# BBO Discussion Forums: Preemptive Transfers - BBO Discussion Forums

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## Preemptive Transfers

### #1IrishLefty

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Posted 2003-July-21, 21:26

Has anyone tried preemptive transfers, and what kind of success have you had with it? I've been fooling around with different versions of P/T for about 30 years (strictly for fun) and over the long run, it seems to give a slight advantage over no transfers.
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### #2the hog

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Posted 2003-July-22, 00:34

Have tried these but believe the disadvantages strongly outweigh the advantages. You are in effect giving the opponents two bites of the cherry eg
(3H) X = H s/suiter 3S = t/o of S
or if you like
X = general values, happy for pd to hit 3S if he wishes.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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### #3EricK

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Posted 2003-July-22, 01:28

Quote

Have tried these but believe the disadvantages strongly outweigh the advantages. You are in effect giving the opponents two bites of the cherry eg
(3H) X = H s/suiter 3S = t/o of S
or if you like
X = general values, happy for pd to hit 3S if he wishes.

Suppose you are playing the first of your suggestions

Compare (3S) X All pass with
(3H) 3S (p) ? ???

This is surely a gain for the transfer pre-empt (if the pass of the negative double was correct)

Also, right siding the contract (after eg 3H (p) 3S All pass) must be worth about half a trick per hand in the long term. And keeping the unknown hand hidden must be worth a further fraction of a trick.

And if you play transfer pre-empts, you can include other hands (eg with a 6-6 two suiter you can transfer into the higher then bid the lower)

How have you arrived at your opinion that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Was it experience at the table (which surely didn't cover a statistically significant sample, and is notoriously prone to mis-analysis) or was it via a simulation?

Note, I am not saying you are wrong (I have never played them, nor done a simulation!), but it has always struck me that this is closer than the nay-sayers seem to think.

Eric
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Posted 2003-July-22, 02:05

Hi all,

I have played transfer preempts and have defend against transfer preempts many times in live bridge.

The main goal of the preempt is to disturb opponents from finding their best contract and to find our sacrifice / contract when available. It's destructive bid by itself aiming to steal space.

When opening natural PRE the options for opps are DBL, suit....
When opening transfer PRE we give 3 additional options: direct DBL, delayed DBL, DBL+DBL and low-level Que. Obviosly a contradiction arises between the goal of PRE to steal space from Opps making their live harder and giving them 3 more options to describe constructively their hands. In general transfer works well when Opps are silent(constructive option), and natural is better when opps need to bid(destructive option).

Regarding science bidding of 6-6 two suiter by transfer - it seems perfect on paper and worse at the table:-)))))))))

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### #5the hog

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Posted 2003-July-22, 02:42

How have you arrived at your opinion that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Was it experience at the table (which surely didn't cover a statistically significant sample, and is notoriously prone to mis-analysis) or was it via a simulation?

Note, I am not saying you are wrong (I have never played them, nor done a simulation!), but it has always struck me that this is closer than the nay-sayers seem to think.

Oh Please! I think I have played against this stuff and played this stuff long enough to know what works and what doesn't without having to run a simulation.

Also while the auction you quote (3H) 3S for takeout might lose when pd would have passed the X, I still think you gain more on other hands by having 2 options.

Bidding 6-6 hands this way, incidentally, works a lot better in theory than in practice. I totally agree with Rado's post.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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### #6bearmum

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Posted 2003-July-22, 04:23

WHAT are "premptive transfers" - and I GUESS they have to be alerted???
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### #7mishovnbg

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Posted 2003-July-22, 08:23

I agreee ofcourse with Rado/The_Hog posts. In addition i like idea of 2 way transfers because who can said not open not vul say QJ10xxxx and with AQJxxx too? So if you can play 2SP as constuctive pre-empt like PPilot&Rado, here is very nice place to play over 2NT relay answers by transfers. If opp are silent first 2 rounds, i suppouse they will be silent too in the continuation of bidding. Shortly, transfers are VERY GOOD as answer to relay. Example:

2SP ( any constuctive pre-empt ) - 2NT ( relay for suit )
3CL: DI
3DI: HE
3HE: SP
3SP: CL
3NT: AKQxxxx, any suit, no side values

Note: Direct opening 3NT can show now ACOL 3NT.

