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Bidding flaw, will this work?

#1 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 17:39

Playing 5 card majors, weak NT, this sequence came up:

1 2
3NT

I held:

AQJ2
K94
AT53
A8

It pained me to bid 3NT, it is horrible, especially with a four card major, but that was our agreement with 17-18 HCP. As it happened, we hadn't missed a spade fit, but we had missed a good slam. Partner held:

K76
A
K74
KJT743

Clubs were 4-1 onside and 12 tricks were easy.

First question, is there a way to slam, either in clubs or NT?
Second question, I asked partner whether it is better to always respond 2NT showing 15-18 HCP after a 2 over 1 response. He said that was a very deep question, implying there was a lot more too it than I might be thinking, though he didn't say what. I can't see any problem with adopting this, which avoids the horrible space consuming 3NT bid, what do you think, amn I missing some subtleties somewhere?
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#2 User is offline   KingCovert 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 19:26

I take it that 2NT shows 15-16 then?

Having the weaker bid be cheaper is just sub-optimal. It's not quite principle of fast arrival, but, you can think of it as the same here. Leave the bidding room for the stronger hands. 2NT=17-18, and 3NT=15-16. I'd consider combining these bids, into 2NT, but then I don't know what 3NT shows?

Even with your agreements though, the way to find 6 or 6NT here is with South continuing over 3NT. 4 is not Gerber, it is a slam try in clubs. 4, 4, 4, followed by 4NT which is absolutely forcing in this sequence where you're not missing a key-card, but shows reservation about . Since you hold the A, you'd bid 5, and your partner can bid 5 or 6 or 6NT here.

To not continue with an Ace, 3 Kings, and a 6 card suit when you show 17-18 Balanced is just bad bridge. I could understand if your partner had a flat 14. But, that's not flat.
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#3 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 19:48

I dont have a problem with the jump to 3N other than the prospect of losing the spade suit, which could be very costly. Picture Kxxx Axx x KQxxx

This is too big an issue for me: Id reserve the jump for a hand with no major and some 5332 or 4333 shape.

So what to do? My fudge is to bid 2N, intending to raise a 3N response to 4N, which ought to be safe (especially if playing 2/1)

I reject 2S since for me that promises shape, which I lack. Id rather temporarily conceal strength than permanently distort shape.

If I did rebid 3N, then I agree with KC that responder has to bid 4C. Note that this is natural, forcing, and suggests exploring a slam, in clubs or notrump.

Opener is delighted: this is a highly slam oriented hand due to the plethora of controls. The next 3 calls are easy: 4D, 4H, 4S.

Now responder has a decision. I disagree with KC here. Firstly, responder doesnt know that there are no missing keycards. Opener neednt have the club A to cuebid over 4C.

Here, I like to play that 5C says: Ive made my slam try, but Im pretty much bid out. You need a very good hand, in context, to bid more

Any bid of 5D/H/S by responder, instead, is another cue and, since the auction is now committed to at least 6C, it shows interest in grand.

A jump to 6C (or 6N) places the contract

Which brings me to 4N. It shows too much to bid 5C, but not enough to bid 6C.

This may sound complicated, but if you understand that responder has 5C, 3 more cuebids, and 6C or 6N to cater to various hands, 4N logically cant be anything else. I did leave out a jump to 5N over 4S. To me this would be pick a slam, but I understand some might prefer it as GSF.
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#4 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 01:48

When playing weak NT it's common for the 2NT rebid to be 15-19, game-forcing and for the 3NT bid to be 15-17 with no additional features (like an outside four-card major). That way if you bid 2NT and then 3NT, you are usually showing 18-19.
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#5 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 02:14

Sir.I would rebid either 2S or 2NT depending upon previous. agreements.In our style my bid is 2S,which may not be a piece of cake for all.Playing Super Precision the opening is 1C which gives scope to investigate in details if opponents do not. preempt.We would play in 6NT .
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 02:53

Playing 1D 2C as a game force I would cheerfully rebid 2S here, which leads quite naturally to slam with even basic Roman Keycard in clubs, shape or not.
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#7 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 03:05

Thanks for the responses, I'll have another think. We are not playing 2 over 1 game force, it shows a good 9 HCP upward, so a 2NT bid by opener forces to game. I cannot have 19 HCP here because the 19-20 and 20-21 HCP balanced hands are covered in the multi bids, hence was wondering if always rebidding 2NT showing 15-18 HCP is feasible, and the jump to 3NT showing opening HCP with a solid minor (a bit like one hand the opponents picked up which had eight solid diamonds and the heart ace).

