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Major suit raises Structure in a 2/1 system where 2C=balanced/natural

#1 User is offline   Bende 

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Posted 2016-April-27, 16:06

Given that you play a 2-over-1 system where 1M - 2 is balanced or natural and other 1M - 2x shows a real suit, and further that 1 - 1NT is semi-forcing and 1 - 1NT is forcing (both can contain a limit raise or an invitational hand with a lower suit), do you think that this major suit raise structure makes sense?

1M - 2M = normal raise
1M - 2M+1 = three card limit raise with a side suit
1M - 2M+2 = 4+ support, forcing raise
1M - 2M+3 = 4-card support, INV or min GF
1M - 2M+4 = mixed raise
1M - 3M = preemptive raise

After 1M - 2M+1, 2M+2 asks and:
2M+3 = suit
2M+4 = suit
3M = the fourth suit

After the forcing raise 1M - 2M+2 (i.e. 1 - 2NT or 1 - 3), almost according to something I saw Fred suggested:

1 - 2NT;
3 = min (not six hearts without a short suit)
...3 = asks
... ...3 = six hearts, some short suit
... ... ...3 = asks
... ... ... ...3NT = spade shortness
... ... ... ...4m = shortness
... ...3 = five hearts, short suit
... ...3NT = five hearts, no short suit, some interest
... ...4m = five hearts, short suit
... ...4 = five hearts, no short suit, no interest
3 = extras, five hearts, unbalanced
...3 = asks
... ...3 = shortness
... ...3NT = no short suit (5422 or possibly singelton honor if you don't wish to show that as a short suit)
... ...4m = shortness
3 = extras, six hearts, no short suit
3 = extras, six hearts, shortness
3NT = 18-19 balanced
4m = extras, six hearts, shortness
4 = minimum, six hearts, no short suit

And similarly for 1 - 3.

Is it getting too fancy with so many ways to raise the major suit while sticking so many other hands in 1M - 1NT? Is it sensible to take the three card limit raises with a side suit out of 1M - 1NT and put them in the 1M - 2M+1 raise or is it a waste of space? Would it be better if 2M+1 showed a singelton instead of a side suit?
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#2 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-April-27, 18:31

View PostBende, on 2016-April-27, 16:06, said:

Is it getting too fancy with so many ways to raise the major suit while sticking so many other hands in 1M - 1NT? Is it sensible to take the three card limit raises with a side suit out of 1M - 1NT and put them in the 1M - 2M+1 raise or is it a waste of space?


You might be able to save a step if opener, instead of asking, responded Romex-style.

Could you put one of your raises into 2?
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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#3 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 05:21

The idea of 2M+1 being a 3 card invitational raise with a side suit has merits, but I don't like 3M-1 as a 3 card raise without a side suit, if that is what is meant as "mixed". Voluntarily going to the 3-level is unnecessary and may be too high on bad breaks or finesses.

Taking the J2N raise a level higher than normal (rather than 2M+1) gives you less room for investigation, and here you lose the ability to find out whether the 1 2NT 3 3 4 short suit is singleton or void. I'd think about using a final 3NT for that and forgetting "interest" when minimum 5 with no shortage. Similarly 1 2NT 3 3 4.

There is no room there either for responder to be able to show a shortage if he has one when opener doesn't. This is useful if your immediate splinters are limited - my 4 bid splinters are 11/12 hcp for example. With 13 I start 2M+1.

This seems quite playable though.

In answer to the final questions,

- what you can put in a 1 1NT response is restricted by it being non-forcing. I don't like any raises in a non-forcing 1NT.

- 3 card invitational raises fit into your artificial 1M 2 if it puppets a 2 relay, with the 2M continuation being passable.

- I would prefer to show a shortage rather than a side suit. After all, if you do have a shortage you will definitely have side suits, and knowing the shortage helps opener evaluate better in my view, compared with showing a non-fitting side suit.

