# BBO Discussion Forums: Symmetric Relay Points, but for a new application - BBO Discussion Forums

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## Symmetric Relay Points, but for a new application

### #1keylime

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Posted 2009-April-04, 20:28

Larry and I are thinking about using relay points (i.e. A=3, K=2, Q=1) over balanced hand responses to our strong club. How does relay points work, and how effective are they?
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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### #2the hog

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Posted 2009-April-04, 21:44

Dwayne,
The structure we used is as follows:

5. RELAY AFTER SHAPE
5.1 Signing off
3N is TP and 4D is END signal. RR bids 4H then passes.

If shape ends by 3N, S is 321Ask. A=3, K=2, Q=1. Dont include stiff kings or queens. Base=min H x  6 rounded up. Then subtract one if 10 cards in 2 suits or if HCP range is <=4. S+1 to S+4 = KC.
If shape ends 4C+, S=ES, S+1=321Ask, S+2 to S+5 = KC.
After 321Ask, S starts DCBs & game is TP. S +1 below game asks max/min. S = min, else = max & DCBs.
If 12 cards shown (6322/7222 or 4432 or 5440) S+1=321Ask, S+2 to S+5 = KC, and 4D = ES.
In DCBs, on 1st pass, stop w 0/AKQ. On 2nd pass, look for 2nd hons in 3+ card suits. Ignore suits where you stopped. Stop w no 2nd hon. On 3rd pass, look at jacks in all 2+ card suits. Step is R if below 6N. On a weak hand, include jacks on 2nd pass. Never look at singletons. (Use KCB instead.)
If they double in DCB auction, pass by RR = nothing worth showing. Xx = step 1.

5.3 Key Card Blackwood (KB)
After shape, S is 321Ask and S+1 to S+4 is KB, setting any suit in length or H-S-C-D order. (1430.)
Exception 1: If KB below 3N, S=min. Then S=KB, 4D=ES.
Eg 3D(5431):3S, 3N(min) then 4C=KC, 4D=ES.
Exception 2: If shape ends at 4C or higher, S=ES, S+1 = 321Ask & next 4 are KB.

5.4 SHAPE FINISHES below 3N
If last step is 3S then 3N = base 321 then 4C = DCB, 4D = ES, 4H/S/N/5C = KCB. If 3S = base +1 up. Then 4C = 321 ask, 4D = ES & 4H/S/N/5C = KB. If 3H then 3N = base, 3S = base+1, 3H=base+2 up. Then 3S=321P ask. If below 3H, no zoom.

After KB, game in TS is TP. Otherwise, R can ask about TQ and the exact A-K-Q holding in all four suits.
Step 2 = SAB in suit 1
Step 3 = SAB in suit 2
Step 4 = SAB in suit 3
Step 5 = SAB in TS
There may be less than 5 steps. Steps are removed if the TQ is known or if RR has a void. Look at suits in length order  if equal, in order of H-S-C-D.
In reply, RR bids the cheaper of TS or NT to say no. Else..
With TQ, bid step. Obviously, not the cheaper of TS/NT.
Step 1 = A/KQ
Step 2 = Q/AK
Step 3 = K/AQ
Step 4 = AKQ
Responses to TS SAB:
Step 1 = J /AK
Step 2 = K/AJ
Step 3 = A/KJ
Step 4 = AKJ
Given space, R can ask any or all the questions. But once you skip a question you cannot go back. Any bid beyond the TS SAB is to play.
Example 1:
RR R
3H (6331) 4C - KC on S
4D (1/4) 4H - Q ask
4NT (SQ) 5D  SAB in D
5H (DA/KQ) 5S is TP
5N is SAB in C
6C is TS SAB
6D is TP
Example 2:
RR R
3H 3622 4C - KC on H
4D (1/4) 4H is TP
4N is S SAB
5C is C SAB (co-incidence)
5D is D SAB
5H is NF (weird)
5S is TS SAB
5N up is TP
Lets say R chose 5D and heard 5N (DQ/AK) - now 6C is TS SAB and 6D up is TP.

