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Simple transfer responses to a NAT 1C

#1 User is offline   DinDIP 

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Posted 2010-May-01, 19:02

Suggestions welcome.

My partner has the idea that we should move to TFR responses to our (better minor) 1C opening but he's not got the time to do the work to play something complex. That being the case, and given that you play a weak NT and 5+M, what would you play 1C-1R-accept as? Options include :
1. Exactly 3-card support, so all raises promise 4 and other bids show 0-2M. This is obviously useful but also reveals a lot of information to the opps. (This is something that is an increasing concern of mine now.) Not sure which side gains more from the information; I suspect we do but I'm still worried about making the defence's life easier.
2. BAL 15-20 so that 1N shows min UNBAL hands short in the M and 2N is a strong raise (could be 63xy or GF BAL with 4-card support or . . . ) This requires some additional memory load to rightside NT contracts.
3. Denies 3-card support. (I don't think this is sensible as it grossly underutilises O's other calls if they promise exactly three-card support.)
4. Difficult to bid hands, so all other bids are pure (1N is always BAL, 2C is always 6, reverses are always 5+4+, raises are always 4-card support).
5. (Roy Hughes' suggestion in his book Building a Bidding System) a hand with 5+C, <3M, <4S (so that 2C can be used to show a hand worth a 2N rebid)

I'm leaning towards option 4, mainly because it requires the least adjustment to what we do elsewhere, but do you think there's something better -- including options I've not listed?


#2 User is offline   blahonga 

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Posted 2010-May-01, 19:29

In Sweden it's common to play both the accept and 1N as balanced hands without fit and 2N as a good raise. Everything else as over a normal 1C - 1M auction. This is usually over a 1C that's either 11-13/17-19 bal or nat, but I don't see why it would work worse after a nat 1C in a weak NT system.

Over the accept 1S and 1NT are nonforcing and higher bids are according to whatever checkback stayman scheme you are comfortable with. Over 1C - 1R - 1N checkback stayman is of course also on.

#3 User is offline   ulven 

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Posted 2010-May-02, 09:55

David knows a lot already about Swedish bidding methods :)
"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
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#4 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-May-02, 10:13

When Bocchi-Duboin played - they used a 12-14 NT opener (vulnerability based I think) so they had similar sequences. I believe accepting the transfer indicated 3 card support and something else denied it. I think it was forcing as well, so they loaded many hand types onto it.

I loathe playing a 'better minor' opening here. One of the primary advantages is playing an unbalanced 1 opening and the different rebids and responses. 1 works just fine as a weak NT (in your case strong) hand or just clubs. I would urge you to reconsider this.
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#5 User is offline   JanM 

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Posted 2010-May-02, 10:52

I think there's a big difference between those of us who play weak NTs and those who play strong in this particular area. The strong NT'ers are much more likely to want to pass an acceptance of the transfer if it shows either the balanced (weak NT) hand or an unbalanced minimum with 3 card support. Playing weak NT, where the balanced hand is a strong NT, we're more likely to want to find out which hand opener has. It works fine for us to play that 1-1-1 shows either an unbalanced minimum with 3 hearts or a strong NT, because we can use 1 to ask and stop in 1NT, but it doesn't work so well to have an ambiguous 1 bid after 1-1. Of course, you can give up the advantage of having the 1NT rebid show a "standard" 2NT rebid (17+-19 or so) after 1-1 but that's a very useful part of this sort of system, especially if you're going to respond with almost any hand with a Major.

That means that you need 2 sets of rebids and follow-ups depending on which Major responder has. And it's very difficult not to have the rebids and follow-ups be fairly complicated. I think what I'm trying to say, after several years of playing a structure with 1NT weak, 1 all balanced hands outside our NT ranges (iow about 15-19) and transfer responses to 1 is that I wouldn't do it if I weren't willing to devote a reasonable amount of time to a fairly complex set of rebids, responses and competitive agreements.

I completely agree with Phil that if you're going to use these methods, you want to put all the balanced hands into 1, so you can get the advantage of 1 being "real" which improves your competitive auctions and also allows you to play transfer rebids after 1-1M, which is reasonably simple and a huge improvement.
Jan Martel, who should probably state that she is not speaking on behalf of the USBF, the ACBL, the WBF Systems Committee, or any member of any Systems Committee or Laws Commission.

#6 User is offline   zenko 

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Posted 2010-May-13, 16:26

I agree with Jan. I play transfers for several years now both in weak and strong NT structures. It may appear no big difference but it really is. With strong NT a played that acceptance shows exactly 3, but that works only if you have some other opening for 18-19 bal (say 2 c or 2 d, like Italians) or you are willing to jump to 2 NT with 18-19 (which I hate), so we switched to acceptance showing either weak BAL with 2-3 card support or unBAL hand and exactly 3 card support and less than reverse strength (therefore NF), and 1N rebid to show 18-19 Bal with 2-3 card support.