Edit - what does "mixed" mean in terms of trump length and typical hcp?
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#4 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 05:45

If "mixed raise" means 4 card support and less than invitational strength, in a typical 4423 shape, then having 3M-1 for this allows no inquiry as to strength. This makes it limited. If say 11/12 is an invitational raise (that you bid 3M-2 (or 2M+3)), then "mixed" can only be 9/10. Why not combine these to have 3M-2 as 9-12? Now you can have 3M-1 as the clarification request from opener if he needs to know - ie responder continues 3M if 9/10 or a feature >3M if 11/12. This frees up the 3M-1 bid for another use.

But if your 4 card 11/12 raise is currently 2M+3, what is this "limit raise" that goes into your 1NT reply? I am a bit lost in the terminology.
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#5 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 05:49

View PostfromageGB, on 2016-April-28, 05:21, said:

Edit - what does "mixed" mean in terms of trump length and typical hcp?

Mixed is typically competitive strength and 4 trumps. I use 3M-1 for this myself so I imagine it is ok. ;)

Actually the complete structure I use would work just fine by replacing the mini-splinter in my scheme with the 3 card limit raises. What I really do not like is bundling the min GF with the limit raises. This puts Opener under serious scrutiny whenever Responder takes time to think. My suggestion:-

2M+1 = LR+side suit or maxi-splinter
2M+2 = GFR
3M-2 = LR
3M-1 = MR
3M = PR
3M+1 = void splinter
3M+2+3+4 = sgl splinter
(-: Zel :-)
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#6 User is offline   Bende 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 07:40

Would it be better, worse, or equally good if 1M - 2M+1 showed a three card limit raise and a short suit as compared to a side suit?
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#7 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 08:40

I use it to show a 4 card LR with shortage (mini-splinter) in addition to the stronger hand types. I think it comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. I like the shortages because they come up often and make evaluation easy, not only for those hands but also for the 3M-2 LR. On the occasions when the good side suit comes up it can be really good but you will use it less frequently as it is more common for a long suit not to be of high enough quality than for a short suit to be unsuitable.
(-: Zel :-)
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#8 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 10:06

Please unconfuse me. If a 4 card LR is a "mini-splinter", what is a full-bloodied "normal splinter"? Of course it depends on what you mean by a limit raise. I assume LR is a typical 4 card 11/12 count, and if that has a shortage, for me it is a splinter. My mini-splinter is a shortage in a 4 card 9/10 count, and I do use 2M+2 for that (2M+1 being the GF).

And what is this limit raise that is included in the 1NT response ???
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#9 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 13:13

View PostfromageGB, on 2016-April-28, 10:06, said:

Please unconfuse me. If a 4 card LR is a "mini-splinter", what is a full-bloodied "normal splinter"? Of course it depends on what you mean by a limit raise. I assume LR is a typical 4 card 11/12 count, and if that has a shortage, for me it is a splinter. My mini-splinter is a shortage in a 4 card 9/10 count, and I do use 2M+2 for that (2M+1 being the GF).

And what is this limit raise that is included in the 1NT response ???

LR defines the overall playing strength of a hand (invitational) and not the hcp. For a hand with a small singleton, this will typically be around 8-9hcp. A normal splinter would be ~10-12hcp and a maxi-splinter ~13-16hcp. A mixed raise with a shortage would have around 5-7hcp.

My system includes all of the LR+ 3 card raises in the 1NT response after a 1 opening. It is not a 2/1 FNT though so the comparison to that part is questionable. For the OP, I assume that the LR within the 1NT response is specifically 3 card support without a side suit. I would personally prefer to mix that in with the 4 card LR than the GF 2 response if choosing to take it out of 1NT but keeping it within 1NT seems reasonable, especially if switching over to shortage so that this hand type is always balanced or semi-balanced.
(-: Zel :-)
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#10 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-April-28, 16:38

View PostfromageGB, on 2016-April-28, 10:06, said:

Please unconfuse me. If a 4 card LR is a "mini-splinter", what is a full-bloodied "normal splinter"? Of course it depends on what you mean by a limit raise. I assume LR is a typical 4 card 11/12 count, and if that has a shortage, for me it is a splinter. My mini-splinter is a shortage in a 4 card 9/10 count, and I do use 2M+2 for that (2M+1 being the GF).


