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Limit Major Raises In A 5 Card Major Strong Cub System

#1 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2003-May-30, 17:52

Assume you are playing a strong (15+ or 16+) club system (5 card majors), which has a bid designated as a limit raise (~10-12 dummy points).

In 2/1 and SAYC, it is almost universally recommended that this raise be made always with at least 4 trumps, in order to facilitate possible slam exploration. Hands with 3 card support, no matter how good the support is, will go through 1NT forcing or a temporizing suit change.

In a strong club system, there is very little chance of slam opposite a limit raise IMO. Therefore, I am considering (and I've only recently started to play Precision, so this is tentative) that a limit raise can be made with 3 card support, provided that I have no interest in the other major and that the support is decent - I'm thinking Q10x or Kxx.

What do you think of this? Do you know if this is common among strong clubbers?
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#2 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2003-May-30, 17:54

This is not uncommon in Swedish systems. Would not recommend it as there are better ways to bid these hands.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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#3 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 07:17

I think your reasoning is sound in theory but may be dangerous in practice.

One of the downsides to strong club limited major openings is that you are required to open massive trick takers one of a major if the hand doesn't contain at least 16 HCP.

I personally don't like this aspect of Precision and its progeny, but long ago accepted that it is part of the system.

This hand should be opened 1S playing Precision:

AQJ10x
AQ10xx
Qx
X

Now, I am not interested in people writing they personally would open this 1C. I would too. But in theory it is CORRECT to open it 1S. This hand has a reasonably chance for 6 oppostie any number of decent hands partner may hold, and the odds increase even better if partner is known to have 4 card support.

The limit raise using 3 pieces only serves to use up needed exploration space for this hand. The knowledge that partner has 4 card support when making a limit raise is probably more important than knowing the hand is limited to 10- a bad 12 points (even a good 8 if the hand has a singleton).

This segues into another aspect of limit raises that has been lost over the years (what I have come to call the "forgotten bid). For the few of us left who prefer limit raises to Bergen (yes, I am a limit raise fan) may I suggest you incorporate Mathe asking bids into your limit raise structure.

Mathe originally proposed limit raises when Roth-Stone was being developed back in the late '50s. As part of his limit raise structure he included a bid asking partner if his limit raise contains a singleton. The bid is very simple and extremely useful.

If the auction goes 1H-3h then a 3S asks partner if his bid includes a singleton. If the stiff is a spade, partner bids 3n, if its any other suit, he bids naturally. If no stiff, he rebids 4H.

If the auction is 1S-3S, then 3n is the asking bid and partner responds naturally.

If limit raise users incorporate this bid into their systems they will find more fit slams than before, guaranteed. You lose nothing as 3n can never be to play after a limit raise.

Try it, you will like it.
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#4 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 07:57

Quote


One of the downsides to strong club limited major openings is that you are required to open massive trick takers one of a major if the hand doesn't contain at least 16 HCP.



Huh???

If this true, it is only within the context of very simplistic system references intended for novice players. When I learned Strong Club there were no hard and fast rules regarding any metric as flawed as 4-3-2-1 HCPs. The only cardinal rule is that if you want to open a light but shapely hand with a strong club, you must be prepared to control the follow-up auction.

For example, holding

T
AQJ983
Void
AQT874

Open 1C
Rebid in hearts
Continue to rebid in clubs as necessary
Alderaan delenda est
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#5 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 08:07

Please actually read my post: I said I didn't agree with it but that it was a by-the-book bid. I know of at least 3 Precision players (quite good players) here on this site that would open this hand 1S. The fact that you or I don't agree with it is not the point and I really don't care to argue this point because I agree with you, but the book does not.
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#6 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 08:22

I guess the fundamental difference is that I place virtually no value on "the book; especially when it eschews judgement.
Alderaan delenda est
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#7 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 08:40

Since I agree with you 1000% I am going to give you a hand I picked up a few years ago:

Void
Void
AKQ10xxx
KQJxxx

I showed this hand to three precision players (two on this site, contact me for names if you want to know who), and asked them what they would open. All three said 1D.

Nuff said.
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#8 User is offline   eyhung 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 12:13

> One of the downsides to strong club limited major ?
> openings is that you are required to open massive trick > takers one of a major if the hand doesn't contain at
> least 16 HCP.

Funny, in all the Precision systems I learned, nobody is required to do anything based on HCP unless it is a balanced-hand auction (where HCP are paramount). 1C = 16 (or 17))+ HCP balanced OR a hand of equivalent trick-taking strength in all of my Precision "books" above beginner-level.



