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How To Respond To A Strong 2 [_CL] Opener Waiting or Negative or what?

#1 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 17:54

Hi folks,

I am currently playing 2/1 GF and have brought over my system for dealing with partner's strong 2 opener.

I play 2 Negative which means that I have less than 7hcp in my hand if I bid it immediately as responder. Any positve suit bid shows 5 cards and 8-10hcp with 2N showing a balanced hand and 8-10 hcp.

Recently, a hand occurred which has lead to wonder which system is superior: 2 negative which I play or 2 waiting in which 2 is a simple relay saying nothing.


Partner opened 2 and I bid 2N partner made 4N Quantative and I put us in 6N because that is just where we belonged. Ours was the only table that did not make 12 tricks. All other 15 tables made 12 tricks either in suits or notrump but ours was unique in that I was the only South playing as declarer in 6N with the stronger hand exposed as dummy where as at all the other tables North was declarer or if it was South it was in Spades. Well, we lost double digit IMPs.

One hand does not make or break a system so can someone with superior understanding tell me which of the two systems is the better and indeed which of all the extant systems (Kokish, 2 double negative, etc) is thought to be best?

All and any advice appreciated.
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#2 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 18:36

BTW, I would hardly describe that 2 bid as NEGATIVE. 7hcp verus a 2 opening can be sniffing at slam. Typically a negative response is defined as some like no Ace, King, or 2 Queens.
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 19:01

Depends who's doing the defining. Certainly the older books I have define it as 0-7 HCP.

There are, as you've indicated, gurgi, several different response structures. I doubt there's a consensus as to which is "best", either in some absolute sense or for some particular skill level of partnership. I do suspect there's a consensus that "three point steps" is worst. :D

What do you do if, as responder, you have 11+ points? :)

Generally, you want to make the strong hand declarer if that's possible, to avoid just the problem you had. 2 "waiting" will do that, as opener can now rebid some number of NT. So will 2 "double negative", with 2 as artificial and GF (the expert who introduced me to this treatment described 2 as "at least a couple of queens, GF").

Keep in mind that a "positive" response to 2 should show a strong interest in slam.

You might want to read this.
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#4 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 19:30

blackshoe, on Jul 29 2010, 08:01 PM, said:

Keep in mind that a "positive" response to 2 should show a strong interest in slam.

The above is a useful and interesting thought.

Would someone like to give me a list of the most popular systems as found on BBO?

To me it seems that 2, negative or waiting are the most common but then I have only been playing bridge 15 months.
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#5 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 20:35

Popular schemes:
- 2d neg (~0-7), on 2nd round cheaper minor 2nd neg (< 2 Q)
- 2h double neg (< 2 Q), 2d waiting semi-pos+
- control steps (A = 2, K = 1, 2d = 0-1, 2h = 2, 2s=3 (A+K), 2n = 3 K, 3c = 4, etc., or similar)
- not recommended: steps based just on HCP

Generally responder wants to distinguish between ranges:
-double-neg (conceivably can stop below game on certain auctions)
- semi-pos (GF, not particularly interested in slam unless opener has extras)
- positive (slam inv opposite min opener if values fit well), of course some positives are so strong you eventually just force slam even if opener signs off,
and also be able to show suits (with some debate about min suit quality standards). The different schemes obviously vary in how efficiently these things are shown, what's shown first, and will do better/worse on specific hands/sequences.

Also, you probably want to bid hands with aces + Ks more aggressively than ones of mostly Qs/Js, upgrading borderline hands with aces+Ks, downgrading ones with mostly Qs.

The scheme I currently prefer just swaps the 2H & 2nt responses, that would have solved the right-siding issue on your example hand. I like schemes with a bid to show slam-positive values with balanced/4441 hands, I think it's valuable to distinguish responders positives from the semi-pos, which the 2h double neg scheme sometimes doesn't let responder do unambiguously.

I think Fredg mentioned a scheme he plays with a 2h double-neg, 2s pos bal, 2nt positive with either major, that also seems pretty good to me.

I don't like control steps because I think it interferes too much with discovering suit fits, and think the number of controls can be found out easily enough later in auctions through cue-bidding/rkc etc.
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 20:45

Stephen Tu, on Jul 29 2010, 10:35 PM, said:

I don't like control steps because I think it interferes too much with discovering suit fits, and think the number of controls can be found out easily enough later in auctions through cue-bidding/rkc etc.

Benito Garozzo was an early advocate of control steps, but I understand that he's now come to believe that shape is more important. Not sure what kind of structure he advocates for that.

George Rosenkranz also likes control steps - they're still a part of Romex, although slightly different than those Stephen wrote about above.

Brian Senior, in a book called The Transfer Principle, had a fairly complete structure of transfer responses to 2. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, and the book is out of print.

Of late I've been playing whatever my partner of the moment wants to play, which seems usually to be "2 waiting" with no further discussion. :blink:
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#7 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 21:27

Stephen Tu, on Jul 29 2010, 09:35 PM, said:

Popular schemes:
- 2d neg (~0-7), on 2nd round cheaper minor 2nd neg (< 2 Q)
- 2h double neg (< 2 Q), 2d waiting semi-pos+

I play the first of the two quoted schemas.

What I dislike about 2D waiting is that over interference opener has difficulty placing contract and the best spot can easily be missed it seems to me.

The 2H double negative is one I do like the look of and it may be well be an "improvement" on 2D negative as opener knows that game will often not be on. 2C openers that fail to make game seem to be just shrug and bear it sort of hands. Indeed, I expect to make game (without opponents interfering in the bidding) when I am dealt a 2C opener but expectation and outcome are not the same thing. What I give up with the 2H double negative is the chance to show the occasional 5 hearts and 8hcp+ which is not that big a deal if opener gets to place contract correctly instead of just chuntering on to game whether it is there or not.

(Yes I know 2C only forces to 3M and 4m but doesn't everyone expect game to be there?)
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#8 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 21:47

I really try to avoid opening 2 with 5431 and similar shapes and will usually have either balanced, big one suiter, or big two suiter. So it's better to leave space for opener to show their suit(s) since you won't often be playing in responder's suit. Therefore 2 waiting is preferable.

Note that you can respond 2 with some hearts and a few values since this doesn't obstruct any intended rebid by opener and also means 3 can be negative/waiting if opener rebids 3.

Responses above 2 should be very closely defined and therefore fairly rare IMO. They should also be transfers to prevent wrongsiding.

It's a pity Ken Rexford isn't around at the moment as he wrote a book on this subject.
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#9 User is offline   pirate22 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 23:15

2d Auto to 2cl usual with sayc-acol-2/1---but you are in early days,but respect your inqusitiveness.

always bear in mind when ones partner opens 2cl--he has either a 1 suited hand,or a 2 suiter--or a balanced 2n/t.

a good subject to read up on is "Norman" responses to a 2cl opener,these are stepped---but require understanding and agreement by ones partner.
pity you did not quote the hands-of your spectacular result,but it is not a result to build your partnership under/over misunderstandings.
at present i assume on a auction 2c--2d!{auto} rebid of 2n/t you have stayman/transfers available-also lowest 4 card suit.
"Norman" has stepped responses with an Ace-1 and a K-1/2 point.
its a pet subject with me.if you are interested i can send you an article,contact me via e-mail apirate1881@yahoo.co.uk
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#10 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2010-July-29, 23:37

Quote

What I give up with the 2H double negative is the chance to show the occasional 5 hearts and 8hcp+


I guess I forgot to explicitly explain that when using 2h double neg, you use 2nt to show hearts and bid the 2d semi-pos+ with the balanced hands that would bid 2nt in the older scheme.
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#11 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 02:15

TylerE, on Jul 30 2010, 01:36 AM, said:

BTW, I would hardly describe that 2 bid as NEGATIVE.

Traditionally the standard for a positive response was 1.5 Quick Tricks.

Quote

7hcp verus a 2 opening can be sniffing at slam.


That's the point - a positive response provides an early alert to consider a slam. That's why it's better defined in Quick Tricks than HCP.

Quote

Typically a negative response is defined as some like no Ace, King, or 2 Queens.


No, that's how a double-negative response is typically defined.
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#12 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 05:23

pirate22, on Jul 30 2010, 12:15 AM, said:

pity you did not quote the hands-of your spectacular result,but it is not a result to build your partnership under/over misunderstandings.


Scoring: IMP

I am South. Partner is North. The auction is uncontested and goes: 2 2N 4N 6N. West leads the K . This hand was -11.00 IMPs. It turns out looking at the hand record that there was one other hand failing to make 12 tricks and that was a South playing in 6.

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#13 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 05:35

pirate22, on Jul 30 2010, 12:15 AM, said:

"Norman" has stepped responses with an Ace-1 and a K-1/2 point.
its a pet subject with me.if you are interested i can send you an article,contact me via e-mail apirate1881@yahoo.co.uk

Thanks for your offer.

