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Alternative Responses to Jacoby or Jordan 2NT Trying to build a better mousetrap

#1 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-04, 18:26

I've been working on responses to our Jordan 2NT (raise to 3 or better) and one thing I've never liked is that most structures involve opener describing his hand and responder deciding on the level of the contract. This makes some sense when opener is limited as responder is usually unlimited. The major downside is that opener is nearly always declarer. I know the full relay people will be chuckling that they already have this resolved. However, for those that do not play any shape relays, I have toyed around with relay-like responses that I believe are easy on the memory. I have tried it out on many hands generated and it seems to work really well. I will also add that I have designed it in a structure where opener is limited and responder is only promising invitational or better values. I believe this is even easier when opener is unlimited and/or 2NT is forcing to game. However, one last thing is that our 2NT denies any shortness as we play mini-splinters and splinters.

Proposed Responses to a Jordan (invational or better) 2NT

1M - 2NT - ?
3 (GF) - Opener is non-minimum and has a singleton somewhere. Opener requests a trump ask followed by spiral scanning for aces, kings, 3rd round controls.

3 - Same as above, except it skips the trump ask. Opener has AKQxx(x) or AKxxxx of trumps.

3M - Opener has a minimum hand. Responder can pass, sign-off in game, or start a normal cue-bidding sequence if still interested in slam.

3NT - Opener is non-minimum and also has no shortness. This requests Responder to give (normal) keycard if still interested in slam, else just bid game. If Responder gives keycard, this is followed by spiral scanning for Kings, 3rd round controls, etc...

3OM, 4, 4 - Opener is non-minimum and requests responder to respond to Exclusion Keycard Blackwood if his hand is not wasted values. (alternatively these bids could show voids in the next suit along, but I kept them as 'natural' keycard for memory) If responder gives keycard, this is followed by spiral scanning for Kings, 3rd round controls, etc...

The Trump Ask
1st Step - A or K or AKQ of trumps (1 w/o Q or 3)
2nd Step - AK or no top trumps (2 or 0)
3rd Step - AQ or KQ of trumps (1 w/ Q)

Spiral Scanning (after trump ask)
1. A
2. A
3. AOM
4. K etc..

Spiral Scanning (after keycard)
1. Q of trumps
2. K
3. K etc..

I will include some sample hands in a separate post. Any comments welcome.
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#2 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-04, 18:47

Sample Hands (selected for interest, not necessarily a representative sample, but randomly generated)

1 - 2NT
4 (exclusion) - 5 (2 w/o Q)
5 (K?) - 5 (K, but not K)
6 (3rd round ctl 's?) - 6 (yes)
7


1 - 2NT
4 (exclusion) - 5 (2 w/o Q)
5 (K?) - 5 (K, but not K)
6 (3rd round ctl 's?) - 6 (yes)
7


1 - 2NT
4 (exclusion) - 5 (2 w/o Q)
5 (K?) - 5 (K, but not K)
6 (3rd round ctl 's?) - 6 (yes)
7


1 - 2NT
4 (exclusion) - 5 (2 w/o Q)
5 (K?) - 5 (K, but not K)
6 (3rd round ctl 's?) - 6 (yes)
7

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#3 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 03:48

Sometime ago, I've had the same problem you had: the classical 2NT raise sucks in so many ways it's not even funny.

After going to the tank for a few days I emerged with my own pet scheme. Since I'm playing 2/1, I put emphasis on giving OPENER control of the auction, so I harnessed every bid from 2NT to 4M for very precise major suit raises. I can post it here if you want, though I should say it doesn't have much to do with what you exposed :lol:
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#4 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 08:42

Well, to be fair, 2NT was a big improvement over the old 1M - 4M showing GF values or the dreaded Acol delayed game raise (1M - 2X - Any - 4M).

I'd be interested to hear your scheme even if others are not.

We play 2/1, so ALL hands with 3 card support go via 1NT (F1R) or 2/1. That leaves the following bids for 4 card support:

Single Raise = 7-9 with 3 card support
Double Raise = Preemptive
Triple Raise = Preemptive
Single-Jump Shift = Invitational plus splinter (singleton if GF)
Double-Jump Shift = Void splinter
2NT = Invitational plus balanced raise
3NT = 4333 hand with 3 card support 12-15
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#5 Guest_Jlall_*

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Posted 2005-May-05, 15:53

Personally, I hate it.