That works quite well with strong NT, with WK NT I would suggest some combination of option 4 and 5. Also I would strongly recommend examining what Towsend-Gold are doing, since they also play better minor and transfers (they accept with 0+ cards), for weak NT-specific solutions you should look up also what Fantunes are using, also you can check the Nightmare system, which is actually very solid, unlike its creators.

Another important thing to mention is that playing WK NT you are not that much concerned about getting to level 2 with 3-card support and a minimal hand, since in that case you will have unbalanced hand that often plays very well even in 4-3 fit. Playing strong NT you do not have that luxury.

#7 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2010-May-13, 23:20

Having a one track mind, this is a good opportunity to easy partner into symmetric.e
Bidding the step is 17+ relay, others limited

1  1
1  ?

1  spades
1N  & diamonds, not bal
2  other bal
2  s >= s
2  s > s
2  6+ s, HS
2N  6+ s, MS
3  6+s, semi-bal
3  3-6-1-3

Same after 1 - 1

A way to ease into relay ...

#8 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2010-May-14, 04:41

I blogged about our methods a couple of years ago. We haven't changed them since we started and we are quite happy with them.

More info at http://thebeercard.b...sfer-walsh.html.

I note that ulven commented on them too ;)


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I don't work for BBO and any advice is based on my BBO experience over the decades

#9 User is offline   hanp 

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Posted 2010-May-14, 05:58

I would play as Jan says: either 15-17 balanced or minimal with 3-card support.

Playing it shows exactly 3-card support is simpler but not as good in my experience.
and the result can be plotted on a graph.

#10 User is offline   dake50 

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Posted 2010-May-14, 07:30

Am I catching this? TFR to better minor 1C, but not to better minor 1D?
"Better minor" TFR for both 1C/1D has 1D => D>C is added.
Or intending to change "better minor" to 1C force or 1D force with TFR?

#11 User is offline   dougbennion 

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Posted 2010-May-20, 10:22

I've been playing these transfers for several years now (stuffing all balanced 15+ hands into 1C since we use weak notrumps). I've tried several options for the 1M 'raise'. In my opinion, using 1M for a balanced 3-fit doesn't make a lot of sense, because opener should want to reveal his strong notrump, and the partnership should right-side that strain. Using 1M for unbalanced 3-fits make some sense, but they were truly rarely encountered, making for a inefficient usage.

What I settled into, was using 1M as a 'good' 15-17 4-fit, and 2M as a 'bad' 15-17 4-fit (or switch them up). You never invite and get too high, and since opener is known to such precision, responder can place the contract with confidence, and you can start slamming at a really low level.

Since responder can be quite weak if not holding some clubs, another option is to use 1M as a 4-fit with 15-17, and 2M with the 18-19 holding.

#12 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2010-May-20, 11:39

I have played and enjoyed the following scheme...I will use 1  1 for illustrative purposes:

1: 2-3 card support, no other clear call, thus almost always a hand that would have rebid 1N over a standard 1 response (over a 1 transfer to spades, may include a 3=4=1=5 type of hand as well)

1: natural, denies 4 card support, shows an unbalanced hand (just as I bid when partner responds a natural 1)

1N: balanced hand on which I would have jumped to 2N over a natural 1. Thus 17+-19. 2-way nmf is on over this...we gain an entire level of bidding.

2: natural, doesn't deny 2-3 card's the call I would have made over a natural 1

2: reverse

2: all hands with 4 hearts that would have raised 1H to 2

2: gf jump shift

2N: forcing, 6+ clubs, exactly 3, unsuited for 1n rebid

Over the simple acceptance, responder bids:

Pass: obvious

1: non-forcing, usually 4-4 majors. Less than invitational

1N: to play

2: puppet to 2, either to play or about to make a natural invite

2: artificial gf

2: constructive but non-invitational opposite a weak notrump (assuming we play a strong 1N method)

2: natural, invitational with precisely 4 spades.

2N: puppet to 3, to play or various very strong 2-suiters with emphasis on clubs.

You will see that over the simple acceptance, which is usually on a weak notrump type of hand, we play two way new minor.

The use of 1 as non-forcing is unusual but, in my experience, quite effective on those admittedly rare hands where it arises.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari

#13 User is offline   OleBerg 

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Posted 2010-June-07, 00:37

This is simple:

1 - 1
1 = "15-17", any shape except balanced. (And play your checkback-structure.)

All other bids remain the same. So a reverse or a jump to, say, 3, is always full fledged.


1 - 1
1 = "15-17", any shape except balanced. (And play your checkback-structure.)

For MP's you might also consider:

1 - 1
1 = 4-card hearts, forcing for a round. (Discovers a heart fit that might get lost otherwise.)
2 = 2˝ (Sometimes you will get away with responding light.)

What to use

1 - 1

for in this context is not obvious, but 4-card diamonds should at least be easy to remember. (And thus 2 as 2˝)

Do not underestimate the power of the dark side. Or the ninth trumph.

