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Transfer responses to a prep. 1C w/"strong" 1NT

#1 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-May-16, 12:22

I'd like to talk a bit more about different transfer response structures to 1. However, I would like to open all non-1NT/2NT balanced hands 1 (therefore real diamonds in 1), and I like a 14-16 NT opener (though everything should apply equally to 15-17 NT openers, just that you can't open nice 4432s with 11 HCP :) ).

Some have proposed completing the transfer with minimum balanced hands, i.e. normally 3-card support but could be 2. Say you are playing this method and the bidding starts 1-1-1. How do you continue with a
  • GF hand with 5 hearts,
  • INV hand with 5 hearts,
  • GF hand with 6+ hearts,
  • INV hand with 6+ hearts?

Furthermore, it's not quite clear to me what this means for 1-1 (showing 5(?) diamonds). Do you complete the transfer with any 11-13 balanced with less than 4 (or 3?) diamonds? If so, what do you bid when you have opened a minimum 4414 - do you now have to pretend to have a real club suit?

Someone (I can't remember who) claimed that Transfer Walsh and XYZ do not mix well. It seems to me though that it should work fine over 1-1-1 at least. Meanwhile, the best continuations after a 1NT rebid showing 17-19 balanced are not clear to me.

Incidentally, what do people think is a good minimum point count for responding 1-1, showing diamonds?
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#2 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2010-May-16, 12:49

Over 1-1-1, essentially we play our normal 1NT response structure for 2 and above. It may not be optimal but it is easy to remember.

After 1-1-1NT=17-19 essentially we play our normal 1NT response structure. It may not be optimal but it is easy to remember.

After 1-1=diamonds, we play 1NT=11-13 balanced w/o diamond support and rebid 2NT with 17-19.

The points needed to respond 1 are no different from what we used to have to respond a natural 1.
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#3 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2010-May-16, 13:12

A somewhat better response structure for minor suit hands that I've seen looks like:

1-2 = natural and invitational (9-11) with 6+ (NF)
1-2 = either 5-8 with 6+, or GF with 5+ (transfer to diamonds)
---> normally bid 2 to show a hand that would pass opposite 5-8 with diamonds
---> other calls as if 2 weak (well okay, like 5-8) were bid
1-1 = 4+, no 4M; now:
---> 1N = balanced minimum, 2-3 or 4 in a really flat hand
---> 2 = 4-5, minimum
---> 2-suit = effectively agrees clubs, natural-ish game try or better
---> 2N = the big balanced hand
1-1NT = implicitly 4-5 in a balanced hand of less than invite strength
---> 2 = prefer to play in diamonds, usually balanced with 4-5, NF not extras

There are several nice aspects to this, one of them being that opener potentially has issues holding various 4414/(43)15 hands after 1-1 (diamonds). He can bid an off-shape notrump, but frequently the "diamonds" bidder actually has some clubs also (assuming no 4M). The above method lets you find your club fits, which is especially important when opener has an unbalanced pattern and can also be helpful when opener's balanced and you have a big minor fit.
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#4 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2010-May-16, 13:23

After 1-transfer to major-accept, it seems reasonable to play whatever you use over a 1NT rebid. There are a number of reasonable treatments, including 2-way nmf or transfers. Bids of 1NT or below (i.e. 1-1-1-1/1NT) are natural, which lets you find your spade fits when responder is 4-4 in the majors or stop in 1NT when it's right.

The problem with XYZ doesn't have much to do with transfer walsh specifically; in fact it's a lot worse with "regular" walsh. Basically the issue is that a lot of people like to play that rebidding a major suit after opening a minor shows an unbalanced hand (i.e. 1-1-1 shows 5+). This treatment has some advantages and disadvantages; however they do not fit well with the advantages and disadvantages of XYZ. To summarize:

(1) XYZ has the disadvantage that you cannot play in 2. This is not a big deal if opener has (or usually has) a balanced hand, but if opener's rebid showed 5+ then you will often want to play in 2. In fact, being able to select 2 on a fit rather than play in 1NT is a big advantage for the "major suit rebid shows unbalanced hand" treatment which you've just discarded by playing XYZ.

(2) XYZ creates some awkward sequences when opener has a very distributional hand and does not want to accept a "puppet to 2." This problem hand type is relatively much more frequent if opener's 1M rebid already promised a distributional hand.

