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1 NT strength with 5551

#1 User is offline   ttti 

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Posted 2018-February-09, 04:24

I have a new "old" partner. He had about 30 years break in bridge and restarted last autumn. He wants to play 5551, and that's okay for me. What is the best strength for 1 NT opening? I suggested "weak" NT and we agreed on 12-15 hcp. Better suggestions?
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#2 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2018-February-09, 12:36

Play anything but 5551. You are completely ruining your 1 auctions (which even promising 3 are on shaky ground to start with) so you occasionally show 5 you don't even want to play in.
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#3 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2018-February-09, 19:13

Patience. A long time ago a friend of mine played with a guy of similar circumstance who didn't play negative doubles!

When he found out the guys previous partners were Pender and Kehela, he said "negative doubles are overrated" and carried on. I played against the guy a little over a year later and he was playing 10-12 notrumps.

Play whatever is in his comfort zone, introduce new stuff in bite sized chucks and pay attention. People like that can teach you a LOT.
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#4 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2018-February-10, 04:24

I have one partner who likes 5551 with a 14-16NT. My preference would be for good 14 to bad 17, but honestly 12-14 or 15-17 are playable. I'm not particularly keen on 12-15 (range too wide, though if you can stomach passing crappy balanced 12 counts, a decent 12 to bad 15 is quite playable IMO).
"Pass is your friend" - my brother in law - who likes to bid a lot.
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#5 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2018-February-10, 07:59

If forced to play this I guess I would play 12-15 1NT so the 1 opening is as rare as possible.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#6 User is offline   ttti 

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Posted 2018-February-11, 09:19

View Postcherdano, on 2018-February-10, 07:59, said:

If forced to play this I guess I would play 12-15 1NT so the 1 opening is as rare as possible.


In my opinion the purpose is not to make 1 opening rare but to make 1 NT opening common. I know the range is a bit too wide, but I try to cope with it.
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#7 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2018-February-11, 17:12

5541 is very playable. The only time 1D is 4 is a 1=4=4=4, or 4=4=4=1 15+* (treat as balanced if it goes 1D-2C), so it's still 5 most of the time. Essentially it's a "1C = clubs or balanced" system. I played this with a weak NT (12-14) with transfers over 1C, but I also devised a similar structure for strong NT.

It's not a good idea to play 4-point opening NT ranges IMHO. Stick to 3-point ranges: 12-14, 14-16 (if you like to open BAL 11 counts) or 15-17 (if you don't). Perhaps a style of opening BAL 11s only when NV, i.e. playing 14-16 when NV and 15-17 VUL, has some merit but with a new partner you'd want to keep it simple.

* To handle 4=4=4=1 minimums we defined 1C-2C (inverted); 2D = 4=4=4=1 MIN, but you could also open 1D if you can stomach a 2D rebid on 4 cards, making the system 5542.

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#8 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-February-11, 18:51

If you play weak notrump partner has to raise opener's suit aggressively in competition since you can't defend undoubled when you have 16+9 hcps. Hence you will see responder raise on a 9-count with 4-card support. You don't want that when you have a 12 count and a singleton.
So play strong notrump. I would suggest 14-16.
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#9 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-February-12, 12:28

As ahydra noted, 5551 is similar to "natural or balanced club, unbalanced diamond", maybe just with the tiny difference that 4441 is opened 1 instead of 1.

What people who play the latter system know is that finding club fits in competition after a 1 opening is usually not that difficult, despite Responder not being able to "support" clubs directly with 4-5 clubs. All one needs are good agreements about doubles and 2N in competition, and I don't think it makes a huge difference that the the opening can be also be made with 4441 (singelton club).

So my suggestion is to use the same 1N range you'd use in a "natural or balanced club" system, although 14-16 is probably ideal if you play "Swedish" T-Walsh.
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#10 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2018-February-12, 17:23

View Postnullve, on 2018-February-12, 12:28, said:

What people who play the latter system know is that finding club fits in competition after a 1 opening is usually not that difficult, despite Responder not being able to "support" clubs directly with 4-5 clubs. All one needs are good agreements about doubles and 2N in competition, and I don't think it makes a huge difference that the the opening can be also be made with 4441 (singelton club).


On that point, when playing a weak NT you have the advantage that, after 1C opening and a competitive auction like 1C-(1H)-p-(2H), opener is very likely to make some noise in competition if he has a balanced hand since he has extra values. So if he doesn't, he most likely has (4)5+ clubs and responder can offer them in the balancing seat if he has a few. This isn't possible with a strong NT as partner can have either a MIN with clubs or a weak NT.

