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All comments by Doug Bennion
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I don’t like that scenario either. But your analysis doesn’t account for the good stuff that happens when you open a 13-pt 1NT, and your opps cannot find their M fit, whereas the strong notrumpers opened it 1C, and their opps did find their M fit. 11-14 arises 3X the frequency of 15-17, so that bad scenario happens much more often to strong notrumpers.

The -200 just doesn’t happen very often. If responder is balanced and weak, the opps (not knowing that) usually get active and stumble about trying to find a partial, and rescue us.
Dec. 21, 2013
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Passed hand is looking for the best partial. He passes with balanced hands. With unbalanced hands, single-suited or 54xx or more skewed:

2 = both majors
2 = any single-suited hand, puppet to 2, P/C
2M = 4M5m
2NT = mm better diamonds
3 = mm better clubs

I like to use the same general counter to the Capp 1-suiter 2 (Dbl = MM), and the DONT Dbl.
Dec. 20, 2013
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I prefer to play 11-14, which occurs 40% more often than 12-14, and about 3X as often as 15-17. About 35% of our openers are 1NT (we include some 5422, and all 5332). You do need good methods to cope with the interference they will throw at you … in my neck of the woods most players play Capp against us, and we relish that.

The weak notrump does inject more volatility into your results, but by and large it is good volatility. Sure you will sometimes miss a nice 4-4 major suit partial (or even some 5-4 fits), but your opps will miss more of them. As someone once said, you become a pain in the behind for three other players, but only one is your partner.

If you do play 11-14, and open almost all 11-counts with something, that means when you open 1NT in 3rd or 4th position, you are very unlikely to be in game range, and you should tailor your responses to finding the best partial … we play a completely different system when responder is a passed hand.
Dec. 20, 2013
Doug Bennion edited this comment Dec. 20, 2013
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Thanks Benoit, looks interesting.
Dec. 19, 2013
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We play 1M is always unbalanced (natch 1), unless 18+ balanced. All 5332 hands we open 1NT (11-14) or 1 (15-17). So after 1M 1NT, opener always can transfer into a secondary suit or self-transfer, or with the 18+ balanced hand, jump to 3NT.

The self-transfers after 1NT help to break opener’s holdings into approx 11-14, 15-18-, 18+ groupings. If we open 1, and have 15 to bad 18 then:

With 55xx, we jump rebid, non-forcing. With 5-x-x-4 we jump rebid. So with AKQxx-QJTxx-Kx-x we rebid 3

With 6+ spades, we generally first self-transfer, then rebid a secondary suit at the 3-level, or 2NT with some 6322 hand. However with a good suit and 6322, we can choose to jump to 3. So with AKQxxx-QJTx-Kx-xx we self-transfer with 2, then over the (normal) 2 acceptance, we rebid 3, showing a 64xx goodish hand. The ‘pause’ that the transfers give you, lets you do that kind of thing.

With 5 spades, we generally first transfer to the second suit, then rebid 2NT or the 3-carder with some 5431. AKQxx- QJTx-Kxx-x we rebid 2 (hearts) then over the (normal) 2M response, rebid 3. With some 5422 (that we didn't consider ‘balanced’ and open 1), we might rebid 2NT

The system seems to work nicely. Secondary clubs is the weak link. The 2NT rebid is fine-fine for the most part .. I'm also not so sure about opening 1 with AKJxx-Kxx-AJT-xx. Oh I doubt it matters, but we play transfers over 1
Dec. 18, 2013
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2NT is any unbalanced 18+ GF. It's a puppet to 3C usually. (If responder had a limit raise, he bids 3H. With a bad hand and hearts he bids 4H. With a long good suit he bids it.) After 3C, opener shows his secondary suit with 3D, 3S or 3NT (clubs). 3H sets trump and is slammish. 4H is heartsier.

I also like playing unbalanced major openings, so after a forcing 1NT I play transfers. 2C = diamonds, 2D = 6+ hearts, 2H = x5x4, 2S = ‘weak’ reverse.

Dec. 18, 2013
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I like to use 2NT as good 18+ here: 1 1NT; 2NT. So 2 is a ‘weak’ reverse 16-18 or so.
Dec. 17, 2013
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I always include any 5332 playing 11-14. However as somebody previously mentioned, you can get killed when you miss your 5-4 skinny and shapely game. The 5-3 misses aren't critical, partials often playing as well in notrump, and we find the games with 3C Puppet. On balance I think we win more than we lose because the 1NT opener pre-empts the oppponents out of competing with some of their own 5-3 and 4-4 fits, not to mention the ungainly fits they sometimes bid into.

