# BBO Discussion Forums: Bidding "up-the-line" . . . when do you do it? - BBO Discussion Forums

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## Bidding "up-the-line" . . . when do you do it?

### #1S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 13:38

I just read this thread about responding to a takeout double with 4-4 in the majors, and the principle of bidding up-the-line was mentioned.

It's a principle that many players invoke in a plethora of situations, without, I suspect, understanding the reasoning behind the principle; in some/many/most of those situations, bidding up-the-line is not appropriate (or, at least, not necessary).

Here are a few typical auctions in which I'll hear players invoke this principle (assume that the bidder is 4-4 in the majors):

1 - ?

1 - ?

1NT - 2
?

(1m) - Dbl. - (Pass) - ?

When you have two or three 4-card suits, what is your opinion on when to bid up-the-line and when not to?

Are there any other auctions in which this principle should be applied? Or avoided?
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### #2TWO4BRIDGE

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Posted 2011-December-16, 14:31

There are TWO cases where you don't bid up-the-line with 4-4 in the majors -- you bid FIRST.

The first one was covered in the previous thread:
1) Advancer's bid after partner's T/O DBL:

( 1m ) - X - ( p ) - 1S

The 2nd one is:
2) Opener's rebid after partner's Negative-DBL:

1m - ( 2om ) - X - ( p )
2S

In both cases: " 'YOU' know that partner ( the doubler ) is NOT going to bid a 4 card suit on the next round, and partner may only have one 4 card Major, so it is up to you to offer first ( rather than ).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
EDIT ( addition ): In both cases, if the opps' up the ante with another bid, you can compete "cheaply" with your suit . A "cheap" competitive bid in would not be possible if you bid first.
Don Stenmark
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( 1M-1NT!-3m-?? )." ....Justin Lall

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### #3aguahombre

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Posted 2011-December-16, 15:05

The confusion, again is the terminology. "up the line bidding" refers to auctions where the person choosing a suit to respond is fairly confident that there will be more bidding by partner. Such is the case when responding to an opening 1m and you have 4-4 in the majors. Responder is expecting that if opener has 4-spades, he will show them and nothing is missed. (We won't drag the style where responder will bid a diamond suit "up the line" when responding to 1C, because that is off topic for your purposes.)

When advancing a takeout double, you have no such assurance that there will be any more bidding, but you respond "down the line" in case there is, so you don't have to force a higher level from partner.
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### #4Fluffy

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Posted 2011-December-16, 15:43

you also bid up the line on

1-pass-

with 4-4 minors or 4+4 minor
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### #5S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 16:24

aguahombre, on 2011-December-16, 15:05, said:

"up the line bidding" refers to auctions where the person choosing a suit to respond is fairly confident that there will be more bidding by partner . . .

. . . and if you bypass a 4-card heart suit you may miss a 4-4 heart fit.

Exactly!

Responder to opener's 1m can afford to bid up-the-line because his new suit bid is forcing; if responder bids 1 and opener dislikes hearts, opener will bid 1 with 4 spades.

Advancer to partner's takeout double of 1m cannot afford to bid up-the-line because his new suit bid is not forcing.

----------------------------------

The one that I really find bothersome is this:

1NT - 2
?

Innumerable partners have told me that with 4-4 in the majors you bid up-the-line. In fact, if responder guarantees a 4-card major with his Stayman bid, it makes no difference whether opener bids 2 or 2 with 4-4; the partnership will never lose a 4-4 major suit fit. The best approach, in my opinion, is Edgar Kaplan's: better first with both.
BCIII

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### #6blackshoe

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Posted 2011-December-16, 16:43

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 16:24, said:

The one that I really find bothersome is this:

1NT - 2
?

Innumerable partners have told me that with 4-4 in the majors you bid up-the-line. In fact, if responder guarantees a 4-card major with his Stayman bid, it makes no difference whether opener bids 1 or 1 with 4-4; the partnership will never lose a 4-4 major suit fit. The best approach, in my opinion, is Edgar Kaplan's: better first with both.

A lot depends on the rest of your system. As you say, "if responder guarantees a four card major" that's one thing. What if he doesn't? There's also the question whether Stayman guarantees invitational values. And the one about whether Stayman can be bid with 5-4 or 4-5 in the majors.
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### #7mike777

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Posted 2011-December-16, 16:46

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 16:24, said:

. . . and if you bypass a 4-card heart suit you may miss a 4-4 heart fit.

