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Cheaper minor -- 4- total points; North gets me again Your call

Poll: Your call (5 member(s) have cast votes)

Alert 3NT Cheaper minor -- 4- total points

  1. Play in 3NT (4 votes [80.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 80.00%

  2. Minors are inexpensive (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. Bid Clubs (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Get a coffee and come back later (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. Bid diamonds (1 votes [20.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  6. Learn to play better and stop bothering me (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  7. It's the unusual 3NT - obviously (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-01, 21:34

You get the hand below, counting winners and losers, you optimistically upgrade your hand to 2.
Hmm, maybe not that optimistic KNR gives this.
The following bidding takes place.
What does Norths bid mean in humanspeak? The word 'Cheaper' is the most confusing bit for me.
I'm reasonably confident that if I alerted and described a bid this way FTF there would be a request for clarification.

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#2 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-January-01, 23:00

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-01, 21:34, said:

What does Norths bid mean in humanspeak?

I don't know about humanspeak, but in GIBspeak it means if you open 2 with that hand, this is what you are going to get!
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#3 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2021-January-01, 23:59

Hamman's law time.

Do I have an active reason to not play 3N?

No?

Then I'm playing 3N.
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#4 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 01:34

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-01, 21:34, said:

You get the hand below, counting winners and losers, you optimistically upgrade your hand to 2.
Hmm, maybe not that optimistic KNR gives this.
The following bidding takes place.
What does Norths bid mean in humanspeak? The word 'Cheaper' is the most confusing bit for me.
I'm reasonably confident that if I alerted and described a bid this way FTF there would be a request for clarification.



Strange use of cheaper minor. My inclination would be to take a coffee and find another partner. There is a thread on Bridgewinners about it where someone reckons there is no bidding room for cheaper minor over 3D as you have noticed. In No Trumps I'm counting 5 tricks. In diamonds maybe 1 or 2 more :)

Possum Sim gives average number of tricks in diamonds 9.6 and No trumps by North 7.2 and the variance doesnt look good in NT either
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#5 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 01:41

Tragically, here's what happened to me.
There were 25 people playing. 1 person made 5DS= - not actually possible.
Another person caught west in 4SxW-2.
One person made 2NT+1 - not possible.
And there were variable amounts of suffering elsewhere in the field.
Sort of Shakespearean rather than Hammanean.
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#6 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 02:10

Opening 1 with hands like this is almost perfectly safe. Someone has the spades and wants to show them, so you get to bid again. If that someone is partner you can force to game, if not you can make some aggressive jump overcall, or double followed by repeating your diamonds.
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#7 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 02:46

Seeing that hand of North, surely it needs to pass

But according to said Bridgewinners thread. Link easily found in Google its best not to open 2C with a hand like that I wouldnt have known that until now :)

EDIT Just thinking about losers. North has a fit and not quite the worst hand possible with 11 losers + your 3-4 (it thinks). That means pass

EDIT 2 I checked a few bridge programs and systems (2/1, SAYC, Acol) and different opening bids (1D or 2C) - most ended in 5D, one in 3NT and one in 3D :)

EDIT 3 With North's hand opposite the 2C and 3D the chance of 3NT is around 27% and chance of 5D is around 25% - that means pass in my book
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#8 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 03:43

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-01, 21:34, said:

You get the hand below, counting winners and losers, you optimistically upgrade your hand to 2.
Hmm, maybe not that optimistic KNR gives this.
The following bidding takes place.
What does Norths bid mean in humanspeak? The word 'Cheaper' is the most confusing bit for me.
I'm reasonably confident that if I alerted and described a bid this way FTF there would be a request for clarification.



Kaplan opened 2C* with a minor holding 10+ winners using his KS system.

Some players use 2C-2D-3M* to show 4M and a primary D suit.
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#9 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 03:44

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-01, 21:34, said:

You get the hand below, counting winners and losers, you optimistically upgrade your hand to 2.
Hmm, maybe not that optimistic KNR gives this.
The following bidding takes place.
What does Norths bid mean in humanspeak? The word 'Cheaper' is the most confusing bit for me.
I'm reasonably confident that if I alerted and described a bid this way FTF there would be a request for clarification.



Kaplan opened 2C* with a minor holding 10+ winners using his KS system.

Some players use 2C-2D-3M* to show 4M and a primary D suit.
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#10 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 05:00

North's bid means "Based on what you have told me about your hand, I want to play in 3NT". Therefore you should pass.

I would have opened 1 as South. The chance it gets passed out when you have game on is minimal, and you can show the heart suit on the next round.
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#11 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 05:45

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-02, 01:41, said:

Tragically, here's what happened to me.
There were 25 people playing. 1 person made 5DS= - not actually possible.
Another person caught west in 4SxW-2.
One person made 2NT+1 - not possible.
And there were variable amounts of suffering elsewhere in the field.
Sort of Shakespearean rather than Hammanean.


I don't know why you think 5 is impossible (unless you mean double dummy), all you need is not to get a trump lead (or a spade and a trump switch), because E has QJ tight, you can overruff W in hearts losing only a spade and a heart.
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#12 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 07:43

1. The hand is worth an Acol 2 opening. If you have a Strong 2, Benji 2m or Multi 2 opening that includes that type then it would be ok to use it; otherwise open 1
2. Having opened 2 I recommend a response structure that includes an immediate negative, typically 2.
3. This has come up quite recently on BBF but after 2 - 2, my suggestion would be to play that a 3 rebid shows a hand like this one with 4 and longer .
4. In humanspeak, this 3NT rebid is the equivalent of an immediate 2 negative response whereas a 3M rebid would be semi-positive. My view is that it is an extremely poor bidding system to arrive at game level with one player having shown only 5 of their cards and the other having shown no distribution whatsoever. The fact that this system appears to be forced makes the original decision to open 2 seem even poorer. In other words, either play better methods or learn to work around the ones you have.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 13:56

"I have a 4 loser hand. I must open 2!"
"I'm at 3NT, and have no clue where or how high to play (except it's probably lower than 3NT!)"
Funny, that.

