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Inverted minor raises vs No trumps AKA Deciding on which side to play a contract

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 06:25

Hi all

On the following hand I used an inverted minor raise, rather than NT and ended up playing 3NT+1 by North. Others were in 3NT by south and didnt make an overtrick. I'm not sure that this was down to one side being easier than the other or a bad lead since double dummy suggests both make 3NT

Please can anyone advise on pros and cons of inverted raises with this type of hand, whether you would usually raise to 3NT immediately and if there are any clues in South's hand which way to play NT.

Also what are the general principles for right/wrong siding a contract. I don't generally get to that stage of decision making, usually ending in wherever the auction took us. Maybe it is a more advanced topic but I am curious. I understand the principle that usually you want the opening lead going through the weaker hand towards the stronger hand - hence transfers etc. But are there other considerations. For example how many tenaces you have, where any weaknesses are. Sorry if its a more advanced topic



NOTE. Edited to clarify my 2C and 3D bid as per Hardvector's reply
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 07:50

With all minor suit raises, you're basically looking for 3NT (Most of the time if slam isn't in the equation) except if there isn't a specific stop in one of the other suits.

In Acol it's a straightforward 1NT (weak) - 3NT hand. In 2/1 or SAYC (15-17 NT) it has to go by way of a roundabout route to end in 3NT. At least 2/1 does give us the opportunity to identify whether no-trumps is best, and whether those stops do exist. In Acol, a major suit lead is indicated as no Stayman is involved, so with a different North hand we could be losing the first five tricks.
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#3 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 09:08

Hi possum, it is easy to get overly worried about right-siding. The importance is generally not particularly high. The main feature for choosing a Declarer is honour strength - the stronger the hand, generally the more valuable it is to have that hand as Declarer. We could of course also talk around specific honour combinations but it is generally impractical to build such fine detail into a bidding system, particularly one for beginners. The exception is having a short suit, where having a strong tenace holding is to be preferred as Declarer. Conventions such as Fourth Suit Forcing tend to make this happen automatically in natural bidding systems. On the given hand, most of the time they are leading a spade or diamond and from which side it comes makes no difference whatsoever.

On the subject of NT responses, one of the things I learned from my first bridge teaching book is that it is generally a good idea to have a stopper, or at least a half-stopper, in each of the three unbid suits when jumping to a natural 2NT or 3NT. On this hand I would consider a 1 response to be the main alternative to 2 rather than 2NT (SA) or 3NT (Acol). In the end though, all paths here lead to 3NT and the number of tricks you take is going to depend on the line taken and the distribution of the unseen hands rather than from which side the contract is played.
(-: Zel :-)
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#4 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 09:24

View Postthepossum, on 2019-August-21, 06:25, said:

On the following hand I used an inverted minor raise, rather than NT and ended up playing 3NT+1 by North. Others were in 3NT by south and didnt make an overtrick. I'm not sure that this was down to one side being easier than the other or a bad lead since double dummy suggests both make 3NT
This would be hard to determine without showing the opponent's hands and how the play went. The overtrick could be due to any of:
  • bad lead (in practice on this hand, not necessarily in theory based on all possibilities for N/S hands)
  • mis-defence in the middle of the hand
  • bad declarer play at other tables

Quote

Please can anyone advise on pros and cons of inverted raises with this type of hand, whether you would usually raise to 3NT immediately and if there are any clues in South's hand which way to play NT.

Quote

Also what are the general principles for right/wrong siding a contract. I don't generally get to that stage of decision making, usually ending in wherever the auction took us.


Generally you want the opponent's lead against NT going through the hand with no stopper into the hand with the positional stopper. E.g. with xxx vs Kx, you definitely want the Kx hand to declare. This way you can't be down off the top on a lead in this suit. Player with the ace over the K might underlead the suit to begin with, giving you a trick you in theory didn't deserve, or lead something else in which case maybe you have 9 before RHO can get in to lead through the K. Or if both hands have stoppers, like Axx vs Qx you want the lead coming through the ace, that way you always have a double stopper. If the other way, if K is with third hand, you only have 1 stop.
On the hand given, the only other option besides inverted raise is a leap to 3nt (in modern style 2/1 / SA GF 2nt has fallen out of favor although it's probably theoretically better treatment than having to leap to 3nt). The inverted raise is better because:
  • it gives room for partner to suggest alternate contracts. Partner might have a stiff (or void) in a major. In which case 5c (or 6c!) can often be better than 3nt. If you jump to 3nt he may not be strong enough to move, he doesn't know whether opposite his stiff you have xxx/Axx (where you probably want to not be in 3nt) or KJT/KQT (where probably you do). A raise may be able to find the shortage or weakness in that suit.
  • You have no positional stoppers in either major. You want the lead into partner's spade stopper (only after seeing dummy do you realize he has AK where it didn't actually matter). Or toward's partner's possible Qx/JTx/J9x in hearts.
Generally you prefer to bid 3nt with this flat shape when you have more tenaces/positional stoppers and are pretty sure you want to declare 3nt from your own side. This hand there are clear reasons to raise minor instead.

But it turns out after dummy comes down that siding wasn't really important on this hand. But it could be on other dummies. And some dummies you want to be in 5c/6c instead.

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#5 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 12:15

Nice psyche showing the diamond control.
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#6 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 15:46

View PostHardVector, on 2019-August-21, 12:15, said:

Nice psyche showing the diamond control.


I don't know if it's a psych bid. The GiB system showed it as a valid bid and I wasn't confident going to 3NT without knowing north had spades covered :)
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#7 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 18:09

Dear everyone

Thankyou for all your helpful posts

regards P
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