Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wrap-Around Answering

In my book, I described a "wrap-around" method of answering "yummy toes" asking bids (asking bids following a picture bid to fill in the blanks). The idea was to answer the next logical question if your answer to the present question was the highest answer possible.

It recently dawned on me that this is not that unusual, as it has been a part of RKCB for years. The steps to RKCB are 0(or 3), 1(or 4), 2. However, the "highest answer" has a wrap-around of the next logical question -- the queen ask. This makes the steps actually 0(or 3), 1(or 4), 2(without the Queen), 2(with the Queen).

So, wrap-arounds are not all that foreign, eh?

I think wrap-arounds can and probably should be used more frequently. A discussion of a deal recently provided an example. Responder has shown a negative (at most one queen) with a probability of shortness in hearts (at most two). He has already shown his queen in a cuebid after trumps are set. opener now asks for heart length, in steps. If Responder has 2, first step. With one, second step. It seems to me that with the void, third step, Responder can wrap by next answering the logical question (how many trumps do you have for me). Contextually, this would mean (trust me) that the third step shows a void with two trumps, then void with three trumps, etc.

I think simpler examples exist. If your answers to checkback stayman are to always bid 2D without support for Responder's major, 2H with a minimum, and 2S with a maximum, then it seems that 2S will not be the final contract. Why not then have 2S and higher bids be "wrap arounds?" If partner is slammish, this wrapping would start that process up earlier and save space.

Some "wrap arounds" are implicit. Consider a Jacoby Transfer. The "highest response" is accepting the transfer, which is only one bid. However, with support, you are able to "wrap around" to answer an implied next question. Maybe the partnership agrees that the next question is to show a doubleton. Maybe a different question. But, you essentially wrap around if enabled.


Roy Hughes said...

Hi Ken, all
The idea of answering 'the next question' when giving the highest answer to the current one has been around for a while. In the Ultimate Club relay system book, it was called 'zoom'. I discussed the concept at some length in Building A Bidding System. Whether you call it 'wrap-around; or 'zoom' or something else, it certainly makes sense whenever you want to save space and continue a description.

Kenneth Rexford, Esq. said...

Glad to see this is more prevalent than I thought. This does seem to be an interesting area to develop in one's partnership.

A similar concept seems to be one that is missed by a lot of people, which is sort of an implied answer situation. Suppose the auction is 1S-P-2C-P-2H-P-2NT-P-3S. An "implied question" by Opener is whether Responder can support spades at this point. 3NT answers "no," but anything above that answers "yes." The "next question" should be "slammish or no?" and, if slammish, "what can you tell me?"

Or, consider P-P-3S-X-? The first question seems to be, "you you care at all about entering this auction?" Pass says no. Any other call says yes. However, the next question should be "can you tell me something useful for defense, and do you want to tell me something?"

These are, IMO, "zoom" or "wrap-around" sequences also, even if most fail to understand that thetre is a second question out there, or even if others don't know how to answer that question.