(3) XYZ has the advantage of allowing two different routes to 2NT (direct 2NT vs. 2...2NT), which many people use to show a fit for opener's minor. However, if opener's rebid already promised a real minor suit (typically 5+) then this doesn't really help you any more (hand with minor suit fit just invites in the minor since you know you want to play there).

(4) One of the advantages of XYZ is allowing responder to describe a distributional hand (for example via jump shifts showing 5-5) or to choose to have opener describe (via 2). However, if opener's rebid already showed real shape (i.e. 4+ in a major, 5+ in original minor) then it is much more likely that you want opener to describe (he has shape, he is already way ahead in describing) so it's not clear that having both routes will often be helpful.

Basically it seems like the negatives of XYZ become bigger negatives, whereas a lot of the wins end up not helping as much. In general methods where one bidder "puppets to the next call so he can pass or describe more" work well when the other bidder has a balanced hand, and not so well when the other bidder can potentially have a lot of shape.
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#5 User is offline   hanp 

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Posted 2010-May-17, 01:21

mgoetze, on May 16 2010, 01:22 PM, said:

(though everything should apply equally to 15-17 NT openers, just that you can't open nice 4432s with 11 HCP :D ).

Who's going to stop me from opening nice 11-counts?

After 1C - 1D - 1H (not promising 3-card support) I play:

1S = natural, forcing.
1NT = natural.
2C, 2D = 2-way checkback?
and the result can be plotted on a graph.
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#6 User is offline   zenko 

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Posted 2010-May-17, 08:46

mgoetze, on May 16 2010, 01:22 PM, said:

Incidentally, what do people think is a good minimum point count for responding 1-1, showing diamonds?

The answer depends a lot on what did you (if any) decide to move from standard 1D opening to 1C. If you, like most, moved all balanced hands including 5332s, then it is advisable to respond holding diamonds even with very bad hand. There are several reasons for that, probably two most important ones are:

1) if opener has a strong balanced hand by passing 1C holding diamonds you risk playing 1C possibly in very bad fit, instead of playing in diamonds or NT, and

:) since opener can have a weak balanced hands with 5C-2D as well as 2C-5D, it is helpful to locate fit ASAP to deal with competitive bidding

But the problem with responding 1S with almost nothing (especially with only 4 diamonds) is that you risk 2N rebid by opener who can easily have only 2 diamonds. To restrict 1S response to 5+ diamonds does not really help, you just move the problem to a different place (i.e. 1C-1N-2N situation) and often prevent yourself from finding diamond fit.

I found a neat solution to this problem, in my structure 1C-1S(4+D)-1N shows balanced hand with 2-3 diamonds and EITHER weak or strong hand. To make that work all you need to do is exclude from 1S response all hands with which you would pass a weak 1NT rebid by opener, but would not pass a strong (i.e.17-19) 1NT response. Those would be a balanced hands with diamonds in 7(or very good 6) to 10 (or 11 if you play 14-16 NT) range, with those hands (as well as with a similar hands with clubs that do not qualify for inverted raise) you respond 1N which is pretty natural anyway. With balanced hands outside of that range, as well as with unbalanced hands you always have a convenient 2nd bid or an easy pass.

Another positive side effect of this structure is that discourages balancing by opponents after 1C-1S-1N, since the opener's range is unclear.
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#7 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-May-18, 19:15

I like Adam's response structure for the minors, thanks for that. Furthermore, you've convinced me that XYZ isn't ideal after 1-1-1. I guess one will just have to make do with 2 F1R there.

On the other hand, it seems like XYZ makes sense when opener completes the major transfer.

Meanwhile, is there nothing on offer for 1-1/-1NT (17-19)? I feel a bit silly bidding Stayman when I have already shown a 4-card major.

Also, do people play that 1NT denies 4-card support? I guess it makes sense to play, say, 1-1/-2NT as 4-card support with 17+. If so, we should be way ahead of anyone who opened 1NT.

Some more style questions:
- Would you complete a heart transfer with 3316? 1336? 1318?
- Would you consider moving 45 hands to the 1 opening? If not, what do you rebid with 3145 after 1-1?
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#8 User is offline   Jlall 

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Posted 2010-May-18, 19:27

hanp, on May 17 2010, 02:21 AM, said:

mgoetze, on May 16 2010, 01:22 PM, said:

(though everything should apply equally to 15-17 NT openers, just that you can't open nice 4432s with 11 HCP ;) ).

