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SCUM...

#1 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 01:59

SCUM is a very impressive new strong system by ulven. The central principle is that the 1M openings are unbalanced, and 1 includes the balanced hands outside the 1N range, and may have 5M332.

1: 16+, 18+ balanced
1: Balanced, 11-13 (14), may be 5M332
1: 11-15, Unbalanced, can be 4-card if 4441
1: 11-15, Unbalanced, can be 4-card if 4441
1N: 14 - 17-
2m: 11-15, 5+, denies major, can be 4om
2M: 11-15, 4M with longer minor, unbalanced not 5422

The 2M openings seem bizarre, but work very well in practice.

This post has been edited by foobar: 2021-December-24, 11:59

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#2 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 03:12

The 1 bid seems under-utilised to me, and you'll probably get some bad results in competitive sequences when 1M happens to be 4441. I'd have to see more examples of the 2M openings (which seem like they could just be too high on some misfitting hands), and the lack of any way to bid weak major one-suiters (no room for weak two bids nor for multi) seems concerning. The losses in these cases are hard to calculate (because they are all in competitive auctions) but seem to be significant anecdotally.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#3 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 04:02

The 2M openings sound playable to me, but I am slightly worried about the 2 opening (I assume that is supposed to read 4om, not 4oM) and the NT ranges. It seems that your splits are 11-13 and 15-17, and then you divide the 14-point hands between 1 and 1NT. Is a 3.5-point range playable? I'd be tempted to include 17pt balanced in the 1 (and split 11-13, 14-16), or forego opening balanced 11-counts (and split 12-14, 15-17).
I've personally never loved unbalanced major openings, but presumably you win on resolving shape with a relay followup.
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 04:36

What range are the 2 bids ? still normal openers ? and all 4M5m22 opened 1N/1 ?
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#5 User is offline   mikestar13 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 11:28

If we are going to use 1M as 4 cards, why limit it to 4-4-4-1? Use them with longer minors as well. The 1 opening can cover minor two suiters as well.
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#6 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 12:03

@awm: These are valid concerns, and perhaps ulven can comment on the trade-off and stats?

@Cyperyeti: I have added the ranges

@DavidKok: What do you dislike about unbalanced 1M openings?

@mikestar13: The system is intended to be a regular 5CM, except when holding 4441, so ~95% of the time off the top of my head.
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#7 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-December-24, 12:43

 foobar, on 2021-December-24, 12:03, said:

@DavidKok: What do you dislike about unbalanced 1M openings?
The reduced frequency compared to including balanced hand types. In my opinion the auctions 1M-2M and 1M-4M are powerhouses of 5cM systems, doubly so with limited opening bids. The competitive edge gained from clarifying the level of your major suit fit before the opponents can is massive, even if opener is balanced.
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#8 User is offline   ulven 

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Posted 2021-December-26, 19:35

Disclaimer: I don't have any motivation to convince anyone about the merits of these opening bids. As foobar asked me to comment here I will do so on his request. A few observations and views:

1D as weak balanced only, is by far the best opening bid I have played in 30+ years, statistically. I did not anticipate that.

2M as 4M 5+m I have played on-off in various partnerships since late 90's, achieving among other results playing that, Spingold semi and Nordic Championship gold open. Last NABC I played, 4th place twice in NABC team events. This is just mentioned to clarify it's not bunny-bashing open­ings. The opening is dubious from a theoretical viewpoint and takes some handling/experience to get most mileage. Occasional bad result on misfits but HUGE winner overall. Matthew Thompson is big proponent of them also, see his books.

1M incl 4441 has been a revelation also, but not as much statistical data yet to back it up. So far clear plus.

Increasingly testing treating almost all 5m422's as balanced is going well, still evaluating. Initially treating 5M332 as balanced is a closed topic IMO. It's a clear winner (but ofc nothing is "right" every time).

I have moved on from theoretical assessments of methods, to trying things in practice, to evaluate how well it actually works. Certainly learnt from that. People telling me how bad certain opening bids are, are largely ignored. No problem with criticism.

Another truly fantastic opening bid, but ofc more rare, is 2NT as opening hand with 64/46+ m's. Played for years, hardly any bad result and soo many good ones. If opening structure allows it, ie 2NT not needed for balanced, I always use it now.

