# BBO Discussion Forums: ACBL-legal 4-card relay - BBO Discussion Forums

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## ACBL-legal 4-card relay

### #1pilun

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Posted 2021-July-21, 21:32

At Open level, 1 & 1 need to be natural, due to this:

Disallowed
In segments of fewer than 6 boards, an Artificial 1-level opening bid showing length only in a known suit other than the one opened, unless that bid is also Strong and Forcing.

However, 1 can be "quasi-natural" as defined:
A minor suit bid that is either Natural or shows a pattern that meets the definition of a Natural NT opening.
Where natural includes:
A NT opening bid or overcall that contains no voids, no more than one singleton, which must be an ace, king, or queen, and that does not contain 10 or more cards in two suits combined.

That allows this (Scamp-based) opening structure:

2 = 5+, unbalanced, no 4cM [Up 1]
2 = 5+, unbalanced, no 4cM
1N = 12-15 balanced-ish, no 4cM
1 = 4+, unbalanced
1 = 4+, not 4
1 = 4-5 semi-balanced

That makes the 1 opening quasi-natural. Is that legal?
I'm not suggesting this opening structure is particularly good, just that it is legal and reasonably sound.

With 1 being unbalanced, it's attractive to relay with 1NT. The symmetric structure is [Up 1]

1 - 1N

2 = & 4+ or Roman (then 2 = Roman)
2 = & 4+
2 = >=
2 = >
2N+ = 6+

1 opening as before (1N = , 2 = bal, etc)

Over 1, can have 1 as a range probe, 1 as a shape-ask.
1 can optionally include the 5422s, maybe others if you are keen.

The structure below is simple, though asymmetric and crude

1 - 1

1N = 5 (then 2 = 5332s, 2+ = 5422s)
2 = 4-5
2 = 4-5
2 = 4-2-3-4
2 = 4-3-2-4
2N = 4-2-2-5
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### #2pilun

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Posted 2021-July-22, 02:53

A good option is to move the 2 hands in with 1. Plenty of space.
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### #3mycroft

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Posted 2021-July-22, 08:46

But J354 breaks the Quasi-Natural meaning of 1 which is OP's whole point.This is just bollocks. I can't read, even my next sentence. In fact, adding these hands into 1 might make it much easier to claim QN status.

Having said that, Quasi-Natural does not mean "semi-balanced", it is as OP quoted "either Natural or shows a pattern that meets the definition of a Natural NT opening.". I'm not sure you would be able to say "semi-balanced, promises spades" is Quasi-Natural, because it doesn't contain the "Natural" part.

I'm not saying it isn't; it would definitely be interesting to get an actual ruling on it.

Do watch the "balanced-ish" 1NT. If that isn't Natural (including potential singleton AKQ), it must be Strong (so, not 12-15) and Forcing (which I'm sure isn't wanted).
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### #4foobar

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Posted 2021-July-22, 10:20

pilun, on 2021-July-22, 02:53, said:

A good option is to move the 2 hands in with 1. Plenty of space.

I had the same questions about the Open chart and Scamp (see related discussion on bridgewinners). What will be the definition of the 1 opening with this change, though? Is it 3+ with 4+ or something like that?

Also, what will 2 show with the proposed option?
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### #5straube

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Posted 2021-July-22, 10:48

I tried something like that but 1D promised exactly four spades and 1S handled five or more. Is there a reason you're not doing that?
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### #6foobar

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Posted 2021-July-22, 11:06

straube, on 2021-July-22, 10:48, said:

I tried something like that but 1D promised exactly four spades and 1S handled five or more. Is there a reason you're not doing that?

David,

See https://nick-coleta....ary-20d-Apr.pdf for a summary of Scamp.

In the original version, 1 = 4+, and the 1 opening shows both + (with 1 denying 4+).
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### #7straube

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Posted 2021-July-22, 11:18

My first impression is I like Scamp better than what I'd tried. I'm a little surprised that Scamp doesn't allow responder to show 5 of the other major (after a 1D or 1H open) but maybe that's best.
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### #8foobar

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Posted 2021-July-22, 14:57

straube, on 2021-July-22, 11:18, said:

My first impression is I like Scamp better than what I'd tried. I'm a little surprised that Scamp doesn't allow responder to show 5 of the other major (after a 1D or 1H open) but maybe that's best.