I am aware that rebidding a minor suit past 3NT is slam invitational inviting a cue bidding sequence. I had this last week, when I opened 1, partner responmded 2, I bid 2, she responded 4. For some reason she throught my 4 continuation was natural, so signed off in 5, instead of cue bidding her A, and we missed 7.
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#8 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 03:06

We have wrestled with this problem over the years. Our current thinking is:
- Our 2-over-1 promises 10 HCP or occassionally a good 9.
- We have tried the "Principle of Fast Arrival" approach where the jump to 3NT shows the minimum 15-16 and no interest in the majors and all other hands in the 15-19 range bid 2NT. We found that the wide range caused problems: do we invite slam in case partner is at the maximum end? This risks getting too high if partner has a 15-count minimum. The 15-16 HCP point hand is statistically far more common. A further problem is that we sometimes want to open at the one level with a 20-count (say: AKXX KQXX AKJX X) and now after 1-2? To be honest, the Principle of Fast Arrival was never really intended for no trump auctions.
- We have now changed to: 2NT rebid shows 15-18 (this smaller range is much more manageable) and 3NT rebid shows 19-20 (not forcing, but highly encouraging). There isn't room to look for the 8-card major suit fit after the the 3NT rebid, but with a combined 29+ HCPs, 3NT often plays as well as 4M anyway. After the 3NT rebid, all bids, including 4M, are forcing.
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#9 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 03:10

View PostAL78, on 2020-February-13, 03:05, said:

Thanks for the responses, I'll have another think. We are not playing 2 over 1 game force, it shows a good 9 HCP upward, so a 2NT bid by opener forces to game. I cannot have 19 HCP here because the 19-20 and 20-21 HCP balanced hands are covered in the multi bids, hence was wondering if always rebidding 2NT showing 15-18 HCP is feasible, and the jump to 3NT showing opening HCP with a solid minor (a bit like one hand the opponents picked up which had eight solid diamonds and the heart ace).


Yes 2NT showing 15-18 is feasible (see my answer above) and much better than 15-19.

An alternative use for 3NT, which I have also tried is that 3NT shows 15-18 AND good support for partner's minor.
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#10 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 03:39

We play 2N GF and don't even require it to be balanced, we just play 2N and then 3 as a really big hand so 2 is limited, so certainly 2N as 15-18/19 balanced is playable and routine for most Acol pairs.

Partner with a good 14 and a 6 card suit should be thinking about bidding on, the 6th card lowers the amount of points you need for a slam to roundabout what you have.

Also you have an excellent 18 an AQJ and all aces and kings. We split the ranges at good/bad 19, so I can't upgrade,but you could if it was any 19 (K&R gives 18.8).
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#11 User is offline   DozyDom 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 09:33

I mean... you get to slam because partner bids slam there. 31-32 points with a long minor in one hand is going to be a slam you want to be in. If he's relaxed about his prospects he can invite with 4NT, and you'll accept. It's not a system issue, it's just a judgment issue.
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#12 User is offline   KingCovert 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 11:06

View Postmikeh, on 2020-February-12, 19:48, said:

Now responder has a decision. I disagree with KC here. Firstly, responder doesn’t know that there are no missing keycards. Opener needn’t have the club A to cuebid over 4C.

Here, I like to play that 5C says: ‘ I’ve made my slam try, but I’m pretty much bid out. You need a very good hand, in context, to bid more’

Any bid of 5D/H/S by responder, instead, is another cue and, since the auction is now committed to at least 6C, it shows interest in grand.

A jump to 6C (or 6N) places the contract

Which brings me to 4N. It shows too much to bid 5C, but not enough to bid 6C.

This may sound complicated, but if you understand that responder has 5C, 3 more cuebids, and 6C or 6N to cater to various hands, 4N logically cant be anything else. I did leave out a jump to 5N over 4S. To me this would be pick a slam, but I understand some might prefer it as GSF.


I was trying to say pretty much exactly this. But... I'm definitely not known for being articulate. Also, it doesn't help that I don't get into auctions quite like these, I don't play 2/1 with any regularity whatsoever. :(

I felt like after the 4, 4, 4 cuebids that this hand was almost certainly going to some slam, but, I can't explore any potential grand slams without knowing about Trump. So, since cue-bidding more should surely show both the AK, and 5 shows a hand with no extra value, but the K is still there, and I can't be sure that grand slam isn't making: 4NT seemed like the right bid here.

Is this a correct understanding?