Quote

So my suggestion is to use the same 1N range you'd use in a "natural or balanced club" system, although 14-16 is probably ideal if you play "Swedish" T-Walsh.


What is Swedish T-Walsh (as opposed to regular T-Walsh)?

ahydra
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#11 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2018-February-12, 17:28

View Postnullve, on 2018-February-12, 12:28, said:

As ahydra noted, 5551 is similar to "natural or balanced club, unbalanced diamond", maybe just with the tiny difference that 4441 is opened 1 instead of 1.

What people who play the latter system know is that finding club fits in competition after a 1 opening is usually not that difficult, despite Responder not being able to "support" clubs directly with 4-5 clubs. All one needs are good agreements about doubles and 2N in competition, and I don't think it makes a huge difference that the the opening can be also be made with 4441 (singelton club).


I am astonished at your claim here. I've been playing 1 as "clubs or balanced", with 1 usually unbalanced (5332) for about 1.5 years. I don't play a lot of hands per year, and I can remember LOTS of competitive auctions where the short club caused us to miss a club or diamond fit, and quite a few where it caused a bad result.

I think those who think otherwise are fooling themselves.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#12 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2018-February-12, 17:33

View Postahydra, on 2018-February-12, 17:23, said:

What is Swedish T-Walsh (as opposed to regular T-Walsh)?


I don't know, but the Norwegians I know complete the transfer on 3 card support as opposed to the other strategy of showing a weak NT (and therefore 2+ support). Of course the Swedes may be different again, but obviously I am surmising not
"Pass is your friend" - my brother in law - who likes to bid a lot.
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#13 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-February-12, 19:15

View Postnullve, on 2018-February-12, 12:28, said:

What people who play the latter system know is that finding club fits in competition after a 1 opening is usually not that difficult, despite Responder not being able to "support" clubs directly with 4-5 clubs. All one needs are good agreements about doubles and 2N in competition, and I don't think it makes a huge difference that the the opening can be also be made with 4441 (singelton club).

So partner doubles a 2 overcall and you actually have three clubs. Or maybe even four. Does the double guarantee four hearts? If it does, he would be stuck with many hands with as many as five cards in one of the minors. If it does not, are you going to respond 3 anyway, holding a balanced hand? So 3 now could be 4441 or 1435 or anything in between?

Of course you can be stuck even if 1 promised 3+ or 4+ clubs but it does relieve the pressure a bit that responder could just raise clubs with say 7-10 points and five clubs.

Also, playing 5551 means that 1 no longer shows "real clubs or a balanced hand outside the nt range". It could also be a 4441 within the nt range. Consider the auction
1-(1)-1NT-(pass)
2
What is going on? wouldn't it be reasonable to bid this way with a 4441 16-count? What is the range for the 1NT freebid anyway?
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#14 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-February-13, 06:19

View Postahydra, on 2018-February-12, 17:23, said:

On that point, when playing a weak NT you have the advantage that, after 1C opening and a competitive auction like 1C-(1H)-p-(2H), opener is very likely to make some noise in competition if he has a balanced hand since he has extra values. So if he doesn't, he most likely has (4)5+ clubs and responder can offer them in the balancing seat if he has a few. This isn't possible with a strong NT as partner can have either a MIN with clubs or a weak NT.

True. But in a strong NT context, suppose the bidding goes

1-(1x)-something-(2x)
P-(P),

Opener's pass doesn't deny balanced shape, but opps can be trusted to be in a 8(+)-card fit. Then, if Responder has

* 2- x, in which case partner has 3+ x and therefore maybe as little as (1)2 C, competing to 3 seems to require at least 6c support, but Responder will usually have no trouble finding another call with less. (His shape will often be ideal for a classic takeout double, for example.)
* 3 x, he knows partner has 2(-) x and therefore 3+ C, so competing to 3 with 5c support is possible;
* 4+ x, he knows partner has 1- x and therefore 4+ C, so competing to 3 with 4c support is possible.

If Responder has 3+ x but insufficient club support, LoTT may still suggest competing, although it may be less obvious how. My "solution" in situations where opps have found a fit is to allow balancing doubles to be a bit (more) offshape and maybe play 2N as "two places to play" over them.

(I know LoTT comes with adjustments, so the above is only approximate.)

View Postahydra, on 2018-February-12, 17:23, said:

What is Swedish T-Walsh (as opposed to regular T-Walsh)?

It's probably just my name for the version (first played by Swedish internationals Nilsland-Wirgren?) where, roughly,

* 1N over 1-[1M-1] corresponds to 2N over 1-1M in standard;
* Opener accepts the 1M-1 transfer not only with 3(+) M but also with weak NT and 2-3(4) M.
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