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All comments by Randy Thompson
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The more I read of these thoughtful but disparate comments, the better a plus score in 4 starts to look!

Forced by the opponents to guess, I guessed 6. Give partner the weak no trump he most likely holds and something like the 2-3-3-5 shape that those looking for a club slam hope for and 6 should have good play. Even if partner has a stiff spade, 6 would be a good spot if that stiff were the queen or even the ten, if he has the A. In my partnerships, 4N would be presumed to be a 5 bid with longer diamonds. We have never had the auction where a 5m by partner was then corrected to 5. It probably should be a hand like this, but . . . couldn't it show spades and diamonds and a great hand? Another choice that would require having discussed it a LOT would be 5 here. If no trump offers a choice of the minors, or sets up a choice of diamonds and spades (via correction of clubs to diamonds) perhaps 5 SHOULD offer the choice of the black suits. Maybe after discussion, it will be added to our partnership “Forget List.” Undiscussed, I would view 5H as a 6.5 Club bid. But, with a 6-3 differential in black suit lengths, we might as well just bid 6 now and save partner the trouble, as the chances he will pick spades are slim. In my non-Precision partnerships, partner would pass any 12 count with 4-3-3-3 and would pass any 12 count that lacked 2 QT – probably the hands conservative Henry would also pass. This makes guessing to bid a slam a bit easier.

Good problem – yet another nasty bid by the opponents.
June 18, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment June 18, 2014
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I would double and pass 3, 3 or 4M, but bid 3 over 3. Hard to see how this could be worse than the majority choice of 3 directly. If partner is 4-4 in the majors, and strong enough to bid game, he'll bid 4 now and I'll pick spades.
June 16, 2014
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It would help if you gave a hand and auction.
June 9, 2014
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We have been playing transfers over opps' bids of two of the “other minor” for some time and it works well in the context of a 1m opener that can't be a flat 12-14. All calls (including doubles) are transfers to the next higher suit. A transfer to 2M is either 6+ of M and 4+ HCP OR 4+ of M and at least values to invite game over a big NT (about 8 HCP). A transfer to 2 is 4+ diamonds and 6+ HCP. A bid of 3m is preemptive. If opener would do more over a simple raise to 2 than just pass, he bids more than 2. If opener has 4 card support for a transfer to a major, he bids 3M with 15-16 in support of M, 4M with 17-18 in support of M and cues 4om with 19+ in support of M. If he merely completes the transfer to M, he would pass a non forcing bid of 2M. With negative double hands and only invite values, responder transfers to 2 and then rebids 2 (non forcing, but invitational opposite a big NT hand). Transfers followed by a bid of 2N or a direct bid of 2N are natural and invitational. There's some more, but the gist of it is that responder can just compete at the two level or can start GF or invitational sequences via transfers that make opener (in our case often a big no trump hand) declarer. It's opener's responsibility to try to get us to game if he has 18+ HCP and less than 4 card support for partner's major. With 5-4 or 4-5 in the majors, and invitational values, responder transfers to hearts and rebids 2 regardless of relative length (just as in the case of a negative double that doesn't show relative lengths). With GF values, responder transfers to the longer/better suit and bids the other above the level of 3m.
June 7, 2014
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Nothing is safe here; you have to choose among some VERY bad options: pass, double, 3N, or 4. With a partner who didn't know that my negative doubles ALWAYS have 4+ of the unbid major, I might double, hoping partner could sit for the double and planning to correct 4 to 5 in the desperate hope that partner wouldn't read that as a cue bid in support of spades. With a partner with enough sense of humor to understand -300 when cold for 5, I might bid 3N (and head off that incipient heart raise on my left). I suspect that pass is the right long run action (because we probably don't have a game if partner has a weak NT hand and when we do have a game we are still at best 50-50 to find the one that makes instead of the one that fails), but I can't bring myself to put that kind of pressure on partner to get us to a vul game. That leaves the hideous 4. At least we should normally have a 4-4 club fit and will only contract to take 11 tricks if partner has some extras or a heart card that would have made 3N a better choice. Would partner read 4N as showing this shape? Hmmm. If going to consider that, is 4 an option? Neither of those has received any votes so far, but are they really worse than the 4 more obvious choices?