Best Regards Ole Berg


We should always assume 2/1 unless otherwise stated, because:

- If the original poster didn't bother to state his system, that means that he thinks it's obvious what he's playing. The only people who think this are 2/1 players.


#14 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2010-June-08, 18:31

Interesting that no-one references the MILLENNIUM CLUB by Lyle Poe.

I have been playing 1 = 15+ Balanced, or Clubs primary with or without a side 4-cd suit, or very strong for 3 years now.

Responses are 1-under promising a 4-cd or better major and the 1 response is Moscito like, 0-8,9 hcp. Acceptance of the transfer is made with good 3-cd support if there is a weak doubleton in opener's hand. If opener is 19+ he super accepts.

We play this with a weak NT: 11-14 and 5-cd Majors (10-20 HCP or so) and a natural 1 which promises 4+ cards and 15+ HCP also.

We have played it in pairs and team events and love it for pairs.
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C3: Copious Canapé is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded, PM for notes)

Played Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes-Millennium like) system with Canapé, 11-14 NT.

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#15 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2010-June-09, 20:02

just to clarify what zenko said, townseld and gold only play better minor if 18-19 bal, otherwise their minor openers are always 4+ as they're playing 4cM and opening the major on 4-4s.

after 1C - xfer, their 1nt rebid is 18-19 or 18-20.

completing the xfer always shows the suit opened perforce (they can't have 4333 to open 1C and complete a 1D xfer to 1H for example as they would open 1S first). obviously this makes it easier to find minor fits and alight in a sensible part-score.

#16 User is offline   DinDIP 

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Posted 2010-June-27, 21:48

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. As it happened, partner decided that he too was interested in trying out the suggestion of Ulf Nilsson (and played by other Swedish experts) -- see The Bridge World Nov 2009 -- that all 5332s be treated as BAL hands (i.e. including 5M332) so we adopted the following structure in 1st and 2nd (in 3rd and 4th we open 1M/1D with 5M/D332):
1C = 5+C UNB or 4=4=1=4 or (optional) 4=1=4=4 or BAL 15-20 (including all 5332s)
1D/1M = UNBAL or semiBAL

Simulations showed that, a priori, O had a BAL hand 57% of the time (9.3% of 1C openers were 5M332s) but that his average C length was over 4.1 and 67% of the time O had 4+C. A hand with C length was more likely when O's LHO passed: only 47% of O's hands were BAL; 5M332s were only 6.7% of O's hands; O's average C length was 4.5; and O had 4+C 72% of the time. (These figures are not entirely accurate as they assume that the opps could bid 2C, 3C and 4C as NAT overcalls of the 1C opening.)

Thus, in response to 1C, I decided that it was important for R(esponder) to be able to show 4+C support as soon as possible on many hands, i.e. avoiding the ambiguous 1S response favoured by many. Therefore our response structure is:
1D = 4+H, may be 0-4 if 5+H or (4H and 0-3C)
1H = 4+S, may be 0-4 if 5+S or (4S and 0-3C)
1S = 4+D, denies 4M unless GF, may be 0-4 if 6+D or (5D and 0-3C)
1N = 4-5C BALish, denies 4M, (4)5-8(9)
2C = 4+C, denies 4M or longer D, (9)10+
2D = 4D and 5C, 5-8 OR strong JS in D with (semi)SOL suit or 4+C
2M = strong JS
2N = BAL, denies 4M, 12-15 or 18+
3C = (5)6+C, 4-8
3D/3M = 5+C, SPL, denies 4M
3N = BAL, usually 3=3=(43), 16-17

After 1C-1R-? we play
1M = 15-17 BAL, not 4M unless 4333
1N = 18-20 BAL, not 4M unless 4333
Over both of these we play 2C as a puppet to 2D (O can break to bid 2M with 4333 or 2H with 3=5=(32)) and 2D-3C as TFRs (2S TFRs to NT so we can rightside NT after a 1M acceptance of the TFR response).

After 1C-1S-? 1N is 15-18 and 2N is 19-20 BAL.

Whenever O shows BAL many sequences allow him to show 5M332 if R is interested in that information.

One of the neat bits is the 1N response: over that 2C is not needed to show a min UNBAL hand (as this just invites the opponents to find their fit knowing we have at least an 8-card fit and two limited hands). With those hands O rebids 3C -- balance now at the three level if you dare! So 2C is used as a puppet for O to show 5M332s or GI hands with long C.

It's early days but our first outing (a serious three-day Swiss) showed few system issues. And the 500+deals I've bid in practice (and more with partner) suggest there are some real advantages of the method. There are also downsides: finding 5-3M fits can be tricky after the opponents intervene. And, like other methods that lump lots of BAL hands into the 1C opening, it can be difficult for O to distinguish in competition between BAL and UNBAL hands.


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