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Checkback Stayman

#41 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 18:57

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 14:49, said:

The whole point of playing 4-card majors is that a minor suit opening denies a balanced hand containing a 4card major.
I never thought that. I thought that there were two points to paying 4 card majors
1) There are occasions when your 4-4 major fit may go undiscovered if you don't open it, and
2) Your minor suit opening can be relied upon to be a genuine suit.

As to the first it is true that this benefit is foregone on those hands that you open a minor with 4-4, if that is your style, but that does not of itself make a convincing case for 5 card majors, as they would be in the same boat. Indeed they would be in a slightly worse boat on this particular point as they would not have the benefit of showing a genuine minor; which is of course a low priority but not a nil priority.

Occasionally I see repeated the observation that you "might as well play 5 card majors as you are 90% of the way there already". The conclusion may be correct (for the record I believe that it is) but the logic, or justification, in the sentence is flawed. Seldom in life are extreme positions optimal, so if going purely by life experience and nothing else you might expect this compromise solution (that of opening 4 card majors but preferring a minor given a choice) to be preferred over either extreme (always opening the major v promising 5).
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#42 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 22:59

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 16:25, said:

You can but to find a major suit fit, responder can just bid his major:
1-1
1NT-2(or 2)


View Postwank, on 2016-May-31, 17:40, said:

this hand isn't a problem. responder can bid 2S natural


If that is correct then it would make my question redundant, but surely 1C - 1D - 1NT - 2S is a responder's reverse showing 12+ points Forcing. All my Acol resources (EBU file, Klinger etc.) say so.
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#43 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 23:02

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#44 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 00:29

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-31, 22:59, said:

If that is correct then it would make my question redundant, but surely 1C - 1D - 1NT - 2S is a responder's reverse showing 12+ points Forcing. All my Acol resources (EBU file, Klinger etc.) say so.


If 1nt is 15-17 then you can fairly safely force to game on a 10 count, or a good 9 with 4M5+d shape. A 12 count isn't necessary. Or, if you want to keep this 12+, then simply bypass diamonds to bid a major with 11-.

The main point we are trying to stress to you is that if you are going to open the minor, you really have to bypass 1d to bid a major with your weaker set of hands if you want to get to most of your 4-4 major fits. Because you won't be strong enough to checkback with the low end of the range, since that ends in understrength 2nt contracts if a major fit isn't found. Up-the-line bidding only makes sense if opener is actually going to bid up-the-line. If opener is going to bypass majors to show his shape and strength by bidding 1nt over a 1d response, then 1d better deny a 4 cd major unless responder is prepared to get to game. Up-the-line bidding with opener bidding majors over 1d would also discover 4-4 M fits, but also leads to awkward decisions over whether to bid on after responder's 2nd round 1nt, similar to the problem after 1S-1nt.

So if opener bypasses majors, responder should also bypass diamonds. Don't combine up-the-line with bypassing majors by opener, the treatments are incompatible.
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#45 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 02:37

Replying to nobody in particular, but... Acol, with its 4 card majors and weak NT, IMO, plays respectably in the matchpoint arena (which is where it is actually played for 95+% of the time). The reason is that you open 1M and 1N quite a lot and that has a mild pre-emptive effect on the auction. Most auctions have a competitive element and, at matchpoints, competitive partscore boards are as important as the slams, so the pre-emptive effect works for you more than it does against partner.

Conversely, at imps, the auctions where opps are silent and you have an unopposed auction to game or above take on more importance. Now you don't want to be pre-empting yourself. Systems that use the 1m openings more frequently, therefore, have more to recommend them.

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#46 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 03:47

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 16:25, said:


Note that if you don't play CBS in this auction,
1-1
1NT-2/3 (or 2/3 )
are all nonforcing. So how to you force to game with club support here? Maybe it is so that with 10-11 points you would have made a limit raise initially, and with more you would have made a strong jump shift in diamonds?

Playing CBS, you can bid 2 first and then 3 or 3 afterwards to show a hand with interest in a minor suit slam.