Who's going to stop me from opening nice 11-counts?

After 1C - 1D - 1H (not promising 3-card support) I play:

1S = natural, forcing.
1NT = natural.
2C, 2D = 2-way checkback?

Use 1S as a puppet to 1N and 1N as 4 spades NF and you gain a lot of room for very little cost.
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#9 User is offline   zenko 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 09:59

[QUOTE]
I like Adam's response structure for the minors, thanks for that. Furthermore, you've convinced me that XYZ isn't ideal after 1♣-1♦-1♠. I guess one will just have to make do with 2♦ F1R there.[/QUOTE]
The issue of bidding 2 N with 17-19 BAL over 1S/1N responses might be more serious than you think. You can somewhat help by moving 5D332 17-19 hands to 1D opening, or finding another opening for 17-19 balanced hands.


[QUOTE]
Meanwhile, is there nothing on offer for 1♣-1♦/♥-1NT (17-19)? I feel a bit silly bidding Stayman when I have already shown a 4-card major.[/QUOTE]
Even after 17-19 1N you need a way to stop in a minor if you have weak hand with 4M-5+m, probably the best way to do it is to use 1N-2C as a puppet to 2D, either GF or a prelude to sign off

[QUOTE]
- Would you complete a heart transfer with 3316? 1336? 1318?[/QUOTE]

yes, yes, and it does not matter, odds of everybody passing after you accept (or not accept) the transfer with 8-3 (and a weakish hand) are not realistic

[/QUOTE]
Would you consider moving 4♦5♣ hands to the 1♦ opening? If not, what do you rebid with 3145 after 1♣-1♦?[QUOTE]
Yes, otherwise you might as well do like Robson and open 1C with 1C444 hands, but if you dislike that there is a way around it
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#10 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 14:27

Jlall, on May 19 2010, 02:27 AM, said:

Use 1S as a puppet to 1N and 1N as 4 spades NF and you gain a lot of room for very little cost.

Actually, why not allow Opener to respond 2 to 1 as well? If I am playing transfer completion as "11-13 bal or min unbal with 3 support" then the worst that can happen is that we play 2 on a 4-3 fit. So then after 1-1-1 we would have:

1 Puppet, weak or invitational
1-1NT 2-4 clubs or exactly 3235
1-2 5+ clubs exactly 3 hearts
1-2-2 NF
1-1NT/2-any natural and invitational
1NT NF with 4-4 majors
1NT-2 to play
1NT-2 Good hand with spade fit?
1NT-2 to play
2 To play? Alternatively, this could show a hand with spade shortness (1444 etc.), asking opener to p/c his better minor.
2 ART GF
2-2 balanced, 3 hearts
2-2 4315 or 4306
2-2NT balanced, 2 hearts
2-3 6+ clubs and 3 hearts
2-3 1345 or 0346
2 To play
2/3/3 Nat. GF
2NT GF with 6+ Hearts

Meanwhile, it struck me that if our criterion for responding to 1 (as opposed to passing) were that we are invitational opposite a 17-19 NT, then we would be even further ahead in our 1-1/-1NT auctions. Not that we need it. Still, perhaps it makes sense?
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#11 User is offline   Jlall 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 15:06

mgoetze, on May 19 2010, 03:27 PM, said:

Actually, why not allow Opener to respond 2 to 1 as well?

Yep, this is what I used to play.
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#12 User is offline   cherdanno 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 15:30

mgoetze, on May 19 2010, 03:27 PM, said:

Meanwhile, it struck me that if our criterion for responding to 1 (as opposed to passing) were that we are invitational opposite a 17-19 NT, then we would be even further ahead in our 1-1/-1NT auctions. Not that we need it. Still, perhaps it makes sense?

That seems like a bad idea. If you have a balanced hand with QJ9xx of a major, then there are a lot of gains from responding:
- You partner might play get to play 1N instead of 1 in a 3-2 fit.
- You might find a fit and make 2M or 4M instead of watching partner play a 3-2 fit.
- You might make it hard for opponents to find their 25 hcp 3NT game.