Good problem.
June 7, 2014
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Sorry – I just searched the web and my e-mail files and can't find Danny's web site. It may no longer exist. I'll check with him by e-mail and see if I can get a link.

I did find the e-mail in which Danny suggested the above – it was only a couple of lines, but that was its beauty. His elaboration included the note that 6 of the lower ranking suit by asker was to play; 6 of that suit by answerer was the way to show the Q of that suit in response to a specific king ask.

PS: Danny says his website was taken down 2 years ago. My bad. Our loss – Danny is a great mind when it comes to bidding theory.
May 30, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment May 30, 2014
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I learned that “Higher suit is trumps for purposes of trump Q and lower suit Q counts as a specific king” method from Danny Kleinman. BTW, Danny has a web site full of information that folks might find interesting.

I think your two rules are ones that would work well, even if they would somewhat limit the number of possible applications – at least there should be no doubt of what kind of response would be expected.
May 30, 2014
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No, if partner needs both a fit AND a max for game, he sometimes won't invite when we have a game. It's when he has a ragged 5 card suit and only 8 HCP or so that this helps. Now, if he has such a holding, he can pass in tempo, knowing you can't have both a fit and a max. I know this may not be all that LAWful in theory, but it has worked well so far. Most of the time when we try to stop, we'd wind up bidding 3 over 3 anyway – and in those cases it is clear that we are better off if we bid it directly instead of later. It also lets responder suggest 3N even after the fit is found – something you can't do if opener has to decide over a 2N rebid (he can't show both his fit and his preference for NT).
May 29, 2014
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We use 3 as the super-accept with a max hand and 4 trumps, 3M as a min hand with 4 trumps and 2N as showing 3 card support and 17 HCP in a 15-17 range. I'm not sure there is a payoff on all the extra science here. What responder needs to know is about that 4-card fit that lets him revalue his hand counting support points (and bid some games he wouldn't have invited when opener is minimum) and whether you have a min or max. If he knows that you have a 3-card fit and the absolute top of your range, he might be able to shoot out a game he wouldn't have invited for fear of the consequences of you having no fit or no absolute max. He can also bid 3N instead of 4M on some of these hands, already knowing about your strength and degree of fit. He also knows when you merely complete the transfer that you have only 2-3 card support and if it's 3 card support, only 15-16 HCP. I've been playing these methods for about 7 or 8 years now and haven't yet noticed the need for more science.

The more bids you give the opponents to double, the better will be their defense and competitive decision making. Giving them a “free shot” at doubling 2 when we have a 9-card heart fit? I can't imagine ever choosing to do that. When your opponents are the only ones to find their 4 save or the killing switch to spades from Kx, you will have made a down payment on the returns (if any) you get from extra science.

On another topic discussed in this thread, IMO, you shouldn't open 1N with a 6 card minor unless you are willing to complete any transfer partner might make. It's not like you didn't have any other logical alternative.
May 29, 2014
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Gary: My rationale for a heart lead is your last sentence.
May 28, 2014
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We wanted to play 1 shows a distributional hand with clubs or any flat hand with no five-card major that is in the 15-19 HCP range and no, it would not be forcing and could easily have only 12 (or even the right 11) HCP if it was a distributional hand with clubs. This 1 is just like those of all who open “short club” instead of “better minor” – it can't be a hand in their 1N opener range but isn't forcing. But, unlike the artificial big clubbers, we cannot play transfer responses! IMO, that's ridiculous. If we made it forcing (as in the case of Polish Club) could we play transfer responses?

I don't care about Multi, as I don't find it all that hard to defend and have no desire to use it. We play the world's simplest defense against it: Double is take-out of spades; 2 is take-out of hearts (in each case with lebensohl on); everything else is natural, with 3M bids being intermediate/strongish.
May 28, 2014
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My partner and I were all set to open all flat hands in the 15-19 HCP range with 1 until we found out that we couldn't play transfer responses to 1 in the BBO ACBL games where we practice. No way to get practice other than set games and then we'd constantly have to change even at nationals, depending on what event was going on. W/o transfer responses that would let us maximize that 1 opening change, we didn't want to change methods, so here we are playing 1970's methods that work well most of the time but create nightmares now and then.

