# BBO Discussion Forums: 1C-2D as a balanced GF (2/1) - BBO Discussion Forums

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## 1C-2D as a balanced GF (2/1)

### #1lmilne

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Posted 2012-November-23, 06:53

My partner and I have been exploring with the idea of using 1-2 as a balanced GF response (with a 4-card major possible). This is in the context of a natural-based 2/1 system (5422, strong NT, transfer responses to 1).

The idea came from Meckwell, where the 2 response to the strong club allows opener to bid 3NT on a variety of hands, or relay to find out information, or opt to start showing their own hand. This gains with nice, undescriptive auctions like 1-2-3NT while still leaving you room for investigation. The other gain in natural systems is that instead of opener rebidding 1NT with all 12-14 balanced after e.g. 1-1M, and therefore describing their hand but also playing the contract when it might be wrong, opener can choose to right-side it by letting partner play it.

We're trying to come up with a sensible set of responses. So far we're thinking:

• 2 = shape asking relay, most strong hands
• 2 = transfer to 2NT, about to describe shape to partner and let them play it
• 2NT = we want to play it, tell me your shape (like Stayman)
• 3 = natural, often choice of games or a slam try
• 3// = splinter, often (134)5 or (144)4
• 3NT = to play

Thoughts? Also trying to come up with a sensible relay structure over 1-2-2, having not done much work like this before.

Thanks!
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### #2Zelandakh

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Posted 2012-November-23, 07:42

I assume you are not including 5M332 hands within the 2 response? One possibility might be

2 = no major
... - ... - 3 = 5 diamonds
... - ... - ... - 3 asks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 2353
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 3253
... - ... - ... - ... - 3NT = 3352
... - ... - 3 = 5 clubs
... - ... - ... - 3 aks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 2335
... - ... - ... - ... - 3NT = 3235
... - ... - ... - ... - 4 = 3325
... - ... - 3 = 4 clubs, 4 diamons
... - ... - ... - 3 asks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3NT = 2344
... - ... - ... - ... - 4 = 3244
... - ... - 3 = 3334
... - ... - 3NT = 3343
2NT = 4 hearts, 2-3 spades
... - ... - 3 = 4 clubs
... - ... - ... - 3 asks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 2434
... - ... - ... - ... - 3NT = 3424
... - ... - 3 = 3433
... - ... - 3 = 2443
... - ... - 3NT = 3442
3 = 4 spades, 4 diamonds
... - ... - 3 = 4243
... - ... - 3 = 4342
3 = 4 clubs
... - ... - 3 = 4234
... - ... - 3NT = 4324
3 = 4333
3 = 4423
3NT = 4432
(-: Zel :-)

half-wit -- Chas_P the racist
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### #3lmilne

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Posted 2012-November-23, 08:28

Yes, no 5M332. Two things I should mention are:
• We don't want to go past 3NT in the relay structure.
• It has to be relatively easy to remember - neither of us is much interested in playing something that requires weekly revision!

This is what I've got so far - I took 5332 out to fit all the shapes in.
I've also noticed I do shortages in the opposite order to you, i.e. 4432 then 4423. No idea what is standard here?

2 = any hand with 4 except 3433
... - ... - 3 = both majors
... - ... - ... - 3 asks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 4432
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 4423
... - ... - 3 = 3442
... - ... - 3 = 2443
... - ... - 3 = 3424
... - ... - 3NT = 2434
2NT = 4, not 4, can be 4333
... - ... - 3 = 4 spades, 4 diamonds
... - ... - ... - 3 asks
... - ... - ... - ... - 3 = 4342
... - ... - ... - ... - 3NT = 4243
... - ... - 3 = 4324
... - ... - 3 = 4234
... - ... - 3NT = 4333
3 = 5 diamonds
... - ... - 3 = 3532
... - ... - 3 = 3523
... - ... - 3NT = 2353
3 = both minors
... - ... - 3 = 3244
... - ... - 3NT = 2344
3 = 3433
3 = 3343
3NT = 3334
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### #4Free

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Posted 2012-November-23, 08:47

First of all, let me say that I'm no fan of relays of a balanced hand. It's better to relay out unbalanced hands, but in this case you're way too high for full relays. So I'd rather sacrifice the relays and let opener bid 2M natural and have some semi-relays, rather than relaying out the balanced hand. After 2M natural, responder can bid a natural 2, 2NT or 3 (showing differences in support), and can also bid 3 for example as a relay with fit, asking for opener's shortness (2 suits can be short, opener can also have no shortness, so 3 bids below 3NT is enough). This way the balanced hand has a good idea about the unbalanced hand and their combined potential. When opener is interested in minors, he can bid 2NT, 3m and even 3M (autosplinter for example).

