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coping with relay interference

#1 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2011-February-07, 13:49

Looking for simple rules to cope with relay interference. We generally want to stay in relays if their overcall takes no more than two steps. At exactly two steps, it's pretty straightforward as to what we have to do.

At one or no steps (double), we have an opportunity to gain steps but we'd rather not. We're concerned we might get mixed up. What else can we use this room for?

1C P 1S P 1N (2C) and RR has two ways of bidding S1 (pass or double). Should double show a stopper and a S1 response?

1C P 2C P 2D dbl and RR can pass or redouble as well as making a S1 response. We could forgo the redouble and use P to show a stopper which allows opener to redouble to continue the relay. This lets us have the same steps but with the knowledge of whether diamonds are stopped.

Any thoughts?
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#2 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2011-February-07, 13:52

Here's what partner was thinking...

"If they dbl a relay bid, rdbl by RR is an offer to play. If the relay captain removes the rdbl by bidding the cheapest step, it is "retrying the relay" and bidding continues at +1. Relay captain may also revert to natural bidding by not bidding S1


to:



If they dbl a relay bid that can make game (2M-X, 2N-X, 3m-X), P by RR is an offer to play. Rdbl by the relay captain "retries the relay" and bidding continues as per normal schedule. If the opponents bid over the "offer to play" P, relays are broken and X by either hand is penalty oriented."
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#3 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2011-February-08, 11:38

One option over a double is to use Pass as extra values, then redouble from Captain resumes relays as normal but saves you a step at the end because you already showed the extras. You can use a similar trick after 1 step interference by using Pass as either a penalty double or extra values. Captain doubles which either gets passed or relays continue at the normal level. This sort of scheme is probably not optimal but has a nice feature that your relays will not get messed up since they do not change level. Of course if you think it more important you could substitute "stopper" for "extra values" but hopefully you already have a relay break to ask for a stopper...
(-: Zel :-)

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#4 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2011-February-08, 20:10

View PostZelandakh, on 2011-February-08, 11:38, said:

One option over a double is to use Pass as extra values, then redouble from Captain resumes relays as normal but saves you a step at the end because you already showed the extras. You can use a similar trick after 1 step interference by using Pass as either a penalty double or extra values. Captain doubles which either gets passed or relays continue at the normal level. This sort of scheme is probably not optimal but has a nice feature that your relays will not get messed up since they do not change level. Of course if you think it more important you could substitute "stopper" for "extra values" but hopefully you already have a relay break to ask for a stopper...


We don't have a relay break to ask for a stopper. I guess after pattern that S2 (if below 3N) is the stopper ask. If the opponent's haven't shown a suit, what are the rules to determine which suit is being asked? Also, what are RR's responses? How does he show both whether he has a stopper and how many queen points he has?
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#5 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2011-February-09, 04:22

Imo it's important to show if you have a stopper or not. A simple solution is:
pass = stopper (can also be a suggestion to play)
...RDbl = relay
......pass = I have their suit, lets play
...pass = lets play
RDbl = no stopper, normal step 1
step 1 = no stopper, normal step 2
...
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#6 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2011-February-09, 08:39

If your relay breaks are not designed to find stoppers then that is definitely the most important thing to discover. Free's scheme achieves this but also changes the steps when you do not have a stopper so it is choice whether to use Redouble this way or to treat that as something else. Personally I believe that stopper asks are the number 1 most important role for relay breaks since this is (usually) the only way to find out about honour concentration, something that natural systems are generally much better at. For me it is a classic case of making a design decision between bidding slams more efficiently (eg relay breaks for low level control asks) or to bid games more accurately (stopper asks). As for which relay break asks for which suit, you can organise the suits as for control relays, starting with 3 card suits from highest to lowest then 2 card suits highest to lowest, or you can simply use a more natural approach where bidding a fragment suit is a stopper ask in that suit and making adjustments for situations where there are more fragment suits than possible asks. In the specific case of an overcall that shows no specific suit where you have the agreement for Pass to show a stopper you can either have a general rule (such as spades by default) or can fall back on the "extra strength" approach instead.
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#7 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2011-February-09, 19:44

Is there really great value in asking stoppers in partner's 3-cd fragment? I usually assume (correctly) that partner has a stopper there and it only really matters when I'm short the suit (singleton or void).

I find myself worrying more when it's doubleton opposite doubleton.

So let's say partner shows 2-2-5-4 at the bid of 3C and I'm holding xx-4-4-3 and I'm debating whether to land in 3N or 5D.

3D would ask QPs.

If we say that 3H is the stopper ask (asking for a stopper in the highest ranking doubleton) what are partner's responses?

Like....

.....3H-no stopper, 5-7 qps
.....3S-8 qps
.....3N-stopper, 5-7 qps
.....4C-9 qps
.....4D-10 qps

I'm thinking considerations include

1. getting the fellow with the stopper to declare NT to protect Kx
2. allowing super-accepts (and perhaps forgetting about stoppers for the moment)

How are your continuations set up?
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#8 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2011-February-10, 06:45

For me the rules are slightly different depending on whether RR has 1 or more fragments and whether the full shape is known. For your specific example, if shape was known at 2254 and 3H was a spade ask (with 3S a heart ask) then 3S would show a non-positional spade stopper and deny a heart stopper; 3NT would show either a positional spade stopper or stops in both majors; 4C would show no spade stop and a minimum; 4D and up (excluding NT bids) would deny a spade stop, show extras and indicate controls on the usual scale (for me starting at 0-2); and 4NT is extras with stops in both majors.

If RR has only 1 fragment with known shape (1354 for example) then the first non-NT step is the minimum and everything else as above. If RR has unknown shape then responses denying a stop clarify the shape rather than directly showing controls. Further bidding is natural and RC is assumed to be minimum unless they make some strong bid next. The stopper ask acts in this instance precisely like 4th suit forcing in natural systems but without having to carry the weight of strong hands too.

As for the usefulness, I personally think such stopper asks are essential for relay systems to bid to 3NT as accurately as natural methods but there are plenty of players more knowledgeable than me that would disagree. If you only want to ask for a stop in a 3 card fragment holding shortage then you simply adapt your responses to that - AQx is a stopper whereas Axx is not for example. But do you really find it unhelpful to be able to ask about partner's holding in a 3-card suit with xx? Is it good bidding to arrive in 3NT with xx opposite xxx and 2 unbalanced hands and a minor-suit fit?

As I said before I think this really comes down to a mentality of judging the weights between better game exploration against better slam tools. What would be the alternative use of 3H in your example? Keycard in diamonds perhaps? If you find that you hold hands where the extra level on your keycard asks is the difference between bidding/avoiding a good/bad slam more often than you would find a stopper ask helpful then it is clear that this is the better solution. My own experience is that it is more common, and hence more important, to have ways of investigating the best game strain.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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