Author Topic: SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN  (Read 72 times)

Masse24

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SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN
« on: May 21, 2020, 05:02:09 PM »
Playing IMPs. Vulnerable vs Not-vulnerable.

You pick up the following hand:
!S AT — !H KQT9 — !D KJ4 — !C K752

Your partner, dealer, opens with 1NT (15-17). What’s your plan?

I think it will be a consensus 2 !C response, looking for a heart fit. So let’s begin with 2 !C.

1NT – 2 !C – 2 !S - ??

Oops! Wrong major. Still, with a relatively balanced 16 HCP, if partner has a max we want to be in slam. So we simply invite with 4NT, which should be a quantitative raise asking partner to bid 6NT if he is max for his 1NT opening. BUT WAIT! That’s Blackwood, right? Asking for keycards?

NO!

•   It is not Blackwood.
•   It is not RKCB.
•   It is not asking for Aces.
It is a quantitative raise asking partner to bid slam with a max. THIS HAND is the poster child example for why 4NT is NOT RKCB. To initiate RKCB you need suit agreement.

Think of a related auction: 1NT – 2 !D – 2 !H – 4NT

•   What is 4NT?

Let us, for the sake of argument, assume a certain degree of bridge knowledge in a standard 2/1 structure. Let us also assume Texas is on the CC. With those caveats, it’s clear that 4NT is NOT RKCB. Why? Because there has been no suit agreement. The transfer promises only five-plus in the major and opener may only have two, therefore, we have not yet identified a fit and—there is no suit agreement.

So how do we agree to a suit after a positive Stayman response?

There are multiple methods. Baze, Modified-Baze, Goldway slam try, and others.

The Baze Convention is what is currently used if playing BWS2017. It is so prevalent that I would call it “standard.” Although I slightly prefer Modified-Baze, if I sat down opposite a random expert, I would play Baze undiscussed and would expect my Baze bids to be understood.

In a nutshell:
1.   Three of the other major shows unspecified shortness. (Yes there is a method to determine where.)
2.   4 !C is RKCB for opener’s major.
3.   4 !D is a balanced (no shortness) slam try agreeing to partner’s major.
4.   4NT is a balanced slam invite with four of the other major.

There is more to it than that, and I have attached a more in-depth summary of Baze (it also includes Modified-Baze). It is not a difficult gadget to learn.

Try it. I think it will improve your bidding in Slam-Seeking auctions after Stayman!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 05:50:51 PM by Masse24 »
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EddyHaskel

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Re: SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2020, 12:45:29 PM »
Todd,
Thanks for this and the attached Baze primer. Some questions:

Who was Baze?  Or is it an acronym?

The primer shows 1N - 2C - 2H - 3S as a heart fit with a void or stiff in a suit to be named later
If the jump to 3S is Baze, what is a non-jump in the other major (1N-2C-2H-2S))?

Thanks.

Masse24

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Re: SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2020, 02:06:23 PM »
Dave,

This "Baze Convention" write up is a summary, almost word for word, of a lesson I took from Billy Miller (DearBilly on BBO) in 2010. However, that lesson was Modified-Baze. I wrote up my class notes and sent it to him, which he then shared with all those who took the class. I have switched it to Baze first, since that is what is currently BWS2017. As I mentioned, I slightly prefer Modified Baze.

Grant Baze was a west coast bridge player. World class. From what I have read (and heard from Billy Miller) he was always dressed impeccably when playing bridge. He died in 2009, right around the time I took up the game. The oft-quoted "six-five come alive" is attributed to Baze, not another "darkness points" bridge player.

As far as the bidding sequence you mentioned, it's not part of Baze. It can be one of several things, whatever you agree. One common meaning for it, if playing 4-suit transfers where 1NT-2NT is a diamond transfer, is invitational with four spades. 
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kenberg

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Re: SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2020, 03:48:12 PM »
 

With my f2f partner I have lately been playing a variant. After 1NT - 2 !C - 2M then 3 of the other major sets M as trump and expresses interest in slam, but usually w/o a stiff.  After which cue bids are available. If you have a stiff? 1NT - 2 !C - 2M - 4m shows a stiff in m and a fit for M.

Neither approach comes up all that often so the most important things are
A: 1NT - 2 !C - 2M - 4NT is a slam invit w/o a fit for M but holding for cards in the other major.
and
B: being on the same page as pard.

I agree that using BWS is a good approach. For most partnerships, there are much more basic things to work through. The example 1NT - 2 !C - 2 !H  - 2S is certainly a good example. This is a good deal more frequent than the slam auction. Another example would be 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S. That certainly sounds like a five card suit and presumably with four hearts as well else responder would simply have transferred. Sometimes responder is dealt this 5/4 shape with invitational values and sometimes he is dealt this shape with weak values. If 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S is invitational then when the weak hand is held we have to just transfer to spades, forgetting about the hearts. Or, if 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S is weak then we have a problem when we hold the invitational values. Here is BWS:

 (d) Stayman (possibly a weak hand; opener bids hearts with both majors), followed by responder's bid of: (i) two hearts is weak (scrambling for a two-level contract with length in both majors); (ii) two spades is invitational; (iii) two notrump is invitational; (iv) three of a minor is natural and forcing; (v) three of a major is invitational if a direct raise, or Smolen (forcing; ostensibly four of the bid major and five of the other) if over two diamonds, or a slam-try in opener's shown major with an unspecified splinter if in the unbid major (then, the cheapest bid by opener is a relay and responder shows the short suit in steps: lowest-|middle-|highest-ranking possible short suit; if a step bid would be inappropriately nonforcing, the next available bid substitutes for it); (vi) four clubs is a key-card-ask if opener showed a major, otherwise shows four=six in the majors; (vii) four diamonds is a slam-try in opener's major with no short suit, otherwise shows six=four in the majors;


So, looking at (iii), we see 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S is natural and invitational.  This is my preference but I don't think it is universal, I have seen it played as weak.  The problem with playing it as weak is that you are then really in a pickle with the invit hand. If you play 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S as invit then,when weak, you might wish you could try to find the heart fit but then, without a heart response, still get out with 1NT - 2 !C- 2 !D - 2 !S being weak. You might wish you could do this, but you are in a lesser pickle, you simply forget hearts and transfer to spades.

Again it is simple to just go with BWS. We can have detailed discussions about this that and the other thing, or we can just go with BWS. I guess we could call this the "Shut up and deal" approach.  This goes nicely with the MSC thread.

Btw, I found this online:
https://www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp.php?page=/pages/learn/learningcentermainpage.html
I have not gone over it except a little but BWS has a bunch of lessons/quizzes.  I had not seen these before.  They might be too elementary but maybe not.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 04:17:58 PM by kenberg »
Ken

Masse24

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Re: SLAM-SEEKING after STAYMAN
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2020, 04:39:53 PM »
With my f2f partner I have lately been playing a variant. After 1NT - 2 !C - 2M then 3 of the other major sets M as trump and expresses interest in slam, but usually w/o a stiff.  After which cue bids are available. If you have a stiff? 1NT - 2 !C - 2M - 4m shows a stiff in m and a fit for M.

Neither approach comes up all that often so the most important things are
A: 1NT - 2 !C - 2M - 4NT is a slam invit w/o a fit for M but holding for cards in the other major.
and
B: being on the same page as pard.

Yeah, Ken. It's really the bid of the "other major" at the three-level that is, in my opinion, universally recognized as agreeing trump with slam interest. I know you read the forums, so are well versed on these topics. Whether one chooses to "fancy it up" with a Baze flavor or Goldway twist is up to the partnership. 
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln