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What is an effective defence against Gazzilli?

#1 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 03:27

Here is a (not so) hypothetical situation.

You have just qualified to represent your country at the upcoming 2012 World Bridge Games later this year. Coming from one of the smaller less fancied countries, nobody expects you to progress beyond the Round Robin stage of the competition. You know that during the RR stage you will inevitably be playing against 6 Italians who all have Gazzilli on their CCís (2 now playing for Monaco and another 4 from Italy). You also know that 1 of any suit from them promises an unbalanced hand and (normally) 14+ HCP. You are determined not to rollover without a decent fight. You and the rest of your teammates have started a blog, discussing an effective defensive strategy to counter Gazzilli.

So what would be an effective defence against Gazzilli given what you know about the Italians bidding style?
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#2 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 03:52

By the time Gazzilli is put into use there has been an opening Major suit bid, a 1NT response, and a 2C rebid. Haven't you already had your chances to compete with whatever methods you normally employ?

A good defence to the convention would be to pay attention to what their bids mean and then use that information while defending.
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#3 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 04:10

View Postaguahombre, on 2012-May-06, 03:52, said:

By the time Gazzilli is put into use there has been an opening Major suit bid, a 1NT response, and a 2C rebid. Haven't you already had your chances to compete with whatever methods you normally employ?

A good defence to the convention would be to pay attention to what their bids mean and then use that information while defending.


Yeah, it rates to be their hand. Since both the 1nt bid and the 2 have a fair number of different meanings (especially about shape), an overcall over 2 that takes up room could be annoying to them. But the odds of you having such a call, when you didn't over 1M, are not that great.
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#4 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 05:16

View Postaguahombre, on 2012-May-06, 03:52, said:

By the time Gazzilli is put into use there has been an opening Major suit bid, a 1NT response, and a 2C rebid. Haven't you already had your chances to compete with whatever methods you normally employ? A good defence to the convention would be to pay attention to what their bids mean and then use that information while defending.


View PostMbodell, on 2012-May-06, 04:10, said:

Yeah, it rates to be their hand. Since both the 1nt bid and the 2 have a fair number of different meanings (especially about shape), an overcall over 2 that takes up room could be annoying to them. But the odds of you having such a call, when you didn't over 1M, are not that great.


Fair enough, but how about the player sitting in fourth seat at favourable vulnerability? Partner was unable to do anything over 1M, RHO has bid 1NT and you see a possible Gazzilli sequence kicking in. This is your last chance to stick an oar into the opponents (thus far) uninterrupted bidding sequence. What do you do? You already know that opener is unbalanced.

Some ideas Ė
1. 2 (stealing the bid which would kick in the Gazzilli sequence), showing length in and the other major, a competitive hand which can compete to the 3-level (4-level if necessary)
2. 2 of same major as Michaels, showing the other major and a 5-card suit, a competitive hand which can compete to the 3-level (4-level if necessary)
3. 2NT showing both minors and playable values, say 10+ HCP
4. 3 any = long suit which can afford to go down 1 doubled (maybe 2?)
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#5 User is offline   glen 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 05:26

Maybe not put this in the "Natural bidding Discussion" forum?

An effective defence is just use your defense against Kokish (2-2;-2), including 2M as natural
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#6 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 06:33

Here's another idea.

How about 2 of the same major as a 3-suited takeout bid? Or if you want to keep 2 of the same major as Michael's, how about X of RHO 1NT bid as a 3-suited takeout bid of the suit opened?
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#7 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 06:38

View Post32519, on 2012-May-06, 06:33, said:

how about X of RHO 1NT bid as a 3-suited takeout bid of the suit opened?

Wow... this is revolutionary! Are you sure you can afford to give up your penalty double in this situation?
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#8 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 09:07

View Post32519, on 2012-May-06, 06:33, said:

how about X of RHO 1NT bid as a 3-suited takeout bid of the suit opened?

View Postmgoetze, on 2012-May-06, 06:38, said:

Wow... this is revolutionary! Are you sure you can afford to give up your penalty double in this situation?

In case the point of these two posts could possibly have been overlooked:

When the auction has gone

(1M) P (1N) to you..you should call as if the auction had gone the same way to you whether their future continuations are Godzilla, or any other fancy name, or standard ---and with due caution based on the likelihood you are waltzing into a misfit hand where your side is probably outgunned.
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#9 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-May-06, 09:08

You would be wise to check with the controlling bodies of the WBF -- maybe in order to keep everyone on a level playing field with the Italians, they will exclude hands that are suitable for Gazzilli.
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#10 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-07, 08:33

View PostVampyr, on 2012-May-06, 09:08, said:

You would be wise to check with the controlling bodies of the WBF -- maybe in order to keep everyone on a level playing field with the Italians, they will exclude hands that are suitable for Gazzilli.


This guy believes that Gazzilli may not be allowed in all ACBL events since the convention is virtually unknown in North America. He is also of the opinion that Gazzilli is superior to both BART and the Meckstroth adjunct. If Gazzilli isn't allowed, BART probably wouldn't be allowed either. So guess what's left that will be allowed. :P

This is his assessment of Gazzilli. Check out his last sentence. "Since the convention is virtually unknown in North America, it may also not be allowed in all ACBL events."