Exactly!

Responder to opener's 1m can afford to bid up-the-line because his new suit bid is forcing; if responder bids 1 and opener dislikes hearts, opener will bid 1 with 4 spades.

Advancer to partner's takeout double of 1m cannot afford to bid up-the-line because his new suit bid is not forcing.

----------------------------------

The one that I really find bothersome is this:

1NT - 2
?

Innumerable partners have told me that with 4-4 in the majors you bid up-the-line. In fact, if responder guarantees a 4-card major with his Stayman bid, it makes no difference whether opener bids 1 or 1 with 4-4; the partnership will never lose a 4-4 major suit fit. The best approach, in my opinion, is Edgar Kaplan's: better first with both.

----

yes you can miss a 4-4 fit so you must bid up the line after 1nt=2c. One simple example is garbage stayman where if you bid 2s with 4/4 and responder may have 4h and only 3s.

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### #8flametree

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Posted 2011-December-16, 16:47

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 16:24, said:

Innumerable partners have told me that with 4-4 in the majors you bid up-the-line. In fact, if responder guarantees a 4-card major with his Stayman bid, it makes no difference whether opener bids 1 or 1 with 4-4; the partnership will never lose a 4-4 major suit fit. The best approach, in my opinion, is Edgar Kaplan's: better first with both.

If you reply 1 or 1 to partner's 2C Stayman then you certainly won't be short of space to check for a 4-4 fit in the other major.

I agree, I was taught that you always reply 2H with 4-4 in the majors, and 2S actively denies a four-card heart suit. But I can't see how it matters at all.
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### #9mike777

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Posted 2011-December-16, 16:50

flametree, on 2011-December-16, 16:47, said:

If you reply 1 or 1 to partner's 2C Stayman then you certainly won't be short of space to check for a 4-4 fit in the other major.

I agree, I was taught that you always reply 2H with 4-4 in the majors, and 2S actively denies a four-card heart suit. But I can't see how it matters at all.

again it matters if you play garbage stayman...

give opener 4/4 and give responder 4h and 3s or 5h and 4s.
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### #10S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 17:01

blackshoe, on 2011-December-16, 16:43, said:

A lot depends on the rest of your system. As you say, "if responder guarantees a four card major" that's one thing.

Unquestionably.

blackshoe, on 2011-December-16, 16:43, said:

What if he doesn't?

Then you have to know whether in this sequence:

1NT - 2
2 - 2

responder's spade suit can be a 4-carder.

blackshoe, on 2011-December-16, 16:43, said:

There's also the question whether Stayman guarantees invitational values.

I'm not certain that whether opener bids 2 or 2 with both matters in that case; i.e., matters merely because Stayman guarantees (or doesn't guarantee) invitational values, as opposed to mattering because of what distribution responder guarantees. Do you have an example to show that one choice is better than the other?

blackshoe, on 2011-December-16, 16:43, said:

And the one about whether Stayman can be bid with 5-4 or 4-5 in the majors.

If responder can bid 2 with either 5=4 or 4=5, it may not matter which major opener bids with both: he'll hit the 5-4 fit half the time and the 4-4 fit half the time. (It could matter if you're playing non-forcing Stayman and the bidding could go:

1NT - 2
2 - 2

There's that pesky sequence again.)

If responder can Stayman with 5=4 but not 4=5 (or vice-versa), then it probably matters what opener bids with 4-4 majors.
BCIII

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### #11S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 17:05

flametree, on 2011-December-16, 16:47, said:

If you reply 1 or 1 to partner's 2C Stayman then you certainly won't be short of space to check for a 4-4 fit in the other major.

Fixed. (Don't I feel silly?)

flametree, on 2011-December-16, 16:47, said:

I agree, I was taught that you always reply 2H with 4-4 in the majors, and 2S actively denies a four-card heart suit. But I can't see how it matters at all.

If you always bid 2 or always bid 2 it can help the opponents in the play when you make the bid that denies four of the other major.
BCIII

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### #12S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 17:07

mike777, on 2011-December-16, 16:50, said:

again it matters if you play garbage stayman...

give opener 4/4 and give responder 4h and 3s or 5h and 4s.

