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Both players have strong hands - American 2/1

#1 User is offline   dafydkay 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 11:10

I'm moderately competent at UK's Benji-Acol but Bobbi the robot insists on playing American 2/1, it's the only system she knows. How should we have bid this hand? A slam is easy.

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#2 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 11:26

And you have hit the big difficulty in simple methods - how can both sides convey their additional strength while one side on its own is not strong enough to make a slam move? Without partnership agreements I don't know, but I am sure someone will say. It seems to me that you both have the hand that must make a move as you are a whole trick better than you might be. 3NT is bad, unless you have conveyed that already with your 4th suit 2 bid, but I think not as this is simply showing a stop. Jumping then to 3 instead might convey the strength better.

In a regular partnership you will have agreements and additional gimmicks. Lacking those, I would suggest that your 2 was wimpish, and prior to that 3 would have been better than 2.
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 11:39

Not sure if it is American style, but in our 2/1 West would raise diamonds rather than bid hearts and now they can hardly miss 6 at least.

Quite a few would open 1NT with East and then 6NT is near automatic.
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#4 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 12:01

Comment 1: I don't think that 1N would be a popular opening with both a 5 card major and an easy rebid

Comment 2:

1 = perfect normal
2 = perfectly normal
2 = perfectly normal

At this point, I think that it is clear to raise Diamonds

1. You have a game force established
2. Your trump support is more than sufficient. Even if partner has something atrocious like Jxxx in the suit, your diamonds are strong enough that you can envision a slam in Diamonds
3. The 2!H bid is really suggesting more shape (or it is the way that I am used to playing it)
Alderaan delenda est
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#5 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 12:54

I play 2 there as artificial (yes, even though we've been forced to game) so that the bid of 3 after 2N shows extras.

There should be an agreement on East's third bid (and West's second bid) as to the difference between 2N and 3N. One agreement is that 3N shows a minimum and 2N more than a minimum. Another possible agreement is that 3N shows 15-17 and 2N shows either less or more.
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#6 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 15:17

Agree with others that you should be raising diamonds. You know your partner doesn't have 4 hearts (or they would have bid 2), and given 2 is natural in GIB's system, it should really be emphasising the shape / lack of a heart stopper.

Unfortunately, GIB's system is atrocious here and after you raise to 3, it will jump to 5, killing all attempts at sensible slam investigation :(
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#7 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 15:38

This is slightly easier in 2/1 than in Acol because West has forcing 3 or 2NT bids at his second turn, but I'm not sure if it is any helpful.

Natural systems generally have problems with finding the 16+16 slams where both partners have extras but neither have enough to drive to slam without knowing that partner has extras. Sometimes you have ways to show in 16 points - in Acol, SEF and some SA and 2/1 styles, East could rebid NT to show extras, but it doesn't feel very attractive with this shape and without a full heart stop. Regardless of system, East could chose to rebid 3 instead of 2 (unless that is played as a splinter) but that doesn't feel attractive with a weak 4-card suit either.

In 2/1, West can rebid 2NT or 3 instead of 2 but it doesn't show extras so I don't see how it could solve this problem.

In 2/1, West can show extras with a 3NT rebid, but that doesn't show the diamond fit. An entirely natural auction like
- 1
2-2
3NT-4NT
5-6
(4NT and 5 are natural bids, not ace asking) would work but it's a bit of adjective bridge since West would probably prefer to show the diamonds earlier.

When you have a major suit fit, you can use serious 3NT or similar conventions to sort out the combined strength, but that doesn't work with minor suit fits.

So the short version of this long story is that you have lots of tools available in 2/1, but probably none of them help here, so you will probably just end up in the same 3NT contract as you would in Acol.

You could agree to use an artificial 2 bid at West's second turn to sort out strength, maybe saying that 2 is 12-14 artificial and other bids show 15+, or conversely use 2 as an artificial 15+ bid. Or something with transfer checkbacks, maybe. But using the robots' vanilla 2/1 system, it's either a lucky gamble or a dull 3NT, I'm afraid.

