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Opening at the 4 level looking to improve our methods

#1 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 06:42

Playing Match points and Precision, we open at the 4 level using trick counts (which vary by who is red and who is white) Our 4 level opening bids (or immediate overcalls) tend to have no defensive values, no 4 card Major and generally be short of an opening 1 level bid...This sometimes causes a problem when opening 4H or 4S because partner can't get an accurate assessment as to high of a sacrifice might be in order (eg. why pre-empt 5 Hearts). Looking to improve our simple methods. I did find the following scheme, but I would like some advice on what might be best way to describe 4 level opening bids and partner responses. :


4C shows a hand with a long semi-solid Major with 3.5-4 Honor tricks OR a Minor suit with 2.5 -3 Honor tricks; no void
4D says to go ahead and bid your suit
4H is a slam try
4S is a slam try
5C is to Play
6C shows first round control in 3 suits
5D is to Play
6D shows first round control in 3 suits
4D shows a hand with a long strong Major with 2.5-3 Honor tricks
4H shows no slam interest
Pass
4S is a correction to Spades
4S shows slam interest in Hearts
4NT is BETA (Control Asking)
5C is a cue bid
5D is a cue bid
4H is natural and weak
4S is natural and weak
4NT shows long Clubs or Diamonds, strong, with at least one void
5C shows no slam interest
Pass
5D is a correction to Diamonds

As an aside, I don't think I want to use all the 4 level opening suit bids to strictly show Majors, although I have thought that maybe opening 3NT could show a Minor ( Our 3NT opening currently is undefined), which would then take care of that concern.

I also need to be GCC compliant

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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#2 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 06:44

sorry, my copying from excel got all fouled up
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#3 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 06:50

n
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#4 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 07:27

your 4 opening is non GCC. 4-level openings have to be a known suit, so you cant even use it for a good major.

4N opening also non-GCC, cant be used for an unnamed minor, which is really dumb since 3N can. 4N could be used for both minors.
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#5 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 07:43

if you want to be gcc compliant I think your stuck with 2 options

1) 3N - long minor, 4-good , 4- good , higher natural

2) 3N - solid major, 4-bids natural (or 2 under transfers which would commit to 5-level for minor suit pre-empts)
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#6 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2015-April-05, 16:05

It's best to use a 4 opener as a pre-empt in clubs. This improves your results by making life difficult for the opponents. They have to guess, and whenever they guess wrong, you win.
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#7 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-06, 08:49

View Postjallerton, on 2015-April-05, 16:05, said:

It's best to use a 4 opener as a pre-empt in clubs. This improves your results by making life difficult for the opponents. They have to guess, and whenever they guess wrong, you win.


Wouldn't Opening 3NT have the same affect (presuming 3NT is showing a long suit) in either of Steve2005's options ? So I am leaning toward Option A, if those are my only choices (vs. what I do now when I open or overcall 4 of a suit).
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#8 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2015-April-06, 09:36

Here's what Sam and I do:

3NT = 8-9 tricks in a 7+card major, asking for tricks/controls
4m = natural
4M = natural, fairly wide range but weaker than 3NT

Basically the 3NT hands are ones that have the trick-taking power to open a strong club (or perhaps a strong 2) but typically only 12-15 hcp. An example would be AQJxxxx AKx xx x. Responses to 3NT are:

4 = 3+ tricks possible
4 = less than 3 tricks, wants opener to declare
4M = less than 3 tricks, I want to declare (pass/correct, usually responder can guess the major)

3NT-4:
... 4 = hearts
... 4 = spades

Responder now accepts opener's transfer with 3 tricks only. Otherwise responder can cue or keycard. If responder accepts the transfer, opener can bid on with better than a minimum.

Where this fits on the spectrum of ACBL legality is unclear. Most people we mention this to have the immediate reaction of "it's mid-chart" but this actually cannot be the right answer. If you buy that this shows a strong hand and asks for tricks/controls, then it fits under the general chart. If you don't buy that and think it's more of a multi-suit preempt, it's super-chart. In practice we play mostly in mid-chart events and haven't gotten any complaints about this opening. It may be worth noting that you sometimes see people open a strong 2 with these hands (typically weaker players) and this has been deemed allowed by ACBL.
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#9 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 06:50

AWM : Thanks....when Responder is evaluating his trick count, is he counting quick tricks, or does Responder try to count shortness and trumping values (via guessing what Opener's Major is) in his own hand ?
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#10 User is offline   WesleyC 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 09:11

I think 4m natural is a very valuable preempt - Especially on shapely hands eg. 74 with a 4c major.

I also think that 4M as natural and somewhat wide ranging gains a lot more than it loses.

On the other hand, gambling 3nt isn't much good. Much more useful is something like 5S & 6H, 8-12 or a narrowly defined constructive major preempt.
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#11 User is offline   WesleyC 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 09:12

I think 4m natural is a very valuable preempt - Especially on shapely hands eg. 74 with a 4c major.