Currently I am playing and developing a non strong club version.
"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
- R. Buckminster Fuller
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#9 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-December-27, 05:22

View Postulven, on 2021-December-26, 19:35, said:


Another truly fantastic opening bid, but ofc more rare, is 2NT as opening hand with 64/46+ m's. Played for years, hardly any bad result and soo many good ones. If opening structure allows it, ie 2NT not needed for balanced, I always use it now.



Any chance that you could discuss the response structure over the 2N opening?

In particular, are the 3 / 3 responses "to play" and, if so, is there any reason that you are using 2NT for this hand type rather than 3?
Alderaan delenda est
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#10 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-December-27, 11:09

View Posthrothgar, on 2021-December-27, 05:22, said:

Any chance that you could discuss the response structure over the 2N opening?

In particular, are the 3 / 3 responses "to play" and, if so, is there any reason that you are using 2NT for this hand type rather than 3?


The 3 opening shows 5-5 in the minors with 11-15 (3 = art GF).

Over 2N:
....3: P/C for 6m
....3: Art GF
............3: 6+, then relay asks for shortness
............3: 6+, low short
............3N: 6+, high short
....3M: GF, 6+
....4m: Invite, 4+ support
....4N: Asking for 6m
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#11 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2021-December-28, 09:08

If you throw 4441s into 1M and 5332s into 1D, you can't then use...


1NT = semi-forcing, will not have 3+, if 2 then normally 8+ points
2 = GF relay, or 5+ and a sound invite
2 = artificial; either a sound invite with fewer than 5 and fewer than 3, or a non-slammish GF with 3+
2 = (possibly aggressive) limit raise in spades (3+); 4+ can make another call after opener's 2 rebid
2 = normal single raise (wide range, not particularly constructive)
2NT = mixed raise of spades
3,3,3 = less than invitational with 6+ suit and less than 3
3 = preemptive raise
3NT = 4+ and shortness somewhere, min GF, slam interest opposite "the right maximum"
4/4/4 = 4+ and shortness, slam interest opposite "the right minimum"
4 = to play; in principle could be a good hand but we use this less frequently than most strong club players
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#12 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-December-28, 09:45

View Poststraube, on 2021-December-28, 09:08, said:

If you throw 4441s into 1M and 5332s into 1D, you can't then use...


1NT = semi-forcing, will not have 3+, if 2 then normally 8+ points
2 = GF relay, or 5+ and a sound invite
2 = artificial; either a sound invite with fewer than 5 and fewer than 3, or a non-slammish GF with 3+
2 = (possibly aggressive) limit raise in spades (3+); 4+ can make another call after opener's 2 rebid
2 = normal single raise (wide range, not particularly constructive)
2NT = mixed raise of spades
3,3,3 = less than invitational with 6+ suit and less than 3
3 = preemptive raise
3NT = 4+ and shortness somewhere, min GF, slam interest opposite "the right maximum"
4/4/4 = 4+ and shortness, slam interest opposite "the right minimum"
4 = to play; in principle could be a good hand but we use this less frequently than most strong club players


I doubt SCUM uses my system of responses. But I don't think there's a real issue here -- the idea is (probably) to treat 1M as five (it almost always is) and you can find space in the 2 relay for 4441 once the 5332s are removed. With 4144 and a max after 1-1NT, it's probably okay to bid 2 and then try 3 over a 2 preference.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#13 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-December-28, 11:18

View Postawm, on 2021-December-28, 09:45, said:

I doubt SCUM uses my system of responses. But I don't think there's a real issue here -- the idea is (probably) to treat 1M as five (it almost always is) and you can find space in the 2 relay for 4441 once the 5332s are removed. With 4144 and a max after 1-1NT, it's probably okay to bid 2 and then try 3 over a 2 preference.

It took me a while to internalize it, but one of the explicit design goals of SCUM seems to have been to use the exact same relay structure over 1M and 1, both for responder, and opener's reverse relays.