> I personally don't like this aspect of Precision and its
> progeny, but long ago accepted that it is part of the
> system.

It is not part of the system. That is like saying Standard American requires 22+ HCP to open 2C. That is an adequate metric for beginners learning Standard American, but it is not good bridge. It is much better to say that a strong bid promises a certain number of tricks. People focus on HCP because

1. they are an excellent way of quantifying tricks when the hand is balanced,
2. Most hands are balanced
3. Beginners find it easier to grasp numbers than abstract concepts.

However, as the hand grows more and more freakish, HCP become less and less useful. Standard American players who never open a 20- or 21-count 2C or Precision players who never open a 14- or 15-count 1C are putting the cart (point-count system) before the horse (bidding as estimation of tricks we can take).



> I showed this hand to three precision players (two on this
> site, contact me for names if you want to know who), and
> asked them what they would open. All three said 1D.

System theory is not a democracy -- it is a meritocracy, where only the opinions of the skilled matter. If you poll 100 Standard American players and the majority think :

AKxxxxxxx
void
Ax
Ax

is not a 2C bid because it "only has 15 HCP", it does not mean the majority is right! It means that the majority do not understand their system.

This hand should be a strong opener in any system because 10 tricks in spades are guaranteed, a grand slam is cold opposite a hand containing two spades and KQ of either minor, and there is enough defense (3+ quick tricks) to double the opponents if they interfere above game. Anyone who opens 1S instead of a strong-bid on this hand should be doing so for tactical reasons, not systemic reasons, or they are not good bidders.

Note I am not accusing you, 2over1, of not being a good bidder. But I do think you are confusing tools used to teach system (HCP), with the system itself. Do not judge a system based on its misapplication!

Eugene Hung
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#9 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 12:52

I am going to suggest to you the same thing I said to Richard: Read what I actually wrote!

I PERSONALLY would not open that hand 1S! This is now the 3d time I have stated this! My goodness, I took the time to point that out for a reason! I TRULY did not want to have THIS very discussion!

Now... READ MY LAST POST BEFORE THIS ONE! Why did THREE GOOD PRECISION PLAYERS ALL OPEN THAT HAND 1 DIAMOND?????? Because they all said the same thing..IT IS ANTI SYSTEM TO OPEN IT 1 CLUB.

I am not answering any more of these. This was NOT the point of my regular post. I purposely made up an extreme example to make a point and now, just as I feared, people are focusing on the wrong aspect of it. If anyone actually took the time to read all that I wrote instead of focusing on the wrong issue this might have been helpful and illuminating to the original post (i.e., why I thought it was NOT good idea to make a limit raise on three card support and that slam should not be out of the question even using a limited major suit opening).
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#10 User is offline   Codo 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 14:57

I guess these three "experts" will pass AKQJT98765432,void void void as it has just 10 HCPs?
I am no expert and know not much about this system. But of course Eugene is right. In my book all given hands are a clear 1 Club opening.

Kind Regards

Roland
Kind Regards

Roland


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More system is not the answer...
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#11 User is offline   eyhung 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 17:40

2over1, don't be so defensive. I was very careful to reread all of what you said. I know that you would open those hands 1 or 2 clubs. However, you were saying that the Precision system theoretically forces people to open 1M when they have 11-15 HCP, and this is FALSE.

Here is the statement again:

Quote

>One of the downsides to strong club limited major openings is that
>you are required to open massive trick takers one of a major if
>the hand doesn't contain at least 16 HCP.


This is wrong. In Precision, one is NOT required to open massive trick takers with 1M. You, on the other hand, specificially stated it was, in theory. This is what I meant by saying you are confusing the mechanism (HCP) with the meaning (tricks). Precision is NOT a point-counting system, and never was meant to be, unless you are teaching it to beginners who have enough trouble counting HCP.

You may think your three players are good Precision players, but in my view, or in Barry Rigal's view, or in David Berkowitz's view, they do not understand Precision. OK?

Eugene Hung
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#12 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 18:52

OK... I was responding to your last paragraph in your previous post "Note I am not accusing you, 2over1, of not being a good bidder. But I do think you are confusing tools used to teach system (HCP), with the system itself. Do not judge a system based on its misapplication!" That sounded like (and still does) someone who had not read the entire thing... but I accept what you said.

