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Returning Player: 2/1 or SAYC?

#1 User is offline   MikeJ 

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Posted 2022-August-21, 20:48

I was a decent intermediate player who played SAYC with all the gadgets and am returning to the game after many years away. I had actually started looking at 2/1 before I left but never got far because I got it confused with the SAYC that I had been playing.

Now I can essentially start with a clean slate, so should I just jump right into 2/1?

If yes, are the addon conventions that were helpful with SAYC also good to keep with 2/1?

Or is there a different list of conventions that are helpful with 2/1 like they were with SAYC?

Thanks!

Mike
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#2 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2022-August-21, 22:14

2/1 isn't actually all that different from Standard American. It's not like switching to Precision or Polish Club (or even Acol or K-S). Really, you should think of 2/1 as just taking Std Am and adding the convention that a 1N response to 1 of a major is forcing, and some sequences on top of that. With that, you get to play that a new suit by responder in their first bid at the 2 level is forcing to game. I think you will be less confused if you think of it as adopting one new convention and a slight change in strength to some bids, rather than thinking of it as a different system.

The conventions you would play with Std Am are the same as the ones you would play with 2/1.

However, in your many years away, some of the conventions you used to play have developed improvements. Many people now play 2-way new minor forcing (or XYZ) instead of the original new minor forcing, to the extent some people are now taught 2-way NMF to start with. Improved versions of Jacoby 2N are now pretty standard among experts and starting to make its way down to advanced players.

I don't know how long you were away - but no one any good at all plays straight Blackwood anymore.
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#3 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 03:16

Except if you playing with a regular partner should you worry whether you play 2/1 or SAYC. I guess not many (including myself) know every bid as a precise bid in 2/1 or SAYC. Playing GF 2/1 you could find yourself in 23-24 high point games where there is less than 50% chance of making the contract. As far as I am aware there is option for 2/1 players to land in a non-game contract where opener is bare minimum: I have actually seen two expert players end in 4m while playing 2/1! (So the 2 over 1 bid became invitational as in SAYC not GF) But that is exception.

I like 2/1 but prefer SAYC slightly. But I have played so much more SAYC than 2/1, so I may be bias :)

I get feeling that 99% of expert players now use 2/1 as opposed to SAYC. And I guess from reading players profiles that many older American players at Intermediate level still use SAYC (or Standard American style bids) and have not made the change.
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#4 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 04:56

I faced a similar sort of choice and stuck with Standard American plus gadgets.
I find that 1M-P-2X marginally decreases the chance of 4th seat interference and you can still GF at a later stage
1M--P-1NT-2X-2NT also now has different meanings depending on X
e.g. 1-1NT-2-2NT (a 4 card limit raise, but also a game try)
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#5 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 07:14

The only convention I can think of which suits 2/1 but doesn't suit a non2/1-SA would be Drury (incl 2way Drury).

A 2-level shift by a passed hand must mean something but it can be gf. You could agree to play SAYC or similar after 3rd/4th seat openings but then you have to discuss a lot of things which may not be obvious if you and partner don't have the same frame of reference. So you might as well just play two-way Drury.
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 09:17

All everyone says here - except in North America, Drury is one of the "standard gadgets" in SA (not SAYC - but nobody plays SAYC, even those who claim to) - is accurate.

But learn 2/1 - really, it is just a forcing 1NT response allowing 1M-2m to show 12+ and a game force. It does in fact make a lot of auctions easier, and the forcing NT sequences, while frequent and a fair bit to learn, are mostly "obvious" (and there's a lot of competitive auctions after 1M-1NT, so even more "obvious).

But the biggest reason to learn 2/1 is the one I heard 30 years ago when I was learning: "If you go to the partnership desk and get a 2/1 partner, you'll know they're comfortable with the stuff that both standard and 2/1 need - some sort of forcing minor raise, sufficient competitive doubles, and they'll know the second round bidding for things like Stayman and Transfers. If you get a Standard partner, they may not know them." Getting back into the game, you want people to want to play with you; and not being able to play 2/1 is another (small, but still) barrier that will limit your options.

Now all of this is dependent on where you are; I'm assuming ACBL-land. Obviously, if you're in Poland, learn PC; if you're in England, learn Acol;...make it easy for *them* to play with *you*.
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#7 User is offline   jdiana 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 12:18

I agree that learning 2/1 is a good idea, especially if you're in North America. Be aware that there are a few different versions of 2/1 in common circulation. These articles summarize the two main approaches, as well as a "third way" called the Schuler shift.

https://bridgewinner...esome-2m-rebid/

https://bridgewinner...-schuler-shift/

https://bridgewinner...ebulous-2c-bid/

Probably best to start with one of the two mainstream approaches. I don't think the "Schuler shift" is very common among intermediate players. If you have a regular partner, my advice would be to take a good 2/1 class together and talk it through while building some system notes.
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#8 User is offline   MikeJ 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 19:47

Thanks everyone. Very helpful.

