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Brown Sticker two-suited bids

#1 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 05:44

WBF Systems Policy said:

The following conventions or treatments are categorised as ‘Brown Sticker’:

[...]

c. Any 'weak' two-suited bids at the two or three level that may by agreement be made with
three cards or fewer in one of the suits.

Does this make any sense at all?

I supect (since the intention was to ban Bocchi-Duboin-style canapé overcalls?) that c. isn't about bids that are two-suited in the normal sense of promising at least four cards in two (known or unknown) suits.

So is it about weak bids naming two suits, at least one of which can be fewer than four cards long? That is hard to believe, because one could view e.g. a tradtional Weak 2 as naming spades and hearts and promising six spades and fewer than four hearts.

I must be missing something. Help!
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#2 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 06:03

It puzzles me less than some others, in particular the exception for Multicolor.
Yes there is some ambiguity about whether one or even both suits can be unknown, but in absence of indications I would assume that there is no such limitation.
I don't see any ambiguity in the "three cards or fewer" limitation and find your example a bit forced. Denying four or more is not the same as promising length which may be as low as three.
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#3 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 06:37

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-06, 05:44, said:

Does this make any sense at all?

I supect (since the intention was to ban Bocchi-Duboin-style canapé overcalls?) that c. isn't about bids that are two-suited in the normal sense of promising at least four cards in two (known or unknown) suits.

So is it about weak bids naming two suits, at least one of which can be fewer than four cards long? That is hard to believe, because one could view e.g. a tradtional Weak 2 as naming spades and hearts and promising six spades and fewer than four hearts.

I must be missing something. Help!


It's a 2 suited bid where you name 2 LONG suits one of which can be 3 cards or more.

Eg a 1 opener and you play 2 as 3+ 4+
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#4 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 06:55

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-May-06, 06:37, said:

It's a 2 suited bid where you name 2 LONG suits one of which can be 3 cards or more.

Then what does 'or fewer' in c. refer to?
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#5 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 07:32

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-06, 06:03, said:

I don't see any ambiguity in the "three cards or fewer" limitation and find your example a bit forced. Denying four or more is not the same as promising length which may be as low as three.

Why not as low as two? Or one? Or zero?
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#6 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 07:37

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-06, 06:55, said:

Then what does 'or fewer' in c. refer to?


Confusing - also contains "in one of the suits" which looks to apply to one of the suits of the two suiter. I suspect it's there to prevent you saying 2+ hearts and 4+ spades to evade the rules on 3/4+

I don't see that your comment about the 2 is relevant in that the restriction on "not 4 hearts" says nothing about a 2 suited hand, you are not declaring hearts as the second suit in a 2 suiter.
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 09:36

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-06, 07:32, said:

Why not as low as two? Or one? Or zero?

Because that would no longer be showing signicant length in that suit. They don't even allow three, which is why the rule exists in the first place.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 09:38

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-06, 06:55, said:

Then what does 'or fewer' in c. refer to?

I think it's just poor English, with the intended meaning "three or less cards in one of the suits".
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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 09:55

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-06, 09:38, said:

I think it's just poor English, with the intended meaning "three or less cards in one of the suits".


fewer is technically correct in UK English.

If you can have 3/2/1/0 it's fewer, if you can have 2.5 it's less.
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 11:09

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-May-06, 09:55, said:

fewer is technically correct in UK English.

If you can have 3/2/1/0 it's fewer, if you can have 2.5 it's less.


Sure, although less would not be incorrect and probably clearer to non-native English speakers.
As would be "three or fewer cards in" rather than "three cards or fewer in".
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#11 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 14:21

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-06, 05:44, said:

So is it about weak bids naming two suits, at least one of which can be fewer than four cards long? That is hard to believe, because one could view e.g. a tradtional Weak 2 as naming spades and hearts and promising six spades and fewer than four hearts.

I must be missing something. Help!

It doesn't rule out an opening bid which promises at least 6 spades and fewer than four hearts.

It rules out an opening bid which promises at least 6 spades and at least x hearts, for some specific 0 < x < 4.

Your alert is an 'at least'; the 'fewer than 4' applies to the constant.
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#12 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2022-May-06, 15:02

A 2 opening showing 5 hearts and 3+ spades became popular in the Netherlands some years ago, and the WEKO decided that it was not a BSC. I am not sure what the rationale was other than maybe that the BSC definition is silly so they refuse to interpret it?
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#13 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 00:14

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-May-06, 14:21, said:

It doesn't rule out an opening bid which promises at least 6 spades and fewer than four hearts.

It rules out an opening bid which promises at least 6 spades and at least x hearts, for some specific 0 < x < 4.

Your alert is an 'at least'; the 'fewer than 4' applies to the constant.

Eddie Kantar, Bridge for Dummies said:

In the standard American system that you're playing, an opening bid of 2, 2 or 2 is called a weak two bid. You use a weak two bid to tell your partner that your hand has the following characteristics:

  • A six-card suit, headed by two of the top four honor cards, any three honors, or the AT9, KT9, or QT9. In other words, if this suit becomes the trump suit, you can expect to take four or five trump tricks.
  • A hand with 6-10 HCP (never more than 10 HCP).
  • A hand with no five-card side suit, no side four-card major suit, and no void suit.


It's true of the 2 opening in this system that it's weak, promises at least six spades (but also at most six spades) and at least one heart (but also at most three hearts).

So why is it not a Brown Sticker?
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#14 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 03:54

View Postnullve, on 2022-May-07, 00:14, said:

It's true of the 2 opening in this system that it's weak, promises at least six spades (but also at most six spades) and at least one heart (but also at most three hearts).