I gotta say that I agree with you and Richard, but I am always stunned by the number of good players (and I mean GOOD) who subscribe to the 16-points-1C -all others-1D theory. It is more prevalent than you two obviously believe (and I just don't get why). And it was that experience that led to me making that giant 2 suiter with 15 hcps. I guarantee you at least half of the precision players I know would open that 1S! Not that any of the three of us agree with that, but that doesn't mean that we are right (although I believe we are) and they are wrong.

I have had long discussions with truly expert level players on this topic, trust me, and will be glad to clue you in on who they were (won't do it publicly here), and then you too can ask them how they would bid that hand...

But, this original post was on limit raises and the efiicacy of doing so on three cards... It would be nice to see others address that issue... I've put in my 2 cents,
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#13 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 19:55

While I totally agree with you 2over1, I can understand why these guys open with 1 of a suit. Their reasoning presumably is that in an uncontested auction they can attempt to show this huge 2 suiter without misleading partner as to HCP strength. A 1C auction is far more likely to be pre empted, particularly at adverse vulnerability. They do have a point as you yourself state.

If the auction goes 1H-3h then a 3S asks partner if his bid includes a singleton.

I didn't know the above was called a "Mathe" asking bid, but we played this as well and found it a useful bid.
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#14 User is offline   eyhung 

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Posted 2003-May-31, 21:21

Actually, I agree with The_Hog ... I was thinking that with the double-void two-suited minor hand, I would open 1D as well. With all the major suits and points floating around, I am pretty sure someone will find a bid. Then my next bid will be 6C. (A good partner holding the club ace will bid 7 of his longer minor.) But I would not reject a 1C bid as "anti-system" -- I just think there is a better way to bid that freak than with a strong club. Similarly, with Roland's 13 spade hand, there are lots of alternatives to opening a strong club ... you could open 7S, 4S, psych another suit, pass, or whatever. However, I do not think the system should categorically bar one from opening 1C on an offensively powerful hand just because it is missing a jack or two.

With the major two-suiter with the dubious queen of diamonds, I'm actually on the fence as to whether a strong club or 1-level open is better. It's only a pure two-suiter like AKJxx AKTxx xx x that would make me plump for a strong club -- my guideline is around 8 playing tricks and ability to handle interference.

So why did I get on your case about the categorical assertion that opener can have a heavy trick-taking hand? You will note that my example hand was a one-suiter that clearly wanted to be in game. I suppose a better hand for my counter-example is :

AKQJxxx
Axx
xx
x

This is "only" 14 HCP, but it's 8 playing tricks in spades (and even 3 QT). I think it's strong enough to bid 1C and then spades. (If the opponents interfere, who cares? I have the spades.) Can you ask these "good players" whether they would open a strong club with either of the two pure major-suit-oriented hands I gave above?

I guess a better summary of my position is : In Precision, there are many factors that dictate whether or not you should open 1 club with an offensive trick-taking hand and <16 HCP. But, the system itself does not restrict people from opening 1C with inadequate HCP -- the strong club merely shows a hand with at least offensive (and defensive) potential equivalent to a 16 HCP balanced hand.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled limit raise discussion. ;)

Eugene Hung
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#15 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-June-01, 08:08

My experience with precision players at the club level has been pretty disappointing. I have found that most all of them play Goren-Wei precision and that system is ENTIRELY based on point count for opening bids (i.e., you can take virtually all of the hands we have discussed and 1C would not be the recommended bid).

Goren-Wei has several other flaws of course, but, in my experience, most of the people (club level still) who took it up were people who couldn't "get" natural bidding. That precision system told them in black and white what to do with every card/HCP holding they had....and took judgment entirely out of their hands.

I still see Goren-Wei precision being played here on BBO (and the flaws still stand out). I personally think a strong club system can be an improvement over natural bidding, at least in uncontested auctions. But, a system more advanced than Goren-Wei that substitutes judgment for hard and fast rules for strict point count, obviously. The problem is that some of these advanced systems are very hard to keep straight.

I wrote my own strong club system a few years ago (to accomodate my partner, who couldn't "get" standard bidding). I played Goren-Wei with him about five times and decided I couldn't live with its limitations. The sytem I wrote was essentially a simplified version of Beta, but, alas, even that was too complicated for my partner to keep straight.

The problem was he is a guy who doesn't have great bidding judgment. He declares well and defends OK, but he needs a structured system to get him to the right spot. And, try as I might, he never did get "judgment."