Misho
MishoVnBg
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### #8LukeG

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Posted 2003-July-22, 08:26

I have not tried transfer preempt opening bids, so I can't speak from personal experience. However, my friend Bart Bramley, one of the top players in hte country, plays them and loves them them. He estimates that letting the preemptor's partner become the declarer gains an average of half a trick per hand.
Luke Gillespie
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### #9luis

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Posted 2003-July-22, 08:48

Preempt transfers are better than normal transfers in pairs tournaments, against weak players or against unprepared pairs or unprepared teams.
As The_Hog said if you arrange a defense against transfer preempts you will be in disacvantage (they will know what a direct dbl is, what a late dbl is, what the cuebid means, what a direct overcall means, late overcall, direct 3nt, late 3nt etc....).

Since most of the time the other pair/team won't have a prepared defense the method will make your results better than normal preempts because the opps are unprepared and because you are right siding the contract.

Luis
The legend of the black octogon.
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### #10mishovnbg

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Posted 2003-July-22, 10:48

Quote

Preempt transfers are better than normal transfers in pairs tournaments, against weak players or against unprepared pairs or unprepared teams.
Since most of the time the other pair/team won't have a prepared defense the method will make your results better than normal preempts because the opps are unprepared and because you are right siding the contract.

Luis

I completely agree with Luis. Same reason is to play unusual system like MOSCITO, Besnazwy... or own system. Opponents cant remeber all agreement against "unusual" bids and must play some kind of "meta defence", far less effective than against natural system. Ofcourse to play such system you must do hard work with partner...
and remain partners with him for long time ;D
Misho
MishoVnBg
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### #11luis

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Posted 2003-July-22, 11:21

Misho,

I like the term "meta-defense", there're many conventions and bids that have good results because you just make your opps default to their meta-defense methods.
A meta-defense is when your suits are suits, your almost never double and you bid 3n expetcing to make and if you have doubts you take the bid that is less likely to cause an accident or you just pass. As obvious if your opps are restricted to such conditions you have an advantage, frequently a tactical bid by responder completely destroys the comptetitive capabilities of the meta-defenders.
The legend of the black octogon.
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### #12Cave_Draco

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Posted 2003-July-22, 12:01

Misho & Luis your arguments verge on the unethical, ;D.

Playing a bizarre system because it messes up opponents would be unethical; playing a bizarre system because it works is another matter!

If you play Texas or SA Texas, which can be preemptive, they need to be:

Playing a preemptive transfer as such? I think your opponents should be pre-alerted, so that they can discuss how to handle them, :-D.
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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### #13luis

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Posted 2003-July-22, 12:18

Quote

Playing a bizarre system because it messes up opponents would be unethical;

Why? If the regulations and conditions of contest allow you to play a system then it is up to your opponents to design proper counter-measures, if they don't want to do their homework and have an accident for being confused it is self-inflicted damage.
If most of your opps play vanilla systems then designing a system to mess them while perfectly adhering to the regulations is legal and it is also ethical.
The legend of the black octogon.
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### #14Cave_Draco

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Posted 2003-July-22, 12:37

Quote

Quote

Playing a bizarre system because it messes up opponents would be unethical;

Why? If the regulations and conditions of contest allow you to play a system then it is up to your opponents to design proper counter-measures, if they don't want to do their homework and have an accident for being confused it is self-inflicted damage.
If most of your opps play vanilla systems then designing a system to mess them while perfectly adhering to the regulations is legal and it is also ethical.

Where are we playing? BBO or Bermuda Bowl?

That is the inverse of the reason for banning systems & is equally invalid, :-D. It invites administrators to ban systems!

If you pre-alert preemptive transfers? I don't have a problem. If you just alert it? Would you allow opps to discuss there & then?

On the other claw, I pre-alert the Weak NT, DONT is not the best defence to the Weak NT... Opps should have a chance to discuss.
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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### #15inquiry

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Posted 2003-July-22, 12:43

The dragon raises some excellent points, parroting a comment made by Fred in the original post where the scientist challenged the naturalist. Fred objected to many of the scientist methods, and one of his objections was....

