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last train or control or something else?

#1 User is offline   bilalz 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 05:05

According to standard methods, can you please say what 4d in this sequence is:
2c 2d 2h 2nt 3h 4d

Many thanks in advance.
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#2 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 05:23


bilalz asks "According to standard methods, can you please say what 4d in this sequence is:"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My guess is Italian Cue. tolerance and 1st or 2nd round control.

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#3 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 05:43

View Postnige1, on 2019-January-15, 05:23, said:


bilalz asks "According to standard methods, can you please say what 4d in this sequence is:"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My guess is Italian Cue. tolerance and 1st or 2nd round control.


I agree in the sequence with the meanings you have ascribed to the various bids, Nigel, but they weren't there in the original post. In particular, if 2NT were a second negative, as is sometimes played, I think it would be less clear.
Gordon Rainsford
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#4 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 05:53

Cue, 3H should set trumps.

The question is, what 3NT would mean, could still be an offer to play or it could
be some kind of serious / non serious 3NT bid.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 05:53

View Postgordontd, on 2019-January-15, 05:43, said:

I agree in the sequence with the meanings you have ascribed to the various bids, Nigel, but they weren't there in the original post. In particular, if 2NT were a second negative, as is sometimes played, I think it would be less clear.


Gordon is right as usual. I'm just guessing. If a partnership want a "2nd negative", however, I suggest 3 rather than 2N because the latter might wrong-side a likely contract.
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#6 User is offline   bilalz 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 07:01

I asked because nothing was explained to me about any of the bids having a special meaning and it was claimed that 4d was LTTC. I, in my limited knowledge, claimed that as long as the bids are standard, it can not be LTTC and should be a normal control with heart as trumps. My reasoning being that explicit slam interest is not indicated and responder is hardly squeezed for other bids (serious 3nt being one of them as it can not really be a natural bid after this sequence).

Thank you for the answers. Hope I get some more too, especially about my understanding of LTTC. And for anyone who faces this sequence while sitting on bbo across a partner with nothing but standard agreements.
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#7 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 07:06

View Postbilalz, on 2019-January-15, 07:01, said:

I asked because nothing was explained to me about any of the bids having a special meaning and it was claimed that 4d was LTTC. I, in my limited knowledge, claimed that as long as the bids are standard, it can not be LTTC and should be a normal control with heart as trumps. My reasoning being that explicit slam interest is not indicated and responder is hardly squeezed for other bids (serious 3nt being one of them as it can not really be a natural bid after this sequence).

Thank you for the answers. Hope I get some more too, especially about my understanding of LTTC. And for anyone who faces this sequence while sitting on bbo across a partner with nothing but standard agreements.

If someone claims, that a given bid has the standard meaning LTTC without prior agreement, I stop listening.
LTTC is useful, but it is for sure not part of an standard agreementset.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#8 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 07:56

My understanding of LTTC is if there's one bid between partner's last bid and a sign-off, technically that bid is a Last Train scenario. But...that bid can also show some semblance of a control, depending on partnership agreements.

4 here could be a few things as the 2 (waiting) then 2NT bidder is unlimited. If he's weak then 4 could be a control before signing off; if he's stronger then there's the likelihood the responder will advance after opener bids 4.

The situation is clearer if responder uses a second negative of 2NT/3 here, as suggested by Gordon, but if 2NT is natural suggested by Nigel, then - my interpretation - it is a greyer area as responder could have various different balanced hands suggested by the 2NT bid.
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#9 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 08:03

View PostP_Marlowe, on 2019-January-15, 05:53, said:

Cue, 3H should set trumps.

The question is, what 3NT would mean, could still be an offer to play or it could
be some kind of serious / non serious 3NT bid.


Here in the land called into question by "Italian cue" :) a 3 rebid would not set trumps and as a consequence 3NT and even 4 would be natural, however paradoxical. If opener had wished to set trumps unilaterally and enquire for controls he could have bid 3 over 2, at which point 4 would be control and 3NT non serious.
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#10 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 08:33

View PostP_Marlowe, on 2019-January-15, 05:53, said:

Cue, 3H should set trumps.

I don't see why. An immediate 3H rebid would have set trumps. This just shows a one-suited hand, but doesn't preclude playing in NT or another suit.
Gordon Rainsford
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#11 User is offline   masse24 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 08:58

If I want to offer as a possible strain, I mention my . So:
2 - 3
But I did not do this.

What about a hand that wishes to get out of opener's way to save space? Or a hand with a suit not up to a jump to 3?
With that hand, I might try this:
2 - 2 - 2 - 3
But I did not do this.

To now offer as a possible strain (after twice not bidding them naturally), using the auction given hurts my brain.
2 - 2 - 2 - 2NT
3 - 4

Lacking any specialized agreements, I would interpret 4 as a control with tolerance.
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#12 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 09:05

View Postpescetom, on 2019-January-15, 08:03, said:

Here in the land called into question by "Italian cue" a 3 rebid would not set trumps and as a consequence 3NT and even 4 would be natural, however paradoxical. If opener had wished to set trumps unilaterally and enquire for controls he could have bid 3 over 2, at which point 4 would be control and 3NT non serious.

