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Slam-zone auctions need to be different

#1 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 13:48

Small spot cards are imaginary. Hint: If you "agree" partner's last bid suit, you are in trouble.






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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 14:26

What is your point?

Btw, I suspect that few good players would respond 1D with that last hand. It looks like an automatic 1H response even if one doesn’t bypass long diamonds with weakish hands. About the only justification I can think of for 1D is if one opens 1C with 4=4 minors. I know that’s a fairly common European approach, for reasons that I’ve never seen adequately or persuasively explained but it’s far from standard in NA.

Also, on the first hand, I assume that your hint was to warn us off spades because we may have 12 tricks but 2 spade losers.

One issue is whether 1m 1H 1S shows an unbalanced hand. If it does, then that lessens the chances that we belong in hearts while significantly increasing the chances that, after the 1D opening bid, we belong in diamonds. While the AQJ10x holding is attractive, a 5-1 fit means one needs trump to break 4-3, which is the most likely split but hardly what one wants to have to gamble on in a slam.

The same issue arises on the last hand. As noted, up the line bidding on 4=4 hands isn’t that common. Those who use that style suffer from the further handicap that opener can’t afford to bypass the majors over 1D even with say 3433 or 4333 or 4234 or 2434.

Compare that to 1C 1H 1S promising 9+ black cards or 1D 1H 1S promising either 9+ pointed cards or 4=1=4=4 (which can be clarified cheaply next round) and you’ll see how much further forward responder is in deciding not merely whether to explore or slam but also which slam.
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#3 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 14:28

Are you asking for the best continuation on all three hands?

Hand 1 2 4SGF, intending to support spades next round (hopefully at the 2-level).

Hand 2 2 establishes a game force, and we are free to set trumps with 3. Maybe 4 is better (a splinter confirming hearts - 1NT suggests the clubs might be short) but I think we are too strong to make partner captain of the auction.

Hand 3 I would have bid 1, not 1, over the opening bid. Now we are stuck for a rebid, though I suppose 1 can keep the ball rolling.

Given the forum it is likely that my entire approach to these auctions is misguided, and the system does not include these gadgets.
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#4 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 15:56

View PostDavidKok, on 2022-September-21, 14:28, said:


Hand 3 I would have bid 1, not 1, over the opening bid. Now we are stuck for a rebid, though I suppose 1 can keep the ball rolling.


Make the auction 1 - 1; 3 - ?

Now you are in even worse trouble.
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#5 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 16:05

What do you mean? Now I have an easy 3 bid.
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#6 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 17:17

After 1C 1H 3H, I wouldn’t have strong slam interest on the third hand. I have a flat 14 count with weak hearts

If not playing any gadgets, I’d just bid game unless playing with someone who is a sound opening bidder.

Gadgets are designed, if done properly, to help one in difficult situations

Here, some form of serious or non serious would work. In my non serious partnership, we invert 3N and 3S so I’d bid 3N showing mild slam interest and a spade control.

In my other partnership, I’d already know a great deal more. We’d have started 1C 1D (hearts) 3H, with 3H limited to 16 hcp and denying an invitational hand with short diamonds ((3D is an invitational or better splinter), and 1C 1D 2H would, if nv, have shown a balanced hand with 4H and 14-16 hcp.

Thus either he’s stretched for his invite or he has short spades, either of which devalues my hand so I’d bid 4H.

Now, back to the real world, if playing with a sound opener I bid 3S.
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#7 User is offline   michel444 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 17:19

I love trouble
for me its seem that first hand i make a splinter bid with 4
second hand look like opener opened 1 with a 1=4=4=4 distribution
and just bid 4H
third hand i will bid 3H
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#8 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 17:48

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-September-21, 13:48, said:

Hint: If you "agree" partner's last bid suit, you are in trouble.

If you stop raising partner with great support, you might as well give up bridge.


Sarcasm is a state of mind
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#9 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 18:05

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-September-21, 13:48, said:

Small spot cards are imaginary. Hint: If you "agree" partner's last bid suit, you are in trouble.







Ok, I can imagine for example something like

8732 K AKQ432 32,

AJ3 5432 Q2 AK32

and

KJ2 7432 AJ2 KJ2

opposite the first, second and third hand, respectively.
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#10 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 18:19

The first deal was from October 1995 "Challenge the Champs."




One pair got trapped in spades and could not avoid the five level.

