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Strong NT - 4 Card Majors - Any takers? Pros and Cons?

#1 User is offline   Dinarius 

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Posted 2018-March-12, 14:06

As someone who tends to play with a lot of different partners, and not anyone very regularly, I am coming more and more to the view that, Five Card Majors/Strong NT is best with regular partners.

The semi-artificial nature of this system (better minor or prepared ♣️; lots and lots of artificial sequences such as Bergen and all it entails, along with Jacoby etc.) has me convinced that it is too much for occasional partnerships.

In truth, I prefer to work it out at the table.

Secondly, given that I’m playing mostly matchpoints, which doesn’t reward those marginal games and slams which a more sophisticated approach can use at IMPS, I feel that since it’s all about tricks, the play is the thing, not so much the bidding. At the end of a night’s Pairs, you’re far more likely to say; “I could have played that for one down, instead of two.”, rather than, “If only we’d been playing xxx gadget, we would have found that contract.”

This is a roundabout way of saying I’m more drawn to natural bidding and focusing on play and defence.

So, why Strong NT/Four Card? Well, it all but eliminates the chance of the fatal -200 at MPs. It allows 4/4 fits to be found at the one level more frequently.

But, of course, it loses the pre-emptive value of the weak 1NT opening, and it permits more interference bidding by the opponents.

However, everything is natural, pretty much, and an entire system can be reduced to about a page.

So, what am I missing?

I know that most of the planet plays Strong/5, but has anyone ever done an analysis of their relatives successes? (Obviously, of the likes of Zia play it, it kind of distorts the picture! 😎

Any advocates for Strong/4?

Over to you.

D.
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#2 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 09:41

I love 4-cd majors and Canape, but we play it with a 11-14 NT and a strong , 15+ hcp.
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: http://bridgewithdan...stems/Ultra.pdf

C3: Copious Canape - Improved version of Ultra Relay, notes not posted yet.

Scrap heap: Canapé Attack System with Strong and 4-cd Major openings ...

Back to the Future? Using 1 &1 responses to Strong 1 as Positive Exclusion Color Bids.

NOW playing a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes-Millennium like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Intermediate 2 bids (10-14), & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). Playing Naturelle in another partnership.
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#3 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 17:17

Sabine Auken uses two NT ranges. One if NV 10-12 and the other when vul. and 3rd and 4th seats. 14-16.

She also uses 4M and canapé into minors only.


I played a lot of Blue Team Club. 4M and they canapé into other suits.

They use a 13-17 1N, however, it tends to be a strong NT since

the 13-15 range hands are limited by showing specific non 4M holdings.


Schenken Club used a 16-18 1N and 4M.
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#4 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 17:38

Playing 4 card major systems needs a lot of prior work to score well.

Blue Team uses the 4D* convention to narrow some hands that are raising.


Goren would open xx AKxx AKxxx xx 1H to have a rebid.

5 card major bidding may open a 3 card minor, however,

bidding 1H and next 2D is more distorted IMHO.


Bergen raises are not difficult. I teach them to intermediates "when I am asked."

I prefer to not use them when I play, however, it is a trade off.

I do like Jacoby 2NT* when playing 5 card majors.


Playing MPs and "not out bidding" the field is losing tactics IMHO.

Bidding a game that others miss has a big reward.


I would not be concerned with a -200 after opening a weak NT, it is more than balanced

out from players stepping out and finding themselves doubled after 1NT is opened.


When playing MPs a failure to make an overtrick or two often is rewarded with a zero or

near zero score.


If you play MPs, you often double the other pair "to protect your partscore."

A fair number of these type doubles result in them making and a result that scores

much like a -200 result.
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#5 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 18:58

4cM works well with strong nt:
- you don't have the uptheline vs walsh dilemma
- The weak nt hands can still preempt a bit by opening 1M rather than 1m
- you don't have the light 2-level responses which are the weak point of Acol

You could play:
1c natural or 18-20 bal
1d natural or 12-14 bal w/o 4cM
1M natural including 12-14 bal w/4cM
IMPs is probably a better format when everyone's drinking --- Vampyr
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#6 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-March-14, 07:46

View PostDinarius, on 2018-March-12, 14:06, said:

As someone who tends to play with a lot of different partners ...


The key to this is to play a simple system that is common in the area where you live. Both you and your partners need to be playing a system with which you are familiar.

If you lived in the US, then it is clearly five-card majors and strong no trump and there would be no point in worrying about the artificial nature of a minor suit opening - that is just standard and everyone is familiar with the methods.