OK, although after 2-2-2, with a suit, responder could bid 3 rather than 2N.
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#13 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 09:25

View Postgordontd, on 2019-January-15, 08:33, said:

I don't see why. An immediate 3H rebid would have set trumps. This just shows a one-suited hand, but doesn't preclude playing in NT or another suit.

Given that 2NT was natural, 3H being 6+, we have a fit.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#14 User is offline   bilalz 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 10:14

IMO 3nt can not be natural either way because, as pointed out above, if 2nt was natural we have a fit, and if it was negative then how come we suddenly have the strength to play 3nt.

Out of interest, what would the standard meaning of a 2s bid would be in the sequence 2c 2d 2h 2s
(I'm assuming some kind of Kokish relay, but does it show strength?)

and any reason to call a 4d bid now as LTTC after 2c 2d 2h 2s 3h 4d?

Thanks a lot for the answers.
I realize that it can be a bit annoying to try to answer such a question without any knowledge of the agreements but that is precisely the point here. I stressed that absent any agreements or explanation of the various bids, which equates to standard methods amongst pick-up partners (lets assume very well skilled partners so LTTC is known to them along with other conventions like serious nt), 4d is a normal control bid and not LTTC but I was accused of arrogance, when I would simply like to know if I am wrong in my understanding of LTTC in general.
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#15 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 11:14

View Postmasse24, on 2019-January-15, 08:58, said:

To now offer as a possible strain (after twice not bidding them naturally), using the auction given hurts my brain.

I agree that a natural use of 4 here hurts my brain. That's a good reason not to bid it, but it doesn't mean we have to redefine it in a non-expert system.

View Postmasse24, on 2019-January-15, 08:58, said:

Lacking any specialized agreements, I would interpret 4 as a control with tolerance.

So you assume a specialized agreement because you lack specialized agreements? :)
I would just bid 4 and leave it to the post mortem.


View PostP_Marlowe, on 2019-January-15, 09:25, said:

Given that 2NT was natural, 3H being 6+, we have a fit.

If 2NT is purely natural, yes, but that works both ways - partner knows that you know that both know that there must be a fit, so 3NT can still be natural offering a choice of game.

View Postbilalz, on 2019-January-15, 10:14, said:

Out of interest, what would the standard meaning of a 2s bid would be in the sequence 2c 2d 2h 2s
(I'm assuming some kind of Kokish relay, but does it show strength?)

Again you need agreements - if you do play Kokish then 2s is an obligatory puppet and says nothing at all about your hand, which could be 20 or 0 HCP. If you don't play Kokish then it shows a promising holding in spades. You can wriggle out of a total disaster here, as if partner fails to alert your 2s bid he has probably not recognised Kokish, and if you alert his natural 2s then he will realise something is going on, although I suspect gordontd would have something to say about all that B-)

View Postbilalz, on 2019-January-15, 10:14, said:

and any reason to call a 4d bid now as LTTC after 2c 2d 2h 2s 3h 4d?

Here you need to agree what 3h means after Kokish, because you lose the direct bid 2c 2d 3h which imposes trumps. We play that 3h substitutes that sequence (and put semi balanced single-suit hands through NT) so for us that 4d is clearly a control bid. But I guess others might play that 3h retains the natural meaning as in 2c 2d 2h 2x 3h, in which case 4d must be suit showing.
I cannot see any reason to assume an obscure convention like LTTC unless you actually agreed it.
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#16 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 11:21

View Postbilalz, on 2019-January-15, 10:14, said:

IMO 3nt can not be natural either way because, as pointed out above, if 2nt was natural we have a fit, and if it was negative then how come we suddenly have the strength to play 3nt.

Out of interest, what would the standard meaning of a 2s bid would be in the sequence 2c 2d 2h 2s
(I'm assuming some kind of Kokish relay, but does it show strength?)

and any reason to call a 4d bid now as LTTC after 2c 2d 2h 2s 3h 4d?

Thanks a lot for the answers.
I realize that it can be a bit annoying to try to answer such a question without any knowledge of the agreements but that is precisely the point here. I stressed that absent any agreements or explanation of the various bids, which equates to standard methods amongst pick-up partners (lets assume very well skilled partners so LTTC is known to them along with other conventions like serious nt), 4d is a normal control bid and not LTTC but I was accused of arrogance, when I would simply like to know if I am wrong in my understanding of LTTC in general.


LTTC is used as a convenience to allow a bidder to 'mark time', or to show some willingness to continue towards slam but unable to take control or to show a card beyond the game level.

So it is a tool to be used in auctions in which bidding space has been compressed.

Here, over the 3H call, there is a world of bidding space between 3H and 4H. There is no need for LTTC.