The other pair smelled a rat [unethical!]. But the best they could do was an eventual double jump to the pick-a-slam 5NT. They ended in the fourth best contract.

The other two deals are from the USA trials for the 2007 Bermuda Bowl.




The final contracts were 7 once, 6 twice, 4 once, 6 twice, 4 once, and 3NT once.



The final contracts were 6, 5, 4, 6, all once.

On that last hand, a Vugraph commentator quipped that only in a bidding contest should a pair escape from hearts.

My point is that I disagree. Think: On the first two deals, if opener knew they were in the slam zone, they would know (or should!) not to introduce a bad suit on the second round. On the third hand, if responder knew they were in the slam zone, they would know (or should!) not to introduce a bad suit on the first round.

In a natural system, they do not have such knowledge. But that is no reason to be dragged kicking and screaming into the wrong strain. Add some third-round bids to give yourself a chance to escape.

Here's one idea. Give up responder's second-round splinter raise. Use the double jumpshift to say "We're in the slam zone, I have an honor-poor fit for your last suit." Then opener can have a reserved bid to say their suit is strong enough. So you will play either slam in the suit or in some number of notrump (including 5NT maybe!). When opener does not make the reserved bid, a suit bid is exploring a different strain. All suit bids below slam are forcing.

That helps in the case when responder is the one who knows they are in the slam zone.

In the case that opener has revealed a strong hand by jumpraising, give up responder's cheapest control bid. Make it the artificial "We're in the slam zone, I have an honor-poor holding in the suit you raised."
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#11 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 18:28

View Poststeve2005, on 2022-September-21, 17:48, said:

If you stop raising partner with great support, you might as well give up bridge.

Yes, but I wrote "agree" not "raise." In the slam zone, raising must not mean agreeing.
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#12 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-September-21, 19:07

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-September-21, 18:19, said:

The first deal was from October 1995 "Challenge the Champs."




One pair got trapped in spades and could not avoid the five level.

The other pair smelled a rat [unethical!]. But the best they could do was an eventual double jump to the pick-a-slam 5NT. They ended in the fourth best contract.

The other two deals are from the USA trials for the 2007 Bermuda Bowl.




The final contracts were 7 once, 6 twice, 4 once, 6 twice, 4 once, and 3NT once.



The final contracts were 6, 5, 4, 6, all once.

On that last hand, a Vugraph commentator quipped that only in a bidding contest should a pair escape from hearts.

My point is that I disagree. Think: On the first two deals, if opener knew they were in the slam zone, they would know (or should!) not to introduce a bad suit on the second round. On the third hand, if responder knew they were in the slam zone, they would know (or should!) not to introduce a bad suit on the first round.

In a natural system, they do not have such knowledge. But that is no reason to be dragged kicking and screaming into the wrong strain. Add some third-round bids to give yourself a chance to escape.

Here's one idea. Give up responder's second-round splinter raise. Use the double jumpshift to say "We're in the slam zone, I have an honor-poor fit for your last suit." Then opener can have a reserved bid to say their suit is strong enough. So you will play either slam in the suit or in some number of notrump (including 5NT maybe!). When opener does not make the reserved bid, a suit bid is exploring a different strain. All suit bids below slam are forcing.

That helps in the case when responder is the one who knows they are in the slam zone.

In the case that opener has revealed a strong hand by jumpraising, give up responder's cheapest control bid. Make it the artificial "We're in the slam zone, I have an honor-poor holding in the suit you raised."

With all respect, I think you’re making the classic ‘down the rabbit hole’ mistake

Yes, most methods have seams where they break down. The fact that there were so many bad results on those boards simply reflects that even some of the finest pairs in the world can have problems on some relatively rare hand types

Btw, in both of my partnerships we use old CTC hands to test our memory of our system and, to a lesser degree, our judgement. It’s important to understand that CTC hands are chosen because they are NOT simple for standard-based methods. They can, otoh, be trivial for very artificial methods

These days I think both my partnerships would struggle

Ironically, 20-25 years ago one of those partnerships (we stopped playing in 2000 but restarted just before Covid) would have done much better on the first two.

South would have used relays. Over 1D, 2C was a gf relay. Over 1C, 1D was ambiguous…but either natural or the start of a relay.opener treated it as a relay.

