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Serious/Non-serious 3NT question

#1 User is offline   Wwchang 

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Posted 2013-June-23, 11:36

During the US trials, a hand came up (can't remember which; I think it was in one of the Diamond matches) where a 3S bid was made, and commentary appeared speculating that this was a nonserious 3.

How does this work? In Fred's "Improving 2/1 Game Force" articles, he has an example in which the trump suit is hearts:

EXAMPLE 5:

Kxx Qx
AJxxxx Kxx
xx AQxxxx
Kx AQ

1 2
2 3
3 3NT
4 4
4 Pass

He writes:
"When hearts is agreed at the 3-level, opener must bid 3 if he has a control in spades. Any other bid would deny spade control (3NT would be Serious with no spade control)."

It's now been some number of years since this came out. Is it now common to treat 3 as being the serious/non-serious bid when hearts are trump? (If so, I assume 3NT becomes the cuebid for spades, and therefore a direct 3NT confirms/disconfirms serious slam interest while showing a spade stopper.)

Is there a view on whether using 3S here as the serious/non-serious bid is superior to making a mandatory cuebid of a spade control in this sequence regardless of slam interest? (Assuming you've decided to play S/NS 3NT generally.)
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#2 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2013-June-23, 12:10

The point of non serious 3NT is to hide information when it's most likely to hurt, which is no immediate slam interest. When you have to cuebid with a minimum hand, you're likely to give away information needlessly. Playing non serious 3NT with a fit however obligates you to give the info about the suit, whatever strength you have. When you switch to non serious 3 (and indeed use 3NT as serious with cue) you avoid this.

The drawback is that you give opps the opportunity to double for a lead and that there's a possibility that one of the players forgets the agreement. Definitely worth the effort imo.
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#3 User is offline   TWO4BRIDGE 

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Posted 2013-June-23, 12:20

See this thread from April, 2012 :

http://www.bridgebas...548#entry627548

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I don't have experience with Serious/non-serious, but I've come to the conclusion that with -agreed, 3S should SHOW a -Ctrl and say nothing about "Seriousness" . [ EDIT: This is Fred's case ] .

Those who play that 3S should show the state of "seriousness" indicate that 3S then says nothing about a -Ctrl .

This post has been edited by TWO4BRIDGE: 2013-June-24, 14:06

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#4 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2013-June-24, 06:11

Not at all standard (yet) but clearly better
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#5 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-June-24, 06:11

I am one of those who prefers a Frivolous 3 when hearts is agreed. As Free writes, it is slightly better for information leakage. That said, it is much more important to play what you are comfortable with here as the difference is pretty small. Notice also that in some auctions, you can play a Frivolous 3 (for diamonds) and a Frivolous 3 (for clubs) too, although this is much less common and requires that you do not require these bids to check for 3NT.
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#6 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2013-June-24, 13:58

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-June-24, 06:11, said:

Notice also that in some auctions, you can play a Frivolous 3 (for diamonds) and a Frivolous 3 (for clubs) too, although this is much less common and requires that you do not require these bids to check for 3NT.

I would never play frivolous 3/ because
- it's quite rare you set a minor suit at 3-level.
- after 3m in many cases you want a semi natural 3 when partner bid in a previous bidding round. 3 is less important, but you never know...
- with a minor fit and no slam interest, 3NT showing 'no slam interest' uses the principle of 'fast arrival' because you'll play 3NT a lot more often than 5m.
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#7 User is offline   TWO4BRIDGE 

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Posted 2013-June-24, 15:44

There may be an advantage in some cases but not in others .

Take Fred's example hand in the OP.

After 3H:
3S! ( by Opener says "non-serious", but says nothing about a -Ctrl eventho he has one )
Next:
.... -4C ( by Responder shows a serious -Ctrl, but denies a -Ctrl )
Now what is Opener to do ?
He does not have a -Ctrl... so he has to either bid 4H or 4S .
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
How is this better than Fred's way ? :
3S = -Ctrl; says nothing about "seriousness "
.... - 3NT! ( Serious )
4C ( -Ctrl ), etc.
Don Stenmark
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"imo by far in bridge the least understood concept is how to bid over a jump-shift
( 1M-1NT!-3m-?? )." ....Justin Lall

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#8 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2013-June-28, 09:40

View PostTWO4BRIDGE, on 2013-June-24, 15:44, said:

How is this better than Fred's way ? :

There is no cue bidding method that gives me everything I want** in all possible hands, so you have to allow compromises.

(** what I want - to know that no suit is "wide open" in a way that lets the initial "serious" bidder make a concluding bid that lets partner know all suits are "controlled" but that the serious bidder needs additional strength from partner to go on to ask for aces)

You could use denial cue bidding, where the bidding progresses 3(non-serious) - 3NT(serious, denies spade control); 4(have spade and club control but not diamonds) - 4(have diamond control, but while no suit is wide open, I do need additional strength from you to justify a slam) [[ as opposed to an immediate 4 ace ask if the hand was a bit stronger]].
That works OK on this hand. But on other hands with this method you do not have the ability to ask for additional strength.

Or you can use one-under denial cue bids, where bidding the one under trumps shows that all suits are controlled, with the possible exception of the cheapest one. This method goes 3(non-serious) - 4(needs help, has clubs and diamonds, no guarantee about the spades).
This method always allows extra help to be asked for, but (as in this instance) sometimes leaves a control ambiguous.
If your style was that the 2 rebid denied extra strength (say restricted to 12-14) rather than show 6 cards, then you do not need the "extra strength" aspect, and you would not use this method.

