Sunday, April 24, 2011

Now Available at Bridge World

I just noticed that Bridge World Magazine's online bookstore is now carrying the paperback versions of both of my latest books (New Frontiers for strong Forcing Openings, and Modified Italian canape System).  A link is provided below:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Is it Frequency?

For the life of me, I still do not understand why one concept has not expanded as a general practice.  It is fairly common these days to play Smolen, which could be called "Same Rank Criss-Cross at the Three-Level" as a longer conventional name.  Using that term, one then imagines the other applications of that conventional approach.

After Stayman, a "SRCCTL" treatment for the MINORS would make 3C show diamonds and 3D show clubs.  After a Jacoby Transfer, the same SRCCTL approach could be used, as well.  This would also "right-side" many contracts, albeit less often.  A 2D transfer to hearts determines who declares a diamond contract.  A Stayman 2C determines who declares a club contract, and a 2D response determines who declares a diamond contract.  But, in many instances te minor declarer is not yet determined.

This approach would also allow for some "intermediate" actions, such as showing a major-diamond two-suiter with only intermediate values via transfer...3C, as Responder can pass a 3D preference (Opener preferences 3D with no fit and with no interest in 3NT opposite only invitational), for example.  That is, if the partnership wanted that.  Equally, this might allow bidding Stayman with long diamonds and one major as an escape, and then bidding 3C if Opener picks the wrong major, so long as Opener completes th transfer in this sequence; Responder bids on with other hands.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Super Non-Accept?

A troubling sequence is anything that starts with a 2NT opening, or 2C...2NT.  Space is limited.

I kind of liked my wife's call the other day, as an aside.  Bust with 4162.  I opened 2C, and she bid an immediate 2H double neg.  After 2NT, she whipped out Stayman, figuring that two of three rebids by me would be fabulous and that she could live with the fourth, rebidding 4D.  As it was, I passed (I was looking at long clubs for my 2NT call), which yielded an unexpected fourth good option.

But, I am wandering off point.  What this dal made me think about was what I might call a "Super Non-Accept."  If partner had shown a positive response (2C-P-2D), and then I bid 2NT, it seems like there is something to be said for dedicating one call for great hands without a fit after a transfer.

for example, suppose she transfers to hearts, but I am looking at Ax or Kx in hearts.  This is already a great holding if she is two-suited.  Maybe 5-4 with a hand where she might be planning on a signoff if I cannot support her major, or even a 4NT quantitative (which burns space).  In that second suit, if we have a fit, we have the likelihood of establishing her hearts via ruffing.  So, suppose that the first non-relay shows a power non-raise:


Partner could always back into 3NT or 4H (via re-transfer).  But, this gives space and incentive to explore alternative strains if she was interested in slam but only mildly (might have bid 3NT earlier).  It saves space by not forcing 4NT quantitative if that's what she had.  And, it describes.  She could trot out new suits by bidding 4C (natural) or 4H (4D is a re-transfer, so 4H shows diamonds).  

Now, the 5H/4S for partner scenario can be "fixed" by way of not bidding this 3S call unless you also lack four spades.  So, this call would typically show 3244 or a 5+ minor.  But, I could live with that.

This obviously might not be the best structure, and there might be something better.  But, it seems like there is good cause for that "Super Non-Accept" to possibly be considered.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Negative/Responsive Pass?

A strange sequence recently inspired a thought.

LHO opened 3D, partner doubled, and RHO leapt to 6D. Yes, that was the start.

My hand was a rock:


I could hardly imagine any other call but 7C. That part was easy. But, RHO took the bait and bid 7D, of course.

So, what should a pass by me mean? It seems that in such a crunched sequence, a pass should not necessarily show the diamond Ace but perhaps should show interest in another strain more generally. In fact, I would certainly entertain 7S, and 7H might not be hopeless. The key would be whether partner has a quality 4-card suit, such that the ruff on my side does not auto-doom the contract to a 3-3 hope and prayer.

Negative and Responsive Doubles are a topic of discussion as to how high to play them. Perhaps we should also discuss how LOW to play a Negative Pass or a Responsive Pass?

I mean, consider this sequence:


It probably makes sense to play this sequence as forcing, if it actually comes up. If so, then should a pass show both majors and interest in a major-suit slam?

Are there other sequences that call for such a treatment?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I had a recent discussion with some intermediate players that got me thinking.

After a 1NT opening, I have liked 3C as GF Puppet Stayman.  For the intermediates I was talking to, this was not a good option, because ne of them did not like Puppet Stayman.  So, I suggested an alternative, more "natural" approach.  Bid Stayman.  If partner bids 2D, continue on as you will.  If partner bids 2S (denyig four hearts) and you are interested in a 5-card spade suit, bid your longest minor to see if partner rebids spades.  If partner bids 2H and you are interested in either a fifth heart or a four-card spade suit, bid 3C.  In all instances, the next-ip by Opener would agree the minor if that was your intention, so nothing should go terribly wrong.

This is not fabulous, but it is not bad.  So, why do I play Puppet 3C, then?  It sure seems like this alternative structure does good enough, and perhaps 3C is better used for something else.

It is rather odd that for the past 80 years people have tinkered with response structure to 1NT, and yet there is always some new thought.  Weird.