Author Topic: One No Trump and then?  (Read 705 times)

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
One No Trump and then?
« on: October 10, 2020, 01:40:46 PM »
In the last 24 hours I have encountered three hands where there was a potential for confusion about the meaning of an auction after a 1NT call. In each case I have played it to have different meanings when I have played with different partners, so i believe it is safe to say that there is ambiguity if there has not been discussion. Here are the three auctions, which I give up to the point of ambiguity:

A. This is from the MSC. It is a contested auction, starting on my right with 1 !H and I overcall 1NT:
1 !H - 1NT - 2 !C - 2 !S
Ok Partner could have bid 2 !H, if that would be a transfer to  !S. Assuming 2 !S is natural then I ask: What would 2 !H have been? Or perhaps 2 !S shows both spades and diamonds, whereas he would have just transferred if he had spades only? This is unlikely, as surely in this contest format they would have said so. And, btw, what would a double of 2 !C have meant? Had I opened 1 NT and then Lho bid 2 !C I expect X to be Stayman (unless 2 !C showed both majors). And I would expect that to be the case here, if partner had doubled 2 !C. But now that I see that, on this auction,  we do not seem to be using 2 !H as a transfer to !S, I have to wonder whether a double of 2 !C is still being played as Stayman.

So the general question can be put:
After the contested auction begins  1 !H - 1NT - 2 !C, what are the meanings of the various bids by fourth hand?

I am a strong believer in going to a reliable source for answers. Reinventing the wheel gets tiresome, especially if it means inventing a different wheel with each partner. I would be happy to just do it as Mike Lawrence says or do it as Larry Cohen says or whatever, as long as it is written down.


B. This was from yesterday's indy. I opened 1NT, Lho overcalled a DONT 2 !D, partner doubled, Rho bid 2 !H. What is 2 !H?

This one is easier to find references for. Larry Cohen, a popularizer of DONT (and maybe a co-inventor with Bergen of the convention, I'm not sure), says it shows !H. Without the double, 2 !H asks for pass or correct, depending on the DONTer's second suit. With the X, then XX asks for the second suit, and 2 !H shows hearts.

This worked out miraculously well for us. I had opened 1 NT on a 5=3=2=3 shape, I decided to chance that 2 !H was intended to ask for a second suit and that Lho's second suit was probably !H so I bid 2 !S which pard raised to 4, making 7. I could have been held to 5 if Lho had led the stiff !C but s/he chose a !H after which I will make 12 tricks at least.

But the point here is what the 2 !H call should mean after the X. I say go with Cohen.


C. This is an uncontested auction from yesterday's indy;
1NT - 2 !D   (correction, thanks)
2 !H - 4 !C.

Ok, what's 4 !C ? I have played that it shows a splinter, I have played that it is key card blackwood. Bridge World Standard says "four clubs is a key-card-ask if opener showed a major, otherwise shows four=six in the majors" but splinter is common and I play it that way with some.

Partner indeed intended this as a splinter but I was uncertain of just how to take it. We landed on our feet, through luck rather than any good choices on my part.


I intend the above as a congenial and realistic  presentation of ambiguity. Responses to these and other similar problems  are very welcome.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 05:54:31 PM by kenberg »
Ken

blubayou

  • IACAdmins
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • lifelong director [1977-2010] and haunter of ACBL
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2020, 02:01:28 PM »
re:  item B   I thought that 2D  asked for 2nd suit, when there is no X by responder hence 2H would b hearts in either case?
                        (never mind--I see that the 2C interference was a typo, and it was actually a rather pitiful 2D call)

For item C-- there should be no ambiguity in serious play that 4C  is RKG when stayman gets a major rebid from opener  (Opposite major at the 3-level 'demands' relay to then show any splinter-suit on the following round).   "Nobody"   plays 4NT rebid as control-asking after this start, (HA!)   and if there is a better use for  "1NT, 2C; 2M, 4C" than control asking it is certainly not the undiscussed agreement.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 02:16:38 PM by blubayou »
often it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission

Masse24

  • IACAdmins
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 456
  • Karma: +10/-4
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 04:03:33 PM »
re:  item B   I thought that 2D  asked for 2nd suit, when there is no X by responder hence 2H would b hearts in either case?
                        (never mind--I see that the 2C interference was a typo, and it was actually a rather pitiful 2D call)

For item C-- there should be no ambiguity in serious play that 4C  is RKG when stayman gets a major rebid from opener  (Opposite major at the 3-level 'demands' relay to then show any splinter-suit on the following round).   "Nobody"   plays 4NT rebid as control-asking after this start, (HA!)   and if there is a better use for  "1NT, 2C; 2M, 4C" than control asking it is certainly not the undiscussed agreement.