Meanwhile, the main drawback in standard of responding is that you get too high when partner has 18-19 balanced without a fit. You don't have that drawback so you should make use of it.
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#13 User is offline   karlson 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 15:31

awm, on May 16 2010, 11:12 AM, said:

A somewhat better response structure for minor suit hands that I've seen looks like:

1-2 = natural and invitational (9-11) with 6+ (NF)
1-2 = either 5-8 with 6+, or GF with 5+ (transfer to diamonds)
---> normally bid 2 to show a hand that would pass opposite 5-8 with diamonds
---> other calls as if 2 weak (well okay, like 5-8) were bid
1-1 = 4+, no 4M; now:
---> 1N = balanced minimum, 2-3 or 4 in a really flat hand
---> 2 = 4-5, minimum
---> 2-suit = effectively agrees clubs, natural-ish game try or better
---> 2N = the big balanced hand
1-1NT = implicitly 4-5 in a balanced hand of less than invite strength
---> 2 = prefer to play in diamonds, usually balanced with 4-5, NF not extras

There are several nice aspects to this, one of them being that opener potentially has issues holding various 4414/(43)15 hands after 1-1 (diamonds). He can bid an off-shape notrump, but frequently the "diamonds" bidder actually has some clubs also (assuming no 4M). The above method lets you find your club fits, which is especially important when opener has an unbalanced pattern and can also be helpful when opener's balanced and you have a big minor fit.

Hey, that's my structure :D

I agree with the benefits Adam mentioned, but I think the biggest benefit is actually that opener holding an unbalanced hand with clubs is much better prepared to compete over 1c-p-1s-2M (or not compete over 1c-p-1n-2M) than over a more standard 1c-p-1s-2M which could have as few as three or maybe even two clubs.

The biggest downside is having to bid 1c-1n instead of 1c-1s on xxx xxx Axxx xxx or something. If you're willing to pass 1c with a lot of hands, then it's less of a big deal.
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#14 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 16:10

awm, on May 16 2010, 08:12 PM, said:

1-1NT = implicitly 4-5 in a balanced hand of less than invite strength
---> 2 = prefer to play in diamonds, usually balanced with 4-5, NF not extras

Conversely, I guess 1-1NT-3 shows a hand that was planning to reverse into diamonds? Seems like a difficult auction.

Meanwhile, let's say 1-2/ are WJSs. However, the bidding starts 1-1-1. First of all, is this forcing, or does opener have to jump to 2 for that? Anyway, obviously 1NT/2/2 are all "to play" and 2 is some kind of artificial force. But what can 2 mean on this auction? (2NT i would play as a forcing raise of spades).
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#15 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2010-May-19, 16:56

mgoetze, on May 19 2010, 05:10 PM, said:

awm, on May 16 2010, 08:12 PM, said:

1-1NT = implicitly 4-5 in a balanced hand of less than invite strength
---> 2 = prefer to play in diamonds, usually balanced with 4-5, NF not extras

Conversely, I guess 1-1NT-3 shows a hand that was planning to reverse into diamonds? Seems like a difficult auction.

Meanwhile, let's say 1-2/ are WJSs. However, the bidding starts 1-1-1. First of all, is this forcing, or does opener have to jump to 2 for that? Anyway, obviously 1NT/2/2 are all "to play" and 2 is some kind of artificial force. But what can 2 mean on this auction? (2NT i would play as a forcing raise of spades).

1-1N-3 is not that bad an auction, because you know you have a diamond fit. This sequence is like 1-1(natural)-3 in standard bidding. You could also in principle have opener splinter in a major suit (1-1N-3M).

Obviously you can play whatever you want, but I'd assume that 1-1-1 is not forcing and shows an unbalanced hand with 4 and 5+. Over this:

--> Pass, 1N, 2, 2, 2 are all NF. If you play 1-2 as very weak (like 2-5 or 2-6) then 2 is just a constructive signoff. If you play 1-2 as constructive (like 5-8) then 2 here is invitational but NF. My personal preference is to play 1-2 as invitational (like 9-11) and 1-1-1-2 as weaker.

--> 2 is fourth suit forcing to game. The "bid suits" are clubs, hearts (via 1 transfer) and spades.

--> 2N is a normal invite with some hearts and diamonds.