Henry, perhaps one reason no one under 70 plays in club games is that the kids in their 50's and 60's might like to try new things, but can't do it at the clubs. If the goal is keeping the 70+ year olds happy, that is a VERY short term goal! (I'm 67 and used to be in a business that required knowledge of mortality tables, so we are on the steep part of that downward slope for sure.) If the goal is growing the game among young folks in their 20's or so, we need to allow them the freedom to experiment that we all felt at that age (when I tried Schenken, Precision, Matchpoint Precision and EHAA, before settling on K-S as the sound minority system that injected system swings into my game that let me compete with top DC area players w/o ALWAYS losing).

All of the objections to Multi were once made to negative doubles, weak two's and transfers. Let's grow a little and let those who don't like it play in restricted games.
May 28, 2014
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Partnerships need to discuss this! My primary partnership plays that splinters in comp can ONLY be in the opponents' suit – here clubs. We also play that fit-showing bids END as of 4 and that game bids in any strain other than theirs (here clubs) are to play. IMO, it's a losing style to have to go slow on these freaks and let them have lower levels to decide what to do over 4.
May 25, 2014
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The problem with 2 is that it leaves an easy 2M rebid by LHO. And raising clubs later will likely be a 4 bid so that partner's bidding decision will be at the 5 level. I would make a fit-showing 3 bid if it were available, but would just bid 3 otherwise. If LHO should surprise us with 4M, then it would be nice to have already shown the club fit.
May 25, 2014
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So far as partner knew, my red suits could have been reversed, yet he bid 5. If we fail in 6, we can discuss “the five level belongs to the opponents” after the session.
May 24, 2014
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Imaginative actions – thx for sharing them. I was particularly impressed with Bathhurst's K lead.
May 23, 2014
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With 3 hearts, my partnerships would all bid 3 to demand cuebids and try for slam and 4 to show limited values – in either case with GOOD club suits (not possible on this problem – 2 of top 3 clubs or AJTxx or better). The 2 bid shows exactly two hearts (denies 3 hearts) and denies a good spade stopper (a “scared of NT” rebid). We have other ways to deal with flat raises (3N with 12-14 flat and 1N then 4M to show some less-than-good side suit with 3 cd ht suppt and a short suit somewhere and 2N to show hands too strong for a splinter, or for 3N or for 1N then 4M. This limits the flow of information about declarer's hand when responder doesn't have independent slam interest and it limits the new-suit-then 3M or 4M bids to ones with GOOD side suits that are a source of tricks for slam.

Obviously my preferred methods aren't being employed here, as my clubs are too good. But, after rebidding 2N, I'll be bidding 4 over partner's VERY likely 3N bid. If partner surprises me with say 3 (no really, I DO have three hearts!) then off we go in hearts.
May 19, 2014
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Either 3 or 3N could be right on a given layout. I choose 3 because it doesn't preclude 3N, while 3N comes very close to precluding spade contracts. Good problem.
May 15, 2014
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Partner said that if I could stop hearts,he could make 3N. If my heart stopper were the ace, I'd likely move over 3N. I would expect something like Axx x Kx AKQxxxx on the expected heart lead, we will need to guess the hearts at trick one AND see clubs break 3-2. On a diamond lead we will need clubs 3-2 and the same heart guess a bit later. on a spade lead we will have to guess spades at the go and then see clubs 3-2. 4N won't have any meaning to a partner who bid on 8 playing tricks and not some range of HCP. I think we'll fail in a slam at least twice as often as we make one if we bid on. Non-slam hands argue for the easiest one – 3N. If going to try for slam, I would bid whatever 4 level bid was RKC for clubs (probably 4 in most partnerships).
May 12, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment May 12, 2014
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3 avoids the stopper-or-not issue and leaves partner plenty of room to bid 3 if he has 5 (and maybe if he has 4), so I see no reason to double and no reason to unilaterally claim or deny a stopper.
May 12, 2014
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