"Serious play" implies a serious partnership, and therefore--agreements. While 4 !C as RKCB (I prefer NOT to use the word "Gerber") for the major is a common agreement, and is actually BWS2017, my preference is to use 4 !D as RKCB. This allows 4 !C to be used as suit agreement with no shortness, slam interest. The minimal amount of extra room this creates is clearly better than using 4 !C as RKCB.

One thing I will agree with, even with no agreement and no discussion, opposite an experienced bidder I would assume the jump to 4NT to be a quantitative raise, denying support for opener's major. Going further, even with no agreements, I would expect an experienced partner to just know that a 3-level bid of the "other major" was suit-agreement and slamming.

But as Ken pointed out, this was an Indy. So it's a guess as to what the jump to 4 !C was. Obviously a guess as to partner's experience and knowledge is part of the equation. But a blind guess is probably as good as you can do.  ;)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 05:50:02 PM by Masse24 »
“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

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 08:34:45 PM »
In advertising for the indy, iac std is suggested as the default. I just checked, and iac std plays the 4 !C as a splinter.

But my knowledge of iac std is a weak, and often partners are not playing it. For example I wasn't.

Browsing the net, I see the 4 !C after 1NT - 2 !C - 2 !H  is sometimes played as showing six spades and four hearts, offering a choice of games.

I started playing bridge in1961. I had no money, I was a grad student, I was married, my wife was pregnant, we could afford a deck of cards and some beer. At that time, everyone agreed that a bid meant whatever Charlie Goren said it meant. That time is long gone.

Oh. In case you are worried, my pregnant wife let the rest of us drink the beer.
Ken

Masse24

  • IACAdmins
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 456
  • Karma: +10/-4
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2020, 09:08:52 PM »
Oh my.  :-[

IAC Standard has 4m as splinters, but no bid to agree trump without shortage and express slam interest?! Why?

Time for an update.

At the very least, if no intention to use Baze or Modified-Baze, then resuscitate the good old Goldway Raise (3oM) as an omnibus "trump-agreement-slam-try." 
“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

blubayou

  • IACAdmins
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • lifelong director [1977-2010] and haunter of ACBL
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 11:39:34 PM »
Hi, Todd,   Your reversal of the meanings of 4C(RKC)   and 4D(point-count slam-try raise)  is hereby adopted,    But tell us  what the extra bid so saved --the chance for pard to bid diamonds over 4C-- is used for..Is it a diamond cue,  or something more esoteric?
often it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission

Masse24

  • IACAdmins
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 456
  • Karma: +10/-4
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 06:46:39 PM »
Yes, the extra space is simply used for control bids. Obviously, not a whole lot of extra space is created, but any extra space is beneficial in slam auctions.
“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

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2020, 02:22:45 PM »
Any thoughts on me problem A?
Rho opens 1 !H. I overcall 1NT, Lho bids 2 !C.

What meaning would you attach to various calls by partner? 
Would X be penalty or Stayman ? (I assume that if I open 1NT and Lho comes in with 2 !C then X is Stayman).
Would 2 !H be a transfer? If not, what is it? As mentioned, the MSC problem had pard bidding 2 !S, not 2 !H, with 2 !S  presumed natural.

Undiscussed, I would take X as Stayman, I would take 2 !H as a transfer, and I would be wondering just what 2 !S is.  Possibly both 2 !H and 2 !S would show spades, with 2 !H being the stronger version. I will be interested in seeing what my Bridge World says when it gets here.
Ken

jcreech

  • IACAdmins
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 364
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2020, 04:34:57 PM »
I would assume that if you play that system is on over NT overcall carries over to interference .  The only exception would be, in your example, 2D transfer to 2H should not be normal (duh), so unless it has been specifically discussed, I would just treat as forcing, show me something more.

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2020, 07:34:38 PM »
possibly 2 !D should be a natural non-forcing bid
Ken

wackojack

  • IACAdmins
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 218
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2020, 11:19:01 AM »
One hand from my work-out last night was very relevant to the discussion here:
♠ K1084     ♠ AQJ3
♥ Q93        ♥ AJ10
♦ A4          ♦ KQ
♣ KQ32    ♣ A764

Not playing puppet it went:
                            2NT   20-22
3♣   Stayman   3♠   4 cards
4♣   ?      
This bid was meant to be agreeing spades and showing a control in clubs which looked a reasonable assumption to me.  However, that is not how some interpret this bid.
GIB notes:  After 2N-3♣-3♠:
•   3NT    Signoff (promises 4 hearts)
•    4♣/4♦ 5+ card suit. Interest in slam.
•    4♥      Artificial slam try with 4+ spades
•    4NT     Invitational to 6NT

So, 4♣ shows 5+ clubs and presumably 4 hearts.  Hmm ……….
With 2425 distribution going over 3NT looks perilous.  With say 1426 distribution and a slammy looking hand you might now want to investigate 6♣.  However, this type of hand would be very rare and I would rather cater for the way more common case where you have found your 4-4 spade fit and want to investigate slam by cue bidding below the game level.

