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QP/strength ask without scanning?

#1 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 10:44

In our current relay methods we play key card asking bids (and 4D as an end signal) after shape is resolved. We've previously played "control ask" (asking for aces and kings), followed by DCB, but gave that up because we weren't comfortable with it (the auctions took a lot of time, we would have to count on our fingers to see which steps should be skipped, etc).

A problem with our current approach is that we don't really have a slam invite available. We know opener's shape, but not if he's min or max. I've been thinking that we maybe should have some sort of strength inquiry (for instance QPs, or maybe control points) after shape is resolved. Would this be wise, when we're not playing DCB or parity check? Some ideas I'm considering:

- After shape is resolved, step one asks for QP. Other steps is RKC.
- After QP is shown, our bids are RKC (lowest step for longest suit, etc).
- If 4D is available after the QP ask, it is still an end signal.
- Some variation of Mulberry (slam invite in any suit, RKC in any suit, or sign off in any suit).
- Use optional RKC instead of normal RKC (if 4C asks for key cards, a 4D response would show a minimum and 4H+ shows key cards and extras).
- Simply "man up" and practice DCB style bidding until we're comfortable with it.

What's your experience playing QP asks? Is it often that slam is out of the picture after a response? If not playing DCB, the idea of QP ask would be to limit the hand further. We currently play relays after our 1M openings (5+M, 11-16) and our 1D opening (4+D unbalanced, 11-19), what QP ranges would you recommend for these?
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#2 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 00:12

View PostKungsgeten, on 2017-September-12, 10:44, said:

Some ideas I'm considering:

Another option is to use 4NT any time before controls are asked for as a natural invite. With a fit, you generally get more from asking about controls (whether through scanning or RKCB) than using any sort of power ask.


View PostKungsgeten, on 2017-September-12, 10:44, said:

What's your experience playing QP asks? Is it often that slam is out of the picture after a response?

As I have posted previously, I am not a QP user but I would say that one of the big advantages of integrating QPs into your methods directly into the response structure is often knowing immediately whether slam is in the picture or not.
(-: Zel :-)
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#3 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 00:27

As in the thread I started, we use first step = SP, 2nd = kontrols.
Don't play end signal and the RKCs associated with that.
Not because it's no good, rather because I was concerned that one of us would forget and pass RKC. Plus a bit messy.

Anyway, we use a safer 4D, based on an idea devised by David Morgan.
After shape - but not strength - is out, 4D non-step says "I am about to make a slam invite in some suit, needing extras including good trumps"
Extras being defined as Base+2 SP &/or Base+1 kontrols. Good suits were Hx(x) or HHxx(x) where H = A/K/Q.
This has worked very well. 4 would show min, or max with bad hearts, etc. Sort of natural DCB. 4NT = resurrection strength.
If 4D non-step is available AFTER an SP ask, it says "raise my next bid with good trumps"
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#4 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 04:05

Have you considered structures (other than Ambra's) of the form

1M-2; ?:

2 = MIN, denies shape of type T
...2 = relay
......2+ = R(M)
2 = shapes of type T
2+ = MAX, denies shape of type T, R(M),

where R(M) is a symmetric relay structure and MIN/MAX is defined in terms of hcp, QP, controls or similar?

I don't play this myself, but I do like to limit Opener's hand before shape is resolved, since he's going to declare 4M a lot of the time and I want to avoid unnecessary information leakage. Also, transpositions to more standard symmetric should be possible in many cases. E.g. the bidding might go

1-2
2*-2
2**-2N
3***-3
3****

* MIN
** C or 3-suited
*** 2-suited, H shortage
**** 5134

instead of (e.g.)

1-2
2*-2
2N**-3
3***-3
3****.

* C or 3-suited
** 2-suited, H shortage
*** 5134
**** MIN
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#5 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 07:05

View Postnullve, on 2017-September-14, 04:05, said:

Have you considered structures (other than Ambra's) of the form

...

where R(M) is a symmetric relay structure and MIN/MAX is defined in terms of hcp, QP, controls or similar?


When we played 1D-1H as two-way (natural or GF relay) we separated min/max hands early, both because it was needed (in case responder had the non-GF hand), but also because there was enough space to do it. When the relay start at 2C I think you're short on space if you want to show both shape and strength. On the other hand we're currently not playing "full shape", since we only can find out about the following hand types:

- 5422
- 5431
- 5440
- 4441
- 5332 (but not in which suit the doubleton is)
- 6+ suit, 4 in a side suit, and information about the short suit (but not if it is a singleton or a void). Not possible to show two singletons.
- 5+ 5+ in two suits, plus shortness, but not if one of them is six+ and not if it is a void or not. Not possible to show two singletons.
- 6 card suit without shortness
- 6 card suit with shortness, min or max
- 7+ suit with/without shortness.

The reason is mostly because of how "easy" the structure is, not because of effectiveness.

Showing strength first with two-suiters will probably get us past 3NT with some hands where we want to play 3NT?
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#6 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 08:08

View Postshevek, on 2017-September-14, 00:27, said:

As in the thread I started, we use first step = SP, 2nd = kontrols.
Don't play end signal and the RKCs associated with that.
Not because it's no good, rather because I was concerned that one of us would forget and pass RKC. Plus a bit messy.