--> 3, 3, 3, 3 are all natural invites
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#16 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2010-May-20, 02:42

awm, on May 16 2010, 08:12 PM, said:

A somewhat better response structure for minor suit hands that I've seen looks like: [...]

Actually, uh, what do you respond to 1 with a 3343 hand and 18 HCP? (or, more generally, a 3343 hand and x HCP?)
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#17 User is offline   karlson 

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Posted 2010-May-20, 13:00

mgoetze, on May 20 2010, 12:42 AM, said:

awm, on May 16 2010, 08:12 PM, said:

A somewhat better response structure for minor suit hands that I've seen looks like: [...]

Actually, uh, what do you respond to 1 with a 3343 hand and 18 HCP? (or, more generally, a 3343 hand and x HCP?)

4-10: 1N
11-13 (or whatever you consider inv): 2N
13-15 and 16-18 can have 3d and 3N in some order.

The rest of what I play is
1c-?
1d-2d as Adam described
2M both minors (4-5)+ short M, either 8-12 or very strong
2N natural invitational with 4-5 diamonds and not 4 clubs.
3c weak
3d 13-15 balanced
3M both minors short M gf
3N 16-18 balanced

We have some artificiality after 1s to sort out all the club hands but it usually works out and there's plenty of room.

The 2M bids are quite descriptive and have some preemptive effect, and also help take a tricky set of hands out of 1s. Also there's the nice inference that a sequence like 1c-p-1s-2M-p-p-x is basically always 10+ balanced. I'm sure you could make it work if you wanted to play weak jump shifts though.
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#18 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2010-May-20, 14:15

mgoetze, on May 16 2010, 01:22 PM, said:

How do you continue with a
  • GF hand with 5 hearts,

  • INV hand with 5 hearts,

  • GF hand with 6+ hearts,

  • INV hand with 6+ hearts?

Furthermore, it's not quite clear to me what this means for 1-1 (showing 5(?) diamonds). Do you complete the transfer with any 11-13 balanced with less than 4 (or 3?) diamonds? If so, what do you bid when you have opened a minimum 4414 - do you now have to pretend to have a real club suit?

Someone (I can't remember who) claimed that Transfer Walsh and XYZ do not mix well. It seems to me though that it should work fine over 1-1-1 at least. Meanwhile, the best continuations after a 1NT rebid showing 17-19 balanced are not clear to me.

Incidentally, what do people think is a good minimum point count for responding 1-1, showing diamonds?

After opener accepts the transfer, showing 2-3 hearts, in my style, responder bids 2, puppet to 2 (to play or most invitational hands), and 2 any gf. I don't understand why anyone says that this doesn't fit well with t-walsh, but maybe whoever it is can elucidate.

1  1  1  1, natural and non-invitational

As for 1  1, I like it as any of:

5-7 balanced, no major, or
11-12 balance, no major, or
any strength with diamonds

Opener will bid 1N with all minimum balanced hands and responder passes with 5-7, bids 2 with diamonds (unwilling to play in 1N) or the 11-12 balanced, and 2N to puppet to 3.

2 is gf. 3M would be an auto-splinter.

One can meaningfully discuss the differences between bidding 2 then a major compared to reversing into 2M over 1N.

If opener does anything other than 1N (he should bid on the assumption that you have a balanced hand, except he can bid 2 with a good 4=5 minors where he can stand a correction, via 2N, to 3, our bidding becomes natural.

1N may be rebid by opener with 4=4=1=4 or many 3=4=1=5 or 4=3=1=5 with no desire to rebid 2.

So long as they stay out of our auction, we are in fine shape :blink:
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#19 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2010-May-26, 15:03

Jlall, on May 19 2010, 02:27 AM, said:

Use 1S as a puppet to 1N and 1N as 4 spades NF and you gain a lot of room for very little cost.

Actually, I use a variation on this. The puppet/transfer to 1NT is used with invitational+ major hands as well. One of the problems with standard is that responder can't distinguish between a 5 card major and a 6 card major. With the transfer, 1 1 1NT 2 is invitational 5 card and 1 1 1 2 is invitational 6 card. (I don't transfer over the NT because I like 2 as natural invitational.)

Using 1NT as 4/4 both majors NF has the advantage that if 4th seat comes in with 2m opener knows what to do. He is stuck if you otherwise intend bidding 1 1 1 1:   after 1 p 1 2m you can never find the spade fit.
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