One other route is to play inverse minors. When would you prefer to bid 1 to 2 when you have a good hand and club support?
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#47 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 03:51

View PostGrahamJson, on 2016-May-31, 03:23, said:

I was amused by the comment that bidding knowledge in England is very poor. I'm not sure where this comes from. Perhaps because Walsk, Drury and other conventions of doubtful value are not widely played.

Have you never asked an experienced partnership which suit they open with a balanced hand outside of their NT range, or what they rebid with such a hand, and found the players haven't properly considered it?
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#48 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 03:54

I think what this forum thread demonstrates clearly, is that you cannot say "I play EBU Modern Acol, but I choose to open my 4 card minor in preference to my 4 card major." It is no longer Modern Acol and you must review every aspect of the system to make sure it still hangs together
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#49 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 03:59

View Postnekthen, on 2016-June-01, 03:54, said:

I think what this forum thread demonstrates clearly, is that you cannot say "I play EBU Modern Acol, but I choose to open my 4 card minor in preference to my 4 card major." It is no longer Modern Acol and you must review every aspect of the system to make sure it still hangs together


Well, anyone who has learnt that lesson is well on the way to being a good bidder
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#50 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 05:30

Since this is meant to be the Novice / Beginner forum, let's get back to fundamentals:

- Check and agree that you and your partner are playing the same basic system (note, for these purposes there is more than one version of Acol: Opening the Major first leads to a fundamentally different system to opening the minor - one post even suggested "Acol with five card majors" - this is a different system!).
- At this stage any advantage from playing one system rather than another will be slight. Play the system that you have been taught and/or is used by most people at your club.
- Learn your system in depth. Learning the basic system is more important than adding more conventional gadgets. learn which bid to make, but also learn WHY a particular bid is recommended.
- When you are ready to add conventions to the system, make sure that they are compatible with the bidding system that you play and logically consistent with other conventions that you play. (Be careful with a forum such as this - you will receive well-meaning advice from some players based on their own systems rather than yours!).
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#51 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 20:22

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-May-31, 16:25, said:

You can but to find a major suit fit, responder can just bid his major:
1-1
1NT-2(or 2)

Well, what about a hand where responder has both majors? With something like KQxx K10xx AKxxx -, you can bid a major but then potentially lose the other major. So, NMF would be very useful here.

The other big advantage for NMF is that it gives you a second way to show length and strength in a major you do hold. How do you differentiate between xx AKJxxx xx Kxx and xx AKJxxx Kx Kxx. The auction

1 - 1
1 NT- 3

can only be used for one of them. Before NMF, in the US, a jump rebid was invitational and with the GF hand responder would have to make a forcing bid -- usually a "hasty" bid on 3 -- to force partner, then make the jump rebid if opener rebid 2 . NMF gives you a cleaner option

1 - 1
1 NT- 2
2 /- 3

shows 6+ . You can take your choice as to which is the GF auction and which is the invitational.
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#52 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-June-01, 21:34

View Postrmnka447, on 2016-June-01, 20:22, said:

Well, what about a hand where responder has both majors? With something like KQxx K10xx AKxxx -, you can bid a major but then potentially lose the other major. So, NMF would be very useful here.

4450 is pretty rare distribution. Plus you can handle it naturally, just bid 1c-1d-1nt-2s-2nt-3h?


Quote

The other big advantage for NMF is that it gives you a second way to show length and strength in a major you do hold.

Nobody is arguing against NMF or some other better checkback scheme after 1m-1M. We were just saying that maybe it's not necessary after specifically 1c-1d-1nt. You can use new *major* forcing :).