I believe it's essential to preserve fully symmetric relays over all the openings. Over 1, the relay is 1, and over 1/1, it's 2[]. Since the 1 opening promises both majors, it's trivial to unwind the suits (2 is balanced, then full symmetric).

Note that the flaw with Moscito is that both 1 / 1 can have OM, and IMO excluding it is an improvement, since it likely works better in competition.
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### #9nullve

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Posted 2021-July-22, 16:41

Welcome back, straube!
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### #10straube

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Posted 2021-July-22, 16:52

nullve, on 2021-July-22, 16:41, said:

Welcome back, straube!

I haven't posted for quite awhile, but I've been keeping up on the threads. Thanks for the welcome!
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### #11pilun

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Posted 2021-July-22, 18:47

straube, on 2021-July-22, 10:48, said:

I tried something like that but 1D promised exactly four spades and 1S handled five or more. Is there a reason you're not doing that?

I think that would not be legal. 4-3-1-5 is not quasi-natural.
The idea is that 1 showing "11-15 balanced with four or five spades" makes the bid quasi-natural, rather than artificial.
Basically, the Regs say that an artificial 1-level opening cannot show length in another specific suit.
There doesn't appear to be such a restriction on quasi-naturals.
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### #12foobar

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Posted 2021-July-22, 20:19

pilun, on 2021-July-22, 18:47, said:

I think that would not be legal. 4-3-1-5 is not quasi-natural.
The idea is that 1 showing "11-15 balanced with four or five spades" makes the bid quasi-natural, rather than artificial.
Basically, the Regs say that an artificial 1-level opening cannot show length in another specific suit.
There doesn't appear to be such a restriction on quasi-naturals.

David,

What was the justification used for the 1=4 system? IIRC, it was played even in the nationals in the days of the GCC.

@pilun:

How does the quasi-natural mesh with the following?

"[Restriction 3] Transfer openings, such as those found in the “Little Major” or “Moscito systems, are not permitted in segments of fewer than six boards. Transfer openings at the 1 level are Artificial and therefore must show at least average strength."
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### #13straube

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Posted 2021-July-23, 08:46

foobar, on 2021-July-22, 20:19, said:

David,

What was the justification used for the 1=4 system? IIRC, it was played even in the nationals in the days of the GCC.

If you're asking about the legal justification, it was simply that all of our other openings denied 4 spades and a limited hand. I think we mostly played this against friends (not even in a club) and alerted them to the 1D "inference" of four spades. I abandoned this system very fast because 1D was so underutilized and 1H handled too much.
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### #14hrothgar

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Posted 2021-July-23, 09:48

One really nice feature of the new convention charts was clarifying that holding (or denying) specific length in a side suit does not mean that a bid is no longer natural.

For example, if I play a 2 opening that promises 5+ Spades and (4+ Diamonds or 4+ Clubs), the 2 is still natural.

I have not seen the same logic explicitly extended to quasi natural openings, but I would expect that it would
Alderaan delenda est
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### #15foobar

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Posted 2021-July-23, 12:27

pilun, on 2021-July-21, 21:32, said:

Over 1, can have 1 as a range probe, 1 as a shape-ask.
1 can optionally include the 5422s, maybe others if you are keen.

The structure below is simple, though asymmetric and crude

1 - 1

1N = 5 (then 2 = 5332s, 2+ = 5422s)
2 = 4-5
2 = 4-5
2 = 4-2-3-4
2 = 4-3-2-4
2N = 4-2-2-5

One potential disadvantage with the 1 range probe is that it might make it more difficult to locate 4-4 fit (since the 1 shape ask presumably promises at least 11+).
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### #16pilun

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Posted 2021-July-23, 20:00

hrothgar, on 2021-July-23, 09:48, said:

One really nice feature of the new convention charts was clarifying that holding (or denying) specific length in a side suit does not mean that a bid is no longer natural.

