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Your responses to partner's 2 Clubs opening bid? What system do you play?

#21 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 01:45

I've been of the opinion (for a long time) that someone needs to write a modern definitive bridge book on 2 openings and their responses, including how to deal with overcalls, interference, etc. as it is long overdue.

The reason why it hasn't been done is probably the frequency of big hands - I believe that holding 22+HCPs (or QTs and/or controls, or however you define your strong 2 opener) is about a 125-1 chance - so we all get by with what is out there, be it controls, 2 waiting (positive or negative), or whatever takes our fancy.

I'm personally not a fan of 2 waiting but I do see its merits - rightsiding a contract, for example, preserving a level of bidding, etc - but it also gives a partnership headaches as the opening bidder sometimes cannot tell if his partner is bidding as a positive/semi-positive or a negative (except where there is a 2NT double negative incorporated into the mix.)

SAYC, for example, and this is what I read, blindly says that an opening 2 bidder should feel comfortable to bid to 3/3/4/4 on his own opposite a negative except with a balanced hand.

What it doesn't take into account is the majority of the hands that need to open 2 do not have long self-supporting suits and controls outside, and are more likely to 5-4-3-1 or 5-4-2-2 or similar shapes, and only work when a fit is found. (Also, when those 5-4-3-1/5-4-2-2, etc hands tend to be top heavy minorsuitwise they become awkward to bid.)

Even although I go against popular opinion, I actually like controls as virtually immediately (but not always) the opening 2 bidder - who should technically (and this is my opinion also) be in charge of the auction and final contract - can see where the hands are potentially heading. If controls are good enough for Jimmy Cayne (JEC) and his team they are good enough for me :)

The other problem I personally encounter is any positive response to a 2 opening automatically guarantees game being reached but not slam necessarily. There are plenty of hands in that positive hand territory (7-11HCPs as a rough example) that do not fit well with opener, but as opener has received a positive response he goes slamming, or perhaps worse, responder takes over the auction bouncing the partnership into an unmakeable slam..

The reason why I mention who controls a 2 auction is important as if you look at the Precision system it is invariably the opener who is in charge of the auction - not always but on the majority of occasions. That's probably one reason why the 2 waiting bid was introduced so that the 2 opener is primarily in the driving seat once again.
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#22 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 03:08

View Postcartruck, on 2017-June-20, 18:54, said:

What do you all play?

First of all, I would humbly suggest that control responses are more of an intermediate level discussion than an expert one. They were played a great deal in earlier days, particularly the 1950s but (with a few notable exceptions) have all but died out at the highest levels these days. The specific method posted is not one I have seen before and seems to me to have even more disadvantages than the more common versions. The closest I know of is Martelsby, in which the 2 response shows a 5+ card suit headed by 2 of the top 3. Specifically AK of the same suit strikes me as too narrow a target for the 3rd most important response.

My personal preference is for a base including 2 waiting and 2 as a bust. Whether the higher calls should be positives showing a suit or semi-positives is less critical and there a number of different structures possible. Fred for example has posted that he prefers a natural 2NT response to avoid some of the issues previously posted regarding the waiting 2. Given the 2 bust it also makes a lot of sense to use 2NT for a heart positive (or semi-positive if preferred), or to use it to incorporate transfer responses.

If you absolutely pinned me down I think I would choose 2 as positive or a (semi-)balanced SP; 2 DN; and 2/2NT/3m as SPs with a suit but I do not see the details as being critical to the success of a bidding system, so if my partner preferred something simpler, that would also be just fine, particularly if that allowed additional focus on a more important area of system design.
(-: Zel :-)
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#23 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 06:36

Even if 2 opening is unlimited, if you look at specific shapes (say, 5143) you will find that the vast majority of hands will fall into a quite narrow hcp range (say, 22-25 if 5143). So it will be much easier for Opener, who we (can pretend we) "know" has a narrow range, to continue describing his hand (over a "waiting", but not mandatory, 2 response) than for Responder to begin describing his hand.

So I have no problem with a "waiting" 2 response that doesn't limit Responder's hand in any way. It's also part of the structure Vampyr described and which I hope will become standard one day.