Yes, ACBL land. So I'll just make the 2/1 plunge (and start looking at Drury).

Along those lines, where do I find good notes on Drury and the new NMF?
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#9 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 20:42

Standard American is OK.

The system defined as SAYC is irreparably brain damaged (1m-2N auctions, just for a start)
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#10 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2022-August-22, 23:51

View Postjdiana, on 2022-August-22, 12:18, said:

I agree that learning 2/1 is a good idea, especially if you're in North America. Be aware that there are a few different versions of 2/1 in common circulation. These articles summarize the two main approaches, as well as a "third way" called the Schuler shift.

https://bridgewinner...esome-2m-rebid/

https://bridgewinner...-schuler-shift/

https://bridgewinner...ebulous-2c-bid/

Probably best to start with one of the two mainstream approaches. I don't think the "Schuler shift" is very common among intermediate players. If you have a regular partner, my advice would be to take a good 2/1 class together and talk it through while building some system notes.

https://bridgewinner...us-2c-response/
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#11 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-23, 11:31

View PostMikeJ, on 2022-August-22, 19:47, said:

Thanks everyone. Very helpful.

Yes, ACBL land. So I'll just make the 2/1 plunge (and start looking at Drury).

Along those lines, where do I find good notes on Drury and the new NMF?


I would learn and get started with 2 over 1, which is quite enough for now, Drury which can be added later if desired.
And I would learn XYZ rather than a "new" NMF.
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#12 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-August-23, 14:58

View PostTylerE, on 2022-August-22, 20:42, said:

Standard American is OK.

The system defined as SAYC is irreparably brain damaged (1m-2N auctions, just for a start)

Wow!

The 11-12 1m - 2NT is on the short list for the worst bid in bridge!

That is a *bug* in 2/1.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-23, 15:08

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-August-23, 14:58, said:

Wow!

The 11-12 1m - 2NT is on the short list for the worst bid in bridge!


Doesn't even make my top ten, assuming responder bids up the line and has a game force available with fit.
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#14 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-August-23, 15:35

View Postpescetom, on 2022-August-23, 15:08, said:

Doesn't even make my top ten, assuming responder bids up the line and has a game force available with fit.

I played it for maybe 8 years. Somehow, as opener, I never had 14 hcp including 2 aces. So I *never* knew what to do.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-August-24, 09:55

I hate the invitational 1m-2NT. But it's universal these days. Finding a bid for the 10-12 hands without a major is almost impossible with the rest of the system people play, and they're willing to give up the advantages of a GF-or-SeriousST 2NT bid because every other option is worse. And I'm not sure I don't agree with them (even though I don't agree with 1m-2m being GF, or 1-2, which is the other places these bids usually go. I certainly wouldn't play 1m-1M "occasionally 3 cards with unsuitable hands" without a huge amount of discussion (which wasn't possible until 2017, because where I played it was not a legal agreement).
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-25, 08:34

View Postmycroft, on 2022-August-24, 09:55, said:

I hate the invitational 1m-2NT. But it's universal these days. Finding a bid for the 10-12 hands without a major is almost impossible with the rest of the system people play, and they're willing to give up the advantages of a GF-or-SeriousST 2NT bid because every other option is worse. And I'm not sure I don't agree with them (even though I don't agree with 1m-2m being GF, or 1-2, which is the other places these bids usually go. I certainly wouldn't play 1m-1M "occasionally 3 cards with unsuitable hands" without a huge amount of discussion (which wasn't possible until 2017, because where I played it was not a legal agreement).


Maybe the difference is that I do agree with (and play) 1m-2m and 1-2 being GF, but the 1m (p) 2N auction rarely seems to happen (where are the majors?) and I don't remember it being a head scratcher.
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#17 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-August-25, 11:20

Where are the Majors? Usually in opener's hand :-)

The problem with INV, NF 1m-2NT is, as always, playing there. "2NT is a convention, not a contract" (okay, I've elided the "in competition" from there, but still, it's never a good contract). Another issue, brought up by bluenikki et al, is that 3-point ranges is what you invite *from*, not what you invite *with*. Do you go with (as they said) 14 BAL with 2 Aces, catch a 10-count and go down, or pass, catch a mildly misfitting 12 and make 4? Also, on the rare cases where opener has a huge hand, how do you investigate 6m in the small space available?