A) You have opener showing some min, and yet he is doing the asking. He shows shortness and asks for trumps at the same time, then spiral scans. What is the use of his showing shortness if he will be the captain?

B ) Responder never clarifies his range over 3C or 3D or 3N he is just answering a relay.

C) Responder and opener never determine how their hands mesh.

D) A very likely hand type (a balanced hand that doesnt want to stop in 3M) is forced to bid 3N to describe it, and again WHILE he is describing it hes asking for keycards at the same time...

E) 3oM and 4m are exclusion? That's a TON of low level bids in use for exclusion and the gains don't seem worthwhile.

Just my .02 but if you like your system then keep playing it. Like I said, I hate it but being comfortable with your methods is #1
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#6 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 16:05

I don't mind negative opinions. Am just happy to have opinions.

One thing to note is that opener is limited, so the challenge is to give opener captaincy. Opener cannot know to go beyond game alone. Responder by cooperating will be showing some interest. Originally I had Responder jump to game if minimum, but even minimum responders might lead to slam if opener is maximum.

I agree that 3 exclusion bids seems like a lot. I based most of these methods on looking at randomly generated hands. Am happy for alternative suggestions.
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#7 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 16:10

Some simple observations:

(1) Shortness is very important in finding light slams. It's good for opener to be able to show a singleton when slam is a possibility. This is probably more important than exclusion per se.

(2) It can be nice to keep the bidding low when opener has a minimum, since responder might have extras. Jumping to 4M is probably bad under any circumstances (unless responder is a passed hand).

I recommend playing 3 as any minimum with 3 as asking. This can be made symmetric with the rest of the structure pretty easily, and affords responder maximum space when wanting to look for slam. Responder can still bid 3M to play with a limit raise.

Beyond this, I could suggest some structures, but I haven't had enough experience with most of them to strongly recommend one over another.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#8 Guest_Jlall_*

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Posted 2005-May-05, 16:17

I don't understand...if opener is limited then his partner should be captain since responder is unlimited. A limited hand is always better defined than an ulimited and should thus be describing to his partner what he has... example:

1N opener. Responder is the one who bids gerber, places the contract, initiates slam tries etc. This is because the 1N opener is VERY narrowly limited.

In a limited opening bid structure it would be excellent if the limited opener could show his shortness somehow (as opposed to just showing an unbalanced hand). As Adam said, shortness is the key to slam bidding (unless you have it on power in which case you get there in any methods). Keycards and controls can wait.
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#9 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 16:41

Cheers for the responses thus far. If opener is minimum he bids 3M not 4. The point was if RESPONDER is minimum after opener shows a non-minimum, should he just jump to game? (and I argue no as you might miss a light slam)

The old fashion Jacoby structure of opener showing his shortness is fine. Nothing wrong with the methods and responder is in a better position to assume captaincy. However that defeated the whole purpose of dummy describing his hand rather than declarer.

After 1NT a lot of methods have Responder describe his hand and then cue-bid. (e.g. transfer and cue-bid)

3 as a minimum response is interesting as it does leave more room. Will ponder that as it's a fairly common hand type.
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#10 Guest_Jlall_*

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Posted 2005-May-05, 16:59

Yes in the auctions where responder describes his hand, they have a cooperative auction. 1N opener never takes over. Generally I think this is how these auctions should be until one party is READY to assume captaincy (almost always responder in the major suit raise situation in limited openers). This is the main thing i don't like about the initial proposed structure, IF the partnership decided they could explore slam, usually it was responder answering a spiral scan or trump ask keycards right away. I think these bids should not be forced upon the partnership until they can explore the mesh of the hands.

3C showing any min is a good structure. Responder can signoff or bid 3D asking for shortness (first step no, then low middle high possibly)
3D showing an unbalanced hand with extras. Next step asks (low middle high, note symmetry).
3H showing 5422 with 4 card minor (max) (3S asks, low high)
3S 5422 with 4 of other major (max)
3N 6322 (max)
4x= second suit, picture bid (e.g. 90 % of values in suit).

