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Modern cue-bidding Has the style changed - not using Michaels anymore?

#1 User is offline   Karert 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 09:41

I faced the bidding sequence below, and asked about the 3!S overcall - sounds like a routine Michaels, but some players go rogue, so I asked for clarification, and apparently it's not.




I was advised it's a cue-bid, "and if y dont know what ios a cue go read bridge book". I've read some books in the past, and I've always considered a standard "cue-bid" (as opposed to say, a Michaels cue-bid) is used to show a control, when a suit is agreed, normally exploring for slam.

I called for the director of the tourney, seeking a clarification, and the director ruled that

"cue bid not only michael, its different. He just showed short in spade and ask to his partner for bid excepting of spade".

Am I going crazy? When did the bridge world start cue-bidding controls before even agreeing a trump suit? Is it customary now just to bid controls, and hope we find a fit at the end of the sequence?
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#2 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 10:37

It's not a control showing cue bid. The director seems to think it is for takeout though I am not sure why he doesn't ask West in absence of East. I would just not worry and hope your agreements allow you to double for punishment as well as show controls :)
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#3 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 14:22

Maybe if you bid 3 instead of 2 setting the trump suit and showing a solid suit this intervention might have not happened.

3 by the opponents here, given that you have already announced your big 2 hand sounds more of an exclusion bid (void) designed to disrupt your bidding as much as possible. As, I assume, there were no formal agreements and the bid was undiscussed it could have been either a two-suited Michael's type hand (hearts and a minor) or a three suited hand with a singleton or void in s.

I'll let an experienced director on the forums discuss the implications of such an action. Obviously, what happened after the 3 bid, and whether you were damaged by it, is just as important too.
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#4 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 15:44

It is ridiculous to explain the meaning of a bid by using a fancy word like "cue-bid". They need to say in normal English (or whatever the local language is) what 3 means. For example "3-suited short in spades" or "hearts and a minor" or "no agreement" or whatever applies.
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#5 User is offline   Karert 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 16:20

Thanks for the comments so far, all appreciated.

We're playing in an individual tourney - assumed SAYC card - so no other formal agreements, unless the players have previously agreed something.


I don't understand why pescetom would think it's a standard take-out - why not a routine take-out double? This bid should show something different to a standard T/O double.
(Actually, I think on reflection pescetom is expressing a perception of the director's interpretation, not their own view - apologises if I misunderstood/misrepresented your comments/views, Pescetom)

I agree entirely with Felicity - I much prefer a 3!S rebid, but playing in this Goulash tourney, many players are blunt in their bidding, just blindly jump to a game/slam, so I consciously kept the bidding low, hoping I could explore controls for a possible grand.

And I agree too with Helene - thank you for your views. I thought it was a ridiculous description to simply say "cue", and then tell me to read a book. I expected the director to assist, but as I described, they were no help. If they simply said "Michael's - !Hs & a minor" I would have been more than happy; even "Michaels" would have been enough. But to describe it as some sort of control-showing cue-bid, with no description or inference of suits held at all, I thought was ridiculous - particularly when that view was offered by the director!
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#6 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 17:21

View PostKarert, on 2019-August-28, 16:20, said:

We're playing in an individual tourney - assumed SAYC card - so no other formal agreements, unless the players have previously agreed something.

In an individual tournament you presumably don't have any partnership understanding so I think all disclosure should be off. When I am TD'ing indys, I always announce:

"This is an Indy so nobody has any partnership understanding to disclose. Don't alert or announce anything. Don't ask opps for any explanations."

But maybe this TD had different rules. I have seen some indy TDs requiring the bidder to tell opps how they hope partner will understand the bid.
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#7 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 17:26

Personally, I like a rule of thumb that says that I don't open 2C when a not-unreasonable lay of the cards means I can't beat a slam.

More seriously, partner is a passed hand but we have only 13 hcp and reason to think that there is some distribution around. I would open 1S every day of the week, in any form of the game. If the auction then went P P P, I'd check the pulse of the other players.

As for the actual auction, the heading of the post 'modern cuebidding' is misleading. However, the OP ought to have been able to figure this out from bridge logic. Something about the hand should hint that maybe 3S was not a suggestion to play in spades.