Sure it's rare. That doesn't mean it's good, just that the pain is rare enough that the benefit of playing this way with the rest of the system is higher.

The weak NT equivalent (for those of us in strong-NT land) is "either play it the K-S way, where 1NT is 5-7, no game interest opposite 17 BAL" (which has its obvious downsides, never mind the "what do you do with the 8-10 (8-12?) no-major hands?") or play one of the standard ranges, where 1 (in particular)-1NT has the same issue that 1m-2NT does in strong NT systems, just one level lower. "Do I invite, and be the only pair down in 2, or do I pass 1NT and make the same 3 the rest of the room is in?" You can massage some of this, as also mentioned above, by moving to 1 'clubs or balanced', but that also has its own issues (not least that most of the published "transfer response to 1" theory is designed around using the fact that there is a gap between min BAL and 18-19 effectively.)
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#18 User is offline   perko90 

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Posted 2022-August-25, 14:56

View Postjdiana, on 2022-August-22, 12:18, said:

I agree that learning 2/1 is a good idea, especially if you're in North America. Be aware that there are a few different versions of 2/1 in common circulation. These articles summarize the two main approaches, as well as a "third way" called the Schuler shift.

https://bridgewinner...esome-2m-rebid/

https://bridgewinner...-schuler-shift/

https://bridgewinner...ebulous-2c-bid/

Probably best to start with one of the two mainstream approaches. I don't think the "Schuler shift" is very common among intermediate players. If you have a regular partner, my advice would be to take a good 2/1 class together and talk it through while building some system notes.


Before some posters got distracted with 1m-2NT auctions :rolleyes: , the Q was about 2/1 conventions. You've received a bunch of good advice so far.
But let me just add some more: The 2 conventions that I can really think of that are geared toward 2/1 in particular are: forcing (or semi-forcing) 1NT (I slightly prefer the sf variety, but either is fine) and 1-3 = 6+ s, no 4cM, invite.
Also, the Nebulous 2C article above is FANTASTIC and I recommend it to all at all levels. Schuler shift (only for the 2 or 2 2/1 auctions) is good (I use it myself), but is not essential and I don't think I'd recommend it to Intermediate players. Once you adopt the Neb 2, it will cover the vast majority of 2/1 auctions with the extra benefit of allowing 1M-2 to promise a 5+ card suit, putting you ahead of the field already without doing anything else "fancy."

Extra Credit: it might be worth having the agreement that ALL dbls of 2 and below are NOT penalty except for ____. Honestly, I can only think of 2 situations: after 1X-(Dbl)-Redbl start and when Responder bid 1NT. Ok, if you play in a place (like the UK) where weak NT is common, you'll want to preserve (1NT)-Dbl as penalty / strength. But if strong NT is predominant (like the US) penalty Dbls of 1NT are complete trash.
Of course, there are a bazillion ways to defend 1NT (I find Woolsey / multi-Landy the best). But if you want to keep it super simple vs strong NT, everything natural and Dbl = H&S is pretty simple and better than keeping the penalty Dbl. Probably sticking to one system (whatever is best vs the predominant 1NT range) is best for Intermediate players. However, if you're up for a little more complication, Woolsey does a great job of morphing vs weak or strong: vs weak the Dbl is penalty, vs strong it's 5+ m & 4cM; all the other bids stay the same.
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#19 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-25, 15:07

OT continuation, sorry :)

View Postmycroft, on 2022-August-25, 11:20, said:

Do you go with (as they said) 14 BAL with 2 Aces, catch a 10-count and go down, or pass, catch a mildly misfitting 12 and make 4?

If that hand had a little more than mentioned I might have opened it 1NT, now I'm going for it in any case. Partner will not have 10.

View Postmycroft, on 2022-August-25, 11:20, said:

Also, on the rare cases where opener has a huge hand, how do you investigate 6m in the small space available?

If partner showed fit then I can kickback or make/demand a control-bid.
If partner denied fit and majors then 6m is not usually a first thought, I can bid quantitatively.
Or I have 6+ and want to go the minor route to investigate slam , then 4m is forcing and demands a control-bid all the same.
Sure it's not perfect, but it's also infrequent and I think we have bigger problems in our system.
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#20 User is offline   MikeJ 

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Posted 2022-August-25, 15:37

View Postakwoo, on 2022-August-21, 22:14, said:

Many people now play 2-way new minor forcing (or XYZ) instead of the original new minor forcing, to the extent some people are now taught 2-way NMF to start with.



View Postpescetom, on 2022-August-23, 11:31, said:

And I would learn XYZ rather than a "new" NMF.



I thought XYZ *was* a new NMF. That's what I meant with my question.
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