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Finding your minor suit slams!

#1 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 09:21

This thread has been started the gets some tips and tricks from others as to how to get to your minor suit slams. This is an area of our game where we are leaking far too many points.

No matter what you have in your system agreements, everything comes at a cost. To get the thread going, how about this for starters?
Over a 1NT (15-17 HCP) opening bid, is it better to play Minor Suit Stayman or 4-Way-Transfers? Both have merit. Both have their plusses and minuses. But which one should I choose?
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#2 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 09:21

These posts have been copied in from elsewhere to gather as much info as possible into one thread.

 32519, on 2013-August-24, 03:07, said:

Another area I have identified where we leak a lot of points is not bidding minor suit slams, instead opting to play in 3NT making 11 where the minor suit allows us to trump a loser for a 12th trick.

One of the larger clubs at which I periodically play seems to have more minor suit slams than major suit slams. From reviewing the hands and results afterwards it would appear that others are not finding the minor suit slams either, more so after either partner has opened the bidding with 1NT. And even more weird is that there are more suit slams than suit slams.

Partner and I have started focusing on jacking up our minor suit bidding agreements.

 Cyberyeti, on 2013-August-24, 07:10, said:

This is a common problem with pairs who play short minor suit openings, you need some very good agreements to get round it. One of the side effects of the system that we play (4 card major weak NT acol opening the minor with 4M4m32 outside NT range) is that we are quite good at bidding minor suit slams.

 32519, on 2013-August-24, 08:30, said:

Can you kindly supply as much info as possible as to how you go about getting to your minor suit slams? Rather supply too much info than too little info. How do you find your minor suit slams after a 1NT opening?

 Cyberyeti, on 2013-August-24, 08:52, said:

A lot of our minor suit slams are bid after an inverted minor raise of the 4 card minor that only shows 4 and doesn't deny a major. This is much easier to handle in a 4 card major system where you can't hold a weak no trump because you'd have opened it. There are hands on which we give an inverted minor raise on where opposite a weak no trump with 2/3 of the minor you don't want to be anywhere other than 1N.

We also bid quite a few minor suit slams after 1m-2M which we bid on HHxxx in the major, Hxxx in the minor, decent opening hand+ (H=AKQ), and with the conventional response that 2N denies better than stiff J in partner's suit, anything above 2N shows it so if you hold KQJxx in the major, you diagnose the wastage immediately, but AKxxx is not bad.

Over 1N there are many schemes, but again, I suspect more slams are bid over a strong notrump than a weak one so we're starting with 1m not 1N which makes this easier.

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#3 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 10:31

There's not necessarily a simple answer to this, in that it depends on your methods and exactly what the issue is. However, I'll point out a few problems that are common among intermediates:

1. Visualize the possibility of slam. For example: AKxx Axx Ax xxxx; partner opens 1 and we bid 1-1-2. I have fifteen high opposite something like 11-15 and all suits stopped. But I should be in no rush to bid 3NT! With such prime cards and a ten-card club fit, we could easily make a slam (give partner x Kxx xxx AKxxxx and slam is excellent, and this isn't even a max). Make sure you have a way to make a forcing club raise in this auction and use it!

2. Bid your minors. People fall in love with opening or rebidding notrump on off-shape hands like 2245 or 2326. Sometimes this is the right action of course, but you really need a hand that would be a "problem hand" otherwise. For example: xx Ax AKJx AQxxx, I open 1 and partner responds 1. I could rebid 2NT now, but my hand is prime and values are concentrated in the minors. Much better to reverse into 2 and see how the auction develops. Partner could have a hand like AKxx xxx QTxx xx where slam is basically on a finesse (and 3NT is on the same finesse) or even Axxx xx Qxxx Kxx and we will never reach slam after a 2NT rebid. As another example, xx Axx AKJTxx Ax; occasionally you see people open 1NT on this, or bid 1-1-2NT (which is a more accurate strength evaluation). But this is a perfectly good 1...3 hand and bidding in either of these ways could easily miss 6. Another example is KQxxx x AJxx xxx; partner opens 1NT and I transfer to spades. Too often people now rebid 3NT "choice of games" but 3 (or a second transfer bid showing spades and diamonds) is much better. Partner could hold Ax xxx KQxxx AKx and 6 is excellent, but we will never get there after transfer and 3NT. Of course it is still sometimes right to bid notrump off-shape; the trick is to look for hands with slow/positional cards and weaker suits, for example Qx AQ KQxx AJxxx and it's clear to open 1 and rebid 2NT over 1.