More recently we stuff all 5332 15-17 hands into 1C (and play transfers over it), so our 1M openers are unbalanced or 18+. That seems to work fine as well, although opening 1C with the likes of AKxxx-AKx-Qxx-xx makes me a little queasy.
Nov. 5, 2013
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Well like Buddy and Lynn, I'm a member of the ‘played 12-14 for 30+ years’ club, the past few years stretched to 11-14 to include all those gorgeous balanced 11's. I quite like the ‘Pass forces XX’ methods (I've played many), because it does give your opps more options. In my experience, you want them to have beaucoup d'options because most of the time, they will have the balance of power, and their strong hand sits over yours. I agree those methods are better suited to matchpoints and non-expert opponents.
Oct. 23, 2013
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My memory cells are shot, so I like to keep things simple. Real simple. So opener rebids 2D with any minimum hand, say 11-14, and ‘naturally’ otherwise. I like to play an ‘unbalanced majors’ system (5332 included in 1C or 1NT), so we always have a side 4-bagger, or 6+ in the opener. It's simplistic, but it helps sort out those frequent deals where one or both of you have goodish hands in the 14-16 range, and you have trouble sorting out if your combined holding is slammish.
Oct. 23, 2013
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Most defenders double when they are at the upper end of your notrump range, or higher. Particularly if your notrump range is wide, say 11-14, then it is usually their hand when they double, so I like a runout system that gives them a lot of chances to remove themselves from the thrashing that they were about to bestow. Using Pass as a transfer to XX, keeps their options open.

I don't know what the system is called, but Pass forces XX (to play, or DONT-type 2-suited runouts), a direct XX to show a weak 1-suiter, and direct transfer bids to show forward-going hands. This gives both opps max bidding space to rescue us.
Oct. 23, 2013
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Google suggests the chances of making a two-pointer are very close to 50%. That begs the question why a two-point attempt isn't even considered if a team has scored very late in the game and need one point to tie … why they always kick for the tie, so they can go on to play a 50% overtime. They're simply stalling their coin flip.
Aug. 6, 2013
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I still suspect it is due to the, umm, combinatory power of honours. For example in the first 0-kings run, you have more honours in play, and the 7-point holding AQJ is worth approx 2.5 tricks, depending on K location. In the 4-ace-plus-1-king run, the 7-point holding AKx is worth just 2 tricks.

Also when you have more honours in play, as you have in your first run, spot cards gain value. For example the 4-point KJT combination is worth approx 1.5 tricks, more than the 1+ tricks for the 4-point ATx.
July 19, 2013
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A couple of points. Several years back, when in a simming mode, I built a point count system from scratch and called it Little Jack Points. LJP at (AKQJ) = (6.5, 4.5, 2.5, 1.0) which is close enough to schmoints, but devaluing jacks slightly more. LJP also noted that most honour combinations were worth more than the sum of the individual honours … KQx was worth more than Kxx and Qxx which seems pretty obvious. I seem to recall you might add 0.5 points to most combinations.

A couple of questions. How many sims did you run? I was surprised at how many you needed before you squeezed all the randomness out of the study. Try running the ‘4 Kings’ versus ‘0 Aces’ scenarios again, but for 10X the number you previously used.

Your analysis ignores honour combinations. You conclude that jacks are not as bad as thought, but the jacks in your study are benefiting (way more than aces, say) from being part of a combination, and the values for the jacks are increased by that circumstance. Values for (more so) queens and (less so) kings will also be goosed somewhat.
July 18, 2013
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Hmmm you really need a poll with multiple choices, or multiple polls. I think you want to know what we would do when opener has 4 spades, and when he hasn't. But unless I'm missing something, we can't answer both questions :-)
July 14, 2013
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No problems re: our written defence, have ever arisen. If in our pre-alert we forget to mention we have a written defence, we're often asked for one. We've had directors suggest we keep one handy. It's certainly a time-saver. The opps are free to adapt a different defence.

The ACBL defensive database includes two options for a Multi defence. Is it a problem that the ACBL does not recommend which option is best?
July 14, 2013
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Playing these transfers in a Mid-Chart pairs game is both instructive and amusing. You are required to pre-alert, so by the end of the day you are getting really tired of “we have a pre-alert .. we play transfers to our 1C opener .. we have a ‘defence’ if you want one”. The range of responses runs from ‘we could care less’ lol, to ‘wow that’s interesting, why do you do that'? They often come up with the suggested ‘defence’ themselves.

If the auction goes 1C (P) 1D(h) ??, we simply suggest they Double with diamonds, and bid 1H (our suit) as a takeout double for spades and diamonds. I'm not sure we are required to provide this, but we do out of courtesy. Our 1S response simply says ‘no majors’, so since it does not promise ‘four or more in a known suit’, that bid might actually require the suggested defence (double for majors), dunno.

Of course there is no ‘suggested defence’ in the ACBL database, and in fact, I believe all of those suggested defences are for opening bids, not for responses.
July 13, 2013
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As others have suggested, just ask your local club. I've been playing TW for years in Toronto-area clubs, with permission and with no complaints whatsoever from opps. There is so much unnatural GCC-compliant stuff played over 1C (in one club here playing Montreal Relay is almost a requirement) that simple transfers are considered to be no big deal.
July 10, 2013
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My own simulations (years ago), suggested that borderline games (24 or 25 combined HCP) were slightly more likely to make than 4M with a 5-3 M fit. However by not transferring you will miss some 5-4 even 5-5 fits, which almost always play better in the M fit. I think another factor might be how flexible shape-wise are your 1NT openers. If you open with many 5422 shapes (or with singletons), you'd be more likely to miss the really nice M fits by not using transfers.
July 1, 2013
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Lose whatever it is you decide XX should be, instead start a transfer ladder with it. So after (1) 1 (X); then

XX = transfer into clubs, here a cuebid raise
1NT is normal (leave out of ladder for positional reasons)
2 =
2 =
2 = constructive raise
2 = garbage raise
June 30, 2013
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