Thus north would, on the first hand, show 4=5 pointed, then 4=2=5=2, then 4 controls then the diamond queen while denying the spade queen. Then either both or neither of the diamond AK and either both or neither of the spade AK. Then either the Ace or King of hearts but not both. By that point south knows north has xxxx Kx AKQxx xx, possibly with the spade Jack.

So 7D is trivial.

On the second, I don’t remember all of the steps (it used a slightly different ‘engine’ than the 2C relay, which operated over 1D/H/S openings so arose quite frequently) but I think we’d have time to ask about Jacks. We definitely find Ax xxxx Qxx Axxx where x’s could include Jacks, unless we asked about jacks…often the relay was pretty high by then.

My point is that if you really want to be able to bid low frequency slam hands reliably, don’t play a standard based method

But your solution, to abandon some splinters, seems to me to be worse, in the sense of creating more frequent problems, than is the problem you’re trying to address.

The rabbit hole is to look at difficult hands and invent a ‘solution’ that works on those hands but, because you’re so focused on those hands, inadvertently creates different and more problematic issues.
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#13 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 05:35

View Postmikeh, on 2022-September-21, 19:07, said:

But your solution, to abandon some splinters, seems to me to be worse, in the sense of creating more frequent problems, than is the problem you’re trying to address.

The rabbit hole is to look at difficult hands and invent a ‘solution’ that works on those hands but, because you’re so focused on those hands, inadvertently creates different and more problematic issues.

Can you remember a case when responder's ability to splinter-raise opener's *second* suit was more than merely convenient?
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#14 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 05:55

View Postnullve, on 2022-September-21, 18:05, said:

Ok, I can imagine for example something like

8732 K AKQ432 32,

AJ3 5432 Q2 AK32

and

KJ2 7432 AJ2 KJ2

opposite the first, second and third hand, respectively.


Why wouldn't opener bid 2 instead of 2 holding the second hand?
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#15 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 06:00

No rabbit hole.

The practice of routinely bidding bad suits is crucial for game bidding. But there are troubles with it, even outside the slam zone.

Suppose the partnership has AKxx facing QJ10x in one major and Axxx facing xxxx in the other. If the strong fit is hearts, you're going to play in hearts. If the strong fit is spades, you're still going to play in hearts. Most of the time, that doesn't matter. But "most" does not mean anything like 75%.

Maybe we have to pay off to this in the game zone. Maybe it's only a matter of overtricks.

But there is no reason at all to settle for this in the slam zone. And, no, fixing it does not require artificial structures in the early auction.
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#16 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 06:08

View PostAL78, on 2022-September-22, 05:55, said:

Why wouldn't opener bid 2 instead of 2 holding the second hand?

Ok, maybe he would. Give Opener

AJ 5432 Q32 AK32

instead then.
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#17 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 06:13

View PostDavidKok, on 2022-September-21, 16:05, said:

What do you mean? Now I have an easy 3 bid.

Indeed!

You have an easy action this round.

The trouble comes later. Which you should be able to foresee!
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#18 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 06:21

View Postmikeh, on 2022-September-21, 19:07, said:

My point is that if you really want to be able to bid low frequency slam hands reliably, don’t play a standard based method


What do you mean by low frequency? All slam deals are low frequency in the literal sense.

Do you mean "marginal"?

Even the third deal is marginal only if played in hearts.
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#19 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 06:42

The first playing 4SF not GF goes 1-1-1-2-2-3(GF uncertain of strain or slam try or clubs)-3/3-3(too good to just DGR)-4/4(other suit to last time)-4N-5(1/4)-5(Q?)-5(no)

now what does partner have ? Not K/Q, a minimum ish opening bid with 5/4, K, no club stop so very likely either xxxx, Kx, AKQxx, xx or Kxxx, Kx, KQxxx, Jx or similar, 6 or 6 are very likely to have better play than 6 which might still have OK play if partner has KJ10x/J109x.

If you have 5N pick a slam available, this would be a good time and partner bids 6, otherwise you just punt 6.
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#20 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2022-September-22, 08:26

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-September-22, 06:13, said:

Indeed!

You have an easy action this round.

The trouble comes later. Which you should be able to foresee!
I think you think you're making a point, but it is completely unclear to me. So far you have presented hands and partial auctions without any bidding problems, and claim that somehow we are doing it wrong by making the obvious moves. Could you spell out why the obvious moves are wrong, where the issues lie or why we should even think there is a problem? Are you simply pointing out that standard bidding sometimes gets to poor contracts?
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