5.6 MOVING AFTER A SIGN OFF
If R bids 3N, 4C+ by RR = 321P base +3. Over ES, 4S+ is same. Then S = DCBs, S +1 = aces, else TP.
Over a suit sign off, bids = cues. 4N = aces (1430).
In N, 4C is 321P ask over a bid of 3NT:
(1) 1C (they overcall no anchor) Dbl
(2) After we open 1C and bid to 3N without showing a suit  4C by an unlimted hand is 321P: eg 1C - (2C) - 2NT - 3NT
- 4C. But not here 1C - (3D)  3H - 3NT  4C. RR has H&C.
Otherwise, in N after 1C, a raise of 3N to 4N = ace over.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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### #3rbforster

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Posted 2009-April-05, 01:03

I currently use AKQ slam points (3/2/1) in most of my relay auctions and find them quite effective. They are a good measure of general hand strength, and are most useful opposite balanced inquiring hands. If relayer has a weak short suit, often an RKC approach will be better. I use something similar to Hog's approach, adapted originally from Moscito, although we've made some changes:

- Base is 6 AKQ points. Count all honors, even singletons. With enough to GF and a control poor hand, we will tend to GF anyway, so the base response is really 6 or fewer 321's (5's are common too, and 4's very rarely). This can be annoying, but for now we like getting the initial GF started rather than going through a negative response and bidding game later.

- We zoom into AKQ points if we hit the "top" of our shape relay. If 3D showed 5422 and 3H+ were not other shapes, we'd play that 3D was 5422 with min 321's (6 or fewer), 3H was 7, 3S was 8, etc.

- When using denial cues, we scan suits ordered by length but don't scan singleton or void suits. In the first pass 0/3 of AKQ to stop, 1-2 honors to skip. In the 2nd pass through the suits, only answer suits that showed 1-2 in the first pass (stop on 1, skip with 2). The 3rd pass shows jacks.

- if opener signs off with 3N or 4D end signal, responder can show lots of extras by bidding his 321 control strength in steps starting at Base+3 (9). So 3N(to play)-4C(9), or 4D(10), etc. Over 4D(end)-4S(9), or 4N(10), etc.

After responder has shown his AKQ points or answered a denial cue bid, we originally played that all non-step bids were to play and the step bid asked for (more) denial cues. Recently I've switched to this:

If responder has answered AKQ points or a denial cue bidding 3N or less, 4D is still the end signal. Pass or 3N is still to play. Step asks further, S+1 thru S+4 are RKC's. Essentially this gives meaning to sequences after 3H(4432 & 6 321's) - 3S would ask DCBs, but 4m is not to play since we are game forced. Here 4C would be RKC1, 4D would be the end signal, and 4H+ would be more RKC bids.

Basically, whenever 4D is available as a non-step bid, we play that the end signal is on and all extra bids besides the cheapest step are available for RKC asks, even if you've answered 321 points already. This helps with hands that wanted to ask RKC but responder inconveniently zoomed into showing 321s by having the top shape.
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### #4hrothgar

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Posted 2009-April-05, 06:15

Hi Dwayne

I'm attaching a script that you might find useful.

You can use this script to deal hands with a set number of slam points.
The script is probably a bit more complicated that you need.

I adjust slam points up by one if the sum of the two longest suits >= 10.
I also discount singleton Kings and Queens.

You're only dealing with balanced hands, so you probably don't need this extra code.