Since it is, reasonably enough, clear even to the janitor that the 3S bidder is not intending to play spades, it must be...takeout!

It is fairly common to stay out of 2C auctions when one has a reasonable hand but no good suit. After all, most of the time the 2C opening bidder has almost all the missing hcp: the commonest 2C opener by far, in my experience, is a big balanced hand, where getting into the auction with defence and limited offence makes no sense. Plus partners, expecting the 2C hand to have a big hand, and overcaller often just trying to muddy the water, tend to bid too much.

So what do you do with, say 0=4=5=4 opening values and a 2C opener? Absent an artificial gadget, one passes. Then, over 2S one doubles or, with extras, bids 3S.

I appreciate that this problem likely arose in a game where the players had limited experience, and maybe not in NA, where I play, but I think that the idea that this is 'Micheals' is simply wrong. With 5+ hearts and a 5 card side suit and values, he'd overall 2C.
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#8 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 17:57

View PostKarert, on 2019-August-28, 16:20, said:

.. but playing in this Goulash tourney ..

This kinda changes almost everything about this thread.
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#9 User is offline   Karert 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 18:34

View Postsmerriman, on 2019-August-28, 17:57, said:

This kinda changes almost everything about this thread.



WHy does this change anything about the thread? I'm asking about the specific explanation of the cue-bid - which the director said was a standard, control-showing cue-bid (although no suit was agreed).


Regardless of what views are held about the bidding (some of which I understand & agree with in principal), it's the question about the cue-bid - and whether you can cue-bid without even agreeing a suit - that I was asking about.


Possible wild distributions of the cards should not change the meaning of a bid.


Edit to add: I really don't understand the comment from smerriman. Do people play a different style of cue-bidding based on the style of deals? It's either a control-showing cue-bid (which would infer a singleton/void on my left, despite not having an agreed suit that you're showing controls in support of); or it's a Michaels - which could still have 3!Ss on my left. Why would a goulash deal make any difference to the bid?
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#10 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 18:58

What is the point of this posting other than fatuous whining?

You're playing in the Goulash Individual...

While you certainly have a right to know what the opponent's agreements are, what makes you believe that they actually have any?

Moreover, this style of tournament is a joke. I really wouldn't pay much attention to the cue bidding style of the folks who are playing it, nor the ruling of those who chose to direct.
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#11 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-August-28, 19:13

View PostKarert, on 2019-August-28, 18:34, said:

Possible wild distributions of the cards should not change the meaning of a bid.

When playing Goulash, all standard system bids go out the window. Knowing there is a wild distribution vastly changes the bidding and what is going to be expected, since everything is about how to show 1 and 2 suited hands of different strength and guessing what level to end the bidding at before the opponents can do the same.

For example, 2 should never ever be a generic strong hand like in standard bidding; you have very few opportunities to speak in Goulash with the opponents competing heavily, so you need to use them wisely and let partner know more useful information before it's too late.

You aren't entitled to know what 3 means, simply whether there is a partnership agreement on what it means. Unless your opponents are experienced Goulash players and have a dedicated system in place, I highly doubt there would be one. While the answer you got should have been politer, they probably didn't know anything more than it wasn't showing spades, so in essence you got the correct explanation.

There isn't any real point in director rulings in the bidding for Goulash tournaments, so the fact they weren't following proper procedure isn't too surprising.
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#12 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 04:08

Goulash does not change anything about the hand. Your expectation is that East has a big hand with short spades, 5[s] has a very specific meaning, "partner I have 11 tricks and I am missing two of top 3 spade honours", so you can open the hand 1, 4 or 6
Personally, I open 6 and let opps guess.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 07:08

View PostKarert, on 2019-August-28, 16:20, said:

I don't understand why pescetom would think it's a standard take-out - why not a routine take-out double? This bid should show something different to a standard T/O double.
(Actually, I think on reflection pescetom is expressing a perception of the director's interpretation, not their own view - apologises if I misunderstood/misrepresented your comments/views, Pescetom)

Yes I was trying to interpret the ungrammatical quote attributed to the Director.
The rest of my comments assumed it was a real bridge tournament and so are no longer relevant.
No point in asking for agreements when it is accepted that there are none.
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#14 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 08:47

Was this online? Most online bridge uses self-alerts that aren't seen by partner, so it's safe for players to explain their bids.