(I actually think the sci-fi version of that played by Welland-Auken, where

2-?:

2 = 5+ H / waiting
...2 = NAT GF or 20-21 BAL
...(...)
2 = 5+ S
(...),

is even better, but I know many will struggle with the idea that Responder is allowed to pass 2-2; 2 on weak hands with 5+ H, gambling that partner has 20-21 BAL instead of the GF hand with 5+ H.)
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#24 User is offline   aawk 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 07:38

View Postcartruck, on 2017-June-20, 19:27, said:

Not when the opponents preempt after the 2 bid, like they frequently do. Then you're almost bidding blind at game level+. Using Controls, you eliminate a good deal of the equation right off the bat.



If your fear pre-empts by opponents include a weak hand into your 2 openings bid.

For example you can choose between a 6 card , any 4441 5440 pattern or at least 5-4 in the majors.

I prefer the 6 card because with the other 2 options you loose 2 and 2 after a 2 relay to show a game forcing hand.

After 2 your responses are :

2 = relay (no other bid possible)
2/2/3 = good 5+ card and willing to play in 3 if partner is weak
2nt = forcing 15+ HCP
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#25 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 09:03

View Postaawk, on 2017-June-21, 07:38, said:

If your fear pre-empts by opponents include a weak hand into your 2 openings bid.

For example you can choose between a 6 card , any 4441 5440 pattern or at least 5-4 in the majors.

I prefer the 6 card because with the other 2 options you loose 2 and 2 after a 2 relay to show a game forcing hand.

After 2 your responses are :

2 = relay (no other bid possible)
2/2/3 = good 5+ card and willing to play in 3 if partner is weak
2nt = forcing 15+ HCP


The thing is, as rarely as I open 2, and I hate doing it with 2 suited hands (5-5 or better), I just want to know how many Aces and Kings you have as quickly as possible, and I don't see any benefit to switch from that.

If I open 2, I basically have game in my hand, and I want to control the auction quickly and accurately, and probably 90% of the time that I do open 2, I just want to know how many Aces and Kings you have.
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#26 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 09:39

View Postsilvr bull, on 2017-June-21, 00:01, said:

When I played controls, my 2NT was specifically three kings to get some small chance at right side when we play in NT. Now, I prefer 2H as an immediate "double negative" (to quickly tell my sad story and to caution opener against over enthusiasm), and 2D waiting with a king or better. If opener raises my weak 2H to 3H, then I can pass with a very bad hand. If opener bids a different suit, then I treat it as a one round force.


3 Kings is great for a 2NT bid over your partner's strong 2 opening. My father and I have a twist in it that adds Ace and King in different suits OR 3 Kings for 2NT. That allows for the clever 2 bid that specifically shows AK in the same suit, which is lovely to know after a 2 opening.
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#27 User is offline   Kaitlyn S 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:05

In any event, I prefer 2D waiting. Jerry Helms has a hand that illustrates the problem with steps.

Something like this:



This auction shows 2D waiting so that 2H & 2S is reserved for a 5-card or longer suit with 2 of the top 3 honors.

When you play control steps, your first response is 2S, so opener starts at 3S and the auction becomes really difficult (especially as 4H isn't forcing; after all, an ace and a king doesn't guarantee safety at the five-level on a misfit.)

Now, of course, one hand means nothing by itself but I think it's fairly trivial to show cases where even the 2H rebid takes up too much room to find the right game when opener has hearts. As pointed out, control steps work well when the only thing the opener needs to know are controls. Playing in the right strain is much more often the decision to be made.

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-June-21, 03:08, said:

First of all, I would humbly suggest that control responses are more of an intermediate level discussion than an expert one.


I'm surprised nobody said this earlier. A common misconception is that if you want experts to answer your question, you post in the expert forum! (I confess to having thought that myself when I first came here.) However, experts will answer your question in any of the forums; many are very helpful and are willing to learn. The danger of posting here is that occasionally one of the less nice experts will see your post and say essentially what I just said but in a much more obnoxious way.

This is the description for this forum:

Expert-Class Bridge
Forum designated for expert bridge players to discuss more advanced topics.
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#28 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:05

View PostMrAce, on 2017-June-20, 23:32, said:

The biggest advantage of Flannery actually lies in the hands when you do not open 2. It particularly takes some serious weight off of auctions when one starts auction 1. Also in competition. Knowing that pd can not have side 4 card spades and a minimum hand helps a lot.


Unless you get interference over 1. Then you lose the spade fit sometimes. Flannery gets you to game quickly somewhere. Nothing else I have played does that. But, I still don't like it that much lmao
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#29 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:12

View PostKaitlyn S, on 2017-June-21, 10:05, said:

In any event, I prefer 2D waiting. Jerry Helms has a hand that illustrates the problem with steps.