I splinter with 3-4 controls or a monster. I have never wished I had another way to splinter. Have you found it to be useful?
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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#11 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2016-April-29, 13:52

View PostVampyr, on 2016-April-28, 16:38, said:

I splinter with 3-4 controls or a monster. I have never wished I had another way to splinter. Have you found it to be useful?

Yes, I have had a hand where the knowledge of the strength (11/12) and the shortage enabled opener to find a slam, so I'd say it was useful. Quite often it is 3 or 4 controls, though of course my mini-splinter (9/10) could also be that. Rather than splitting the bids by hcp it is probably better to split them by controls, but have not played that.
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#12 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-April-29, 15:13

View PostfromageGB, on 2016-April-29, 13:52, said:

Yes, I have had a hand where the knowledge of the strength (11/12) and the shortage enabled opener to find a slam, so I'd say it was useful. Quite often it is 3 or 4 controls, though of course my mini-splinter (9/10) could also be that. Rather than splitting the bids by hcp it is probably better to split them by controls, but have not played that.


Yeah, you're not going to find the thin slams with a random collection of honours. But if you split up your splinters by number of controls, you splinter with fewer will have a lot of minor honours to get up to the strength needed to force yo game. You may find it not that useful to splinter with this sort of hand.
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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#13 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2016-April-30, 04:39

View PostVampyr, on 2016-April-29, 15:13, said:

You may find it not that useful to splinter with this sort of hand.

Thanks for the thoughts. My mini-splinter has the suit identified at the 3 level, though, NOT game forcing, so that is not a problem. It is of use in finding a game rather than slam (unless partner has a powerhouse that he has not had yet). I'm thinking that the 4-level splinter should promise 3 or 4 controls with values (ie not just a bare 7 count) while an 11/12 hand with a shortage but without 3 controls should bide its time with a forcing next step, waiting to see opener's strength / hand type. If opener is minimumish then bidding game, else splintering at that point.
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#14 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2016-April-30, 07:19

View PostBende, on 2016-April-27, 16:06, said:

Is it sensible to take the three card limit raises with a side suit out of 1M - 1NT and put them in the 1M - 2M+1 raise or is it a waste of space?

One good reason for taking the inv 3c raise out of 1N is that Opener won't have a strong incentive to bid with 5S3-H4-D4-C or 4-S5H4-D4-C unless he has extras, and this can be useful in various ways. E.g.,

* the bidding will go 1M-1N; P instead of 1M-1N; 2m(nat.)-2N; P
* the bidding will go 1M-1N; P instead of 1M-1N; 2(std Gazzilli)-2; 2M-2N; P
* Opener's 2M rebid over 1M-1N; 2-2 in std Gazzilli will be much easer to handle
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#15 User is offline   Bende 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 05:00

A new try is this:

1M -
1NT = F1 vs 1, can contain three card limit raises or INV with lower suit
2 = GF, balanced or clubs
2x = GF, real 5+ suit
2M = normal raise
2M+1 = four card support, INV, any SPL (next step asks for the splinter)
2M+2 = 4+ support, GF (continuations as in my first post)
2M+3 = four card support, INV or min GF (next step asks, 3M is INV and with GF you would cue)
2M+4 = three card support, 13-15 balanced
3M = mixed raise

There are several things here I'm not sure about, mainly:
* Does it really matter to have an extra step for the INV/min GF hand?
* Is having its own bid for the min GF hand with three card support at all useful? It takes some slight pressure off the 2 bid but maybe those hands fit there nicely anyway?
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#16 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 06:21

View PostBende, on 2016-May-01, 05:00, said:

1NT = F1 vs 1, can contain three card limit raises or INV with lower suit

View PostBende, on 2016-May-01, 05:00, said:

* Is having its own bid for the min GF hand with three card support at all useful? It takes some slight pressure off the 2 bid but maybe those hands fit there nicely anyway?

Are you allowed to play 2 as nat., bal. or Drury where you live? (I know this isn't GCC legal.)