(Please note: It seems strange to be using Symmetric Relay auction termination for balanced hands, but not unbalanced hands. I think that there's value to adopting consistent methods throughout your system. If anything, I think that Symmetric type methods are better for showing unbalanced hands)

######### Definition - Opening Points

##### SUM longest two suits

hd = hearts(north) + diamonds(north)
hc = hearts(north) + clubs(north)
dc = diamonds(north) + clubs(north)

a = sh >= sd ? sh : sd
b = a >= sc ? a : sc
c = b >= hd ? b : hd
d = c >= hc ? c : hc
two_longest = d >= dc ? d : dc

#### Definition relay points

relay_points =

3 *
(
hascard(north, AS) + hascard(north, AH) +
)

+

2 *
(
hascard(north, KS) + hascard(north, KH) +
hascard(north, KD) + hascard(north, KC)
)

+

1 *
(
hascard(north, QS) + hascard(north, QH) +
hascard(north, QD) + hascard(north, QC)
)

-

(
2 *
(
hascard(north, KS)
)
)

-

(
(
hascard(north, QS)
)
)

-

(
2 *
(
hascard(north, KH)
and hearts(north) == 1
)
)

-

(
(
hascard(north, QH)
)
and hearts(north) == 1
)

-

(
2 *
(
hascard(north, KD)
and diamonds(north) == 1
)
)

-

(
(
hascard(north, QD)
)
and diamonds(north) == 1
)

-

(
2 *
(
hascard(north, KC)
and clubs(north) == 1
)
)

-

(
(
hascard(north, QC)
)
and clubs(north) == 1
)

############

slam_points = two_longest >= 10 ? relay_points + 1 : relay_points

############

slam_points == 5

Alderaan delenda est
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### #5keylime

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Posted 2009-April-05, 15:50

Thank you both for this. We're looking to pinpoint better our balanced hand slam versus slam bidding potential, and we think this is an excellent avenue to do so.
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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### #6rbforster

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Posted 2009-April-05, 16:11

Dwayne - let me offer you some additional advice on using AKQ points. Out of the 24 total points, you typically want 20+ for slam under normal circumstances. This means you're off either AQ or KK out of all the honors. Remember you'll usually have time to figure out some of partner's honors before you have to go past game, and certainly will have a lot more information before you go past the 5 level.

Don't always ask for AKQ points, even if it's tempting to try out the new methods. Opener should be counting his own AKQ total, and if it's 10(11?) or less, he should sign off rather than inquiring under most circumstances (excepting a big fit or no wastage opposite shortness). You won't miss any of the common 20 AKQ point slams, since responder will bid on with 9+ AKQs. It will actually save bidding space to sign off (especially in 3N) rather than asking for strength since responder will bid 4C with 9 controls while if you'd asked over final shape with a 3H or 3S bid, showing 9 controls would be a higher response than 4C anyway. If you've identified a major fit, it's more reasonable to ask even with 10 or less since responder can make a pretty high response without going past 4M-1 (so 4M is still to play) and if he had to show strength over your 4D end relay he'd be bidding 4S just to show 9 controls.

Certainly there are slams that make with only 18-19 AKQ points, but these will require a good suit fit and shortness opposite no wasted values. If relayer has a suit with Axx opposite partner's known singleton, the KQ in that suit aren't really relevant and so he should try for slam with 3 fewer AKQ points in total than he would otherwise.
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### #7akhare

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Posted 2009-April-05, 18:26

I concur with RobF et all regarding the efficacy of AKQ points.

BTW, why restrict the relays to balanced hands only? They work equally well for all hand types. Also, it's nice to include a provision for opener to reverse relay holding a minimum balanced hand too -- this typically results in a much more compact (and less informative auction) if the final contract is destined to be 3N / 4M.
foobar on BBO
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### #8keylime

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Posted 2009-April-05, 20:26

Here's the problem we have. Since we have balanced hands in a certain interval of responses, we are trying to determine, what the best method is, to help the strong clubber determine the contents of that balanced hand, in case 3NT isn't the last stopping point.

Since we play a control-based method already, the relay points concept does have elegant extensions in our unbalanced module as well, and is something I'm considering as well as the follow-on to the beta asks.
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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### #9shevek

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Posted 2009-April-05, 20:52

Preamble ...
With relay systems - particularly symmetric - there is a real danger of going too far. The simple aim is to devise a method that will give better results at the table. You aim to bid more successful slams than your natural counterparts, while accepting there are some that they will bid which you won't. Yes, you can try for perfection with add-ons but there is a cost involved in memory strain and - more importantly - skewed focus.