Quote

Before NMF, in the US, a jump rebid was invitational and with the GF hand responder would have to make a forcing bid -- usually a "hasty" bid on 3 -- to force partner, then make the jump rebid if opener rebid 2 . NMF gives you a cleaner option


Huh? Before NMF, 1d-1h-1nt-2c was non-forcing, you couldn't really do that. Also, I think in the very old days second round jumps by responder were mostly GF. At least they were that way in all the old Goren books I read. Jumps being invitational is a more modern trend I think. Back then basically there wasn't a way to show exactly invitational.
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#53 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 03:02

View PostTramticket, on 2016-June-01, 05:30, said:


- Check and agree that you and your partner are playing the same basic system (note, for these purposes there is more than one version of Acol: Opening the Major first leads to a fundamentally different system to opening the minor - one post even suggested "Acol with five card majors" - this is a different system!).
- At this stage any advantage from playing one system rather than another will be slight. Play the system that you have been taught and/or is used by most people at your club.
- Learn your system in depth. Learning the basic system is more important than adding more conventional gadgets. learn which bid to make, but also learn WHY a particular bid is recommended.
- When you are ready to add conventions to the system, make sure that they are compatible with the bidding system that you play and logically consistent with other conventions that you play. (Be careful with a forum such as this - you will receive well-meaning advice from some players based on their own systems rather than yours!).


That advice resonates strongly with me.

My partner has played social bridge for many years, i have been playing for three years, beginning with Modern Acol, so we come from different starting points. Our ambition is to become really good players within our bridge community. Our play will get better with practice, but we can accelerate our bidding skills / understanding by reading / discussing / analysing hands that we could have played better.

Quite a few of our opponents are a lot better than us, mostly because they have been in playing partnerships for many years. They have their own sets of conventions based on Acol (eg. Benji, weak 2's, Cansino, Standard Blackwood or Gerber), but mostly standard Acol, not Modern. Few if any play splinters, Jacoby 2NT, Michaels, negative double etc.. They tend to do well because they play the hands better, because they have been playing for many years.


We each have a pair of books on Acol by the same author, one on uncontested auctions, one on contested auctions, and we have gradually been converging our methods to so that now most of what we play is what's in the books. For example, partner didn't realise that 1S - 2H guarantees five hearts, or why. And we have moved from a 1NT showing 15-16 to 15-17, and why (1any - 1any - 2NT rebid after a one level response is game forcing). And we have added other devices such as inverted minors after 1D - 3D -3NT went off, and super accepts after transfers. We play splinters, negative doubles, exit Transfers, Landy and more. The most recent addition was checkback Stayman after 1m-1M, which we like - we have used it twice. I have often checked ideas out on BBO before suggesting them to partner, and have had some really valuable responses (in amongst some where I have no idea what the poster is talking about - way over my head!!).

Last week, when I saw partner opening 1C with four weak clubs and four good spades, I realised that this is an area where we have not yet 'converged'. He still bids up the line as he has done for many years, but will rebid 1NT with a balanced 15-17 hand. Rather than address that whole area just now, I wondered whether we could just tweak Checkback to include 1m - 1m -1NT. Hence my question on BBO.

The responses have been interesting and much appreciated. Posters have put a lot of time into their responses / advice. Unfortunatley much of it has not been very helpful in answering my question. I have been trying to follow it by googling Walsh, Drury, NMF, New Major Forcing, 5 card majors, and more, and generally feeling that partner and I were, like everyone else at our clubs (and the UK) playing an inferior system, and were referring to sources from authors we trusted but are now beginning to doubt.

After a good night's sleep, my conclusion is that we will stick with what we have got, and add to it as and when we think it is useful and we can absorb it. I will suggest to partner that we add 1m - 1m - 1NT to our CBS, since I have not read anything that suggests it is a bad idea, and we will 'suck it and see'
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#54 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 03:15

View Post1eyedjack, on 2016-May-31, 18:57, said:

As to the first it is true that this benefit is foregone on those hands that you open a minor with 4-4, if that is your style, but that does not of itself make a convincing case for 5 card majors, as they would be in the same boat. Indeed they would be in a slightly worse boat on this particular point as they would not have the benefit of showing a genuine minor; which is of course a low priority but not a nil priority.