This has the value of not giving the hand away when opener is minimum, locating all shortnesses at a reasonable level allowing for cuebidding, showing min or max, and also the ability to show 5422 and 6322 (both of which can often be crucial and are not able to be shown in standard jacoby, a big flaw I think). I edited this structure from one of my other structures (non limited openings) where a "mild extras" step is included.
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Posted 2005-May-05, 17:01

Echognome, on May 5 2005, 06:41 PM, said:

Cheers for the responses thus far. If opener is minimum he bids 3M not 4. The point was if RESPONDER is minimum after opener shows a non-minimum, should he just jump to game? (and I argue no as you might miss a light slam)

The problem with this is that it uses up too much room, you are in 3 when opener is minimum, and your exploration starts two steps higher than it should. Simply bid 3 as opener with a minimum, without regard for singlton etc. IF responder is not intersteted in slam opposite minimum, he signs off. If he is interested, he can bid 3 to ask something (shortness perhaps), or he can bid somethign else to show HIS SHORTNESS so that if his partner's minimum matches up well with his shortness, the bidding can continue towards slam logically. (3D ask for shortness, 3H+ shows shorntess).

This means openers 3/3 etc can be used for something more entertaining with a non-minimum....

Ben
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Posted 2005-May-05, 17:08

ben copied me againn :o
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#13 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 17:28

Here's a structure close to what you proposed, but with 3 as minimum. Assume the auction starts 1-2NT:

3 = minimum hand. no void. now:
--3 relays, symmetric with 3+
--3 is a signoff
--3 specific suit ask in spades, trick source (4-5 spades missing K or Q)
--3NT keycard, responder assumes captaincy
--4/ specific suit ask, trick source (4-5 cards to AK or AQ)
--4 to play, no slam interest opposite min
3 = any void. could be min, I don't sign off with voids. responder bids 3 to ask:
--3 = spade void then...
---- 3NT, 4, 4, 4 = exclusion keycard responses, good hand for slam
---- 4 = refuse to answer exclusion, lots of wastage (4 insists on an answer I guess)
--3NT, 4 other voids, similar responses, 4 by responder always signoff
3 = maximum, no shortage, six trumps or the Q
-- 3 = 0/3 keycards
-- 3NT = 1/4 keycards (or reverse these if you play 1430)
-- 4 = 2 keycards, no K (denial cues skip Q because it is not relevent)
3 = maximum, singleton spade or spade KQ
-- 3NT = 0/3 keycards, good hand for slam
-- 4 = 1/4 keycards, good hand for slam
-- 4 = 2 keycards no Q, good hand for slam
-- 4 = bad hand for slam, lots of wastage in spades
3NT = maximum, no shortage, interested in Q, basically this is keycard
4/ = singleton in bid suit, respond to keycard except that 4 is refusal to answer

As a general rule, after showing a singleton responder should skip that suit in the denial cuebidding sequence. After all kings and queens opposite the singleton aren't very useful. This means opener can also use this sequence holding KQ in the suit to avoid halting the denial cues over and over for something irrelevent.
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#14 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-05, 17:54

Excellent. Now we're getting somewhere. I do like the change to 3 minimum. I chose not to go with denial cuebids (although I like their efficiency) because I thought with shortness knowing if A or K is really important. I'll give it some thought.

But it looks promising. Thanks.
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Posted 2005-May-05, 21:01

Ok, I've reworked the responses and you can get a nice parallel structure.

3 minimum hand, no voids. Then:
--3 asks for hand type. Then
----3 Singleton Club
----3 Singleton Diamond
----3NT Singleton in the other major
----4/4(/4) 5 card second suit (5521 or 6511 shape since no void)
----4M No Shortness
--3M/4M Signoffs
3 Void somewhere. 3 asks, then:
--3 Void Club
--3NT Void Diamond
--4 Void in the other major
3 Singleton Club, non minimum hand
3 Singleton Diamond, non minimum hand
3NT Singleton in the other major. Non minimum hand
4/4(/4) 5 card second suit, non minimum hand (5521 or 6511 shape)
4M Non minimum hand. No Shortness.