For example, if I play a 2 opening that promises 5+ Spades and (4+ Diamonds or 4+ Clubs), the 2 is still natural.

I have not seen the same logic explicitly extended to quasi natural openings, but I would expect that it would

I'm surprised as that. The Laws define Artificial and 2 = spades & a 4+ minor is clearly artificial. Whether such bids are allowable or alertable is a separate issue.

"conveys information ... in addition to a willingness to play in the denomination named ..."
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### #17johnu

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Posted 2021-July-24, 14:24

pilun, on 2021-July-23, 20:00, said:

I'm surprised as that. The Laws define Artificial and 2 = spades & a 4+ minor is clearly artificial. Whether such bids are allowable or alertable is a separate issue.

"conveys information ... in addition to a willingness to play in the denomination named ..."

A 2 suited 2 is clearly natural under the new rules. In the definition of "Natural"

2(b) Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 5 or more cards in the suit
bid.

2(i) A call is still Natural if it also shows distribution in another suit

If 2 could be only 4 spades, it would no longer be natural.
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### #18pescetom

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Posted 2021-July-24, 14:45

johnu, on 2021-July-24, 14:24, said:

A 2 suited 2 is clearly natural under the new rules. In the definition of "Natural"

2(b) Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 5 or more cards in the suit
bid.

2(i) A call is still Natural if it also shows distribution in another suit

If 2 could be only 4 spades, it would no longer be natural.

It is an oxymoron to define a two suited bid as natural.
If ACBL wants to allow it (why not?) or make it not alertable (why?) that is its business, but there is no need to distort the natural/artificial criterium.
Call it "allowed / endorsed / normal / seen worse / not-alertable" or whatever.
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### #19hrothgar

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Posted 2021-July-24, 16:58

pilun, on 2021-July-23, 20:00, said:

I'm surprised as that. The Laws define Artificial and 2 = spades & a 4+ minor is clearly artificial. Whether such bids are allowable or alertable is a separate issue.

"conveys information ... in addition to a willingness to play in the denomination named ..."

For better or worse, the ACBL has chosen to redefine certain expressions that are defined in the Laws.

The scope of the redefinition is very limited.

The ACBL (essentially) says that this document is to be used for regulation conventions in ACBL tournaments.
And, within this narrow scope, if someone uses the expression "natural" we are defining as follows.

Arguable the ACBL would have been better to avoid expressions like "natural".
They could in theory have invented some new term like "Flipitydink" and used this instead.

They chose not to do.

Consequently, it doesn't actually matter WHAT the Laws say or how the Laws happen to define a given expression. And, to be quite honestly the convention chart is easy to understand and it's easy to generate consistent rulings. And, at the end the day, that's a lot more important than some weird purity test regarding whether or not the ACBL and WBF are defining the word natural in the same manner.
Alderaan delenda est
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### #20pilun

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Posted 2021-July-24, 22:11

hrothgar, on 2021-July-24, 16:58, said:

For better or worse, the ACBL has chosen to redefine certain expressions that are defined in the Laws.

The scope of the redefinition is very limited.

The ACBL (essentially) says that this document is to be used for regulation conventions in ACBL tournaments.
And, within this narrow scope, if someone uses the expression "natural" we are defining as follows.

Arguable the ACBL would have been better to avoid expressions like "natural".
They could in theory have invented some new term like "Flipitydink" and used this instead.

They chose not to do.

Consequently, it doesn't actually matter WHAT the Laws say or how the Laws happen to define a given expression. And, to be quite honestly the convention chart is easy to understand and it's easy to generate consistent rulings. And, at the end the day, that's a lot more important than some weird purity test regarding whether or not the ACBL and WBF are defining the word natural in the same manner.

Luckily for the ACBL, the Laws don't define natural, just Artificial. So the natural is available to mean whatever the ACBL defines it to mean, following the precedent set by Humpty Dumpty.
Thus 2 as spades and a minor can be both natural and artificial. It's all good, though maybe natural-ish might have been a better term.

Presumably a DONT bid of 2 over 1NT is also N/A, though maybe not if the shape can be 4-4 or 4-5.

As the queen said "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
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