3. Show your shortness. Again a good example is KQxxx x AJxx xxx opposite a 1NT opening. Note that this can get you to better game contracts as well as slams (give partner xx Qxx KQxx AKQx and there is no slam, but we'd rather play 5 than 3NT even at MP). Another example is Kxx x AQxx KJxxx after a 1 opening. Some will start with 2 inverted and then bid 3NT after partner shows a heart control, or even start with 1 and then blast 3NT after partner rebids 1. But slam is easily possible if partner's heart holding is Axx(x) and by far the best approach is a direct splinter in hearts. Make sure you have a way to show splinters in support of partner's minor! Another example is Axxx KQxx x Kxxx after partner opens a strong 1NT. Often people will bid stayman, then 3NT when partner shows no four-card major. But partner could have Kx Axx Qxx AQxxx and 6 is excellent despite the "wasted" diamond card. Make sure you have methods to show these sorts of hands!
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#4 User is offline   TWO4BRIDGE 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 10:41

 awm, on 2013-August-24, 10:31, said:

There's not necessarily a simple answer to this, in that it depends on your methods and exactly what the issue is.

Ditto.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

EDIT: Over 1NT open, you need sequences for:
A) Long : weak, invitational, slammish
B) Long : weak, invitational, slammish
C) 2-suiter minors ( 5/4 )+ : weak, invitational, slammish

I think Minor Suit Stayman ( rather than 4-way transfers ) is better because of the 2-suiters ( C )... but you are right.. every system has drawbacks

But then to show weak, long , you use the sequence:
1NT - 2NT! ( relay to 3C );
and then your 2NT invite hand will go thru Stayman .

I'll let you ( or someone else ) to look up the rest .
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#5 User is offline   RSClyde 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 10:59

I tend to be of a different school of thought on the opening/rebidding no trump thing. My approach is to open rebid no trump if at all possible: but have lots of subsequent followups. The negative inference when partner does show minors then is huge.
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#6 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 10:59

Another thing I would add is to look into playing next suit up as an ask over say 1-1-2. Playing 2 fully artificial and your choice of inv+ or GF is an incredibly useful tool. Whether you play it as lowest unbid suit or as we do, lowest suit regardless of whether it's a repeat of your suit is also a matter of choice.
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#7 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-August-24, 23:37

 TWO4BRIDGE, on 2013-August-24, 10:41, said:

I'll let you ( or someone else ) to look up the rest .

SAYC takes minor suit slam tries through Stayman.
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Posted 2013-August-24, 23:53

Inverted minors have been mentioned a few times. But the original treatment here (like all other conventions) has undergone modifications by various partnerships. Here are two links, the first from BridgeGuys, and the second from Larry Cohen.
The Bridgeguys writeup has a gap with weak raises, what do you do with 9 HCP, while Larry's writeup has an 8-9 HCP gap with weak hands. How do you bid those?

According to BridgeGuys, some partnerships treat the inverted raise as GF. Any thoughts on that?
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#9 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-August-25, 05:50

 32519, on 2013-August-24, 23:53, said:

Inverted minors have been mentioned a few times. But the original treatment here (like all other conventions) has undergone modifications by various partnerships. Here are two links, the first from BridgeGuys, and the second from Larry Cohen.
The Bridgeguys writeup has a gap with weak raises, what do you do with 9 HCP, while Larry's writeup has an 8-9 HCP gap with weak hands. How do you bid those?

According to BridgeGuys, some partnerships treat the inverted raise as GF. Any thoughts on that?

You an also decide to use a 2N response as a raise of sorts or use 1-2 and 1-3 as raises to plug the gaps.

I'm not sure that you can cope with inv+ (we play 9+ with 5 or 10+ with 4) and containing a 4 card major opposite a possibly short club and strong notrump, but you can I think cope with either. Consider using 1-2-2 as your enquiry rather than the more traditional 2N as it gives you more room, you lose very little. 1-2-2 as the enquiry needs a little more work but is also usable.
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#10 User is offline   SteveMoe 

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Posted 2013-August-25, 09:23

FWIW, I find we get to more minor suit slams playing some from of big club than playing 2/1. That said, here are things I do to help in a 2/1 context:

1) Disciplined splinters, especially over 1m openings.
2) Systems after partner opens 1N and 2N that help find minor suit slams.
3) Minorwood or Redwood, again with discipline.
4) Avoiding opening 2N when holding a good 6-card minor that would be lost in a 3N game.
5) Limiting the 1m-Any-3m jump to show 15-17. Use J/S into short suit if necessary to show a stronger hand.

