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5-3-3-2

#1 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 09:15

A great English(later the USA) player of the 1960s, Adam'Plum'Meredith once declared a distribution containing
a 5 card suit was a suit shape and not Not Trumps. Does this thesis still hold true today and
does it make any difference if the suit is a major?
"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


"Any palooka can take tricks with Aces and Kings; the true expert shows his prowess
by how he handles the two's and three's" - Mollo's Hideous Hog
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#2 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 10:15

We use the terms balanced and unbalanced to describe a spectrum with 4333 at one extreme (as balanced as you can get) and a thirteen-card suit at the other extreme (as unbalanced as you can get). We usually find it convenient to describe 4443, 4432 and 5332 shapes as "balanced" (although they of course become progressively less balanced). We often described shapes such as 5422, 6322 (and maybe 4441, 7222) as "semi-balanced". Other shapes are usually described as "unbalanced".

These distinctions are useful because the more balanced hands often tend to be more suitable for no trump contracts. I use the word "tend" because bridge is a partnership game and hands should be constantly reevaluated in light of the auction so far. Unbalanced hands often tend to be more suitable for playing in suit contracts

As a general principle I open all balanced hands (and some semi-balanced hands) with a no trump bid or bid no trumps at the first rebid. I make some exceptions - for example, I will support partner's major rather than bidding no trumps. I will almost always open 1NT with a 5332 hand in our no trump range (12-14) but with a very good suit (three honours in the suit, a bit weaker in third seat) I might choose to open a five-card major. We use a 3 response to 1NT as five-card Stayman to help find major suit fits.

I think the ideas on showing shape have moved on somewhat since the 1960s. Back then it was common to open a four-card suit and rebid a second four-card suit and never mentioning the balanced shape. It might be worth buying some more up-to-date books!
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#3 User is offline   eagles123 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 11:03

View PostPhilG007, on 2018-March-13, 09:15, said:

A great English(later the USA) player of the 1960s, Adam'Plum'Meredith once declared a distribution containing
a 5 card suit was a suit shape and not Not Trumps. Does this thesis still hold true today and
does it make any difference if the suit is a major?


surely a simple search would tell you that this topic been done to death on this forum!!
"definitely that's what I like to play when I'm playing standard - I want to be able to bid diamonds because bidding good suits is important in bridge" - Meckstroth's opinion on weak 2 diamond
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#4 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 15:13

View Posteagles123, on 2018-March-13, 11:03, said:

surely a simple search would tell you that this topic been done to death on this forum!!


Where? Got a link?



"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


"Any palooka can take tricks with Aces and Kings; the true expert shows his prowess
by how he handles the two's and three's" - Mollo's Hideous Hog
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#5 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 15:17

View PostPhilG007, on 2018-March-13, 15:13, said:

Where? Got a link?

Try typing:

5332 1nt site:bridgebase.com/forums/

into Google.
Feel free to send me a friend challenge of any format as often as you like. I'll always accept :)
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#6 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2018-March-13, 17:10

5332 (absent any other info from the bidding) is a balanced shape well suited to NT play. It doesn't become less balanced if the 5 bagger is a major - though, of course. there is a more realistic chance of finding a 4M game (as opposed to 5m) - which is where your system choices come in.

Personally I am yet to be convinced of the benefit opening a weak 1NT with a decent 5 card major - too often the opening is passed out and dummy goes down with 3 or even 4 card support. However a strong NT is passed out less often and responder more commonly has enough strength to explore, so am happy to open 5M332 shapes with 1NT in that case. But that is my preference - your mileage may vary.
"Pass is your friend" - my brother in law - who likes to bid a lot.
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#7 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2018-March-14, 08:41

Of course a {5332} is more "suited" to suit play than NT play. Whether strong or weak NT. Mick is correct in that if you open 1NT on this you have more chances of reverting to a fitting major with the strong variety, but for me it is more about scoring.

Scoring a minor part score usually loses out to scoring a NT contract with the same hand, so I suppress a 5 card minor. A fitting major part score beats NT in matchpoints, but not in IMPs. For this reason it makes sense to me to open 1M at matchpoints and 1NT at IMPs.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-March-15, 07:44

View PostTramticket, on 2018-March-13, 10:15, said:

I think the ideas on showing shape have moved on somewhat since the 1960s. Back then it was common to open a four-card suit and rebid a second four-card suit and never mentioning the balanced shape. It might be worth buying some more up-to-date books!


I have books written in the 1980s that still consider only 4333 and 4432 to be balanced, and only 5332 to be truly semi-balanced. Even the oldest book written in the 1950s includes a minor 5332 within the 1NT openings, however.

We are currently experimenting with opening major 5332 15-17 as 1NT instead of 1M and it seems to work out well so far. It did however require a thorough rework of many aspects of the system and this alone would be enough to deter most partnerships I suspect.
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#9 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-March-19, 19:31

My take: a balanced hand has no void, no singleton, and no more than one doubleton. A semi-balanced hand has no void, no singleton, and exactly two doubletons. All other distributions are unbalanced.
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