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Club confusion - Ace ask, clubs, kickback?

#1 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 13:31

There have been a few threads here recently which have reminded me that there is confusion regarding how to proceed above game in club or nt auctions.
Is it clubs? ace asking? kickback? CRO?

As I've said previously, at clubs in NZ 4 is always CRO - I'm not going to address this.

View Postmikeh, on 2021-April-08, 13:43, said:

A useful rule for when to use 4C as asking for aces is that it requires a jump to 4C over 1 or 2N.


1 2* gf
3 3
3N

Playing kickback, 4 here is keycard, I think that is very clear.

Does 4 here ask opener to show second round controls and 1st round control?
Without kickback, how does responder ask for aces?
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

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#2 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 13:51

An alternative answer to "when is 4C is asking for aces?" is "never". For the typical club/congress player like me it has a lot going for it. Posted Image
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#3 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 14:33

View Postjillybean, on 2021-April-11, 13:31, said:

Without kickback, how does responder ask for aces?

Well, if you don't play kickback, you must have agreed some way to ask for aces in a minor suit. Eg 4 Minorwood - this itself needs a lot of discussion of when it applies, but in this case it would be pretty clear, having already raised diamonds previously.
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#4 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 14:44

View Postsmerriman, on 2021-April-11, 14:33, said:

Well, if you don't play kickback, you must have agreed some way to ask for aces in a minor suit. Eg 4 Minorwood - this itself needs a lot of discussion of when it applies, but in this case it would be pretty clear, having already raised diamonds previously.

Ok, 4 for keycard, or whatever Ace asking you have agreed.
What then does 4 show/ask in this auction for you?
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#5 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 14:45

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-April-11, 13:51, said:

An alternative answer to "when is 4C is asking for aces?" is "never". For the typical club/congress player like me it has a lot going for it.


I think you are missing a win-win opportunity if you don't play 4 as a keycard ask over partner's 2 or 3 level preempts, for example (obviously 4 over 3 is the same).

[Some people play this with modified replies to "save" space and call that "Preempt RKCB", but my analysis suggests this is pointless memory load]
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#6 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 14:47

View Postjillybean, on 2021-April-11, 13:31, said:

There have been a few threads here recently which have reminded me that there is confusion regarding how to proceed above game in club or nt auctions.
Is it clubs? ace asking? kickback? CRO?

As I've said previously, at clubs in NZ 4 is always CRO - I'm not going to address this.



1 2* gf
3 3
3N

Playing kickback, 4 here is keycard, I think that is very clear.

Does 4 here ask opener to show second round controls and 1st round control?
Without kickback, how does responder ask for aces?


I don't know if this reply will help or not as it doesn't answer your basic question - but in a larger sense I think it touches on that subject, so here goes.

I began to wind down my playing many years ago when RKC was basically the new big thing, so my experience with all the "woods" is quite limited. But I also think it important to understand that the entire reason originally for ace-asking bids was as insurance against reaching slam off two cashing aces - in other words, it had already been determined that slam should be reached - if only the aces were accounted for.

This basic concept was co-opted by weaker players who turned ace-asking into a declaration of excitement.

So, to answer the question, I would suggest learning to bid slams without the need for ace-asking before worrying about this or that "wood". I think a real good rule of thumb to adopt is this: it is ace-asking only if it comes in the first two rounds of bidding or it is a jump (4nt fpr Blackwood 4C for Gerber over a NT bid)

This is not to disparage you or your question - I think it is a valuable method for us all.



