a hand like this with 6+ minor and no 4-card side suit I tend to open 2. I’m likely to make game if partner has some fit for my suit and I can describe my hand easily with a 3m rebid and not worry about 4-4 major fits. The “fake reverse” or “fake jump shift” alternatives are not super appealing.

With a side 4-major or (even worse) three suited pattern I’ll almost always open 1m. While this has some risk of missing game, my chances of finding the right strain after 2 are not great. My partners tend to bid five card majors when they have them which helps.
Oct. 22, 2019
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There are lots of methods that are new or have gained popularity; it’s harder to think of ones that have lost. A few that come to mind:

1. Precision “Greek letter” asking bids. The system geeks are playing relays now and everyone else is playing natural methods after strong club (or not playing strong club at all).
2. “Strong takeout” cuebids. Everyone played direct cuebid as a two suiter in the 90s but there were still some of these around in other auctions (I think it was standard in balancing seat).
3. “Standard American” by good partnerships. Of course the weaker pairs or pickup partnerships play this today, but 2/1 has gradually replaced it among “serious” pairs in the US to the point where you almost never see “Standard American.” Note that not-always-gf 2/1s are alive and well in Europe though (but not “Standard American” — more likely SEF).
4. Walsh responses to our 1nt (2s minor suit stayman, 2nt clubs or gf 4441, 3m natural inv). My wife and I still play this and people constantly offer to “teach us 4-way transfers” which are basically standard now (except for beginners who play something more basic than either).
5. King from ace-king with otherwise standard honor leads. Basically everyone now plays ace or uses some coded treatment (one asks for count and the other attitude), except for those using Rusinow.
Oct. 12, 2019
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As I mentioned, I’d normally rebid 1nt on openers hand. The 2 rebid with 1444 would normally be too strong for 1nt rebid so I can bid 3 over 2nt invite.

I think the auctions actually time out better my way on the 4-4 fits; the issue after a natural 3 rebid is that responder never showed hearts, so 4m is presumably natural and there’s no cuebid available. My sequence at least gives us four level cuebids. In fact after 1-1-2-2-2nt-3-3nt, I think 4 should be a cuebid. Sure it’s possible responder has 5404 exactly and is slamming, but I think I’d have bid 3 over 2nt on that since the slam negotiation is more important than choosing hearts vs clubs.

I do like to play 1-1-2-3 as 5-5 forcing but I think this method works even if that 3 call is invitational.
Sept. 25, 2019
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I’d have rebid 1nt, but ignoring that, I like 2nt with this shape and 3 as a punt. To locate a heart fit after 1-1-2-2-2nt, responder bids 3 with 4+ after which:

3 = 2254
3nt = 1354
4+ = cue with 1444 or 0454
Sept. 25, 2019
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Perhaps, but the text never indicated who was on lead…
Sept. 18, 2019
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If this action is really to try to get defenders to give something away, I don’t think that’s legal. Just because you can take advantage of opponents mannerisms doesn’t mean you can deliberately try to evoke such mannerisms by breaking tempo when you have nothing else to think about. It’s just like how you can’t squirm in your chair to try and peek at their hand (even though taking advantage when they show you their hand is ok) and how you can’t take two minutes to follow suit with a singleton as declarer.

Of course there’s not much you can do — declarer maybe trying to count out the hand or figure out inferences from the opening lead; you can’t really prove what he is (or isn’t) thinking about. The director should probably ask but unless declarer really incriminates himself I don’t see a ruling.
Sept. 17, 2019
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I prefer to play 2 as a transfer to diamonds which can be weak. This frees 3 for use as a fit showing jump. In the similar auction (1)-1-(pass)-3, I prefer 3 as preemptive since transfer to clubs is not available (transfers start at the cue and a natural 2 response is a better hand).
Sept. 16, 2019
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I think there’s a problem with asking a question that appears designed to clue partner in as to the inference you are drawing from the break in tempo. There are also issues with asking questions that might be designed to create doubt in opponents and/or cause them to help you (I.e. asking about three card raises hoping to elicit a reaction from 4s bidder that will tell you if he has only four trumps).

Certainly if you sit there quietly and then draw a conclusion and keep it to yourself there should be no problem, but that’s not the behavior I see modeled here.
Sept. 16, 2019
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It may be worth mentioning that the Multi we usually see over here in Europe (always a six card major if weak, plus one or more strong options) is a somewhat different beast than the Multi we see in the US when regulations permit (frequently five card major, no strong options). This may factor into perceptions about how hard it is to defend.

The responses are also a bit different since people don’t want to preempt the possible strong option with a pass/correct bid, and it seems common to play certain responses (like 2nt) as an ironclad guarantee of values rather than “possibly messing around” as it’s used in the US.
Sept. 13, 2019
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It doesn’t depend on what opponents play — it’s based on whether we are vulnerable. I tend to think this is not a system (in the same way variable notrump is not a system) but I’m really not sure where they draw the line.
Sept. 3, 2019
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