#15 User is offline   hamish32 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 09:37

Its an individual so there is no agreement and you are only entitled to know agreements.

However the term ‘cue bid’ just means that it is not showing spades. Its a forcing bid not showing spades.

Since you opened 2C as a psych without a game forcing hand the opps need to get into a constructive auction while avoiding the risk of a X being passed for penalties. You have 13 hcp maybe this hand has the unbid suits with game forcing values. That would be a reasonable assumption since 3S is forcing and not showing spades and we are now at game level. It could also be a slam try in a singlesuited hand.

For example 3S then 4H is much stronger than just bidding 4H. 3S then 4H gives the added expectation that slam is likley.

I think the worst bid at the table is 2C it requires the opps to let each other know that 2C is not based on high card strength. 3S achieves that nicely. I am not sure why you are complaining about it here.
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#16 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 11:14

You certainly don't see this auction every day. "Cue bid" is the wrong explanation. "No agreement" would be the right explanation, although I don't imagine that would be of more help to you.

It's not hard to figure this out, though. East passed originally but now forces partner to the four-level after you have opened 2C. So East has a rock-crusher.

What could East's 3S bid mean? With spades, East would just pass and hope to X at the end. With a two suited hand, East would probably have bid over 2C, but having not done that, would just bid 2NT now (and then correct clubs to diamonds with D and H). So East has a VERY good three-suiter with short spades (likely a void).

Cheers,
Mike
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#17 User is offline   Karert 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 11:27

When I learnt this game, my first lessons taught me that it’s based on ethics, morals – that you’re honest to your opponents: when you communicate with your partner, you don’t try to conceal the meaning of your communication (bid or carding signals) from your opponents.

I know standards have slipped at even the highest levels on occasion (even in recent years), but if I ask for an explanation of a bid, I would expect it to be provided clearly & accurately – just as I would always explain as clearly as possible to my opponents.

The suggestion that an opponent is cue-bidding their controls as their first bid, before even exploring a trump suit at all, is novel to say the least; when a director is complicit in this, accepts & endorses such an explanation, I think standards have slipped. And as I love this game, I think that’s very sad – it does annoy me!
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#18 User is online   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 12:15

View PostKarert, on 2019-August-29, 11:27, said:

The suggestion that an opponent is cue-bidding their controls as their first bid, before even exploring a trump suit at all, is novel to say the least; when a director is complicit in this, accepts & endorses such an explanation, I think standards have slipped. And as I love this game, I think that’s very sad – it does annoy me!


No one has suggested that the opponent is cue-bidding his controls. If you go back and actually read the comments in this thread, you will see that the Unanimous interpretation of the bid is takeout. Yes cue-bid is a poor explanation; and the correct explanation is “no agreement”. What is known by all, of course, is that it is artificial and forcing.
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#19 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 13:05

Step 1: never ask about 3.
Step 2: Bid 4 or more spades.
Let the opponents, who are more or less forced to use their general knowledge to try and bid their hands at the 5 level.
Do not bid 2C with this hand. Bid 4,5,or 6 spades.
The Director did not help at all as they should have said something else or perhaps simply play the hand and call me back if you think you were damaged. (I am ACBL Cert Director).

Step last: 3 Spades should have a specific meaning among partners that play regularly. Otherwise it should show a very strong 2-suited hand since there is no space available otherwise. 3NT or 4 NT should be minor suit oriented. A valuable lesson hand here.
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#20 User is online   Vampyr 

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Posted 2019-August-29, 13:15

View PostdsLawsd, on 2019-August-29, 13:05, said:

Step last: 3 Spades should have a specific meaning among partners that play regularly. Otherwise it should show a very strong 2-suited hand since there is no space available otherwise. 3NT or 4 NT should be minor suit oriented. A valuable lesson hand here.


This happened in an individual. Online, I think, so the players are not even known to each other.

There is no reason to assume that 3 is a two-suited hand. It could also be three-suited or single-suited. There’s nothing wrong with non-leaping Michaels, but I would not expect it to apply in this auction.
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