And that's without the opponents coming in and finding their spades. And you got very lucky that the diamonds are such that you didn't have a loser there either (and that they have 2 diamond losers in spades).

Strong bids aren't good bids, they're necessary bids. You should not stretch to put hands into your strong bid, especially when it's as space-wasting as this auction will be. 2NT is known as the "slam-killer" for a reason, and this hand is going to "open" even higher than that. Swap the pointeds, there's a case, especially playing "cheapest 3" rather than "2 ultra-negative".
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#14 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 14:13

View Postmycroft, on 2021-January-02, 13:56, said:

"I have a 4 loser hand. I must open 2!"
"I'm at 3NT, and have no clue where or how high to play (except it's probably lower than 3NT!)"
Funny, that.

And that's without the opponents coming in and finding their spades. And you got very lucky that the diamonds are such that you didn't have a loser there either (and that they have 2 diamond losers in spades).

Strong bids aren't good bids, they're necessary bids. You should not stretch to put hands into your strong bid, especially when it's as space-wasting as this auction will be. 2NT is known as the "slam-killer" for a reason, and this hand is going to "open" even higher than that. Swap the pointeds, there's a case, especially playing "cheapest 3" rather than "2 ultra-negative".


This is a very useful and helpful point. I rarely bid 2 for the same reason that I don't make a 2/1 bid or an FSF bid without careful thought.
I find it a problem that there is no opening bid that forces a response but allows you stop below game.
I know that's just me - inexperience talking - but I quite like the Benjamin 2 approach because the 2 bid occupies that space. I am aware that decent players have better systems to cope with this - I'm not one of them.

My specific issue here was not the problem that I know about (my general level of incompetence) but the problem of how to interpret my CHO's bid.

I have copies of Dunning and Kruger's articles. I am quite literate on the topic of incompetence, but there are so many gaps it is often hard to decide which one to fill first.

In this post, the question concerns the meaning of the alerted 3NT, but your advice about the opening bid is well-taken. Thank you.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 15:21

Thank you for your response.

The issue about "what does 3NT mean after 2-2; 3" is that, given there has to be a way to slow down a "almost-game-forcing" opener from looking for slam, and given that (at least at Matchpoints) it's really important not to bypass 3NT without good reason, and you need to keep 3M open for "6-point, 5-major" hands, 3NT is almost forced to be the "cheapest minor" bid.

Knowing that, it becomes critical to avoid this auction unless either it's absolutely necessary (+190 is such a great score); or you're comfortable being in 3NT with a random bust; or you're comfortable leaving 3NT behind opposite a random bust (which gets back to "+190 (okay, +170) is such a great score").

Which brings me back to my point, which is that upgrading hands into 2 is something to think about avoiding; upgrading primary-diamonds hands into 2 should be actively avoided (to the point of "downgrading" what would be "clear" 2 openers with any other suit). You'll note in my history that other kinds of strong hands (in particular two-suiters, in extra particular two-suiters with longer minors) I suggest keeping out of 2 as well (because while +170 is a bad score on the right 3 count, it's still better than -100 on the wrong one).

Note also that I am a proponent of avoiding upgrading into a Precision-style 1 as well; although it's the opponents taking away the 1 and 2 levels in that situation, not my system.

I am also not the best player, or the best bidder in the world. But I am a semi-reformed "system freak", and I have learned that while it's fun to pull out your gadget, stretching to do so frequently comes back to bite you. And that applies just as much to 2 Strong and Artificial as it does to 1NT overcall for weak takeout, or Flannery, or...

If you have a problem with "I can't get out below game with my 'I almost have game in my hand' opener", then you've learned one of the reasons players play something other than Standard openers; whether it's Benjamin 2-bids, or Romex, or Strong/multi-way 1m systems, or even "no artificial forcing opener".
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#16 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 16:55

View PostAL78, on 2021-January-02, 05:00, said:

North's bid means "Based on what you have told me about your hand, I want to play in 3NT". Therefore you should pass.

Did you read the description for 3NT??? It says cheaper minor..4- total points. It does not show stoppers, or distribution.
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#17 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 17:52

View Postjohnu, on 2021-January-02, 16:55, said:

Did you read the description for 3NT??? It says cheaper minor..4- total points. It does not show stoppers, or distribution.


I glossed over it and didn't register it. That's a new one on me, how do you bail out into 3NT when it's right if it means that?
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#18 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2021-January-02, 18:45

View PostAL78, on 2021-January-02, 17:52, said:

I glossed over it and didn't register it. That's a new one on me, how do you bail out into 3NT when it's right if it means that?

You don't. It's a bad agreement which is made worse if partner opens 2C on inappropriate hands.
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#19 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-January-03, 15:02

2!C is an accident of history. Personally, if I have to play something like 2/1, I'd much prefer to play Romex. In that system 2!C is very strong, as in 2/1, but hands with primary diamonds do not open 2!C; they open 2!D.
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#20 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-January-03, 21:56

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-January-03, 15:02, said:

2 is an accident of history. Personally, if I have to play something like 2/1, I'd much prefer to play Romex. In that system 2!C is very strong, as in 2/1, but hands with primary diamonds do not open 2!C; they open 2!D.

Culbertson also had some rather colourful words to describe a strong, artificial 2 opening, Despite such criticism, it has grown to dominate the world's "natural" bidding systems.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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