In Acol, maybe some pairs would bid it
- 1
2-2
2*-2
3NT**-5NT***
6
* 4SF
** Extra values as we are already in a GF
*** Pick a slam, partner
But maybe it's far fecthed.

I also know some pairs playing Dutch Acol who have the agreement that 4SF followed by 3 would show extras, so on a good day they might bid
- 1
2-2
2*-2
3**-4
4***-4NT****
5*****-5******
6*******-7
*4SF
**Extras
**control
***keycards
**** 0/3
***** Q?
****** yes, and also K
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#8 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 17:56

West had two chances to bid a game forcing 3 and show the fit which is main reason there is a slam.
What more do you want?

ps. is shocking GIB would kill the slam by jumping to 5 with a 6-loser hand.
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#9 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 18:38

View Poststeve2005, on 2020-November-25, 17:56, said:

ps. is shocking GIB would kill the slam by jumping to 5 with a 6-loser hand.

Fast arrival is strong in Giberish so I wouldn't call it shocking but yes, it is an underbid.
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#10 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 03:38

I have no idea how I would bid it but a certain bridge program had no problem reaching 6 diamonds with both pairs playing 2/1

1S 2C
2D 2H
2S 3H!
3NT 4D
4S! 4NT
5H 5NT
6D Pass

I don't know what all the bids mean and the second round Blackwood etc :)
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#11 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 04:19

I think the important point is that one side has to show additional strength before the other side can make a slam move. My partnerships play the style of 2/1 that does this, so E will define strength at the first rebid: no higher than 2M (opening suit, 2) means <15 or >17, because with >17 you can afford to keep mum (if convenient) then make a move beyond game. This also applies with support, so 1 2 3 is 15+, while rebidding 2 then (say over 2NT) 3 shows <15. (2M in this style does not show additional length and may be a "forced" waiting move, and the following 2NT is not necessarily suggesting a NT contract but merely expressing a hand with no other significant shape to show, and therefore now allows opener to show his shape.)

We would therefore start 1 2 3 if we played the 2 that way, and then hearing 15+ opposite, we can see slam strength and immediately support diamonds, most simply by directly ace asking.
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#12 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 08:15

16 v 16 is a distribution that typically needs some agreements in 2/1. What those agreements are is less important than that something is in place. In the European style, Responder rebidding the fourth suit followed by raising Opener is mostly played to show extras. This approach makes things very easy.

The Americans tend to prefer the fourth suit to be natural, which puts more of a premium on later agreements. Here, Opener chose to re-rebid in NT. A popular scheme for that is to play 2NT as split-range, 11-14 or 18-20, with 3NT showing the range in-between. That again would make life simple.

A good question here is what the difference is between a 3 rebid and a delayed 3 after 2. I know that difference in Euro methods but not so much in US Standard. Even without Opener showing their range with 3NT, one of these has to have some slam overtones I think.

And that goes back to the key here - West never showed diamond support, so East never had any reason to show interest. West probably has enough to be willing to overrule 3NT and bid 4 as a slam try even where East has not shown their extras. Bidding 3NT here is just poor. A control-rich 16 with a fit and a singleton is worth slam interest opposite a sound opening, even with the shortage being in Opener's suit. So to me the obvious problems with the auction are showing support and a lack of agreements but the biggest take-away for the OP should probably be about hand evaluation - don't sign off with slam interest!
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#13 User is offline   dafydkay 

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Posted 2020-November-29, 07:59

View Postdafydkay, on 2020-November-25, 11:10, said:

I'm moderately competent at UK's Benji-Acol but Bobbi the robot insists on playing American 2/1, it's the only system she knows. How should we have bid this hand? A slam is easy.

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Thank you to all the people who replied. I worked out how to ask two robots to bid the hands and given a free choice, West chose to bid 2 instead of 2 so the sequence went

1-2-3-3NT-5-6

but if I insisted West responded 2 they still found the slam with

1-2-2-3-5-6.

I think one of my problems is an over-willingness to play in NT with a hope of an over-trick than 5 of a minor but, as has been pointed out, I never showed my diamond support.
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