Something like this:



This auction shows 2D waiting so that 2H & 2S is reserved for a 5-card or longer suit with 2 of the top 3 honors.

When you play control steps, your first response is 2S, so opener starts at 3S and the auction becomes really difficult (especially as 4H isn't forcing; after all, an ace and a king doesn't guarantee safety at the five-level on a misfit.)

Now, of course, one hand means nothing by itself but I think it's fairly trivial to show cases where even the 2H rebid takes up too much room to find the right game when opener has hearts. As pointed out, control steps work well when the only thing the opener needs to know are controls. Playing in the right strain is much more often the decision to be made.



I'm surprised nobody said this earlier. A common misconception is that if you want experts to answer your question, you post in the expert forum! (I confess to having thought that myself when I first came here.) However, experts will answer your question in any of the forums; many are very helpful and are willing to learn. The danger of posting here is that occasionally one of the less nice experts will see your post and say essentially what I just said but in a much more obnoxious way.

This is the description for this forum:

Expert-Class Bridge
Forum designated for expert bridge players to discuss more advanced topics.


I would have opened that hand 1. I don't open 2 suited hands 2 Clubs, unless I have more HCP than that. That hand is not good enough.

Swap the J of Spades for the Queen and I would.
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#30 User is offline   manudude03 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:20

View Postcartruck, on 2017-June-21, 10:12, said:

I would have opened that hand 1. I don't open 2 suited hands 2 Clubs, unless I have more HCP than that. That hand is not good enough.


I'm as solid as they come when it comes to opening 2C, and even I'm opening 2C on that, you are almost cold for game opposite xxx xxxx xxx xxx
Wayne Somerville
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#31 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:21

View Postmanudude03, on 2017-June-21, 10:20, said:

I'm as solid as they come when it comes to opening 2C, and even I'm opening 2C on that, you are almost cold for game opposite xxx xxxx xxx xxx


It's just not how my father and I play. It is borderline, but you don't have 8 1/2 tricks. I like to have that.
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#32 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:29

View Postcartruck, on 2017-June-20, 18:54, said:

Playing SAYC (heavily modified), playing weak 2 Majors and modified Flannery for 2 (weak 2 bid is pretty worthless), how do you respond to your partner's strong and artificial 2 opening?

I like Controls, and here's how it goes:

2 = No Aces
2 = 1 Ace or 2 Kings
2 = AK in the same suit
2NT = Ace and King in different suits or 3 Kings
3 = Anything better

What do you all play?

Don't say what to do with 1 King, presume 2D.
Many consider Flannery one of the worst conventions (myself included lol)
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#33 User is offline   cartruck 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 10:48

View Postmanudude03, on 2017-June-21, 10:20, said:

I'm as solid as they come when it comes to opening 2C, and even I'm opening 2C on that, you are almost cold for game opposite xxx xxxx xxx xxx


I even just called my father, he wrote down the hand, and said he's open 1. It's legit. :D
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#34 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 12:46

View Postcartruck, on 2017-June-20, 19:27, said:

Not when the opponents preempt after the 2 bid, like they frequently do.


Frequently? Are you playing goulash bridge?
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#35 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 13:30

View Postahydra, on 2017-June-20, 20:33, said:

Controls works well when opener has a shapely hand with self-supporting suit(s) and only needs top cards for slam. Unfortunately that's a very small subset of 2C openers.

The general principle "strain before level" applies here. Find your fit first then determine whether slam is on or not. Where responder can bid suits naturally, opener may be able to bid two suits over high-level interference rather than one. ahydra


Yes to the 2nd para but not knowing if pard has an Ace or a couple of Kings and not knowing where they are hardly helps most of my shapely strong hands.

We cater to the most common rebid after 2 being 2nt and bid 2 waiting even with a good 5 card major so we can transfer over that rebid. Also 2 is 0-4 with no A or K with 2nt next being the only non force just because it's simple clean lines on a low frequency auction.