If you insist on relays, I have the following comments about the 5332: you might start an inverted minor with these, so you don't have to include them. Another option is to combine all 4333's into 1 bid (or maybe 2, differentiating the 4333 and the rest).
"It may be rude to leave to go to the bathroom, but it's downright stupid to sit there and piss yourself" - blackshoe
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### #5Zelandakh

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Posted 2012-November-23, 09:08

Standard is to take the higher shortage first since this maximises the opportunities for zooming, that is bidding beyond the last step with suitable hands of that shape. In order to fit everything in and keep the structure logical, I did need to go above 3NT on 2 sequences. The point here is that if Opener is still asking after 1 - 2; 2 - 2; 2NT - 3 (= 5 clubs) then they are presumably either interested in slam or in a 3 card major. In both cases it is safe to commit to 4 with the 3325 shape. The same is not true of the auction 1 - 2; 2 - 2; 2NT - 3 (=4 diamonds, 4 clubs) but this is the only logical organisation using the relay rules I was following.

I agree with you entirely about being easy to remember. What I generated follows a set of rules I developed making my own system. If this is not logical to you then re-organising is no problem at all. As long as you have a logical way in which the relay structure is generated. Removing the 5332 hands makes your structure logically equivalent to mine except that you show a major with the lower bids. This has the advantage of being able to break relays and set the major at the 3 level if you desire that. The disadvantage is that you cannot afford to zoom. For example, after the 2 relay, you might allow 4432 hands with certain properties (extras or possessing a certain number of controls, say) to bid above 3NT on the grounds that Opener will generally either be looking for a major fit or a slam. When 3NT shows 3334 it is too dangerous to do this. This difference is not enough to play something you are uncomfortable enough with and if you are never going to zoom then you are probably better of with the structure you have anyway.

Notice also that you could include 3433 hands within 2 if you wanted to by, for example making the sequence 1 - 2; 2 - 2; 2NT - 3 show 4 hearts and 4 clubs, freeing up 3 for 3433, 3 for 2443 and 3NT for 3442 (or switched around). This now matches the structure for hands with spades better. And actually, that is the key. Try to make the patterns repeat themselves as often as possible. In turn, your 33(34) hands now fit into 3 and 3 giving you an automatic "mini-zoom" for the 3334 hands, say 3 = 3334 and bad for slam; 3NT = 3334 and good for slam.

Otherwise the structure looks fine. Once you get used to using it you may well find you like it so much you want to include the 5332 hands into it too.
(-: Zel :-)

half-wit -- Chas_P the racist
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### #6straube

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Posted 2012-November-23, 09:12

I agee that it's much much better to pattern the unbalanced hand. In fact, if it's legal in your area, why not respond 1D with those balanced hands and then reserve artificial GF bids to relay opener's patten after his first natural rebid? 1C-2D then could offload the long/ weak diamond hands.

Secondly, I'm always surprised when folks who play natural systems (I think natural openings are not very good) spend lots of energy on artificiality in their continuations. Conventions like BART, Cole, etc. I'd rather spend the energy at the beginning where it most matters.
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### #7straube

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Posted 2012-November-23, 09:20

The other thing is that you're really running out of room. Standard symmetric's 1N response shows balanced hands so you are two steps higher. You don't have room to ask for controls/strength/relay points before passing 3N and that information is critical. Also, if you did invest time in learning to use control asking bids, why not just go altogether to a strong club relay system?
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### #8MickyB

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Posted 2012-November-23, 10:34

lmilne, on 2012-November-23, 06:53, said:

This is in the context of a natural-based 2/1 system (5422, strong NT, transfer responses to 1).

straube, on 2012-November-23, 09:12, said:

Secondly, I'm always surprised when folks who play natural systems (I think natural openings are not very good) spend lots of energy on artificiality in their continuations. Conventions like BART, Cole, etc. I'd rather spend the energy at the beginning where it most matters.

I'd partly agree if the OP was playing 5533, but I don't think most of those who play short club with xfer responses think it's an intrinsically worse system than, say, Precision. I certainly don't consider the opening bid structure to be "where it matters", quite the opposite.
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### #9MickyB

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Posted 2012-November-23, 10:38

lmilne, on 2012-November-23, 06:53, said:

My partner and I have been exploring with the idea of using 1-2 as a balanced GF response (with a 4-card major possible). This is in the context of a natural-based 2/1 system (5422, strong NT, transfer responses to 1).

The idea came from Meckwell, where the 2 response to the strong club allows opener to bid 3NT on a variety of hands, or relay to find out information, or opt to start showing their own hand.