The original poster to this thread had already 'judged" that slam is a virtual impossibility given a limited major suit opening. I have attempted to illustrate that this isn't necessarily so and that it is best to show your size and shape properly.

Perhaps all this discussion has served a further purpose however. I think it is fairly clear that not all strong club bidders approach all hands in the same way. This conclusion only intensifies my belief that it is best to show your hand in the most appropriate way.
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#16 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2003-June-01, 18:23

"I still see Goren-Wei precision being played here on BBO (and the flaws still stand out). I personally think a strong club system can be an improvement over natural bidding, at least in uncontested auctions. But, a system more advanced than Goren-Wei that substitutes judgment for hard and fast rules for strict point count, obviously. The problem is that some of these advanced systems are very hard to keep straight."

I appreciate everyone's input on this subject, even though the thread has moved on considerably from its starting point, as threads usually do ;)

The subject of hand valuation in Precision is obviously much more important than limit raises. I believe you in your description of many Precision players, especially since I have read similar criticisms elsewhere.

My approach to Precision in my limited time with it is the same as with SA or 2/1 - hand valuation is crucial, and HCP, while very important, is just the beginning. I don't see Precision as being any different than any other system in this regard. It is more structured in its openings than natural systems, but this is a result of the shoehorning of hands made awkward by the lack of a natural 1 club (and/or 1 diamond - in the off-shape Precision I play 1 diamond can be opened with a diamond void), rather than a literal reliance on HCP.

As the author of one of my first bridge books wrote:

Points! Schmoints!
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#17 User is offline   eyhung 

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Posted 2003-June-02, 01:39

Quote

I still see Goren-Wei precision being played here on BBO (and the flaws still stand out).


This isn't just a problem with Precision. The majority of bridge players do not know how to get past the point count and truly evaluate a hand. (For example, if they held xxxx xxxx Axx xx and heard partner open 1D and rebid 6C, they would never think of bidding 7D because they only had "4 points, partner"). It does not matter what system they play -- they will bid like Walruses whether playing Precision, 2/1, or even old-fashioned Goren. So do not blame the system, blame the players.

Eugene Hung
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#18 User is offline   LukeG 

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Posted 2003-June-02, 06:42

Regardless of whether or not you are playing a strong club system, there are two good reasons to differentiate between limit raises with three trumps and those with four trumps:

1) If you are looking to take a real gamble at a vulnerable game (IMPs) then you want to have nine trumps between the two hands rather than eight.

2) Sometimes you want to play 3NT opposite three card support in a balanced hand (4-3-3-3).

Luke
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#19 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2003-June-02, 07:50

I found this hand provided by eyhung:

AKQJxxx
Axx
xx
x

Precision(Belladonna/Garozzo) prescribes this to be opened 4D:
10-14HcP,8cd,any or 7cd, headed by ace or king

responses:
4H=slam-relay for ace asking
4S/5CDH=ace
5S=No ace
4S=signoff

Katherine Wei/Judi Radin: "Precision's one club complete", page 18

You may elect to open 1C without 16 HcP's when you have an exceptional, not simply good, playing strength. For example:

AKT983
AKJ98
T9
void

or

7
AKJT762
5
AKT9


Giorgio Belladonna/Benito Garozzo "Precision and Superprecision bidding", page 11

Point count is the standard method of evaluating hand strength, and we will use it throughout the text. However, this is basically accurate only for relative balanced hands, and consequently we recommend using a different system for evaluating strongly unbalanced distributions, and all 3-suited hands: counting losers.



Please let me conclude here quoting Benito Garozzo:

Perhaps the greatest asset of the precision club is the clarity it gives to all other openings(than strong hands 1C/cs)

Yours Claus - csdenmark ;)
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#20 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-January-11, 03:22

Back to the initial question:
discriminating 3 card support from 4 card support.

In the strong club context I play with my teammates, we incorporate 1NT forcing and 2/1 GF over 1 of a major.

This way we can give a limit raise with 4 trumps (using a Limit JumpRaise, or Bergen, or 2NT JacobyPlus, or anything you like), differentiated from the 3 trumps limit (1NT forcing then jump).

In the context of "Natural Precision", I really like to merge it with 2/1 structure, it helps keeping the bidding open when opener has opened a limited opening with a good hand which can see slam opposite another good opening.


An alternative is using relays over 1M opening: one of the many examples is Viking Club, which uses 1NT as a GF relay to investigate further opener's hand, 2C as invitational relay, and 2D/H/S as nonforcing
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