As for showing controls before finding a place to play that ship sailed before RKC with specific Kings and modern cue bidding. I note that there are references in here to Flannery (arguably less than 1% play it anymore) and Culbertson tricks (who remembers what those are?) from people that gave up on controls first.
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#36 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 15:50

A rather common structure is the following:

2D: GF, unable to make any other bid (could be just enough not to bid 2H or quite good)
2H: Double Negative
2S: Positive in spades (some play positive in H)
2NT: Positive in hearts (some play positive in spades)
3C: Positive in clubs
3D: Positive in diamonds
3H: Six-card heart suit with 2 of the top three honors and nothing outside (some play S suit)
3S: Six-card spade suit with 2 of the top three honors and nothing outside (some play H suit)
3NT: Seven-card suit (any suit) headed by AKQ and nothing outisde
4C/D/H/S: Seven-card one-loser suit above the suit bid and nothing outside (so 4C shows D; 4D shows H; 4H shows S; and 4S shows C).
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#37 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 16:50

View Postmiamijd, on 2017-June-21, 15:50, said:

A rather common structure is the following:

2D: GF, unable to make any other bid (could be just enough not to bid 2H or quite good)
2H: Double Negative
2S: Positive in spades (some play positive in H)
2NT: Positive in hearts (some play positive in spades)
3C: Positive in clubs
3D: Positive in diamonds
3H: Six-card heart suit with 2 of the top three honors and nothing outside (some play S suit)
3S: Six-card spade suit with 2 of the top three honors and nothing outside (some play H suit)
3NT: Seven-card suit (any suit) headed by AKQ and nothing outisde
4C/D/H/S: Seven-card one-loser suit above the suit bid and nothing outside (so 4C shows D; 4D shows H; 4H shows S; and 4S shows C).


Roth is not bad, but many prefer to play that their 2 bid is GF unless the lowest range of balanced hands included. If that range is quite low, e.g. If playing Kokish, major-suit negatives are more useful.
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#38 User is offline   m1cha 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 17:41

View Postsfi, on 2017-June-20, 19:09, said:

2NT = I don't want to play in this partnership any more

With one partner, we play a similar system and feel the same about the 2NT bid. We agreed for it to show hands where we want to play whatever but not 2NT. The result was a Lebensohl-like convention puppeting to 3 upon which responder can

pass: 0 - 3 HCP with 7+ clubs, or bid
3: 0 - 3 HCP with 7+ diamonds,
3: 0 - 3 HCP with 5-5 in the majors,
3NT: 4 - 7 HCP with 5-5 in the majors.

Opener can refuse the transfer and bid a forcing 3 instead, upon which

3: 0 - 3 HCP with 7+ clubs, or bid
3: 0 - 3 HCP with 7+ diamonds,
3NT: 4 - 7 HCP with 5-5 in the majors,
4: 0 - 3 HCP with 5-5 in the majors.

Even if this is not the optimal use of the 2NT bid, it should be better than risking your partnership. ;)

We arrived there after reading a comment from Marty Bergen who said if there is a bid you don't want to use, you shouldn't set it to 'undiscussed' because if you do, it will be misused and result in a desaster. Rather you should assing to that bid an exotic meaning that never comes up. His context was, iirc, jump rebids by the 2 opener. Anyway, we found that remark very wise.
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#39 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 18:32

I worked on this a few years back and found that there simply isn't the room to handle all the hand types. I decided the most frequent type of 2C openers were NT hands and one-suiters and catered the system around that. Responders first duty was to show a balanced or semi-balanced hand or to show shortness with a game-forcing hand.

2C-2D became a balanced or semi-balanced game forcing hand.
2H-Lower NT or hearts with a further 2S relay to clarify
2S-spades
2N-Higher NT

2C-2H was the bad hand, double negative type
2C-2S, 2N, 3C, 3D all showed shortness in the next higher suit and game-force values



Anyway, you get the idea. Work on approach-forcing 2C openers long enough and you will adopt a strong 1C system. :)
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#40 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2017-June-21, 18:39

View Postm1cha, on 2017-June-21, 17:41, said:

Even if this is not the optimal use of the 2NT bid, it should be better than risking your partnership. ;)

We arrived there after reading a comment from Marty Bergen who said if there is a bid you don't want to use, you shouldn't set it to 'undiscussed' because if you do, it will be misused and result in a disaster. Rather you should assign to that bid an exotic meaning that never comes up. His context was, iirc, jump rebids by the 2 opener. Anyway, we found that remark very wise.


It wasn't a risk to any of the partnerships I've played it in - it was a firm agreement that was written in the system notes, usually with the note that we weren't allowed to psych it. It's never been used, although a couple of times I've wished for that agreement with other ex-partners. Both because they would occasionally do something silly like bid 2NT and mess up a perfectly well-planned auction, and because it is much less messy than actually discussing the partnership break-up.

Bergen's advice is mostly sensible, although you don't want to have to use much effort remembering the exotic meanings. Otherwise it just becomes trivia that stops you remembering the important stuff.
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