2) Many players who use such systems do so in order to gain an edge, not because of the superiority of the methods, but because of their opponents' likely unfamiliarity with them (I am not suggesting that Richard or any other specific people have these reasons for choosing to use such methods)." "see reply 17 at http://forums.bridgebase.com/in...ay;threadid=520

This discussion of transfer preempts hinges directly on this point. There is questions about their "merit" other than when you catch the unprepared who are not familiar with it. Legal? yes. Ethical? maybe... if when you make the bid, you provide sound "recommended" defenses to your opponents at the table. After all, bridge is a sport where the best methods (and ability) should win.

Now for the purist, the fact that the opponents have not prepared for your esoteric methods means, by default, you must be playing "better methods" (their methods are deficient). But come on, let the best theory (play and bid) win, not unfamilarity. Alert and provide recommended defenses, and move on to next issue.

And yes, I have been experimenting with ultimate club lately which uses one under preempts, with nothing more than a general "alert" and describe it as showing the next suit and weak. I should be at least offering defenses to the bid myself.

Ben
--Ben--

### #16luis

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Posted 2003-July-22, 13:28

Most players playing non-sayc methods do alert, pre-alert and provide a defense. Nevertherless sayc players insist in ignoring those methods, and defaulting to meta-defense every time something is "strange". Then if they get a good result the opps are crazy maniacs that wanted to confuse you, but if they get a bad result they are trying to confuse you so first check if they can nullify the board via some legal artifact (a missalert or something) then check if the sayc-friendly director can do something...if all fails just wait and hope that some organization would eventually ban those methods.

Everybody is allowed to play whatever the rules allow and following the rules regarding alerts, pre alerts and defenses. You can't be unethical if you follow the rules, and you are not unethical for playing a non-standard system. That's the only truth.
The legend of the black octogon.
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### #17inquiry

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Posted 2003-July-22, 14:19

I was not editorializing, I was just comparing the dragon's comments to fred's. Let me requote the relevant parts.

Fred said: "Many players who use such systems do so in order to gain an edge, not because of the superiority of the methods, but because of their opponents' likely unfamiliarity with them"

Crave Drago said "Playing a bizarre system because it messes up opponents would be unethical; playing a bizarre system because it works is another matter!"

Misho (my good friend said) "Opponents cant remeber all agreement against "unusual" bids and must play some kind of "meta defence", far less effective than against natural system."

and Luis, (my new friend said) "Since most of the time the other pair/team won't have a prepared defense the method will make your results better than normal preempts because the opps are unprepared and because you are right siding the contract."

My point was to show how close the dragon's comments were to those of Fred.... that many people choose a treatment that is unfamiliar to their opponents to gain an edge. A point that Misho clearly supported in his quote and that lies at half of the response by Luis (also, right siding the contract which has nothing to do with opponents not being familiar is included in Luis's comments).

As for me, I would think it is ok to play two under preempts or one under preempts if you think you are doing so BECAUSE you think they are superior. I played 1 under preempts becasue it was part of ultimate club (the only time I have played such preempts). But not ok to play them if you think they are inferior in theory, but because of oppoenentss unfamilarity with them they work better in practice.

However, I have read the bridge world editorials on playing the game to win based upon the conditions of contest. If a round robin is set up so that by losing one round you have a better chance of winning an event, the Bridge world theory goes (or at least years ago went), then by all means, throw the match. The argument is that it was the CONDITIONS OF CONTEST that was in the wrong to allow this situation in the first place, and that players should do what ever they can within the laws to win.

But I on the otherhand, hope at least, that I play with a different goal in mind. Sure I like to win, and sure I will psych, falsecard, all to try and gain an advantage. But there are things I would like to think I would not do. Intentionally throw a match is one, and to choose systemically inferior methods in the hopes of zapping unwary opponents is another. Of course, prealerts, and recommended defense alerts take away the element of surprize, and Luis and others who make these alerts and prealerts should be applauded. If everyone did this, clearly they would select only the best methods as surprises wouldn't occur.

