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NT sign off in minor suit slam exploration for MPs

#1 User is offline   el mister 

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Posted 2019-March-08, 13:24

Had a couple of auctions in pairs recently where I've been in that situation where we have a minor suit fit, 3N is offered as a safe-looking contract, and I'd like to explore 6m. Trouble is, 5m isn't much of a halfway house in the scoring tables, so if I find we're off a keycard or two then we're booked for a bad score. So it feels like the decision to go past 3N is a very committing one. Is there common treatment that lets you bail in 5N or even 4N natural in the event of being short some controls? Or is it a problem that shouldn't really exist because good players have detailed cue-bidding agreements?
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-March-08, 14:09

You should be able to bail in 4nt usually. Typically person who bid 3nt was willing to play there, partner slam tries by pulling to the minor or cue bidding, if still no interest 4nt should be to play.
Also a fair number of people play kickback or minorwood and define 4nt to play (by asker only, typically) after such sequences.

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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-March-08, 14:27

I think it needs both decent control-bidding agreements and also some kind of kickback.
We play Crosswood (the ask is 4 over clubs and 4 over diamonds) and a subsequent 4NT by asker is to play, even if it coincides with the Queen ask.
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#4 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-March-08, 18:13

View Postpescetom, on 2019-March-08, 14:27, said:

I think it needs both decent control-bidding agreements and also some kind of kickback.
We play Crosswood (the ask is 4 over clubs and 4 over diamonds) and a subsequent 4NT by asker is to play, even if it coincides with the Queen ask.


It wouldn’t actually coincide, would it, since you would then have a different method of queen ask.
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-March-09, 05:37

View PostVampyr, on 2019-March-08, 18:13, said:

It wouldn’t actually coincide, would it, since you would then have a different method of queen ask.


The Queen Ask is (for us) the next step after a 03 or 14 reply, so 4NT can coincide when the asking strain is diamonds.

4NT is also signoff for us after almost any reply to Gerber.
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#6 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-March-09, 12:44

View Postpescetom, on 2019-March-09, 05:37, said:

The Queen Ask is (for us) the next step after a 03 or 14 reply, so 4NT can coincide when the asking strain is diamonds.


If that is the case, how does partner know if it is a Queen-ask or a signoff?
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-March-10, 03:29

View PostVampyr, on 2019-March-09, 12:44, said:

If that is the case, how does partner know if it is a Queen-ask or a signoff?

It's a signoff unless one of us has denied interest in NT (for instance a jump to 4C).
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#8 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2019-March-10, 05:16

My methods are that 4NT is to play in an ace asking sequence over an insufficient reply, whether or not someone has bid 3NT naturally. I don't play RKCB responses, but if you did, then as pescetom points out you can no longer ask for the Q if playing in clubs after a 1 ace response. Then you would need to have some other method, such as when in clubs include the Q as a 6th ace, or include the Q among the kings that can be discovered if you are committing to 6 and looking for grand.

The latter prevents you bidding a small slam conditional on the Q, of course, but if you expect a good number of kings, then it can be reasonably safe. A simple way to do this is to use 5 as asking for kings (should all aces be present) only if asker has the Q. If he doesn't, asker can continue over the ace reply by bidding HIS kings (a bid >5). The understanding here is that if teller has the Q and sees all kings are present, he will bid the grand, but with any missing, only 6.

Including the Q as a sixth ace can work with normal methods when teller is known to be short in keycards, but otherwise a different method is better. I use a modulus 4 compression (cf RKCB uses a modulus 3) such that the step replies to 4 ace ask are "1 or 5", "2 or 6", 3, "4 or 0". This translates as a very simple and logical "steps = number of keycards" and "with none, sign off in trumps".
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#9 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2019-March-10, 05:18

You can always bail in 5NT if you use kickback/minorwood type of ask.
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-March-10, 07:03

View PostfromageGB, on 2019-March-10, 05:18, said:

You can always bail in 5NT if you use kickback/minorwood type of ask.


For us that would be pick a slam in many auctions. But yes, it's an alternative.
Another is to play 4NT as RKCB even when kickback is also available (at which point 4 4 4NT is always bail out).
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