History
I believe 3-2-1 points come from Dave Cliff in the late 70s. Marston used C1 & C2 to designate AK & AKQ. I used the term RP in 1983 (*****, that's 25 years ago) then thought SPs was better. Marston uses the term QPs now, quite good.
In symmetric, sequences starting 1C - positive are unlimited till shape is out. It's still 16+ opposite 8+ (or 15+ opp 9+) so asker needs to be able to narrow down describer's strength, partly to bid the normal 33 HCP 6NT that the rest of the world bids. Thus SPs are particularly crucial for balanced hands.

Our method
Pretty simple. Step asks for SPs, Step+1 for Kontrols. We don't use end signal. Part of the reason is historical. We grew up using game bids to play, so we would be more error prone.
If 1 - 1 - 2 - 4 is to play, it's too easy to forget that
1 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 3 - 4 may not be.
Instead we use 4 as a mild slam try based on suit quality. I'll post if anyone is interested.

We start at 6 SPs for a 10-15 opening, 5 SPs for positive to a 16+ 1, 3 SPs for a semi. We ignore stiff queens but count kingletons as 1 SP. Resurrection is optional at Base +4 (9SPs)
We don't zoom on to SPs with the last shape. Too many accidents. We only zoom when the last shape is 3.

DCB
We look at suits in length order, including short suits (Positive cueing with singletons - maybe should rethink that!). Normal is to stop with none or AKQ but we also stop with AK or AQ. This has been very good. So stopping = 0 SPs or 4+. Second pass locates lower honours. In theory jacks included though that never seems to happen ATT.
There other advanced DCB methods involving parity, or a mix of positive & negative cueing. Our crude method of grinding it out may not be ideal but it's simple enough and seems to work fine.
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### #10keylime

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Posted 2009-April-05, 20:57

We normally are zooming in controls in specific circumstances; hence the thought of relay points to substitute for zooming. What we've found is, we had a hard time getting to slam by overbidding or underbidding in some situations, so we want to resolve that before D.C.
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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### #11shevek

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Posted 2009-April-06, 20:43

keylime, on Apr 5 2009, 09:57 PM, said:

We normally are zooming in controls in specific circumstances; hence the thought of relay points to substitute for zooming. What we've found is, we had a hard time getting to slam by overbidding or underbidding in some situations, so we want to resolve that before D.C.

We have tended to assume symmetric basis but your posts suggest that you don't use that. "Beta-ask" is a bit of a give-away. Really, SPs fit with symmetric because they lead to DCB based on suit length.

Here's an example

1 - 2    8+ balanced
2 - 3    4-4-3-2
3 - 3N    7 SPs
4 - 4    s - yes , s - 0/2
4 - 5    s - yes, s - yes, s - no second
6

SPs don't go so well if you aren't able to resolve shape completely but they are still useful.
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### #12keylime

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Posted 2009-April-06, 21:47

We don't play symmetric, correct, but we do resolve shape (stupid regulations here).
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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### #13DinDIP

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Posted 2009-April-17, 07:35

akhare, on Apr 5 2009, 07:26 PM, said:

I concur with RobF et all regarding the efficacy of AKQ points.

BTW, why restrict the relays to balanced hands only? They work equally well for all hand types. Also, it's nice to include a provision for opener to reverse relay holding a minimum balanced hand too -- this typically results in a much more compact (and less informative auction) if the final contract is destined to be 3N / 4M.

[QUOTE]

I'd agree about the efficacy of 3-2-1 points. My research shows that, for a significant majority of hands, AKQ points are better than controls. That research also shows that, almost all the time, it is better to count singleton Qs as 0 and kingletons as 1.

I'd disagree with Akhare about relays working equally with all hand types. I think it's clear that relays are not nearly as efficient when the UNBAL hand is asking the BAL hand to describe itself. (That's why reverse relay methods where the 1C opener describes a BAL hand instead of relaying with it are seriously flawed. There are some non-trivial advantages but they don't outweigh the downsides IMO.)