BWS:  I see nothing about this.

Playing Puppet Stayman the problem goes away:
                     2NT   20-22
3♣   Puppet   3♦   4♥ or 4♠
3♥   4 spades   3♠   Agrees ♠

It is interesting that Puppet Stayman gives you the extra room. Then the bidding could continue:   
4♣   Control   4♦   Control
4NT   1430   5♦   3 keys
5♥   Q♠?   6♦   Q♠ + Q♦*
6♥   K♥?   6♠   No K♥
pass         

•   The interesting thing here is that because opener had cued 4♦ showing the K♦, then 6♦ would not just repeat this bit of information, it should be showing the Q♦.  Of course, with these 2 hands this piece of info is not vital but in other circumstances could be. 

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2020, 11:52:45 AM »
I am glad to see the hand from yesterday discussed.  I gave it to the bots (who also do not play Puppet) and it began:
2NT - 3 !C - 3 !S - 4 !H. The bots self-alert and the 4 !H was explained as agreeing to spades. I assume that raising 3 !S to 4 !S  would also agree to !S so I further assume that 4 !H agrees to !S and suggests a slam might be possible. As I recall, after that opener just bid 4 !S, then responder launched rkc and they ended in 6 !S, a sensible contract.

We have a total of 35 highs so and an 8 card spade fit so a grand is possible, but we would need some things to be better.   For example, the !D suit wastes values. But even if, say, the !H T were the !D T, so now we have three !D tricks instead of two, this is not enough, we still would require a !H finesse. With 35 highs and a fit, the grand might be there, and partnerships with agreements that are both extensive and well chosen might find it when it is, but ini ant partnership that I have ever had some gambling would be required.

I think that it was with this hand that someone mentioned the clash between Puppet and Smolen. The idea is this. Suppose there is a 2NT opener and responder has five spades and four hearts. If he bids 3 !C Puppet and hears a 3NT response he cannot check for the 5-3 !S fit.  With five !H and four !S the problem is solvable: Transfer to !H and then bid 3 !S.  But how about the five !S four !H problem? The Muppet solution (as I recall)is to interchange the 3 !H call with the 3 !NT call. So over 3 !C a bid of 3NT shows five !H, and a bid of 3 !H denies four of either major. This works, I guess it works I have never played it, but further details are needed. Over the 3 !H the usual situation is that responder does not have five !S and wants to sign off in 3NT. He does this by bidding 3 !S, which opener converts to 3NT. On the hand where he has five !She bids 3NT, a transfer to 4 !S if opener has three.  A lot of memory work for an infrequent situation.  But w/o it. there is a cost to playing Puppet when responder holds five !S and four !H.
Ken

kenberg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2020, 02:42:43 PM »
That hand of Jack's created a lot of discussion. I was a minority, perhaps a minority of 1, on the following. I will take the auction as gioven, with the meanings as construed by the participants.

 W       E
2NT - 3 !C
3 !S - 4 !C
4 !D - 4NT
5 !D - 5 !H
6 !S - ?

Ok, it could be argued, and was argued, that 4 !D by E already showed either the A or the K, and so the response to 5 !H, when E holds the trump Q, will be concerned only with the !H K.  but that was not how it was understood, so let us assume that after 5 !H then W bids 6 !D. Now what?

My view is that an E bid of 6 !H should now show the !H K. Others felt it should ask partner to bid the grand if holding the !H K. I will say why I think 5 !H should show the K.

In general, after the 2NT opening, we assume that responder is better able to make the final decision. Opener is less likely to be able to say with confidence that the hand belongs in 7 if responder holds the !H K.  For example, nothing in the auction so far prevents responder from having !H AQJx.  If so, and if 6 !H is bid and shows the K, responder can say "Hey, this is great, I know from partner's 3 !S that he has at most three !H and now, with the fitting K, I think we should have a good shot at the grand. Otoh, if responder's hearts are Axx he can say "Ok, the !H K will be a trick, but I still do not see just where 13 tricks are coming from".