I have a fledgling partnership with someone whose first language is not English and I think we would not manage to make anything but what is commonplace work.
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#14 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 05:41

pirate22, on Jul 30 2010, 12:15 AM, said:

at present i assume on a auction 2c--2d!{auto} rebid of 2n/t you have stayman/transfers available-also lowest 4 card suit.

Looking at the hand closely, I see that if partner had instigated Stayman over my 2N we would have found 6 and thus avoided our disaster. This is something I would have done but obviously partner either does not play it or simply forgot.

Also there seems to me no reason why Puppet Stayman should not be employed by opener here. Is that right?
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#15 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 05:45

gurgistan, on Jul 30 2010, 12:23 PM, said:

pirate22, on Jul 30 2010, 12:15 AM, said:

pity you did not quote the hands-of your spectacular result,but it is not a result to build your partnership under/over misunderstandings.


Scoring: IMP

I am South. Partner is North. The auction is uncontested and goes: 2 2N 4N 6N. West leads the K . This hand was -11.00 IMPs. It turns out looking at the hand record that there was one other hand failing to make 12 tricks and that was a South playing in 6.

It's not so much your method to respond to 2, it's also the continuations. After 2-2NT it seems obvious to use your regular 2NT structure. He can use stayman, transfers,... That way opener could just Stayman, find out about the 4-4 fit, and play 6.

Personally I prefer 2 GF and 2 negative, but a simple workable method is to use 2 as a waiting bid. Other bids should be very specific, not just "8+HCP with 5+ card suit". The suit quality is important if you're going to take away bidding space from opener.
"It may be rude to leave to go to the bathroom, but it's downright stupid to sit there and piss yourself" - blackshoe
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#16 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 06:48

Free, on Jul 30 2010, 06:45 AM, said:

Personally I prefer 2 GF and 2 negative, but a simple workable method is to use 2 as a waiting bid. Other bids should be very specific, not just "8+HCP with 5+ card suit". The suit quality is important if you're going to take away bidding space from opener.

I think I have been guilty in the past of not giving enough consideration to suit quality when responding.
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#17 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 07:01

Free, on Jul 30 2010, 12:45 PM, said:

After 2-2NT it seems obvious to use your regular 2NT structure. He can use stayman, transfers,... That way opener could just Stayman, find out about the 4-4 fit, and play 6.

Stayman if you wish, but why would you want to play transfers here? To put the strong hand on the table and make it hard to show diamonds?
Gordon Rainsford
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#18 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 07:08

gordontd, on Jul 30 2010, 02:01 PM, said:

Free, on Jul 30 2010, 12:45 PM, said:

After 2-2NT it seems obvious to use your regular 2NT structure.  He can use stayman, transfers,...  That way opener could just Stayman, find out about the 4-4 fit, and play 6.

Stayman if you wish, but why would you want to play transfers here? To put the strong hand on the table and make it hard to show diamonds?

For simplicity ;)
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#19 User is offline   peachy 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 09:05

Whichever methods you decide to adopt, stay away from any step responses that are based on HCP. One king is usually golden while three jacks typically worthless or of marginal value so counting HCP really does not help. Second consideration is to leave opener as much room as possible to describe his strong hand.

A direct 2NT response is usually very bad. It takes away the whole two-level and makes the strong hand dummy when NT becomes the strain. And when NT systems are "on", it tends to wrongside any suit contracts as well while if you for some reason opt for systems "off", the auctions become unmanageable. Also, don't rush to make a positive response in a bad suit. Use the 2D waiting and then introduce your suit next round if it is still necessary. Positive response in a major should be 5+ cards with two of three top honors or three of four top honors. Positive response in a minor 6+ cards, or if only five then extemely good suit.

I prefer
2D = GF: promises at least one ace or one king.
2H = bust or no aces or kings
2S = Positive response in spades
2NT = Positive response in hearts
3m = Positive response in the minor
And don't forget to agree on followups both for opener and for responder, and on general principles what is forcing, what shows weakness, what shows strength, what is a signoff, and what your various actions show if they interfere.
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#20 User is offline   gurgistan 

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Posted 2010-July-30, 09:20

peachy, on Jul 30 2010, 10:05 AM, said:

A direct 2NT response is usually very bad.

Experience is sadly something I do not have much of right now. Only 15 months playing bridge and 2 hands do not appear all that regularly. So it is nice to be told what to avoid.

I also really like the "system" you play but as I am in a fledgling partnership it is far too soon to ask partner to play something other than what he is familiar with. Give it a few months, and I will suggest it to him.
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