Assessment of Gazzilli
Overall Gazzilli handles more hand types more precisely than other methods including those involving a combination of Bart and the Mecksroth adjunct. The rebids showing 64 and 55 hands are inherently aggressive, it is not clear whether some of those hands might be bought at a lower level. Responder needs to exercise caution and not stretch to rebid 3NT over these bids, openers hand is likely to require losing the lead several times before all the tricks are established. In addition, since the defenders knows openers exact shape, the defence may be better. However the Gazzilli approach does allow confident bidding of some low point count slams and games, it seems therefore better suited to imps than matchpoints. The relay auctions do involve a lot of alerting and perhaps allow the defenders opportunities to make lead directing bids or even enter auctions they might not otherwise come into. Going slow on the strong 54 hands however has some real advantages, and the method of sorting out the best minor part score is clearly superior to Bart or standard (using the artificial 2 and 2nt rebids over 2. The only hand types where Bart seems to have the edge are hands where responder has a weak hand with 4 hearts or 5 bad hearts. These hands could end up playing in 2 in Gazzilli where there is a superior 34 or 35 fit in hearts detectable via Bart. Since the convention is virtually unknown in North America, it may also not be allowed in all ACBL events.

You can read the full article here.
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-May-07, 14:44

Heh. Bobby may know bridge, but he don't know the GCC. Familiarity have nothing to do with it (save that it may determine what the C&C committee chooses to suggest for changes), otherwise my 1NT-2C "transfer to diamonds, or various strong hands" wouldn't be allowed either.

GCC, RESPONSES AND REBIDS, 8:
ALL CONSTRUCTIVE CALLS starting with the opening bidder's second call.

But yeah, I would agree with the field that the correct defence to Gazilli is to bid before they get to opening bidder's second call, or, if that seems too dangerous, listening carefully to what information they give in the bidding to aid one's defence.

Well, technically, he's correct. Clubs are allowed to regulate conventions in ACBL-sponsored club (but *not* inter-club events, like sim pairs) events, and any sponsoring organization can regulate conventions for 0-20 games. But tournaments are guaranteed to be GCC unless otherwise stated (and even then, "otherwise stated" is almost always "one card" or "GCC+").
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#12 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-08, 09:24

Gazzilli doesnít always guarantee you success.

Iíve been digging up some Gazzilli hands to see what I could find. These come from the 2011 Italian Club Team Championships. Just as the USA has plenty of Flannery hands in their big tournaments, the Italians seem to have plenty of Gazzilli hands, pre-dealt ensuring awkward continuation sequences. Here are just three examples (there are others):

Hand 1: The final contract was 3NT, down 2 after a lead, on a combined 26 HCP. Seems like a contract was the one with the best chance of making, but how do you find it?

Hand 2: The final contract was 4 on a 5-2 fit and a combined 26 HCP. This time the contract made.

Hand 3: Transferring the final contract to responderís suit.

If anybody is interested in seeing what the unbalanced 1-of-a-suit hands continuation bidding structure looks like, look up the 2011 Italian Club Team Championships.

Gazzilli appears to have been designed specifically for the Italian bidding style (those with a system similar to Fantoni-Nunes). I donít know how effective it will be when used in a different system.
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#13 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-May-09, 02:38

Did you also do a study of how many Gazilli hands turned up in the same US event as for Flannery? It really is about time you put a probability on these hands coming up and compared this with the observed distribution. Then you can work out the confidence interval. Basic statistics but the only real basis for making any such claims.

Onto your 3 hands. On Hand 1 I may very well also reach 3NT by North:
1 = ~10-17, 5+ hearts, unbal
... - 1NT = less than invite, 4+ spades, possible canape
2 = natural, 4+ diamonds
... - 3 = natural, long clubs, max
3NT

The last bid is perhaps debateable given the partial misfit but vulnerable games need to be bid and you need pretty particular hands for 5 to be better than 3NT.

Hand 2 is slightly tricky, in that East hand has 8 tricks but a poor spade suit. That makes it very much on the boundary between 2 ranges - it should not matter on this hand though. The 8 trick route is

1 = 15+ nat/bal or 18+ any
... - 1 = (almost) any non-GF
2 = natural, similar to a strong 2
... - 3 = natural, positive
3 = natural
... - 3 = natural, 2 card support
3NT

while the conservative route is

1 = 15+ nat/bal or 18+ any
... - 1 = (almost) any non-GF
1 = 18-20 any or 23+ bal
... - 1 = relay
2 = natural, 18-20
... - 3 = natural, GF
3 = natural
... - 3 = natural, 2 card support
3NT

I have not checked which game is better, don't really care. With a 7 card fit and AKx in the 4th suit it just feels right to me to bid 3NT.

The last hand looks to me completely routine. For example

1 = ~10-17, 5+ hearts, unbal
... - 1NT = less than invite, 4+ spades
2NT = game try with exactly 3 spades
... - 4

On your last point, many posters have reported that Gazilli is an improvement over the alternatives for a typical 2/1 system. I am not privvy to Benito's thoughts but my understanding was that it was not designed for F-N but rather for normal 5 card major 2/1 systems. The basic structure is such that I see no reason why it cannot be adapted to a variety of other, similar, systems.
(-: Zel :-)
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