Although most experts in Norway play something they wouldn't hesitate to call "2/1", almost noone keeps the inv 3c raise in 1N, and therefore they tend to play 1N as not even semi-forcing. I believe a growing number of pairs here are playing 2 as nat. or Drury, and it wouldn't surprise me if it became expert standard in a few years.
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#17 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 07:31

View PostBende, on 2016-May-01, 05:00, said:

2M+1 = four card support, INV, any SPL (next step asks for the splinter)

Remember that you also have 3NT, 4m and a double-jump in the other major available for splinters too so make sure there is a difference here, either in terms of range or singleton/void. As per my previous posts, you can differentiate between all of mini, normal+sgl, normal+void, maxi+sgl and maxi+void if you want to.

View PostBende, on 2016-May-01, 05:00, said:

There are several things here I'm not sure about, mainly:
* Does it really matter to have an extra step for the INV/min GF hand?

It makes a large difference to your limit raise because you have a game try available. That allows you to have a 3-4 point range here rather than the normal 2 point range without making things uncomfortable.

View PostBende, on 2016-May-01, 05:00, said:

* Is having its own bid for the min GF hand with three card support at all useful? It takes some slight pressure off the 2 bid but maybe those hands fit there nicely anyway?

Putting the minimum 3 card GF raise in 2 is a lot better than having the 3 card invitational raise there. I certainly would not want to devote a call to that hand type. The main options within 2/1 are FNT, 3-way 2, mix with 4 card raise and transfer responses. The first 3 we already discussed; the last is a method that allows you get a dedicated sequence without it being overly restricted. The downside is increased artificiality and you need to re-jig things elsewhere. If going completely artificial there are non-2/1 possibilities too, such as using a relay instead of the FNT. That is what I do (so obviously I like it!) but it is certainly not the best choice for most pairs.
(-: Zel :-)
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#18 User is offline   Bende 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 11:10

View Postnullve, on 2016-May-01, 06:21, said:

Are you allowed to play 2 as nat., bal. or Drury where you live? (I know this isn't GCC legal.)

Although most experts in Norway play something they wouldn't hesitate to call "2/1", almost noone keeps the inv 3c raise in 1N, and therefore they tend to play 1N as not even semi-forcing. I believe a growing number of pairs here are playing 2 as nat. or Drury, and it wouldn't surprise me if it became expert standard in a few years.


There are no restrictions regarding follow-up bids where I play. However, I think I like keeping 2 as a GF.
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#19 User is offline   Bende 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 11:15

View PostZelandakh, on 2016-May-01, 07:31, said:

Remember that you also have 3NT, 4m and a double-jump in the other major available for splinters too so make sure there is a difference here, either in terms of range or singleton/void. As per my previous posts, you can differentiate between all of mini, normal+sgl, normal+void, maxi+sgl and maxi+void if you want to.


It makes a large difference to your limit raise because you have a game try available. That allows you to have a 3-4 point range here rather than the normal 2 point range without making things uncomfortable.


Putting the minimum 3 card GF raise in 2 is a lot better than having the 3 card invitational raise there. I certainly would not want to devote a call to that hand type. The main options within 2/1 are FNT, 3-way 2, mix with 4 card raise and transfer responses. The first 3 we already discussed; the last is a method that allows you get a dedicated sequence without it being overly restricted. The downside is increased artificiality and you need to re-jig things elsewhere. If going completely artificial there are non-2/1 possibilities too, such as using a relay instead of the FNT. That is what I do (so obviously I like it!) but it is certainly not the best choice for most pairs.


We use 3M+1 and above as two tier splinters, ~10-12 and ~13-15.

I agree that 2 does seem to handle the 3 card GF raise well. However, that leaves me with 3M-1 (or 3M-2 if the INV/min GF hand moves to 3M-1 wher it used to be) undefined so I want to do something with that bid :).
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#20 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-May-01, 12:45

In the OP, you had 3M-1 as mixed. Any reason why you have decided to change that? it seems like a sensible usage to me!
(-: Zel :-)
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