EDIT: Oh, I see where I was an idiot... I said, "In this sequence where you're not missing a keycard." I really should have said, "In this sequence where you've made every possible cue-bid." I just sort of rationalize this meaning by saying, "Well, I've gotten every piece of positive news possible, this can't possibly be anything but forward going, but, I'm bidding this for a reason". The reason being that I'm missing a keycard of course.
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#13 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 12:16

View Postmikeh, on 2020-February-12, 19:48, said:

If I did rebid 3N, then I agree with KC that responder has to bid 4C. Note that this is natural, forcing, and suggests exploring a slam, in clubs or notrump.

Opener is delighted: this is a highly slam oriented hand due to the plethora of controls. The next 3 calls are easy: 4D, 4H, 4S.

So Opener knows Responder has 6+ C?
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#14 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 13:48

View Postnullve, on 2020-February-13, 12:16, said:

So Opener knows Responder has 6+ C?


On this hand, he doesn't even need to know that, he needs 4 club tricks not 5, KJ10xx is enough to make it good
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#15 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 16:40

View Postnullve, on 2020-February-13, 12:16, said:

So Opener knows Responder has 6+ C?

While I can imagine a hand bidding 4C with only 5, the suit would look like KQJxx. Its not that opener knows how many clubs responder has. Its about what responder is saying. He is saying I have slam interest and a good club suit: do you like your hand?

Opener has a huge hand in context, with all those Aces and Kings.
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#16 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 16:41

View Postnullve, on 2020-February-13, 12:16, said:

So Opener knows Responder has 6+ C?

While I can imagine a hand bidding 4C with only 5, the suit would look like KQJxx. Its not that opener knows how many clubs responder has. Its about what responder is saying. He is saying I have slam interest and a good club suit: do you like your hand?

Opener has a huge hand in context, with all those Aces and Kings.
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#17 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-February-14, 09:57

Playing a Weak NT, a common solution is to play that a 2NT rebid shows 15+ and is GF. To do this you do have to make sure that 2/1 responses are not made too light.

Another solution, popular is some 5+Strong systems, is for all minimum hands to rebid a forcing 2 and have a 2NT rebid show 18-19. Even in a Weak NT context it is possible to play a 2 rebid as forcing, though in this case the hands contained within it are usually somewhat different from the 5+Strong systems.

I have also tried KC's inversion but I personally found it clunky so I would hesitate to recommend it at all.

Finally, there are some slightly more radical solutions available. The most popular of these is having all balanced hands outside of NT range open 1 and use transfer responses to make sure that Opener can show their balanced range more cheaply than in a more traditional system. The other one that sees quite a lot of use is to split the balanced ranges between the 1m openings, so 1 = natural or 15-17 balanced; and 1 = natural or 18-19 balanced, for example. This means that the cheapest NT rebid is unambiguously of the specified range, albeit at the cost of not having shown as much shape.

All of these solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. It is just a matter of understanding what the options are and choosing the one that best matches to you and your partner.
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#18 User is offline   KingCovert 

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Posted 2020-February-14, 11:01

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-February-14, 09:57, said:

Playing a Weak NT, a common solution is to play that a 2NT rebid shows 15+ and is GF. To do this you do have to make sure that 2/1 responses are not made too light.

Another solution, popular is some 5+Strong systems, is for all minimum hands to rebid a forcing 2 and have a 2NT rebid show 18-19. Even in a Weak NT context it is possible to play a 2 rebid as forcing, though in this case the hands contained within it are usually somewhat different from the 5+Strong systems.

I have also tried KC's inversion but I personally found it clunky so I would hesitate to recommend it at all.

Finally, there are some slightly more radical solutions available. The most popular of these is having all balanced hands outside of NT range open 1 and use transfer responses to make sure that Opener can show their balanced range more cheaply than in a more traditional system. The other one that sees quite a lot of use is to split the balanced ranges between the 1m openings, so 1 = natural or 15-17 balanced; and 1 = natural or 18-19 balanced, for example. This means that the cheapest NT rebid is unambiguously of the specified range, albeit at the cost of not having shown as much shape.

All of these solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. It is just a matter of understanding what the options are and choosing the one that best matches to you and your partner.


Yeah, I don't particularly think that 2NT=18-19, and 3NT=15-17 is particularly great. Just better than the opposite. If you were to play such a thing, I'd just be more willing to pattern out on the 15-17 hands that seem to have more value, or to upgrade more liberally.

That all being said, I would agree that 2NT=15+ is a solid, and better, agreement.
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