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How Many Hearts? Not how high, but how many

#1 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 16:41

Imp teams, vulnerable, so we need to get this one right. Mandatory to use 15-17 NTs and Jacoby transfers - any specialized treatments are welcomed. Keycard will get a response showing 3 but no queen.


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#2 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 17:11

There are lots of treatments that would help on this hand, unfortunately I don't play any of them. I think 3 (splinter) is the smallest lie for me. We're more than likely pushing to 6, but 7 may be on (at IMPs aiming for NT isn't a great idea).

Many people would play 3m forcing natural, typically 54m. It is stronger to play transfers over the 2 response, but you're still stuck (or would 3, showing hearts, be very strong?). There are even more detailed schemes but they don't adhere to the Jacoby transfer requirement.
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#3 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 17:39

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-August-21, 17:11, said:

There are lots of treatments that would help on this hand, unfortunately I don't play any of them. I think 3 (splinter) is the smallest lie for me. We're more than likely pushing to 6, but 7 may be on (at IMPs aiming for NT isn't a great idea).

Many people would play 3m forcing natural, typically 54m. It is stronger to play transfers over the 2 response, but you're still stuck (or would 3, showing hearts, be very strong?). There are even more detailed schemes but they don't adhere to the Jacoby transfer requirement.


The big issue is how many hearts does partner hold. If he has Kxx(x) we should be in grand slam. If Kx, then small slam is plenty high enough.
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#4 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 17:45

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-21, 17:39, said:

The big issue is how many hearts does partner hold. If he has Kxx(x) we should be in grand slam. If Kx, then small slam is plenty high enough.

But is it?

The other table is guaranteed to be in (at least) a small slam, so grand should be 57% to break even. We pick up AJxxxxx vs Kx 53.1304% of the time. So (on average) it's basically a single IMP we're talking about here.

Perhaps there's some miraculous system over 1NT that lets you find out this info to save an IMP, but otherwise I'd just bid the grand as the cases where partner has three is enough to bump it above expectation.
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#5 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 18:02

View Postjohnu, on 2021-August-20, 18:05, said:

I don't have a good handle on the percentage playing 1M-3M as preemptive, but I have to disagree with plain suit jumps (aka Bergen raises) being played by most good pairs (in the US). Maybe in the UK?

I play retransfers after Jacoby.

This does mean that invitational hands with 5+ spades start with 2C…in one partnership, if opener bids 2D we bid 2H as a transfer, in the other we bid 2S (as we do in both if he bids 2H)

Since we don’t bid stayman without a major…we bid 2S with invitational hands lacking a major…, we don’t need 1N 2C 2H 2S as 4 spades.

Anyway, one of the several benefits of re-transfers is that we play 3D here as a slam try in hearts.

While this will not immediately or even later allow us to be sure of partner’s heart length, he is more likely to like his hand with, say, Kxx than with Kx…not by much, admittedly.

I hadn’t thought of this until seeing this problem, but I might discuss with my partners using various responses by opener to distinguish degrees of support. I’m not convinced that’s best, but maybe using 3N as poor hearts in context, 3H as Hx, where H is A/K/Q, and new suits as at least Hxx might be playable. Part of the problem is that we don’t play often, and these are rare sequences, so the memory work might be challenging. As matters currently stand, I’d expect to haul out kickback now or next round and then guess.

Let’s hope he doesn’t think KQxx K Axxx Axxx is a strong 1N opening….lol. Of course, if the heart Q is doubleton, the opps will be moaning for months to come.
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#6 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 18:47

View Postmikeh, on 2021-August-21, 18:02, said:

I play retransfers after Jacoby.

This does mean that invitational hands with 5+ spades start with 2C…in one partnership, if opener bids 2D we bid 2H as a transfer, in the other we bid 2S (as we do in both if he bids 2H)

Since we don't bid stayman without a major…we bid 2S with invitational hands lacking a major…, we don't need 1N 2C 2H 2S as 4 spades.

Anyway, one of the several benefits of re-transfers is that we play 3D here as a slam try in hearts.

While this will not immediately or even later allow us to be sure of partner's heart length, he is more likely to like his hand with, say, Kxx than with Kx…not by much, admittedly.

I hadn't thought of this until seeing this problem, but I might discuss with my partners using various responses by opener to distinguish degrees of support. I'm not convinced that's best, but maybe using 3N as poor hearts in context, 3H as Hx, where H is A/K/Q, and new suits as at least Hxx might be playable. Part of the problem is that we don't play often, and these are rare sequences, so the memory work might be challenging. As matters currently stand, I'd expect to haul out kickback now or next round and then guess.

Let's hope he doesn't think KQxx K Axxx Axxx is a strong 1N opening….lol. Of course, if the heart Q is doubleton, the opps will be moaning for months to come.


Just spitballing now, but I wonder if there might be a way for length ask after a Texas transfer - after opener bids the major you can use keycard but instead of a Q assign the value of the Q to Kxx or longer support? So, with two and Kxx you respond as if you held 2 with the Q.
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#7 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 18:57

View Postsmerriman, on 2021-August-21, 17:45, said:

But is it?

The other table is guaranteed to be in (at least) a small slam, so grand should be 57% to break even. We pick up AJxxxxx vs Kx 53.1304% of the time. So (on average) it's basically a single IMP we're talking about here.

Perhaps there's some miraculous system over 1NT that lets you find out this info to save an IMP, but otherwise I'd just bid the grand as the cases where partner has three is enough to bump it above expectation.


That may be true but if there is an simple way to know wouldn't that be worth incorporating?
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#8 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 19:28

View Postmikeh, on 2021-August-21, 18:02, said:

I play retransfers after Jacoby.