Ben
--Ben--

### #18DrTodd13

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Posted 2003-July-22, 14:41

I think that superiority in the theoretical sense must include the difficulty
that opponents have in dealing with the convention. For example, many
good results with Ekrens stems from opponents unfamiliarity although
even if you have a good defense it is hard to compete against the
preemptiveness of Ekrens. So, the difficulty can include inherent difficulty
and infamiliarity difficulty. I think it is hard to disentangle these two.
After all, the test of superiority should be at the table and not on
computer (which isn't phased by table pressure).

How do we rate a forcing pass system whose FERT bid is 1H? Playing
such a system, in only about 1 out of 4 cases do the opponents get
an auction they are used to. Is getting the opponents out of their
normal methods a legitimate goal of a system/convention? If the
answer is no then explain how this differs from preemption? At first
glance I agreed with Fred and Dragon that using something solely
for unfamiliarity would be wrong...but I don't know where to draw the
line in the sand. Moreover, this is just a theoretical exercise...what
would we do with methods we agreed were played only for
unfamiliarity? I hate to define what is allowed based on what is
currently popular because that leads to stagnation. On the other
hand, ACBL has probably already outlawed everything that would go
in that category and more so it probably doesn't matter.
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### #19hrothgar

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Posted 2003-July-22, 14:56

Monocultures are inherently unstable and prone to disruption.
This observation is just as true to bridge as it is to biology, zoology, computer science, ...

My own take on matters is as follows:

#1. I don't like regulations regarding bidding systems. Invariably these regulations collapse down into "What my friends and I like should be legal / everything else should be banned". I can see some logic to regulatory structures based on a single, standardized system. I would even argue that there is value in requiring that all players in novice events use the same bidding system without exception. However, once you open the door and allow choice it becomes virtually impossible to drawn any kind of a line. Case in point: I believe that players who only know SAYC will have almost as much trouble adjusting to opponents playing Acol as MOSCITO.

#2. While meta-defenses such as SOAP may not be an optimal defense to any given bidding system, I do believe that they are the most appropriate solution to deal with unusual bidding systems. I have a damn good memory for bidding systems, however, even I am not going to devise and learn an optimized defense for every bidding system that I could potentially face. If and when a system gains sufficienly in popularity, I will considered adjusting/ammending my meta defenses to compensate. I recognize that this means that I might not be using a "optimized" defense against the New North Wales Variable pass. Then again, I'm not sure whether my defenses to Standard American is optimal either, so I'm not going to lose much sleep over this.

#3. Many Zonal authorities have had great success building growing and thriving bridge communities while simulataneously allowing players great leeway with respect to the methods that they employ. I would argue that the system regulations in North American are the abberant behaviour of a membership organization in its death throws, desperately trying to serve an ever more narrow clientel.
Alderaan delenda est
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### #20mishovnbg

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Posted 2003-July-22, 18:53

Hi friends from all world

Even eating people can be ethic for some group/community/population. Our ethic depend of our curent laws - wrote or not. Without laws/regulations will be chaos - opposite side of evolution. American laws are good for americans, else they will change them. European laws are good for europeans, else they will change them... Who am i to judge? But i all life try to understand reasons of different opinion than my own. If all people try to understand each other instead of beating and war will be much better world :.
Bridge is only game, but is clear war game. How in any war better weapons and better training normally win. Laws of war are as any other laws. Restricting some type of weapon ( say atomic strong pass ) depend of current laws. You may not like them, but you must follow them, if you like fair duel. Ofcorse nobody ask winers, but if you did someting not right, you remember that - cant run from your own memories. How can you know that you are better, if you used some kind of cheating? And instead of pleasure bridge become hard work, be sure i know something about ;D.
Is unusual system form of cheating? I think - not. It is form of weapon of bridge war. To use this system/weapon pair must do much hard work that normal players didnt. I dont think it is unethical or unfair - it is result ot their effort. What about opponents? By the general law of duplicate bridge they MUST have same information, also about possibilities thats all. They also can use unusual methods of defence for example. If they dont want to do their "home work" as said Luis, his right is to lose or win by this way. About defensive database... I think it is local USA bridge law, but not bad, if no corruption and personal interest. In right shape it can help to progress too with defence inventions.
By the way, at Varna ( town in Bulgaria where i live ) tournaments for pleasure - Albena and Goden Sands ( seaside resorts ) - all systems are allowed, welcome .

Misho
MishoVnBg
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