I also think that 4M as natural and somewhat wide ranging gains a lot more than it loses.

On the other hand, gambling 3nt isn't much good. Much more useful is something like 5S & 6H, 8-12 or a narrowly defined constructive major preempt.
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#12 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 11:15

View PostWesleyC, on 2015-April-07, 09:12, said:

narrowly defined constructive major preempt.


Yes, I like this and I play it myself, but I think it is not legal on GCC.
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#13 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 12:39

View Postawm, on 2015-April-06, 09:36, said:

Here's what Sam and I do:

3NT = 8-9 tricks in a 7+card major, asking for tricks/controls


Sensible, but not GCC legal. 3N can be unnamed minor or any solid suit. So if you want unnamed major you need it to be solid. This is silly but true minors can be anything but majors need to be solid.

I also agree with others that playing 4/4 as natural is very underrated.





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#14 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 14:10

View Poststeve2005, on 2015-April-07, 12:39, said:

Sensible, but not GCC legal. 3N can be unnamed minor or any solid suit. So if you want unnamed major you need it to be solid. This is silly but true minors can be anything but majors need to be solid.

I also agree with others that playing 4/4 as natural is very underrated.


The GCC also allows calls which ask for aces, kings, controls, etc (and presumably show strong hands). This would seem to qualify, just as 3nt asking specific aces is allowed.
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#15 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 15:30

View PostShugart23, on 2015-April-06, 08:49, said:

Wouldn't Opening 3NT have the same affect (presuming 3NT is showing a long suit) in either of Steve2005's options ? So I am leaning toward Option A, if those are my only choices (vs. what I do now when I open or overcall 4 of a suit).


No. If you open 3NT on hands with a long minor, then it gives 2nd hand (and sometimes 4th hand as well) 'two bites at the cherry'. The opponents have a bigger range of calls available so the artificial pre-empt is less effective. For example, if RHO opens 4 natural, I only have one way to bid 4. If RHO opens 3NT showing a pre-empt in a minor, I can overcall 4 immediately, or I can double then bid 4 on the next round, or I can pass then bid 4 on the next round (assuming there is one). Similarly, I can assign different meanings to double 3NT then double 4m, double 3NT then pass over 4m, and pass over 3NT then double a correction to 4m.
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#16 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 15:44

View Postawm, on 2015-April-07, 14:10, said:

The GCC also allows calls which ask for aces, kings, controls, etc (and presumably show strong hands). This would seem to qualify, just as 3nt asking specific aces is allowed.

yes there is the ask for A/K loophole but it is a very rare hand that this kind of information is all you need for an opening. Even more unlikely you can't find this out eventually opening a strong 1 or 2. The only use I see for this type of opening bid which doesn't use up a much more useful bid would be 4N asking for specific aces.So not useful as an opening, yes useful for later A/K asks.
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#17 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 15:54

thanks; makes sense. Liking AWM's method more and more.....Is there an ACBL definition of what a solid suit is ? Is AQxxxxxx solid or A,J,10,xxxx ?
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#18 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 16:13

View PostShugart23, on 2015-April-07, 15:54, said:

thanks; makes sense. Liking AWM's method more and more.....Is there an ACBL definition of what a solid suit is ? Is AQxxxxxx solid or A,J,10,xxxx ?


??? I believe that a solid suit is AKQJxx or AKQxxxx. I maybe wrong about whether you need the 10 for 6 solid or the J for seven solid. With eight cards, I am pretty sure AKQ is enough.
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#19 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 16:32

View PostVampyr, on 2015-April-07, 16:13, said:

??? I believe that a solid suit is AKQJxx or AKQxxxx. I maybe wrong about whether you need the 10 for 6 solid or the J for seven solid. With eight cards, I am pretty sure AKQ is enough.

I think I'd rather have 8 spades to the AQ vs AKQJXX....not disagreeing with your definition...be nice to see official ACBL def
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#20 User is offline   mikestar13 

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Posted 2015-April-07, 16:38

View PostVampyr, on 2015-April-07, 16:13, said:

??? I believe that a solid suit is AKQJxx or AKQxxxx. I maybe wrong about whether you need the 10 for 6 solid or the J for seven solid. With eight cards, I am pretty sure AKQ is enough.


I don't believe the ACBL has an official definition (the "I know it when I see it" test). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, by the ACBL, does not have status of regulation, but does have a definition: a suit which can be expected to lose no tricks opposite a stiff in partner's hand and might not lose any tricks opposite a void. The Encyclopedia does not define how much better than 50% probability constitutes "expected", but it is surely more than 51% and less than 100%. ACBL is deliciously vague. (Not so delicious when you have to play under their regs.)
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