"Fred's method" is OK on this hand, as it shows controls as well as asks for extra help (opener would ace ask/respond if he had extras, rather than bid 4) but it does no more than denial cue bidding does, and the latter method avoids disclosing controls when there is no slam in the air. So "Fred's method" is worse.
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#9 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2013-June-29, 00:32

View PostTWO4BRIDGE, on 2013-June-24, 15:44, said:

There may be an advantage in some cases but not in others .

Take Fred's example hand in the OP.

After 3H:
3S! ( by Opener says "non-serious", but says nothing about a -Ctrl eventho he has one )
Next:
.... -4C ( by Responder shows a serious -Ctrl, but denies a -Ctrl )
Now what is Opener to do ?
He does not have a -Ctrl... so he has to either bid 4H or 4S .
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
How is this better than Fred's way ? :
3S = -Ctrl; says nothing about "seriousness "
.... - 3NT! ( Serious )
4C ( -Ctrl ), etc.

Last Train solves this issue: 4 is LTTC. With a missing control or when you no longer have slam interest you can just signoff in 4. With slam interest (implying s are not wide open) but missing a control you bid 4. With all controls you can basically choose: bid 4 to possibly lose captaincy, or immediately ask for Aces (or continue cuebidding if you prefer that).
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#10 User is offline   TWO4BRIDGE 

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Posted 2013-June-29, 13:31

View PostFree, on 2013-June-29, 00:32, said:

Last Train solves this issue: 4 is LTTC.

Thx... I forgot about LTTC . And 4D ( by Opener ) should show a -Ctrl in that example since Responder, although "Serious", denied a -Ctrl .
Don Stenmark
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"imo by far in bridge the least understood concept is how to bid over a jump-shift
( 1M-1NT!-3m-?? )." ....Justin Lall

" Did someone mention relays? " .... Zelandakh

K-Rex to Mikeh : " Sometimes you drive me nuts " .
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#11 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2013-June-29, 16:06

View PostFree, on 2013-June-24, 13:58, said:

I would never play frivolous 3/ because
- it's quite rare you set a minor suit at 3-level.
- after 3m in many cases you want a semi natural 3 when partner bid in a previous bidding round. 3 is less important, but you never know...
- with a minor fit and no slam interest, 3NT showing 'no slam interest' uses the principle of 'fast arrival' because you'll play 3NT a lot more often than 5m.


We play 1M-2C-3C-3D as asking for opener's shortage (if he has one); we only splinter with extra values to get some idea of strength across.
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#12 User is offline   CSGibson 

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Posted 2013-June-29, 23:09

We've taken it further in my relay precision partnership - basically any time where we have an agreed major suit fit, and the next step would be a cue-bid, and its at or below 3N, the next step is non-serious, whatever that step may be. I thought this was a brilliant idea when I first heard it supported by Justin a few months ago, so we've run with it.
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#13 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 08:56

View PostFrancesHinden, on 2013-June-29, 16:06, said:

We play 1M-2C-3C-3D as asking for opener's shortage (if he has one); we only splinter with extra values to get some idea of strength across.


It is somewhat better to do it the other way round - splinters show minimums and a raise shows extras (with step 1 asking for shortage). The point is that there will be one combination where you automatically go past 3NT, which is fine when we have extras.
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#14 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 09:01

For those of us who play 3 as non-serious over 3, the spade control issue is a total non-problem. Over 3, 3NT shows a spade control and anything else denies one. Obviously it is better for 3 to show a control on the hands where we happen to have one, but on all the other combinations we have saved a step, so in the long run it evens out.

On the example hand, opener should bid 4 over 4. He has shown a suitable minimum with 3. I think it is nuts to combine non-serious and last train on the same hand. 4 should show, of all things, a control in diamonds (as well as a spade control).
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#15 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 11:07

View PostCSGibson, on 2013-June-29, 23:09, said:

We've taken it further in my relay precision partnership - basically any time where we have an agreed major suit fit, and the next step would be a cue-bid, and its at or below 3N, the next step is non-serious, whatever that step may be. I thought this was a brilliant idea when I first heard it supported by Justin a few months ago, so we've run with it.


If the next step is NS does that mean you start making serious cues at the three level a la Rexford or is a 3 level bid a serious pattern-out?
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#16 User is offline   CSGibson 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 21:05

View PostPhil, on 2013-June-30, 11:07, said:

If the next step is NS does that mean you start making serious cues at the three level a la Rexford or is a 3 level bid a serious pattern-out?


Rexford. We have usually patterned out via our relay steps already when we would have room to do both.
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#17 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 01:52

I do the same as Chris, also in a relay context. If partner wanted to hear about patterning out they would continue relaying so it is clear in this context to switch to cue bids. Using the first step as Frivolous fits well here and I even do this for minor suit agreements at the 3 level via relay break. This also means RKCB at the 3 level when a major is agreed at the 2 level. Am interested if Chris does this part too or prefers 2 levels of cue bidding.
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#18 User is offline   benlessard 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:54

The cheapest bid as any minimum is often the best artificial solution.
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#19 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 10:50

View PostPhilKing, on 2013-June-30, 09:01, said:

On the example hand, opener should bid 4 over 4. He has shown a suitable minimum with 3. I think it is nuts to combine non-serious and last train on the same hand. 4 should show, of all things, a control in diamonds (as well as a spade control).

There are two possible meanings for 4:
- Spade control
- Both spade and diamond control

Why is the second meaning better than the first?
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#20 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 11:09

View PostPhilKing, on 2013-June-30, 09:01, said:

I think it is nuts to combine non-serious and last train on the same hand.

Not sure why you think this combination is nuts. There's no principle difference between ...-3;3-4;4 and ...-3;4-4 except the degree of slam interest shown by opener.
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