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Checkback Stayman

#1 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 10:49

My partner and I play Acol and have started playing Checkback Stayman. Up to now we have played it with this sequence: 1m - 1M - 1NT - 2C
Last week partner opened 1C, I replied 1D and he then bid 1NT with 17 HCP, 4234. He had C Jxxx and S KQ95. Until then I had assumed you always open the major to ensure you don't miss a major fit, but responder bids up the line. Partner said he always bids up the line when opening. He is the senior partner so I am willing (reluctantly) to go along with that, but don't want to miss a major fit in doing so.
Is there any reason why we can't use Checkback with 1m - 1m - 1NT - 2C? I can't see why not but when I look it up the examples are always 1m - 1M - 1NT, which makes me wonder.
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 11:18

You CAN use checkback, whether you want to depends on other things. The main thing you need to agree on is whether you want to play a Walsh type style where responder bids 4 cd major suits ahead of equal or longer diamond suits when holding minimal values (9-). If he does, then there is no danger of missing major fit, with 10+ can just make a natural reverse into 2M on the next round to show 4M 5+d and a GF, and you can just play 2c as natural.

If you are going to always open lower of two 4 cd suits, in my mind you should consider 5cd majors, KS rather than Acol.
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#3 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 11:25

View PostStephen Tu, on 2016-May-30, 11:18, said:


If you are going to always open lower of two 4 cd suits, in my mind you should consider 5cd majors, KS rather than Acol.


I am sure partner would rather miss the occasional major fit than agree to give up Acol!

Is there anything wrong with 1C - 1D - 1NT - 2C asking partner to bid a 4 card major if he has one? Should this sequence be retained for a delayed club support bid?
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 12:00

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-30, 11:25, said:

I am sure partner would rather miss the occasional major fit than agree to give up Acol!

Is there anything wrong with 1C - 1D - 1NT - 2C asking partner to bid a 4 card major if he has one? Should this sequence be retained for a delayed club support bid?


This is a question of style. With a 4M4m32 you can either agree to open the major, or open the minor and play checkback, or widen the range of the 1N rebid and play a Crowhurst type enquiry.
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#5 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 12:16

There are a few things here.

- firstly you need to agree your basic system before discussing add-ons. It really does make a big difference which four-card suit you are going to open and this will have an impact on your whole bidding structure. Discuss and agree this first.
- I agree with Stephen Tu, if you are going to open a minor much of the time when holding a four-card major it seems better to have the certainty of a five-card suit when you do open the major. Personally, I play Acol and will always open a major before a minor. This is the usual modern approach in the UK.
- If you choose to open the minor first, you either have to rebid a major (hiding the balanced shape) or rebid no trumps (hiding the major - Initially). If you choose the second option, check back, will help as long as responder has enough strength.
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#6 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 12:34

View PostTramticket, on 2016-May-30, 12:16, said:

There are a few things here.

- firstly you need to agree your basic system before discussing add-ons.


Indeed I come from a 2/1 5-card major system but our checkback is always 2 clubs (called Kantar 2 here) as opposed to the more common new minor forcing.

A feature of both is that after 1 - 1 neither applies. Responder either has a shapely hand with a 4 card major and longer diamonds strong enough to bid 2 of their major next or they already bid the major bypassing the diamond suit.

Bypassing diamonds to bid a major on most mundane responding hands is necessary and might work for you, keeping your partners preferred bidding choices. When we respond 1M on 4 with a long minor (and a ratty hand), jumping to 3 of that minor over a 1nt rebid is to play.
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#7 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 12:56

We play something like this, the following link is not perfect,
since the rebid is a wide range weak nt, but you may get the idea,
but adjust the point count accordingly.