There is an alternative way of playing 4-way KCB other than the 4 end-signal. It is using the 4m bids for key cards, with 4M and 5m thereby retaining their natural meanings. 4 is RKCB for clubs. 4 instead a puppet to 4, to be followed by 4 RKCB , 4 RKCB or 4NT RKCB . This obviously does not work once the bidding gets to 3 or higher though (there is a fix for 3/3NT but it involves an artificial 4, which might be a memory issue for you).
(-: Zel :-)
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#7 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2017-September-21, 13:30

View PostKungsgeten, on 2017-September-14, 07:05, said:

Showing strength first with two-suiters will probably get us past 3NT with some hands where we want to play 3NT?

Well, here's a MIN/MAX-showing Ambra-like structure that resolves more or less like +2 symmetric:

1 = "5+ H", MAX w/ 5S5H possible
1 = "5+ S", MAX w/ 5S5H impossible

1M-2 = GF relay

1M-2; ?:

2 = MIN, 3- OM
...2
......2+ = A(M)
2 = 4+ OM
...2
......2N = MAX*, not 5S5H
.........3
............3+ = B(M,OM)
......3 = 5S5H (so MAX/MIN if M=/, respectively)
.........3
............3+ = C(M,OM)
......3+ = MIN*, B(M,OM)
2 = MAX, A(M)

* Maybe better to switch MAX and MIN here?

A(M):

2 = 4+ D
...2N
......3 = 5M5D / ?
.........3
............3+ = C(M,)
......3+ = B(M,)
2N = 1-suited
3 = 5M5C / ?
...3
......3+ = C(M,)
3+ = B(M,)

B(M,y):

3 = 5+M4+y, high shortage, not 5M5y
3 = 5+M4+y, even shortage
...3
......3N = 5M4y22
......4 = 6M5y11
......4 = 7M4y11
......etc.
3+ = 5+M4+y, low shortage, not 5M5y
I.e. something like
3 = 5M4y31
3N = 6M4y21
4 = 6M4y30
4 = 6M5y20
4 = 7M4y20
etc.

C(M,y):

3 = 5M5y, high shortage
3 = ? [available for 5M4y04 or 5M4y40, if necessary, although there might be a better way to bid these shapes]
3N+ = 5M5y, low shortage.

So maybe the answer to your question is "no, not necessarily"?
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#8 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2017-September-21, 19:49

View PostKungsgeten, on 2017-September-12, 10:44, said:

We currently play relays after our 1M openings (5+M, 11-16) and our 1D opening (4+D unbalanced, 11-19), what QP ranges would you recommend for these?


I would use 6-10 for the 11-16 range. I'm not sure what ceiling I would use for 19 hcps.

It might be easier to answer some of your questions if we had examples of how high you are resolving patterns. It sounds like maybe you are +1 or +2 compared to symmetric relay? In any case, I think you're well-placed to guess whether slam is on if you just know pattern and QP total. If you need partner to have some perfecta (i.e. one or two combinations of cards that would produce slam) you just give up because you're too high to find out. If he has enough QPs so that many combinations produce slam, there you are.

Obviously you're aware of parity cue bidding. I learned that from awm and sieong and it's worked great and seems easier to use than DCB.
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#9 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted Yesterday, 08:00

View Poststraube, on 2017-September-21, 19:49, said:

It might be easier to answer some of your questions if we had examples of how high you are resolving patterns.


We resolve 5440 patterns very low (too low, but it is because we try to keep the system simple).

* 5-4-4-0 = 2NT
* 5-0-4-4 = 3D
* 5-4-0-4 = 3H

5422 pattern resolves at 3D.

5431 = 3H
5-5 + known shortness = 3S (can't find out if 6-5 or if void)
6-4 + known shortness = 3NT (can't find out if 7-4 or if void)

Any 5332 is at 2S. Now we do not relay for the doubleton, we use the following:

2S--2NT (bidding suit at the 3-level is natural);
3 new = Soft values in suit
3M = Weak opening suit
3NT = None of the above

With one-suiters we use:

2NT = 7+ suit, or max with 6322.
3C = Min with 6-card suit + singleton.
3D = Min with 6322 (could perhaps be bad 7222 too)
3H/S/NT = Max with 6-card suit and shortness up the line.
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#10 User is offline   straube 

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Posted Yesterday, 10:11

You might consider lumping the first two QP steps together....so the first step would be 6 or 7 (if your base is 6) and then 8, 9, and 10 zooms. You can then re-ask for the 6 vs 7 if captain is still interested.

This fits pretty well with something I like if pattern is resolved at either 3S or 3N.

4C-asks QPs
.....4D-6 or 7
.....4H-8
.....etc

4D-asks QPs when captain is interested in hearts
.....4H-6 or 7
.....4S-8
.....etc

4H-is to play but slave can super-accept
.....4S-9 (a bit optional here as slave knows pard isn't interested in 8)
.....4N-zoom with 10

If pattern resolves at 3H or below, you wouldn't have any use for this idea and you could incorporate RKC or control asks or whatever.
I've been really satisfied with QPs and Parity Cue Bidding and pretty much would only consider RKC if I'm interested in a minor suit slam.

I've seen before (where pattern ends at 3S or 3N)

4C-QP ask
4D-terminator
4M-optional RKC ask

which makes sense in that if slave overrides, he thinks slam is on unless the partnership is specifically missing key cards. So that might be better since slave is limited, but if slave isn't limited (in the case of reverse relays) then I'd rather just stay with QPs.

Regarding the 5440s, I've given up the ability to even show those (I could tweak if I wanted, but they're rare) and my 5332s are shown at 3C and then the doubleton is shown at 3H, 3S, and 3N. For me, the 5332s are 11-13 so knowing the point range is so small and considering that they seldom produce slam, I don't mind resolving them high. I suppose you use 1M-2C as GF relay, too? If you're interested, I'll post what I do for that.
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