Long ago Reese remarked that bridge is easier if players bid what they have instead of what they don't have. Of course there are exceptions, but I think that when one hand is fairly well defined, for example by opening 2NT, it is best if he continues on by bidding what he has and letting responder use his best judgment rather than having responder just take orders "bid 7 !S if you have the !H K, but not if you don't have the !H K" from opener. Who know, with a different hand for responder he might be able to count to 13 as soon as he hears about the !H K. It's responder's hand that is not yet limited in strength.

Anyway, I was clearly in the minority but I have not yet changed my mind.
Ken

Masse24

  • IACAdmins
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 456
  • Karma: +10/-4
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2020, 10:23:07 PM »
I’m going to hijack this thread even further (sorry Ken) by reiterating my disagreement with the middle of the Wacko’s Workout slam auction. The hands:

!S AQJ3
!H AJT
!D KQ
!C A764

!S KT84
!H Q93
!D A4
!C KQ32

The auction:
2NT — 3 !C
3 !S — ??

During Jack’s session, I waited until after the lengthy RKCB/Control Bid discussion to bring up the following: trump must first be agreed. Bidding 4 !H is the way to do so. I went so far as to chat, “It’s Standard!”

Much of the room bought into the “4 !C agrees !S as trump and is a control bid looking for slam” idea. But what about a hand with four hearts and five-plus clubs wanting to sniff at slam? Possibly even (GASP!) a club slam? How do you show it? With the above scheme—you can’t! In other words, 4m bids are natural.

Determining what is, and what is not, “Standard” when playing 2/1 is a question rarely if ever settled. I know this. So, in penance for improper use of the word “standard,” I shall self-flagellate to save you the trouble.

But I challenge anyone to find an authoritative source who suggests that 4m agrees trump. Help me out here, I cannot find one. My bridge library is not as extensive as many of you have, so maybe there is a dust-covered tome out there with this elusive treatment? Please share if you can find it.

What about the “Other Major” at the cheapest level? Here are two:
1.   https://www.bridgebum.com/puppet_stayman.php
      Marc Smith article about Puppet. It includes a short blurb on this auction.

2.   https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/suit-agreement-and-slam-move-after-2nt-open/
      Bridgewinners poll from Feb. 2020. With 99 votes in, 85% (Including world class players, Kit too) choose OM at cheapest level to agree trump.

3.   There are others.

If I ever partner Kit, I expect that he would field a 4m bid after a positive Stayman response as natural. His vote in the Bridgewinners poll confirms this. In the IAC—you make your best guess.
“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

wackojack

  • IACAdmins
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 218
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: One No Trump and then?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2020, 11:39:44 AM »
I’m going to hijack this thread even further (sorry Ken) by reiterating my disagreement with the middle of the Wacko’s Workout slam auction. The hands:
!S AQJ3
!H AJT
!D KQ
!C A764

!S KT84
!H Q93
!D A4
!C KQ32

The auction:
2NT — 3 !C
3 !S — ??

During Jack’s session, I waited until after the lengthy RKCB/Control Bid discussion to bring up the following: trump must first be agreed. Bidding 4 !H is the way to do so. I went so far as to chat, “It’s Standard!”

I can certainly see the virtue in having this agreement but not sure how much following an agreement has to have before it is called "standard"  One could argue that puppet stayman 3 !C response to 2NT is "standard" and therefore any continuations after a 3 !C 4 card Stayman is "non standard"  And when you use puppet Stayman this problem does not arise as I pointed out in my earlier post. 

However, as Marc Smith pointed puppet does not get over this problem if the 2NT opener does have a 5 card major.  Say opener has :
 !S KQ
 !H AKQ53
 !D A84
 !C Q105

opposite
 !S A795
 !H J6
 !D 7
 !C KJ9632

2NT      3 !C
3 !H      ?
Then you need 4 !C to be natural to find the  !C slam and so a bid of the other major 3 !S would have to be the artificial bid to show 3 or 4 card support for partner's hearts and slam interest.

So I have to concede that 4  !C or 4 !D for that matter should be natural.  Fortunately this very rarely comes up.  If it were adopted by most iac players I would be willing to bet that it would be totally misused with 5m +4M hands finding themselves in unmakeable 6m or even 5m contract when 3NT would have been easy. 

Incidentally if we abandon "Puppet"  for "Muppet" Stayman then the bidding would go:  2NT-3 !C - 3NT - ?  So with 3 or 4 card  heart support and slam interest, responder would have to bid 4 !S.  This does not look very nice as it uses up precious cue bidding room.