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#7 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 15:12

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-April-11, 14:47, said:

I think a real good rule of thumb to adopt is this: it is ace-asking only if it comes in the first two rounds of bidding or it is a jump (4nt fpr Blackwood 4C for Gerber over a NT bid)
This gave me quite a chuckle, since it is almost the exact opposite way I play it ("4NT is never Blackwood if there was room to show controls, so in particular never with a jump"). I fully agree with the rest of the post. Ace-asking (or keycard-asking) is only one step of many on a slam-going auction. But I'll happily take the points every time my opponents rush into it.
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#8 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 16:34

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-April-11, 14:47, said:

So, to answer the question, I would suggest learning to bid slams without the need for ace-asking before worrying about this or that "wood". I think a real good rule of thumb to adopt is this: it is ace-asking only if it comes in the first two rounds of bidding or it is a jump (4nt fpr Blackwood 4C for Gerber over a NT bid)

I trust you! So how do you play 4 in this auction.

1 2*
3 3
3N 4
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#9 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 18:12

View Postjillybean, on 2021-April-11, 14:44, said:

Ok, 4 for keycard, or whatever Ace asking you have agreed.
What then does 4 show/ask in this auction for you?

Just a normal first/second round control, interested in diamond slam but unable to keycard for some reason (perhaps a void, perhaps missing a heart control [unlikely if 3NT showed half a stop in hearts], perhaps just wanting more details before looking for grand..)
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#10 User is online   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 20:47

View Postjillybean, on 2021-April-11, 16:34, said:

I trust you! So how do you play 4 in this auction.

1 2*
3 3
3N 4


I played a few times in England at a club in my young days with a man who said that 4 was always a ace ask (Gerber?) whenever he bid it, when contract was Nts or suit! :) :) :) lol
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#11 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 21:36

View Postsmerriman, on 2021-April-11, 18:12, said:

Just a normal first/second round control, interested in diamond slam but unable to keycard for some reason (perhaps a void, perhaps missing a heart control [unlikely if 3NT showed half a stop in hearts], perhaps just wanting more details before looking for grand..)

(For Jillyb)Yes to this. The important takeaway to understand is that this cue bid shows an interest in slam - it is NOT fear of nt.
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#12 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 21:47

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-April-11, 15:12, said:

This gave me quite a chuckle, since it is almost the exact opposite way I play it ("4NT is never Blackwood if there was room to show controls, so in particular never with a jump"). I fully agree with the rest of the post. Ace-asking (or keycard-asking) is only one step of many on a slam-going auction. But I'll happily take the points every time my opponents rush into it.

I can’t claim the idea as my own - I think it was Jose le Dentu who wrote that this was a Blue Team rule during the early sixties but it always made sense to me.
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#13 User is offline   ThomasRush 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 22:13

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-April-11, 20:47, said:

I played a few times in England at a club in my young days with a man who said that 4 was always a ace ask (Gerber?) whenever he bid it, when contract was Nts or suit! :) :) :) lol


I've seen players say the same in the US. It's a good partner selection tool in my opinion -- in this case, Exclusion Partner Select (i.e., NOT them!).
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#14 User is offline   Gerardo 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 01:39

what is
1:2
2x:3?

what is
1:2
3:3?

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?

How do you show the inv fitted hand over 1?

#15 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 02:42

View PostGerardo, on 2021-April-12, 01:39, said:

what is
1:2
2x:3?
Real clubs and diamonds (5+ clubs, 4+ diamonds), neither promising nor denying slam values. Partner can bid the fourth suit to show concerns about that suit for 3NT or an advance cue, repeat 3x to show a 5-6, bid 3NT to play and any other bid is slam-going.

View PostGerardo, on 2021-April-12, 01:39, said:

what is
1:2
3:3?
Real clubs and diamonds (typically 5+ clubs, 3-4 diamonds), showing the double fit. Partner can bid 3x to show values or an advance cue, 3NT to show stoppers in both major suits (rare on this auction) and anything on the 4-level is slam-going with an ambiguous trump suit (although 4 should probably suggest clubs, and 4 suggests diamonds).

View PostGerardo, on 2021-April-12, 01:39, said:

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?
It is not standard for the simple raise to be GF, most people play it as "forcing to 2NT/3m". Anyway, it shows the same as before but now better or longer diamonds (at least 4-4). By bypassing 3NT you show slam-going values.