Occasionally I see repeated the observation that you "might as well play 5 card majors as you are 90% of the way there already". The conclusion may be correct (for the record I believe that it is) but the logic, or justification, in the sentence is flawed. Seldom in life are extreme positions optimal, so if going purely by life experience and nothing else you might expect this compromise solution (that of opening 4 card majors but preferring a minor given a choice) to be preferred over either extreme (always opening the major v promising 5).

My point is that if you play 4cM (majors first with 4432) you know that a nt rebid denies a four card major, you don't need to discuss whether you play Walsh, and you know that a raise is unbalanced.

Playing 5-card majors you know that 1M is 5.

Playing 4cM (minor first with 4432) you know neither.

I realize that this doesn't "prove" that the latter style is inferior. After all, when it goes
1-2m
2NT-3
3NT
you know that opener is exactly 4333. Things like this could in theory be significant.

But to me it feels completely backwards to build a system primarily on conveying minor suit length information. The criterion for opening a major suit could, other than the exact length, conceivably be based on suit quality, strength of the hands, balanced vs unbalanced. But that the bidability of a major suit depends on whether I am 3-3 or 2-4 in the minors just can't be right. You might as well play that a 4-card major may or may not be biddable depending on what you had for dinner.
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#55 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 03:23

Liversidge, you still aren't getting it.

The main thing isn't checkback after 1c-1d-1nt. It's playable, it's arguably not necessary. But THIS ALONE WON'T SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM OF MISSING 4-4 major fits! It's not the primary fix needed.

Think about it, you have a 4342 6 count. Partner is 4234. Partner opens 1c. You respond 1d. He rebids 1nt. Now what? If you checkback, fine, this time you survive, as partner has spades. But next time, partner is 2434, has hearts but not spades. You end up in 2nt with 15 opposite 6, and go down. Generally it's too dangerous to try to checkback with <= 8, you go down in 2nt too often with no compensation, and checkback followed by 2nt is supposed to be invitational so you end up in 3nt down too often also. So with weak non-invitational hands, either you don't checkback and miss 4-4 M fits, or you do checkback and get to 2nt/3nt with insufficient values too often.

Bidding 1d, up the line bidding, is incompatible with opener bypassing 1M to bid 1nt with 15-17 balanced. One partner is bidding up the line while the other is not. This doesn't work very well.

The most important thing is to bypass 1d to bid a major with weakish hands and 4-4 hands in general. Adding checkback without doing this won't solve your issue. Either that or convincing your partner to open the major.
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#56 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 04:10

View PostStephen Tu, on 2016-June-02, 03:23, said:

The most important thing is to bypass 1d to bid a major with weakish hands and 4-4 hands in general. Adding checkback without doing this won't solve your issue. Either that or convincing your partner to open the major.


Apologies, Stephen,

I had already take on board the advice you gave in your earlier post - it made a lot of sense and I should have acknowledged that in my last post.

My thought is to propose to partner that, for the time being, we will both open 'up the line', and that responder will show the 4 card major in preference to a minor when weak, and if stronger then show the minor in preference to the major, followed by Checkback if opener rebids 1NT. We both know that Checkback should only be used with a reasonable probability of game. That way the change to his current methods is small, logical and easy to remember- "if as responder you are only strong enough for one free bid, prefer to show your major".

It does mean me switching to opening in the minor, but in time I can work on persuading him to switch, as per our shared bidding reference books, so we are both working off the same hymn sheet.

Hope that sounds like a reasonable approach.
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#57 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 05:17

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-June-02, 03:02, said:

And we have moved from a 1NT showing 15-16 to 15-17, and why (1any - 1any - 2NT rebid after a one level response is game forcing).


Do you have any way to show 18-19?
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#58 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 05:20

presumably 18-19 is game forcing if you don't respond on random 5-counts. I think that is a reasonable approach.
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#59 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 05:21

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-June-02, 05:20, said:

presumably 18-19 is game forcing if you don't respond on random 5-counts. I think that is a reasonable approach.

You still have to have a rebid to show the hand type, and 3NT is a bit kludgy
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

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#60 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-June-02, 05:24

Yes, that's what I say, presumably 2nt shows (or includes) 18-19 and is game forcing.
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