This does mean that invitational hands with 5+ spades start with 2C…in one partnership, if opener bids 2D we bid 2H as a transfer, in the other we bid 2S (as we do in both if he bids 2H)

Since we don’t bid stayman without a major…we bid 2S with invitational hands lacking a major…, we don’t need 1N 2C 2H 2S as 4 spades.

Anyway, one of the several benefits of re-transfers is that we play 3D here as a slam try in hearts.

While this will not immediately or even later allow us to be sure of partner’s heart length, he is more likely to like his hand with, say, Kxx than with Kx…not by much, admittedly.

I hadn’t thought of this until seeing this problem, but I might discuss with my partners using various responses by opener to distinguish degrees of support. I’m not convinced that’s best, but maybe using 3N as poor hearts in context, 3H as Hx, where H is A/K/Q, and new suits as at least Hxx might be playable. Part of the problem is that we don’t play often, and these are rare sequences, so the memory work might be challenging. As matters currently stand, I’d expect to haul out kickback now or next round and then guess.

Let’s hope he doesn’t think KQxx K Axxx Axxx is a strong 1N opening….lol. Of course, if the heart Q is doubleton, the opps will be moaning for months to come.


You quoted me in your post, but my comment was from a different subforum.
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#9 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 19:28

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-21, 18:57, said:

That may be true but if there is an simple way to know wouldn't that be worth incorporating?

Yep, as long as how you incorporate it doesn't cost you more than you gain, which is easier said than done, especially when the gain here is much smaller than you might have expected.

Your suggestion about showing the queen with Kxx opposite a Texas transfer loses all of the times partner had a (much more likely) 6 card suit doesn't it?

(I had a bit of a similar situation a while back involving an extra trump vs the queen - running the numbers surprised me there too.)
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#10 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 20:38

good problem. south african texas may be solution, slam try 4 to 4. opening can bid 4 with good support Hxx or only 4 with poor Hx/xx. if 4 response then rkcb will find out A/A/Kxx 0r Qxx. with position of minor suit kings, might be best if south is declarer. just enough points in pack for east to lead through KJ or K should north declare.
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#11 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 22:00

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-August-21, 20:38, said:

good problem. south african texas may be solution, slam try 4 to 4. opening can bid 4 with good support Hxx or only 4 with poor Hx/xx. if 4 response then rkcb will find out A/A/Kxx 0r Qxx. with position of minor suit kings, might be best if south is declarer. just enough points in pack for east to lead through KJ or K should north declare.

I played that 20+ years ago. We played quite a bit of bridge back then, but I don’t think it came up, with a slam hand as opposed to just game, more than maybe twice in five years😃
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#12 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 00:02

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-21, 18:47, said:

Just spitballing now, but I wonder if there might be a way for length ask after a Texas transfer - after opener bids the major you can use keycard but instead of a Q assign the value of the Q to Kxx or longer support? So, with two and Kxx you respond as if you held 2 with the Q.




Suppose you have an auction that goes like this.

After the 5 queen ask, opener should show the queen if holding 4/5 trumps, since the Texas transfer shows at least 6 hearts. After the 5 denial of the trump queen, responder would either signoff or jump to slam with no further interest in a grand. By asking for the trump queen, and making a grand slam try after the denial, I think responder has to be only interested in trump length. With 3 hearts, opener should accept, and signoff in 6 with 1 or 2 hearts.

I use 5 as the grand slam try because that's the Kickback continuation bid. Other bids may confuse partner.
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#13 User is online   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 01:25

At the risk of being laughed at, I still play 1NT-3 as a natural slam try (opposite a weak NT). What alternative for an immediate 3 is in use here?
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#14 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 01:48

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-August-22, 01:25, said:

At the risk of being laughed at, I still play 1NT-3 as a natural slam try (opposite a weak NT). What alternative for an immediate 3 is in use here?


So do I, this was my first thought.
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#15 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 07:32

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-August-22, 01:25, said:

At the risk of being laughed at, I still play 1NT-3 as a natural slam try (opposite a weak NT). What alternative for an immediate 3 is in use here?

I still like this best so no giggling here.
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#16 User is online   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 08:34

I use 1NT-3 as a broken suit transfer with slam interest as in Threelevel (pattayabridge.com)
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#17 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 08:50

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-August-22, 01:25, said:

At the risk of being laughed at, I still play 1NT-3 as a natural slam try (opposite a weak NT). What alternative for an immediate 3 is in use here?

We play it (opposite a strong NT) as a singleton in hearts with minors 5-4.
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#18 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 09:15

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-21, 18:47, said:

Just spitballing now, but I wonder if there might be a way for length ask after a Texas transfer
I prefer to jump a level or two for my slam tries, to make sure I get to use probabilities instead of ask partner about shape.
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#19 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 11:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-21, 18:47, said:

Just spitballing now, but I wonder if there might be a way for length ask after a Texas transfer - after opener bids the major you can use keycard but instead of a Q assign the value of the Q to Kxx or longer support? So, with two and Kxx you respond as if you held 2 with the Q.

Actually after the transfer you can use 2NT as forcing and not showing a balanced invite with 5-cd M (*). Opener’s duty is to clarify whether they have a 3-cd (sometimes 4!) fit or not. Then all can go, BW, 3 w/o Q but you can conclude if you have 9 or 10 trumps.

(*) those invites have to go through Stayman, then you rebid 2M over partner’s answer (or jump to the M game if you find a 9-cd fit). Well, with H, if partner replies 2S, you bid 2NT and pray. Good partners who accept the invite will always remember to bid 3H with 3-cds en route to 3NT. A very revealing auction that I have never seen, though.
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#20 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 12:36

Thanks for all the responses.
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