Look at the example Shevek gave: if RR had QJxx xxxx Axx Qx (instead of Axxx xxxx Axx Qx) then slam is also good but there is no chance of bidding that because R cannot afford to use DCB when RR shows only 5SP. What is needed is a method that allows the UNBAL hand to describe itself. Here, if O had bid 3H over 2C to show a H SPL (as Shevek and I play) then slam would have been reached. But it would also have been reached if RR held the example hand I quoted.

The lesson I draw from this is that you could switch from using controls to SP with BAL hands but, if you're going to bid well, then you won't relay very often opposite a BAL hand. Thus, it won't make that much difference. However, switching to SP when describing all shapes is a winner, especially in a full relay context.

David
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### #14PrecisionL

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Posted 2014-August-16, 11:01

shevek said:

1239072231[/url]' post='358167']
We have tended to assume symmetric basis but your posts suggest that you don't use that. "Beta-ask" is a bit of a give-away. Really, SPs fit with symmetric because they lead to DCB based on suit length.

Here's an example

1 - 2    8+ balanced
2 - 3    4-4-3-2
3 - 3N    7 SPs
4 - 4    s - yes , s - 0/2
4 - 5    s - yes, s - yes, s - no second
6

SPs don't go so well if you aren't able to resolve shape completely but they are still useful.

Very interesting.

We would bid this way with strong club: (C3)
1 (16+) - 2 (Balanced 8-10) -
3 (SAB-3) - 4 (3+ & 4 Controls, missing 1 K = ) -
5 (CAB) - 5 (3rd round Control) -
6 (Hoping for Q or J) - - -
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: http://bridgewithdan...stems/Ultra.pdf

C3: Copious Canape - Improved version of Ultra Relay, notes not posted yet.

Scrap heap: Canapé Attack System with Strong and 4-cd Major openings ...

Back to the Future? Using 1 &1 responses to Strong 1 as Positive Exclusion Color Bids.

NOW playing a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Bailey 2 bids, & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). 3/1/17: Adding Nightmare Canape responses to 1 opening.
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### #15rbforster

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Posted 2014-August-16, 18:05

shevek, on 2009-April-06, 20:43, said:

Here's another symmetric relay approach for this hand as an example:

1-1 strong; or bal
1N-2 relay; 4 bal GF
2-2N relays; 44 majors
3-3 relay; 4432 shape exactly, 7 SP (3 would have been 4423, 3 4432 with <=6 SP)
4-4 DCB ask; 1-2, 0/3 (at this point opener knows he's just missing one black queen, eliminating the KQ)
4-5 DCB ask; 1-2, 1-2, only 1
6-P

It too hard to get to jacks to find J for 6N vs 6 in the space we have.
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### #16cccccttttt

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Posted 2018-January-25, 13:00

After a pattern is complete, most pattern bidders will ask for either

--Controls A=2 K=1

-- 3-2-1 points (Reese points, Relay points, Queen points, etc)

It would be ideal to know both, but as bidding space is at a premium,
most pattern bidders can only ask for one.

Controls alone leaves unclear the Qs under the As and Ks.
"Aces and Spaces" problem.

Reese points alone can be bloated by queens to cause ambiguity.

Does 8 Reese points show QQQQKK or AAQQ or AKQQQ or AAK ?

However, we use a Hybrid Approach:

As an example, we have an asking bid over 5 majors that shows hand pattern and controls by 3n.

There are four paths to reveal any specific shape, thus the "4 routes".

min route does not quality for higher route

med route 4 con and 4+ honors (honor= A, K, or Q)

strong route 5 con and 4+ honors

max route 6 con and 4+ honors

Say one takes the med route:

AAQQ
AKKQ
KKKK

with extra Qs possible.

Strong Route:

AAKQ
AKKK

with extra Qs possible.

Max route;

AAAQ
AAKK

with extra Qs possible.

Notice that HONORS + CONTROLS = REESE POINTS

This means that a partnership can express their Hybrid requirements using any combination of two of the three measures.

cccccttttt@gmail.com
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