Our rebid is a wide ranging strong NT, and for us 2NT is a puppet to 3C,
but this is the N/B section.

http://www.bridgehan...C/Crowhurst.htm

I would also assume, that 3M showes max. WITH 3 card support, the rest is
left for the student to work out for themself, as they used to say at
university.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#8 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 15:16

1) opening 4 card majors works badly in a weak no trump system. yes i know that's the system played by 95% of the population of the UK. the bidding knowledge in England is very low for players of a given standard of cardplay
2) if you want to open the minor with 4M4m (and ideally the longer minor with 4M4M 18-19) to ameliorate that issue, good.
3) however, this has knock on effects. with a weak hand, which is too bad to bid over a 1NT rebid, responder is much better placed bidding his major in preference to longer diamonds, so you don't miss your major fits and get to thin games.
4) so you don't miss out on playing a partscore in diamonds you can choose to play 1C-1M-1NT-2D as weak, 5+ diamonds, maybe only 4M, or you can play 2 way checkback (look it up), whereby 1C-1M-1NT-2C forces opener to bid 2D.
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#9 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-May-30, 23:09

View PostLiversidge, on 2016-May-30, 11:25, said:

I am sure partner would rather miss the occasional major fit than agree to give up Acol!


You can play Acol with 5-card majors. I do. #1 above is totally true.
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#10 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 03:23

Styles have changed over the years and it is up to you and your partner to agree your own style.

In original Acol balanced hands were generally bid up the line. The modern style is to rebid 1NT with balanced hands using check back to find a major suit fit. This means that a major suit rebid indicates an unbalanced hand with a five card minor.

One aspect of Acol is that it tends to be flexible, leaving personal judgement to decide the best bid. So, holding a 4324 15 count you might use the quality of the suits to determine the best opening and rebid rather than strict rules.

I am not a fan of the Walsh system although obviously it is playable. It seems to me that what you gain on finding 4-4 fits on weak hands you lose on ambiguity regarding suit lengths, thus perhaps missing 5-3 major fits. The key thing, as with many conventions, is that you need to agree what bids mean on the next round, and the round after that. For example, playing Walsh what does this show 1C-1S-2NT-3D? Is it showing long diamonds, or 54? Of course top players will have all this sorted, but it can be a problem for less expert partnerships.

I was amused by the comment that bidding knowledge in England is very poor. I'm not sure where this comes from. Perhaps because Walsk, Drury and other conventions of doubtful value are not widely played.
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#11 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 03:33

I'm happy when opponents go into a checkback sequence. There have been occasions when I've had an almost complete count of the hand before I led.
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#12 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 04:58

View PostGrahamJson, on 2016-May-31, 03:23, said:

I was amused by the comment that bidding knowledge in England is very poor. I'm not sure where this comes from. Perhaps because Walsk, Drury and other conventions of doubtful value are not widely played.
I concur with the sentiment that provides the source of amusement. It comes from a high proportion of players who by preference will open a 4 card major when out of range for a weak 1N opener. But I think that the observation embraces the whole of the UK bridge-playing population. Limit the observation to serious competitive players and it is not so marked.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

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Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

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#13 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 07:22

View Post1eyedjack, on 2016-May-31, 04:58, said:

I concur with the sentiment that provides the source of amusement. It comes from a high proportion of players who by preference will open a 4 card major when out of range for a weak 1N opener. But I think that the observation embraces the whole of the UK bridge-playing population. Limit the observation to serious competitive players and it is not so marked.


Well, I am sort of amused, but overall appalled by this. I don't think it has much to do with 4 or 5 cards majors, nor with strong or weak NT, nor with the tendency (teaching) to open 1M with 4M4m32 out of NT range prevalent in many parts of the country. It has more to do with the lack of teaching very much at all beyond simple Blackwood with respect to slam bidding. Even there most cannot distinguish hands which are suitable for the bid and which are not. Many players are illiterate when it comes to things like splinters, Jacoby, cue bidding and as for 3NT being any degree of seriousness you'd get a "what?" if you asked. "Last train" means how the hoi polloi get home, doesn't it?! Worse, many are infected with Gerber syndrome.

