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Variable game try?

#1 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-March-24, 14:07

I am playing a 3 way game try, (short suit, ask where partners other values are and trump support) which is fine when we are in an uncontested auction but is very limited in a contested auction. In a contested auction I think we should leave a cue of their suit as unspecified game try, allowing partner to bid nt with the right hand and use 3 of our suit as competitive.

Given the above, I want to play a simple second suit game try in a contested auction.

Comments welcomed :)
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#2 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2021-March-24, 15:01

Double is another call that can be used as aa game try-maximal double
Auction
1-2-2-3-double.
Here double is your only game try.

Kit Woolsey suggests bidding game as your try for game and double is penalty oriented.
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#3 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-March-24, 15:50

I play help suit trials (which, at least according to my limited understanding, are slightly different from long suit trials) in competition, along with competitive raises. If the opponent's have not stolen the 3-level from your yet you also have 2NT available. In the enviable situation where we have spades and they have hearts, for example:

(1)-1, (2)-2; (P)-?
  • Pass - no game in sight
  • 2NT - general (point) game try, partner may suggest 3NT
  • 3 - help suit trial in clubs
  • 3 - help suit trial in diamonds
  • 3 - heart shortness game try
  • 3 - competitive
I know this is far from optimal - for example, when holding spades you don't really need a competitive raise since you are likely to buy the contract anyway, it hardly pays to protect against opponents sacrificing on the 4-level after this start. Also most of the time partner can tell if we have a heart shortage or not, so reserving 2NT and 3 for game tries with specified defensive holdings is a bit redundant.
The only part I do really like is the help suit trials. In an uncontested auction we play short suit trials (as they are statistically more sound), but in competitive auctions we typically have shortage in their suit anyway so there is not much point to playing those.

That being said, we have different agreements for different competitive auctions. If they have bid to the 3-level the structure changes (if they bid '1 under' we have game try/maximal doubles, if they bid '2 under' we have penalty-oriented doubles and the only free bid becomes a generic game try, if they bid '3 under (or more, but that doesn't fit on the 3-level)' we use the structure above). And after certain conventional game tries we revert all the way back to penalty doubles, we like to punish opponents for trying to get a cheap lead director in on our constructive auction (as a general rule, if they intervene below the bid to which we have already committed, and 'optional doubles' over higher interference).
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#4 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-March-24, 16:42

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-March-24, 15:50, said:

I play help suit trials (which, at least according to my limited understanding, are slightly different from long suit trials) in competition, along with competitive raises. If the opponent's have not stolen the 3-level from your yet you also have 2NT available. In the enviable situation where we have spades and they have hearts, for example:

(1)-1, (2)-2; (P)-?
  • Pass - no game in sight
  • 2NT - general (point) game try, partner may suggest 3NT
  • 3 - help suit trial in clubs
  • 3 - help suit trial in diamonds
  • 3 - heart shortness game try
  • 3 - competitive
I know this is far from optimal - for example, when holding spades you don't really need a competitive raise since you are likely to buy the contract anyway, it hardly pays to protect against opponents sacrificing on the 4-level after this start. Also most of the time partner can tell if we have a heart shortage or not, so reserving 2NT and 3 for game tries with specified defensive holdings is a bit redundant.
The only part I do really like is the help suit trials. In an uncontested auction we play short suit trials (as they are statistically more sound), but in competitive auctions we typically have shortage in their suit anyway so there is not much point to playing those.

That being said, we have different agreements for different competitive auctions. If they have bid to the 3-level the structure changes (if they bid '1 under' we have game try/maximal doubles, if they bid '2 under' we have penalty-oriented doubles and the only free bid becomes a generic game try, if they bid '3 under (or more, but that doesn't fit on the 3-level)' we use the structure above). And after certain conventional game tries we revert all the way back to penalty doubles, we like to punish opponents for trying to get a cheap lead director in on our constructive auction (as a general rule, if they intervene below the bid to which we have already committed, and 'optional doubles' over higher interference).


We haven't discussed this as much as you obviously have, but one difference we have which might interest you is that 3 of our major asks for help in that suit and 2NT is competitive. As you say, using 3 to compete makes little sense and 3 is impotent.
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#5 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-March-25, 05:45

View Postpescetom, on 2021-March-24, 16:42, said:

We haven't discussed this as much as you obviously have, but one difference we have which might interest you is that 3 of our major asks for help in that suit and 2NT is competitive. As you say, using 3 to compete makes little sense and 3 is impotent.
I think this is not an improvement. If you have a competitive hand you should shut the opponents out of the bidding by raising to the level you want to compete at and stay there. Using a conventional 2NT (presumably forcing to 3 of your suit) gives the opponents an entire round of bidding space. On other auctions I do use 2NT as an artificial raise (typically invitational+ with at least a 9-card fit), but it is decidedly not 'competitive' (and it also sets up forcing passes depending on the vulnerability).

Depending on the auction there is more or less need for game tries, competitive bids and penalty doubles. In an ideal world the methods would reflect this need. As an example, on the auction I gave earlier (1)-1-(2)-2; (P)-? I think there is no good reason to play 3 as competitive. The good guys have already won the auction, responder is unlikely to change their mind and come in with 3, and even then you can just bid 3 after (and if they come in with a lead-directing 3m, so be it). Conversely, on 1-(2)-2-(3); ? it is valuable to be able to compete as well as try for game. If you really want to use the bleeding edge of competitive bidding tools you would play different systems in these two situations - for example, different shades of game tries for 2NT through 3 in the former situation, but competitive 3 in the latter. I'm personally not good enough to stay on top of all of this (and I had one funny misunderstanding where the bidding went (P)-P-(P)-1; (P)-2-(P)-3 which was intended as competitive, but partner assumed a game try because there was no real need to take out protection just yet. It turned out our opponents simply did not have a pulse), so I just stick with a similar scheme in most situations.

I think Kit Woolsey's suggestion of using 4M as the game try is very sensible.
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