LTTC keeps slam alive. Well, if responder has slam interest he surely has at least one side Ace or King...I defy anyone to construct a hand that would bid 2N then have slam interest in hearts and lack a control.

Therefore, by definition, there is no need for LTTC in this auction. 2N should deny any suit that responder thinks should be trump opposite a single-suited 2C opener. Thus there is zero need to use 4D as natural. There is zero need to use 4D as LTTC.

Therefore, by process of elimination (often an essential tool to decipher the meaning of auctions) 4D is a cuebid in support of hearts.

I'm not going to venture a guess as to the hand, but presumably it has some reason to think that a slam may be playable opposite a hand that rebid 2H then 3H.

I would expect a heart honour, since opener has denied a solid, long heart suit (no 3H over 2D....assuming that that was available...some play that 3M shows 4 cards with longer diamonds). So I'd expect the heart King or Queen, usually doubleton, though a stiff isn't impossible with extras.

No Ace or King in a black suit, and it seems unlikely that responder is picturing slam with no true fit and no Ace, and no black control, so I would infer the Ace.
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#17 User is offline   masse24 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 12:06

View Postpescetom, on 2019-January-15, 11:14, said:

I agree that a natural use of 4 here hurts my brain. That's a good reason not to bid it, but it doesn't mean we have to redefine it in a non-expert system.

So you assume a specialized agreement because you lack specialized agreements? :)
I would just bid 4 and leave it to the post mortem.


No "redefining" is done here to infer that 4 is not natural. We were offered the opportunity to bid the suit, and twice declined (various reasons are possible). As Mike mentions, there is a "process of elimination" in play here.

As to a "specialized agreement," since the OP mentioned "standard methods," I offered my opinion on what 4 would mean using such methods.

I have all manner of specialized methods which I did not mention. Why would I?
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 16:37

View Postmasse24, on 2019-January-15, 12:06, said:

I have all manner of specialized methods which I did not mention. Why would I?


I wasn't suggesting that you lack specialized methods, but rather that it may be inappropriate to assume that partner is attempting to use one when you have not agreed so beforehand, particularly if it is not widespread and unambiguous. That's just my opinion though, and I understand it is far from universal.
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#19 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 23:39

I'm pretty much on board with 4 being a control bid.

Responder has a couple of ways to show natural after a 2 opener. One is to make a direct strong response of 3 to 2 . The other is to show after opener rebids 2 --

2 - 2
2 - 3

shows a feature presumably 5+.

OP mentioned standard methods, so apparently 2 is a pure waiting bid response not promising anything. (The 2 negative crowd make 2 a waiting bid with positives meaning.) Normally, then a second negative bid is agreed upon. Way back when 2 NT used to be negative, but it's now usually either cheapest minor or cheapest suit as negative depending on agreement. OP describes 2 NT as natural, so likely the second negative is one of the other two.

But 2 NT can be a lot of hands that don't fit any other bid. It can be barely enough to make game to a rock crusher. BUT, it isn't a single raise reserved for a fit and values, a game raise with a fit and enough for game and no more, a hand with values and a decent 5+ suit (but could a hand with the suit designated as second negative bid) and, of course, wouldn't be a hand with which responder would make a direct positive response over 2 .

Last Train isn't a standard treatment/convention so is something you only play by agreement. In any case, mikeh makes a very cogent and strong case why 4 isn't Last Train.

So, like Sherlock Holmes, once you remove everything that can't true, what remains must be the fact whatever it is -- a control bid with some slam interest presumably agreeing on .

The meaning of the control bid is a matter of what control bidding style the partnership uses by agreement. If the pair normally cues any first or second round control, then 4 must deny a black suit control. If the pair still insists on cueing 1st round controls first, then 4 must be A, no black suit As, but not denying any other second round control.

But the control bid should also imply some other potential cover cards that reduce the loser count in opener's hand. Opener has bid the hand like holding a typical 4 loser Major 2 opener. With simply something like xx and Axxx, responder would just bid 4 . But with something say like Hx and AQxx, there's a good chance that 3 losers can be covered and a slam is a good bet. xx and AKQ is another possible useful holding for slam.
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#20 User is offline   dokoko 

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Posted 2019-January-16, 00:32

As a practical guide a new suit at the 4-level is seldom needed as natural. A diamond suit not mentioned over 2 cannot logically be worth a 4 bid. In my regular partnership a new suit at the 4-level is natural only if there is no logical alternative.

But I think the OP wasn't interested in how he should use the bid but how he should interpret it when used by opps. I would expect it to agree hearts and inviting slam - usually showing control of diamonds.

There is a minority approach to use any bid of 4M-1 as Last Train, even with plenty of room available below 4M. In that case 4 would ask opener for extras and tend to deny control of diamonds. This is clearly alertable if the regulations require alerts at that level. In any case - whether alerted or not - I recommend to ask the meaning of opponents' bids once the bidding is over. There are so many non-standard treatments around that you can't be sure opponents use a bid the same way as you do.
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