After any shortness showing bids, Responder replies keycard (standard if singleton, exclusion if void, 6 Ace if two-suiter) followed by spiral scanning if interested in slam. Else responder returns to 4M.

With the space consumed by showing a two-suited hand it may be easier to have more requirements (like all your points in the two suits), since you want these to be infrequent bids. Also, 4M is a space eater when denying shortness, but I found slam hands extremely rare on these. Thus I leave it to responder to take control.

I've looked at about 40-50 hands and this seems to work better than the original proposal and way better than standard cue-bidding.
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Posted 2005-May-06, 02:54

Well, here's my structure, even though you probably won't like it :)

The point is allowing OPENER take control, not the other way around. Still, since sometimes opener has a min, he also has tools to relinquish control and have responder do the asking.

1M 2M = semi-decent 3 card raise (7-10). Mixed trials, a la klinger, follow.

1S 2NT (or 1H 2S) = balanced 4-card raise, inv+. If 12+ then honors scattered all around (else bid a swiss raise - see below) Opener bids:
-- 3x shortness (1H-2S-2NT spade short). This is to discover good shortness slams/games. Resp bids 3M with 7-11 and wastage in opener's short suit, cues 3/4-something with a good 10-11 and no wastage and bids 3NT with 12+.
-- 3NT = bal 15+, resp can make a move if 12+ or good 10-11.
-- 4m (or 1H-2S-3S) = natural 54, looking for a double-fit slam. Resp cues with side suit fit or goes back to major if side suit misfit.
-- 4M = min, extra lenght, very bad controls.

1M 3x = splinter (1H 2NT = spade splinter). Usually 4 cards support, invitational or better (8 losers or less). Opener bids
-- 3M = signoff opposite an inv splinter. Resp can bid game/slam with 7 losers or cue with 6 or less losers. If resp bids suit x again is void and 6 losers.
-- 3NT = frivolous: willing to play game, but no slam interest. Resp can insist on slam with 6 losers or less. Resp suit x again is void.
-- 4M = good min, shortness fits well. Resp assumes 11-13 points outside short suit and proceeds accordingly. Resp suit x again is void.
Note: if 1M is opened 3rd hand, the splinter is always a void (just in case opener is too lightish).

1M 3NT = I play it as natural 13-15 bal misfit, but you can dump some sort of support bid here if you like.

1M 4x (or 1M 3S) = swiss raise to 4M. Strong balanced support, no wastage in suit x (holding in x is either Axx or xxx - with Kxx or Qxx use 1M 2NT), honors scattered in other suits outside suit x. Usually 4 card support but can have 3 if hand has a side doubleton. The "no wastage" idea is to find shortness slams when opener is unbalanced. Opener bids
-- Next step = asks strenght. Resp bids in steps: 12-13, 14-15, etc.
-- 4M = min hand or with suit x wide open. Resp insists only with Axx and extras.

Advantages:
Allows for opener and responder to take/relinquish control.
Resp bids his support VERY accurately.
Picks up shortness games/slams easily.
Can pick up some double-fit slams (playing slam on the 44 fit, of course).
Relatively simple scheme.

Disadvantages:
No one plays like this.. lol.
Demands a bit of training with regular pard to get a grip on judgement issues.
May need a few refinements to get more consistent.

But, since it's my own scheme, I think it's the best thing since sliced bread :)
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Posted 2005-May-06, 03:35

I don't understand why opener should take control. He showed a pretty limited hand, and at least 5 cards, where responder showed an unlimited hand and only 3 or 4 cards... :) This method is the exact opposite of any bidding theory so far I guess :)
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#18 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2005-May-06, 04:08

Was that comment meant for me, Free? If so, then note I said above this is meant for 2/1, thus for 11-20 openings.
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Posted 2005-May-06, 05:51

whereagles, on May 6 2005, 11:08 AM, said:

Was that comment meant for me, Free? If so, then note I said above this is meant for 2/1, thus for 11-20 openings.

Was meant to both you and echognome, since you both feel the need to reverse these things B)
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#20 User is offline   Echognome 

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Posted 2005-May-06, 06:59

It is a bit against bidding theory. But I thought it was pretty clear from above the reason for doing this? We want opener's hand described as little as possible, since opener is ALWAYS declarer.
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