For example:

1 - 1N () - 2 -> Same scheme as 1 - 2
1 - 1 (GF; balanced) - 1N (reverse relay) -> Same scheme as 1 - 2
1 - 2+ -> Same as 1 - 2
1 - - 1 (GF; balanced) - 2+ -> opener reverse relay; same as 1 - 2

Obviously, this means that the 1 relays are +1 perforce, but it's an interesting tradeoff that permits quickly identifying if we have two balanced hands opposite one another:

1- 1 (GF; balanced) - 2 (opener is balanced)
....2: 8-10 balanced or 14+
....2x/3x: 11-13 balanced
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#14 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2021-December-28, 11:44

View Postawm, on 2021-December-28, 09:45, said:

I doubt SCUM uses my system of responses. But I don't think there's a real issue here -- the idea is (probably) to treat 1M as five (it almost always is) and you can find space in the 2 relay for 4441 once the 5332s are removed. With 4144 and a max after 1-1NT, it's probably okay to bid 2 and then try 3 over a 2 preference.


Hi Adam,

I think one would wind up in some 4-3 fits when an 8-cd fit was available in the other major, sometimes resulting in a loss of game. Also the strong-invite response could no longer include the 3-cd GF raise; granted that would be a small loss.
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#15 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-December-28, 12:21

View Poststraube, on 2021-December-28, 11:44, said:

Hi Adam,

I think one would wind up in some 4-3 fits when an 8-cd fit was available in the other major, sometimes resulting in a loss of game. Also the strong-invite response could no longer include the 3-cd GF raise; granted that would be a small loss.

I think that the loss of game in oM is improbable because opener explicitly accounts for the 4441 hand after a GF

1 - 2 (10-13, 3+ support):
....3: GF 4(144)
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#16 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 09:46

I tried a similar structure (clearly inspired by ulven's other ideas) which was pretty fun. Only had the chance to play it for one event though :(

1C = Weak NT (or any 4441) or 15--21 natural (4+C). Not forcing.
1D = Strong and forcing, but not all strong hands. 15+ natural (4+D), or 18+ NT, or 15+ w/ 6+M, or very strong hands (like a 2C opening in standard).
1M = 5+ unbalanced, 10--19. 10-14 if 6+M.
1NT = 15-17 NT or weak two in a major.
2X = Like SCUM but 10-14.

The 1NT opening is a bit of a joke, but fun :)

The idea behind other openings are good separation of balanced/unbalanced, and also trying to take "one time vs two time" bids into consideration. Compared to strong club you often show shape first even when strong.
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#17 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 11:16

View Poststraube, on 2021-December-28, 11:44, said:

Hi Adam,

I think one would wind up in some 4-3 fits when an 8-cd fit was available in the other major, sometimes resulting in a loss of game. Also the strong-invite response could no longer include the 3-cd GF raise; granted that would be a small loss.


There's not really a problem with spades, because the only 4441 that needs to open 1 is the one with singleton heart. For the 1 opening, one could let 1 include invitational heart raises with four spades and accept landing at the three-level (always in an 8+ fit) when these invites are declined. I don't think this is a big problem with the system, compared to the lack of weak two bids in the majors and possibly getting too high on the 2M openings.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#18 User is offline   olien 

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Posted 2022-January-06, 02:32

View Postawm, on 2021-December-24, 03:12, said:

The 1 bid seems under-utilised to me, and you'll probably get some bad results in competitive sequences when 1M happens to be 4441. I'd have to see more examples of the 2M openings (which seem like they could just be too high on some misfitting hands), and the lack of any way to bid weak major one-suiters (no room for weak two bids nor for multi) seems concerning. The losses in these cases are hard to calculate (because they are all in competitive auctions) but seem to be significant anecdotally.



As Ulf's current, regular partner at NABC's, I have to say that, when he first presented this opening structure to me, that I had a virtually identical reaction to yours. I was very concerned about the 4441s being included in the unbal 1M openers because when I was certain that there was no chance of recovery when competitive auctions caused us to end up in the 4-3. My concern was based upon my experience with a specific opening bid in standard, natural systems: 1 showing 4+ unless 4=4=3=2 with both majors. Practically speaking, responder assumes that opener has 4+, but when that 4% chance of 4=4=3=2 arises, it has nearly always been a very poor result for us. That being said, the one hand that was going to be an outright disaster for us arose on the final day of the 3-day Swiss at the 2019 Las Vegas NABC. Keep in mind that we were behind screens and I was with "E" (my RHO). My hand was:



and the auction had gone (I do not recall the exact vulnerability other than knowing we were not unfavorable, and spots are approximate):



