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Stayman when weak with both majors

#1 User is offline   Wackojack 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 11:14

If you have a weak non invitational hand with 5 spades and 4 hearts opposite partner's 1NT opening what do you do?

BBO basic: Because 1N-2-2-2 is said to be invitational to 3N or 4 then presumably you just transfer to spades with signifcant probability that you miss a 4-4 fit.

BBO Adv: 1N-2-2-2 is said to be weak with both majors but is not specific about which if either is the longer major. Thus opener with 3-3 in the majors is obliged to bid 2 and may find that he has retreated from a 5-3 heart fit into a 4-3 spade fit. (This is done because 1N-2-2-2 is invitational with 5 spades and 4 hearts and not weak.)

Acol: 1N-2-2-2 is said to be weak with specifically 5 hearts and 4 spades and therfore to play. Similarly 1N-2-2-2is weak with 5 spades and 4 hearts also to play. So how does Acol cope with invitational with 5-4 in the majors? With 5 hearts and 4 spades it is the same as BBO Adv i.e. 1N-2-2-2 is said to be invitational with 5 hearts and 4 spades. And with 5 spades and 4 hearts invitational 1N--2-3 is said to be forcing to forcing to 3. This of course would be a game force in BBO Abv. (and 5-5 because Smolem takes the 5-4 GF hands)

My verdict is that BBO basic loses out because it has no weak take out with 5-4 majors. BBO Adv weak take out is less than optimum. Acol weak take-out is optimum. However, in Acol 1N-2-2-3 is not a game force (and probably anathama to many particularly in the USA because Smolem is considered to be neat) and I don't like it either, though I don't think making this specifically 5-5 is not a great loss.

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#2 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 12:40

I am pretty sure 1N-2-2-3 is GF for almost everyone, whether they play Acol or something else. Does the English Acol stock CC specify it as only a one-round force? That must be a typo then.

My gut feelings are that having specific weak bids for 5-4 and for 4-5 is more useful than being able to show an invitational hand with 54 but I could easily be wrong. Could be different for strong-notrumpers than for weak-notrumpers. Could also depend on the rest of you notrump structure. Maybe if invitational hands with five spades bid stayman you can free up 1NT-2-2-2NT for something else.
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#3 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 13:03

View PostWackojack, on 2011-January-03, 11:14, said:

BBO basic: Because 1N-2-2-2 is said to be invitational to 3N or 4 then presumably you just transfer to spades with signifcant probability that you miss a 4-4 fit.

Where is this documented?
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#4 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 13:52

My preference is that 1NT-2-2-2 be invitational and then yes, if the hand is weak, I just transfer. Around here (Maryland-D.C.) I think this is a minority position, worldwide I am unsure.

My logic goes as follows.
1. (Biggest point). Without this agreement it really is tough to bid a 5-4 invitational hand sensibly over 1NT. I am reluctant to give it up.

2. On the weak hands, obviously partner has to have four hearts for there to be a problem. If he has four hearts and three spades we may land on our feet ion a couple of ways. The hands may produce the same number of tricks in either major or, perhaps more likely, since on this set=up we have a double fit and I am weak, the opponents may well have a minor suit fit that they might well have found had I started with 2 but they might miss on a transfer auction. For all they know, we don't have any fit, let alone a double fit.
Probably we are getting a bad result when partner has four hearts and two spades. It happens. With weak hands, one always has limited options for getting to the optimal contract.

I simply do not know what the majority view is at the expert level. But if BBO sets up the 1N-2-2-2 as invit, probably at least some experts think it has merit. I think it has merit, but that proves nothing.

#5 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 14:27

I think it is quite common among non-experts to play 1NT-2-2-3 as a one round force only, not only in Acol-land. But I don't like it because you can't set trumps below the four level and there is an acceptable alternative: with a minimum invite just bid Stayman and sign off in 2 over 2 and with a maximum invite treat it as GF.

You can get more mileage out of playing 1NT-2-2-2 as invitational if you use it on more hand types than just 5-4 majors. But you have to work out the continuations. When doing this I would rather use Stayman then 2 with 5-4 weak than transfer. This loses if partner is 3-3 but they should correct if 3-2 and it makes sure you don't miss a 4-4 heart fit.

#6 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2011-January-03, 14:47

My gut feeling is that if you're weak, playing in a 5-2 fit will often be just as good as playing in a 4-4 fit. Opener's good cards in the side suits should keep you from being forced too badly.

#7 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2011-January-09, 06:28

The basic Acol version is to play 1NT - 2C - 2D - 3S as a 5-4 invite. This is obviously non-optimal as well. The other thing you can do is bid 1NT - 2H - 2S - 2NT and if partner is going to accept, partner bids 3H en route with 4 of them just in case. This is slightly better.

You can't do everything. I've given up on looking for the best fit when I'm weak with 5-4 majors and just transfer to the 5-card suit.

#8 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2011-January-10, 04:10

I like 1NT-2-2red-2 as invite with 5, so I have to give up on the 5-4 hands. I prefer to play a style where 1NT-2-2-2 can't contain both 5-4 and 4-5M.

For example, with 5-4 go via Stayman, with 4-5 just transfer. This way, the garbage stayman tends to have longer and opener can safely correct with 3-3M (or even 2-2M!). You can easily play it the other way around (to avoid super accepts for example), but then the weaker hand will play more often in 2. It's a choice you can make, it's not always ideal, but I haven't had much disasters with it.
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#9 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2011-January-10, 06:44

Long ago I chose not to play Garbage Stayman (2-2-2 weak with both majors). With a weak hand, the primary goal is to get to a playable spot, not necessarily the best spot. IMO, it is more important to be able to get to the right spot when you have game or slam aspirations.

I believe that this is the majority view for US experts at IMPs. It may not be the majority view for US experts at matchpoints.

#10 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2011-January-10, 09:06

I generally play transfers over transfers, which reflects itself in Stayman sequences as well - 2 is needed for INV with 5(+), not necessarily 4. I usually just bid 2 on the 5 4 hands, and then bid 2 if partner shows no major. I give up on some 5-3 fits, but overall I think this method is much better.
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#11 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2011-January-12, 09:11

If you play Creeping Stayman then the sequence 1NT - 2C - 2D - 2H can be used for weak hands with both majors and also weak hands with 4 hearts and a 5+ minor. The aim is not necessarily to find the best fit but to at least find some kind of fit that makes it more difficult for them to penalise us. The Acol described sounds like 1970s version where 1NT - 2C - 2D - 3M was invitational and Extended Stayman (3D instead of 3M) used for GF hands. On the other hand I still use 1NT - 2H - 2S - 3H as non-forcing, specifically an invitational hand with 5-5 majors, since GF and slam-going hands with 5-5 majors can be shown via alternative routes.

As for the options, for me it depends entirely on what range of hands you want to include in your 1NT opening. If you routinely open 5M332 hands 1NT then it is a good idea to devote space to showing them. It then becomes difficult to have a wide range of run-outs. On the ther hand if you almost never open such hands 1NT then there is plenty of space and Creeping Stayman is an additional and worthwhile tool, particularly over a weak NT. For what it is worth I currently favour the first approach and simply transfer to the 5 card suit.
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