I don't think this idea is very good, sorry. This 2D bid is useful in Precision because there isn't a great way to bid these hands otherwise, there's just nothing wrong with bidding 1C:1M, 1N:3N in standard.
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### #10glen

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Posted 2012-November-24, 07:12

I think this idea is very good, sorry to the above poster. Reasons included:

* Allow balanced hands the capability to explore for the best spot without treating the hands as suit oriented hand or disclosing unnecessary information.
* Establish a game force immediately to reduce interference.

For a general structure, I had:

To simplify to 1-2;-?

2: denies 4s, shows 4s and/or a minimum, bidding natural, but if responder rebids 2NT, opener has to show 4 with artificial transfer of 3
2: 4s, can have 4s
2NT: 18-19 bal (2/ denies 18-19 bal)
3: 6+s, no other 4 card suit, 14+
3: Exactly 4-5 in the minors, no four card major, 14+
3/: 4-6+ in the minors, singleton in major, 14+
3NT: 4-6 in the minors, singleton A/K in either major, 14-16

For extra complexity add cheapest bid (excluding 3NT) re-asks after all responses
'I hit my peak at seven' Taylor Swift
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### #11fromageGB

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Posted 2012-November-25, 06:44

lmilne, on 2012-November-23, 08:28, said:

1) ... neither of us is much interested in playing something that requires weekly revision!
2) ... the rest

As a player who has never played a relay system, the contradiction between these two parts strikes me as amusing.
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### #12MickyB

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Posted 2012-November-26, 13:05

glen, on 2012-November-24, 07:12, said:

I think this idea is very good, sorry to the above poster.

No need to apologise, people are allowed to be wro...sorry, disagree with me

I think this gadget will lead to worse auctions when opener is unbalanced, much better for opener to show their suits and responder to use fourth/third suit-forcing for basically the reason that Free gave - unbalanced hands should describe to balanced hands, not the other way around. I am also not convinced that you'll give less information away, while playing xfers over 1C already gives you a fair bit of flexibility with regard to who declares.

It's a fair bit of work and I'm not sure it'll actually be an overall gain. That's not even taking into the account the cost of not being able to use 2D for something else, eg responder's reverse flannery.
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### #13lmilne

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Posted 2012-November-27, 10:58

Free, on 2012-November-23, 08:47, said:

First of all, let me say that I'm no fan of relays of a balanced hand.

Agreed. I've thought about it a bit more, I'm starting to lean towards something like 2 as the start of opener showing various shapes and leaving it up to responder. I'm familiar with the theory about who should be relaying from playing a "variable captaincy" relay system, so this appeals to me. And thinking about the relay structure each night (and trying to incorporate a way for the responder to show some idea of his strength as well) is convincing me it's not such a good idea.

straube, on 2012-November-23, 09:12, said:

I agee that it's much much better to pattern the unbalanced hand. In fact, if it's legal in your area, why not respond 1D with those balanced hands and then reserve artificial GF bids to relay opener's patten after his first natural rebid? 1C-2D then could offload the long/ weak diamond hands.

Secondly, I'm always surprised when folks who play natural systems (I think natural openings are not very good) spend lots of energy on artificiality in their continuations. Conventions like BART, Cole, etc. I'd rather spend the energy at the beginning where it most matters.

I'm not strongly in favour of either natural or strong club systems. Natural seems to work for me and our partnership has lots of agreements that we don't want to do away with before trialing for a Bowl, otherwise we might explore other systems.

straube, on 2012-November-23, 09:20, said:

The other thing is that you're really running out of room. Standard symmetric's 1N response shows balanced hands so you are two steps higher. You don't have room to ask for controls/strength/relay points before passing 3N and that information is critical. Also, if you did invest time in learning to use control asking bids, why not just go altogether to a strong club relay system?

Agreed, with reservations. I've learnt a symmetric relay system, control asking bids, denial cue-bidding etc. in the past but didn't think the system was that powerful overall. I also didn't enjoy people interfering with our strong club when we would've opened a descriptive natural bid in standard. You make some very good points about relay structures that I'd missed.

glen, on 2012-November-24, 07:12, said:

I think this idea is very good, sorry to the above poster. Reasons included:

* Allow balanced hands the capability to explore for the best spot without treating the hands as suit oriented hand or disclosing unnecessary information.
* Establish a game force immediately to reduce interference.

For a general structure, I had:

Thank you. I'm using this to discuss with my partner about other possibilities to the structure I initially posted. We are also considering having 1C-2C as gf bal and 1C-2D as inverted to give us more room if we need it.

fromageGB, on 2012-November-25, 06:44, said:

As a player who has never played a relay system, the contradiction between these two parts strikes me as amusing.

I can sort of relate to this, but our partnership is fairly good at remembering something once we've practiced it a few times. I guess everyone has different ways of learning system.

Thanks for all the replies so far. And yeah, 5542, not 5422 (too much thinking about relays...)
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