If you lived in England, you should be playing Acol at club level, if you want to play with multiple partners. Don't worry too much about missing playing in a 4-4 fit at the one level - it hardly ever happens anyway. Other bad results from the system are likely to be duplicated around the room (so are good results from the system!).

I don't have experience of bridge in Ireland - but I thought that Acol was the norm there too? If so, play Acol and please your future partners. You can experiment with other systems when you start playing with a more regular partner.
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#7 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-March-14, 10:47

Currently, with my regular partner, I play a simple system with 4-card majors and a 14-16 notrump. We have to discuss many treatments. For example we've agreed to open majors before minors.
On-line, I prefer 2/1 because it predefines basic conventions with which players are forced to become familiar.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-March-14, 15:38

View PostTramticket, on 2018-March-14, 07:46, said:

The key to this is to play a simple system that is common in the area where you live. Both you and your partners need to be playing a system with which you are familiar.

If you lived in the US, then it is clearly five-card majors and strong no trump and there would be no point in worrying about the artificial nature of a minor suit opening - that is just standard and everyone is familiar with the methods.

If you lived in England, you should be playing Acol at club level, if you want to play with multiple partners. Don't worry too much about missing playing in a 4-4 fit at the one level - it hardly ever happens anyway. Other bad results from the system are likely to be duplicated around the room (so are good results from the system!).


The key to this IMO is to be selective about your partners, better to play on BBO than in a real-world game you do not enjoy.

But if you want to play with much of the field in Italy then the common ground is 4-card majors and strong no trump, the main areas for variation being canape' developments or abstruse use of multicolor, rather than 5-card majors and other such heresy :D
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#9 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-March-14, 16:05

With a casual partner you should just play whatever system they are comfortable with. You might decide to ditch some conventions - for example, if one of you normally plays Multi-Landy and the other plays DONT, it is better just to compromise on playing natural instead of one of you having to learn a new convention. Even if you ar eboth familiar with multi-landy, you might play it differently, so it might still be easier just to play natural.

But if you are both used to (say) 2/1, I don't think you should try to find a "simpler" system for a casual partnership. The thing is, other than ditching conventions, there isn't much that can be done to simplify any system. Strong NT is not inherently simpler than weak NT, and 4cM is not inherently simpler than 5cM.

Bergen raises you could certainly ditch but I am not sure what to replace it with. Strong jump shifts require much more discussion than bergen raises does.

If there isn't any system with which you are both comfortable, it is usually best to play the system of whoever is less keen on learning new systems.
IMPs is probably a better format when everyone's drinking --- Vampyr
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#10 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2018-March-18, 17:01

View Posthelene_t, on 2018-March-13, 18:58, said:

4cM works well with strong nt:
- you don't have the uptheline vs walsh dilemma
- The weak nt hands can still preempt a bit by opening 1M rather than 1m
- you don't have the light 2-level responses which are the weak point of Acol


True. It is also a good system to play in a scratch partnership as the basic system does not need a lot of conventions to make it work.

Quote

You could play:
1c natural or 18-20 bal
1d natural or 12-14 bal w/o 4cM
1M natural including 12-14 bal w/4cM


Perhaps, but less ideal for irregular partnerships as it is not so easy to pick up the inferences on the 1m openers unless both partners have experience of them.


View Posthelene_t, on 2018-March-14, 16:05, said:

With a casual partner you should just play whatever system they are comfortable with. You might decide to ditch some conventions - for example, if one of you normally plays Multi-Landy and the other plays DONT, it is better just to compromise on playing natural instead of one of you having to learn a new convention. Even if you ar eboth familiar with multi-landy, you might play it differently, so it might still be easier just to play natural.

But if you are both used to (say) 2/1, I don't think you should try to find a "simpler" system for a casual partnership. The thing is, other than ditching conventions, there isn't much that can be done to simplify any system. Strong NT is not inherently simpler than weak NT, and 4cM is not inherently simpler than 5cM.

Bergen raises you could certainly ditch but I am not sure what to replace it with. Strong jump shifts require much more discussion than bergen raises does.

If there isn't any system with which you are both comfortable, it is usually best to play the system of whoever is less keen on learning new systems.


Weak NT is more common than strong NT and auctions commencing with a 1NT oipening tend to be simpler than those which start with 1 of a suit.

Strong jump shifts don't require much discussion in practice because they very rarely come up! Those people brought up on Acol will have an idea on what might constitute standard continuations in any case.
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