Over 1NT here's an approach I really like:
2 Stayman - Baze style; guarantees a 4-card Major
2/ - jacoby - responder's new minor is GF. (Can play 2nd transfer here, but that is too detailed for this note).
2 - initially a size ask. Used for one of 3 hand types: balanced invite with no major interest, weak 6+ card minor (looking to play at 3-level), strong 55+ minors. Opener must respond either 2N (all minimums) or 3 with any hand accepting an invite. Responder passes or corrects to 3 with weak , or 3 with weak . 3M shows shortness with 55+ minors. 3N shows 1-1/0-1/1-0/0-0 in majors. You can define 4 and 4 according to your preference - they show a long minor, no 4-card major, and a singleton in the other minor. I'll leave 4M to your imagination.
2N - 5 card major stayman. Only responses for partner are 3 denying 5 or 3M showing 5. Responder then rebids 3 to show some (31)=(45) with slam ambition. Opener chooses the minor (=; =di]). Responder shows short suit S1=, S2=. If responder has a 4-card major s/he rebids the OTHER MAJOR. Opener decides whether 4M or 3N. Note: Responder must not have two 4-card majors - use 2 stayman instead. Responder must also be minimum GF strength.
3/ - 6+ cards in suit with somehting on side. HHxxxx minimum. Promises 6.5 tricks when opener has fitting H.
3 - slam try - single suited, generally semi-balanced and strong.
3 - slam try - single suited, generally semi-balanced and strong.
4 - Baron - bid 4-card suits up line.
4N - quantitative - can bid 4-card suits up line if accepting.

Over 2N opening bids, I prefer 3 as minor suit slam try. If I have to play Puppet, I want 2N-3N to show 5=4=x=y shape (use 3 to puppet into 3N and pass with a standard 3N bid).
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Posted 2013-August-26, 02:36

Playing 5-card majors, and using the guidelines for inverted minor suit raises, we get -
1. 1m-2m = 10-11(12) HCP, no 4-card major
2. 1m-2NT = 10-11(12) HCP, no 4-card major

1 guarantees 5-card support (according to the original guideline). What do you do with only 4-card support, no 4-card major, but also do not want to play 3NT from your side of the table i.e. the honour cards in your major suits don't need protection or protection won't help 3NT in any way e.g. Axx or Jxx. You want 3NT to be played from the other side of the table. How do you bid now?
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#12 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 03:59

As SteveMoe says, not having 4N as your ace ask is also very important, whether you play minorwood or kickback is less important, but that you play one of them matters.
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Posted 2013-August-26, 04:39

I think I'll start including some of the minor suit slam hands from this club. Then you can -
1. Suggest an auction, and then
2. Make your contract.
On the first hand, 2/7 tables got to slam; 0/7 got to the grand. I'm giving you the benefit of double dummy so I can learn how to bid and make minor suit slams.

The opening lead is a , your auction will depend from which side of the table it comes.
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#14 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 05:07

(2D) 3D (P or 3H) 3NT
(P) 4C (P) 5C
(P) 5S (P) (6C)

Slam is ok but not wonderful. Try it on C 4-1
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#15 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 10:51

The hogs auction on the previous hand seems to have received the thumbs up. How about this stinker? 0/14 tables found the slam after West's pre-empt. Are your methods better?

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#16 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 10:54

You would think at least one table might try 3c rather than x.
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#17 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 17:03

 mike777, on 2013-August-26, 10:54, said:

You would think at least one table might try 3c rather than x.

(hand 2)

Except that a lot of people play this as a game force and you're an ace short of that.

I would continue your auction X-P-5-P-5-P-7 I think.

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#18 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-August-26, 23:02

Cyberyeti must be on the right track.

Surely the bidding by E/W must have triggered North off to a possible minor suit fit.
1. East's 2 showed 6, North has 4.
2. South's negative double showed 4, West is showing at least 8.

The unknown factor in Cyberyeti's auction is whether or not South will interpret North's double as penalty orientated. Holding 4-cards in the suit himself, South should interpret it as takeout.

Precision players may get to 6 or 7 via
1-2-3-4
?
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#19 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-August-27, 03:20

 32519, on 2013-August-26, 23:02, said:


Precision players may get to 6 or 7 via
1-2-3-4
?

5N-7

old fashioned GSF.
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#20 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2013-August-27, 04:05

On the original point of minor suit stayman or 4 suit transfers, why not do both? I play 2 asking for 4 card minor, 2NT&3 as transfers to &. Simple, and both are used weak or strong.
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