I had bid 4S based on a combination of the opponent's table action and bidding logic:
i) LHO almost certainly has 5+ given 3 bid rather than X of 2, and
ii) RHO raised to 4 with almost no pause for thought, so I was certain he had 4+

As I was virtually certain Ulf had 0-1, I did not need much for 4 to be a desirable bid. After I made that bid, my LHO doubled, which came back around to me. What happened next was based mostly upon knowledge of my partner's style to compete to 3 with either a 5/5 hand or any hand with 6, and a little help with both opponent's pace as well. Given partner's tendency, I could reduce his distribution to one of 5=1=(43) or 4=1=4=4. With that knowledge, I was now confident that it was very unlikely to be worse than break-even to run to 5, and was certain that it was when I tell you my perception of the timing of my LHO's subsequent X of it was one of the fastest X's I've ever seen - with or without screens (and he was on the other side). It truly felt like he had doubled before I had bid 4 and, that my RHO passed, again without thought. So, I ran to 5 and the opponents now successfully judged to sacrifice. LHO had doubled my 4 bid with 5-5 in the majors including QJTxx of spades, and my partner's hand was:



I don't find fault with my LHO's X of 4 - I don't recall having ever seen an opponent run from on an auction like ours (and no, I did not have a C transfer available the first time meaning I would not be guaranteed of being able to show a spade fit).

I had suggested if were going to include 4441's in the 1M opening, that perhaps we should play 2M as showing 5*M-4+m and 1M as either: 6+M, 5+/4+ majors, or 4*M-5+m so that we could basically assume it was 4, but Ulf declined. He stressed the practical success of the canapé 2M openers. I would say they work so well in practice because:
i) Given that we have to go to the 3-level if we prefer to play partner's minor, its nice that it will also be opener's longer suit, and
ii) Gives you the benefit of the canapé 1M opener, but without the drawback of not knowing if partner's 1M is "normal" or canapé.

I think my favorite hand was when he opened 2 at favorable vulnerability, and I held AKQxx and no other HCP. Was an easy 4 bid and we froze them out of 4 by preventing RHO's normal 1 overcall.

I was also worried that the 1 opening was not being adequately utilized since it was defined as specifically 11-13/14 BAL. In one of the earlier iterations, our opening structure included a 2 opening showing 10-14 and 6+ cards in EITHER minor, and 2 showing 5+/4+ either way in the minors. I was not comfortable with this approach, and suggested keeping 1 as balanced but expanding the range, and playing an artifical 1NT, possibly as being the bid to show both minors. Really, I wanted to get rid of the multi 2 opener. However, I have to agree with Ulf's opinion on the value of this definition for the 1 opening. We all love opening 1NT, and that's what this is: a surrogate for a weak 1NT opening. I have now come to find it somewhat amusing that I criticized this "under-utilization" of 1 when I also agreed with the generally-agreed-upon position that the nebulous 1 opening is one of the worst aspects of the most commonly used strong 1 systems. Not only does the use of 1 as a weak NT lead to many brief auctions, but also puts responder in excellent position on many competitive hands.
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#19 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2022-January-06, 11:18

View Postolien, on 2022-January-06, 02:32, said:

As Ulf's current, regular partner at NABC's, I have to say that, when he first presented this opening structure to me, that I had a virtually identical reaction to yours. I
I think my favorite hand was when he opened 2 at favorable vulnerability, and I held AKQxx and no other HCP. Was an easy 4 bid and we froze them out of 4 by preventing RHO's normal 1 overcall.

These are very interesting insights. Did the the lack of a 2M weak opening contribute to any swings?
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#20 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2022-January-06, 16:23

View Postfoobar, on 2022-January-06, 11:18, said:

Did the the lack of a 2M weak opening contribute to any swings?

Or the lack of weak 2m,2N and 3 openings:

View Postfoobar, on 2021-December-24, 01:59, said:

2m: 11-15, 5+, denies major, can be 4om

View Postulven, on 2021-December-26, 19:35, said:

2NT as opening hand with 64/46+ m's

View Postfoobar, on 2021-December-27, 11:09, said:

The 3 opening shows 5-5 in the minors with 11-15 (3 = art GF)

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