Or give responder 3h and 4s; if opener bids 2 is responder going to correct into a possible 4-2 spade fit?
BCIII

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### #13Vampyr

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Posted 2011-December-16, 19:34

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 17:05, said:

If you always bid 2 or always bid 2 it can help the opponents in the play when you make the bid that denies four of the other major.

Maybe so, but I think it is rather more important to have some clarity in your (at least potentially) constructive auctions.

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 17:07, said:

Or give responder 3h and 4s; if opener bids 2 is responder going to correct into a possible 4-2 spade fit?

When responder bid "garbage Stayman", he was willing to settle for a 4-3 fit. How has that changed?

Of course, unless he also has five diamonds, he may end up in a 3-3 fit. But, you know, live by the sword, die by the sword.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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### #14S2000magic

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Posted 2011-December-16, 23:19

Vampyr, on 2011-December-16, 19:34, said:

. . . I think it is rather more important to have some clarity in your (at least potentially) constructive auctions.

I agree.

However, I don't see that bidding the better major with 4-4 loses clarity on constructive auctions (when responder promises a 4-card major to use Stayman).

Vampyr, on 2011-December-16, 19:34, said:

When responder bid "garbage Stayman", he was willing to settle for a 4-3 fit. How has that changed?

Mike777 complained that when responder has 4H & 3S and opener bids 2 with 4-4 majors we'd miss the 4-4 heart fit; apparently he isn't willing to settle for a 4-3 spade fit in that case. I merely pointed out that if responder has 3H & 4S and opener bids 2 as he suggests, he misses the 4-4 spade fit. His habit of bidding hearts is no better than mine of bidding the better major: sometimes you end up in a 4-3 fit instead of a 4-4 fit.
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### #15Vampyr

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Posted 2011-December-17, 01:12

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 23:19, said:

However, I don't see that bidding the better major with 4-4 loses clarity on constructive auctions (when responder promises a 4-card major to use Stayman).

This is very possibly true, but promising a 4-card major is increasingly uncommon.
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### #16Zelandakh

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Posted 2011-December-17, 06:00

When you get into some more advanced methods over 1NT you will see that the extra step over a 2H response is very important. Therefore it makes sense to give the cheapest response to give partner the most options. If you are also playing a method where Stayman can be bid on a normal 2NT invite then you also need to be able to distinguish between invites with or without 4 spades. There is only space to do this over a 2H response.

There are 1NT systems which do you use a 2S response with both majors. Usually this is done for some specific reason, since the follow-ups allow a 3H rebid later to show both majors. It makes little sense from a theoretical viewpoint though imho.
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### #17CSGibson

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Posted 2011-December-17, 11:45

S2000magic, on 2011-December-16, 17:01, said:

Unquestionably.

Then you have to know whether in this sequence:

1NT - 2
2 - 2

responder's spade suit can be a 4-carder.

I'm not certain that whether opener bids 2 or 2 with both matters in that case; i.e., matters merely because Stayman guarantees (or doesn't guarantee) invitational values, as opposed to mattering because of what distribution responder guarantees. Do you have an example to show that one choice is better than the other?

If responder can bid 2 with either 5=4 or 4=5, it may not matter which major opener bids with both: he'll hit the 5-4 fit half the time and the 4-4 fit half the time. (It could matter if you're playing non-forcing Stayman and the bidding could go:

1NT - 2
2 - 2

There's that pesky sequence again.)

If responder can Stayman with 5=4 but not 4=5 (or vice-versa), then it probably matters what opener bids with 4-4 majors.

First of all, many people do not play that stayman guarantees a 4 card major. 2nd, when you play stayman bidding up the line responses, standard is to use the sequence 1N-2C-2H-2S as invitational with exactly 4 spades, denying 4 hearts. Opener will be able to pass with a minimum, ensuring that you play 2S instead of 3S on hands that aren't going to game.
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### #18Vampyr

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Posted 2011-December-17, 16:45

Zelandakh, on 2011-December-17, 06:00, said:

There are 1NT systems which do you use a 2S response with both majors. Usually this is done for some specific reason, since the follow-ups allow a 3H rebid later to show both majors. It makes little sense from a theoretical viewpoint though imho.

This requires the Stayman bidder to promise at least invitational values, which is also unpopular.
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