So why is it not a Brown Sticker?


No, because that's not a 2 suited hand, 3 suiters can already have one of the suits 3+ certainly here, and this is essentially a 4 suited consideration.
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#15 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 14:18

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-May-07, 03:54, said:

No, because that's not a 2 suited hand

nullve does have a point. What is your definition of 2 suited hand? The standard definition is 54 or better, which clearly is already ruled out here. Is your definition of 2 suited that those two suits must be longer than any other suits - ie this is solely ruling out bids that deal with hand shapes like 6322?

Even if so, the wording does not talk about 2 suited hands; it talks about 2 suited bids. The bridge laws don't stop me from overcalling 1NT to show the majors with 5440, even though that's a two suited bid, not a two suited hand.
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 14:45

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-May-07, 14:18, said:

nullve does have a point. What is your definition of 2 suited hand? The standard definition is 54 or better, which clearly is already ruled out here. Is your definition of 2 suited that those two suits must be longer than any other suits - ie this is solely ruling out bids that deal with hand shapes like 6322?

I don't think he does. In what sense is the standard definition of a 2 suited hand ruled out by a 1 suited hand that meets the standard definition of a 1 suited hand (except for an additional agreement denying a side major)? The fact that this latter definition implicitly defines length (or lack of) for each of the other three suits does not make it an agreement to show two suits, or even an agreement specifically about two suits. Nullve is just playing with words here IMO.
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#17 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 15:00

So if you had an agreement that your weak 2s deny a major void (but may have a minor void) - that one would be illegal because now you're strictly showing 1+ in the other major?

I mean, I agree, most laws in bridge tend to be silly when you read them literally instead of what they were meant to mean (*cough* lamford). Though in this case it's just hard to think of examples where a 'two suited bid' which only promises a card or two in the second suit actually makes sense in the first place in order to make it illegal. I guess it was probably meant to solely cover the 3 card suit option like the one helene_t mentioned (but then that was made legal anyway, so I don't know.)
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-07, 15:20

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-May-07, 15:00, said:

So if you had an agreement that your weak 2s deny a major void (but may have a minor void) - that one would be illegal because now you're strictly showing 1+ in the other major?

Of course not, that's just another example of a nuanced agreement about a single suit bid.
it would be alertable here, but perfectly legal anywhere I think.
You're still promising significant length in a single suit, not showing two suits.

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-May-07, 15:00, said:

I mean, I agree, most laws in bridge tend to be silly when you read them literally instead of what they were meant to mean (*cough* lamford). Though in this case it's just hard to think of examples where a 'two suited bid' which only promises a card or two in the second suit actually makes sense in the first place in order to make it illegal. I guess it was probably meant to solely cover the 3 card suit option like the one helene_t mentioned (but then that was made legal anyway, so I don't know.)

I think it was certainly meant to cover showing length in two suits, but either they were challenged by English or unwilling to stake precise positions on a 5-4 minimum and undefined suits.
But there is a heck of a lot less clear and more damageing than this one :)
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#19 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-May-08, 17:31

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-07, 15:20, said:

Of course not, that's just another example of a nuanced agreement about a single suit bid.
[...]
You're still promising significant length in a single suit, not showing two suits.

why can't a bid be single-suited in the familiar sense and two-suited in the possibly unfamiliar sense of c. at the same time?

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-07, 15:20, said:

I think it was certainly meant to cover showing length in two suits

Is showing length in a suit the same as guaranteeing 3+ cards in the suit?

Then the Weak 2 opening described by Kantar shows length in two suits, since a hand with 6 spades, 1-3 hearts and 1-4 cards in each minor must have either 6S3y22, 6S3y(31) or 6S4m(21) shape.
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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-May-09, 09:27

I have said - repeatedly on this site - that the WBF rules are made by people who know what they mean for people who know what they mean, to play in the highest level of events (and more often than not, under screen regs that modify them somewhat). And that my opinion is that it is a bad idea for NBOs to use them as, or as a basis for, their regulations, where the premise by no means applies.

Having said that, most of the NBO regulators or politicians are, if not in that category, at least in the "we all know what they mean, right?" category, so for them and their games it works. And most of the rest of the players are in the "I play what I play, everyone else plays something pretty straightforward except for that one weird pair we all know when we meet them" category, and anything works.

I will admit that one of my things-pointed-out-and-added in the new ACBL regs was a definition of Length, for exactly this reason - "we all know what we mean" but it's not defined, and there are enough people in the ACBL that refuse to play the "yes, I know what you mean" game that it needed to be done. (Now, if they'd just follow my suggestion and define 2-suited and 3-suited (as opposed to Three-Suited, which they have defined, and it's clear they don't mean that when they say 3-suited))

The WBF statement makes sense if everyone agrees on the implied "a suit is 4+ cards"; you're allowed to agree that a bid shows 2 suits - even two unknown suits (IIRC as long as the suit bid can not be one of the unknown suits), but you can't agree that one of them might only be 3 (or fewer) cards, even on rare occasions. It's another "well, with our system, we don't have a bid for weak 5-3-3-xx (or 6-3-3-1), but it's "obvious" not to pass (at this vulnerability/state of the match/...), so we'll fake a 5-4 and open" thing, especially when (as it frequently is) combined with "it's so obvious that we don't have to actually let the opponents know about it".

But as I said before - if you're playing that game, it's fun, enjoy. Just know that you will get laughed at (as well as ruled against). And that yeah, I'm not thrilled with the whole thing, but then again, see nick...
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