View PostGerardo, on 2021-April-12, 01:39, said:

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?

How do you show the inv fitted hand over 1?
This one is poor bridge - why jump on your own GF auction? If you forced me to assign meaning to it it would be a powerful single-suited diamond hand (at least 6) and no splinter or a club splinter with weakness in both majors. Something like Qx, Qxx, AKJxxx, AK. But please just bid 3 with this hand. Also most people put their invitational raises in 2 as well. If you insist that 2 is GF you may have to bid your limit raises through 1NT.
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#16 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 08:03

View PostGerardo, on 2021-April-12, 01:39, said:

what is
1:2
2x:3?

what is
1:2
3:3?

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?

what is
1:2 (GF)
3:4?

How do you show the inv fitted hand over 1?


Concerning inverted minors, years ago I wrote an article for Bridge World in which I argued that the benefit of inverted minors is in finding minor suit games and slams, not in a stopper hunt for NT games. I presented a method where over the initial raise, opener bid 2N with all balanced hands (just as you would over 1C-1D) and suit bids were shortness showing. I've forgotten now how 2-suiters were handled. Posted Image
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#17 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 12:02

View Postpescetom, on 2021-April-11, 14:45, said:

I think you are missing a win-win opportunity if you don't play 4 as a keycard ask over partner's 2 or 3 level preempts, for example (obviously 4 over 3 is the same).

[Some people play this with modified replies to "save" space and call that "Preempt RKCB", but my analysis suggests this is pointless memory load]



Nothing is perfect, but with my current regular partner we are deliberately trying to hold down the number of gadgets because we reckon that for most of them the potential gain is outweighed by opportunity cost, plus risk of memory lapse. (We play at good club / respectable congress level with an EBU NGS level of about 60 where 50 is average and the internationals are at 67-70).

Over a weak two, say 2H-4C would be a splinter. 3H-4C would be a cue bid.


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#18 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 12:44

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-April-12, 12:02, said:

Nothing is perfect, but with my current regular partner we are deliberately trying to hold down the number of gadgets because we reckon that for most of them the potential gain is outweighed by opportunity cost, plus risk of memory lapse. (We play at good club / respectable congress level with an EBU NGS level of about 60 where 50 is average and the internationals are at 67-70).

Over a weak two, say 2H-4C would be a splinter. 3H-4C would be a cue bid.


Fair enough.
I would be comfortable (cue) control-bidding over 3M, it's a viable alternative I agree.
I like 4 over any compatible preempt precisely to reduce memory load, same objective as you.
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#19 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-April-12, 20:17

View Postjillybean, on 2021-April-11, 16:34, said:

I trust you! So how do you play 4 in this auction.

1 2*
3 3
3N 4

Outside of special agreements, Responder is showing slam interest and highlighting a weakness in hearts. Opener should evaluate their hand on this basis.

I think it is right though to start with the structure over 2. We might, for example, start with something like:-

1 - 2
==
2 = 12-14 bal
2 = min with real
2NT = 18-19 bal
3 = extras, 0-1
3 = extras, real diamonds, no shortage
3M = extras 0-1M
--

Not optimal but reasonably simple. The main point is that if you use a low level call to establish a game force between 2 unlimited hands, you should construct a follow-up structure to start limiting one of the hands by type and strength. When you do this, you simplify many of the bidding problems that come later on in the auction.

Finally, I (apparently) disagree with both MikeH and Winston. There are a number of occasions where many good players use 4 as some form of ace-asking convention, inter alia:-

3 - 4 is commonly used as modified KCB
1NT - 2R; 2M - 4 is used by many pairs as RKCB
After 3 level agreement, 4 is very widely used as RKCB
1 - 4 is similarly sometimes defined as RKCB
With 4 level agreement, 4 can often usefully be used as CKCB

I am not convinced that all of these are good but they are certainly not uncommon agreements.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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