The fact that most exclusively play matchpoints where you get disproportionate rewards for playing 3NT over 5/6m a lot of the time merely compounds the situation.
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#14 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 07:34

It is not just 4-card majors. It is a general tendency among the better club players and average tournament players to play a lot of very old-fashioned and/or ill-conceived stuff like Benji 2, a 2 response to 1NT showing exactly 11 points, almost all doubles being penalty, 2NT=19-20, 1NT freebid having no clear intention opposiste a balanced 16-count, and lots of basic bidding sequences being undiscussed or having nonsensical meaning.
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#15 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 09:07

The last time that I played regular club bridge, over ten years ago (I have been living in countries where bridge is not widely played since then) my partner preferred simple methods; 4 card majors, weak NT and most doubles being for penalties. It didn't stop us averaging over 60%, often due to picking up penalties from surprised opponents who didn't expect their over all's to be dealt with so quickly. I should add out of fairness that the general standard was not high. However it did show that you don't need to play trendy methods to win.

Interestingly, we did play some complex methods; transfers, multi and tartan twos. However we made sure that these were well discussed.
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#16 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 09:15

View PostGrahamJson, on 2016-May-31, 09:07, said:

The last time that I played regular club bridge, over ten years ago (I have been living in countries where bridge is not widely played since then) my partner preferred simple methods; 4 card majors, weak NT and most doubles being for penalties. It didn't stop us averaging over 60%, often due to picking up penalties from surprised opponents who didn't expect their over all's to be dealt with so quickly. I should add out of fairness that the general standard was not high. However it did show that you don't need to play trendy methods to win.

Interestingly, we did play some complex methods; transfers, multi and tartan twos. However we made sure that these were well discussed.


that you were getting 60% playing methods out of the 1930s indicates you're either garozzo and beladonna or that the general standard of bidding was absurdly low. my money's not on option A. that you refer to transfers as 'complex methods' pretty much proves the point that UK knowledge of bidding is low.
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#17 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 09:45

I did say that the standard was not high. And transfers can be complex;. For example 1NT-2D-2H-2S being a game forcing relay whilst 1NT-2D-2H-3C/D being 55 invitational. Also, 1NT-2D-3C/D being 4card support, maximum and xx in the bid suit.
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#18 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 09:57

One other point regarding uk bidding. Bridge Magazine has just changed its standard system used in its monthly bidding competition from Acol to 2/1 on the basis that 2/1 is now the most played system in the country. So we don't all play systems from the 60's.
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#19 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:02

I open 1 with the hand shown. I like to use transfer Walsh style bids over it. Without that style, I prefer to respond 1 with 4 and 4. If I have 4 and 5, I bid 1. Now I expect p to bid his 4 card major rather than 1 (or even 2) NT. The problem as I see it is that checkback is now looking at both majors so we could easily have the following sequence:
1 1
1N 2 checkback
2

Club opener is
Kxxx
Kxx
KQ
Axxx

Responder has
xx
Qxxx
Axxxx
xx

which means you cant use checkback

but suppose Responder has
Qxxx
xx
Axxxx
xx

I would much prefer to be in 2 than 1N

Also suppose I have 4 and 4 and p opens 1
1 1
1N

playing checkback, I can't retreat to 2 and 1N could easily be down on a lead

I do use checkback after 1 1M 1N, and 1, 1, 1N. I then find out if P opened with a 5 card suit or if he has 3 card suppoort for my suit or 4 of the unbid major
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#20 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2016-May-31, 10:13

View Postwank, on 2016-May-30, 15:16, said:

1) opening 4 card majors works badly in a weak no trump system. yes i know that's the system played by 95% of the population of the UK. the bidding knowledge in England is very low for players of a given standard of cardplay

As a beginner I hesitate to say it, but I find that hard to believe. Andrew Robson advocates opening the higher ranking of two four card suits except with hearts and spades. So does the EBU Modern Acol System File 2014, Ron Klinger, and every other modern Acol source I can lay my hands on. Maybe that explains why bidding knowledge of UK players is so low, all our experts are giving us bad advice.
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