Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Very Strange Puppet

About the strangest place to play Puppet Stayman that I have actually used is in the following sequence:

1C - P - 1X - P -
2NT - P - 3C!!!

You might be wondering, "What?!?!?"  Well, an explanation is probably called for.

With several partners, I play a fairly common (now) treatment where Opener, after starting with One Heart or One Spade and hearing a Forcing 1NT response, bids 2NT as an artificial Game-Force, with various hand types.  This allows immediate Jump Shifts to show intermediate CP hands that have extra playing strength.  If you do this, you know my problem.  What, then, do you do with the balanced (17-)18 count with 5332 and a 5-card major?  Several unsatisfactory suggestions have been provided, including, "Just bid 3NT -- it probably makes," or "Try some sort of sexy 2C rebid."

I dislike both options for various reasons.  A third possibility is one that I tried out for a while and actually liked a lot.  I suppose  liked it mostly because it was weird, and I like weird.

The idea was to open One Club with all the normal meanings, but you might have a 5-card major (either) if you have the big balanced 18-count.  The unwind, then, is of course Puppet Stayman.

Obviously, however, "Puppet" is modified so as to cater to the elimination that just happened if Responder's call was a major, as Opener is not too likely to have 5-card support that he suppressed.

I am still uncertain as to whether this solution is ideal, as I only tried it in one partnership and only for a while.  But, I am somehow drawn to it, perhaps like a mosquito to a bug zapper but perhaps because there is something to this.  I don't play this anymore, because of partnership switches and the like, but I thought some folks might find this suggestion to possibly solve a problem you might be having. 

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