Post by Ashok
Pairs. Both Vul. East deals.
At the end of the bidding, before the opening lead,
North, looking rather pleased with himself, announced
that there was a failure to alert, that South did not
alert the 3C bid as New Minor Forcing. Both South and
the opponents seemed surprised: What? After 2NT?
North: You guys need some serious bridge education.
South: But we never discussed and agreed that it applied
North and a soul-mate of his: That doesn't matter.
In a sophisticated field, the presumption would be that
the 3C bid can only be New Minor Forcing.
Is it true that 3C would be taken to be NMF (say, with
a pickup partner at an ACBL event, with whom you agreed
to play NMF)?
I don't think so. However (assuming no discussion of this situation),
I'd definitely consider 3C to be forcing and suspicious (even if I
opened 1C). That is, if I opened and it went 1D-1M-2NT-3C, I'd alert
and explain that we agreed to play NMF over a 1NT rebid but hadn't
discussed what to do over a 2NT rebid, so I'm not clear on what partner
is doing. But the fact that you play NMF over a 1NT rebid is relevant
to the opponents and should, I believe, be alerted even though you
aren't really sure what 3C means here. If it went 1C-1M-2NT-3C, I'm
not sure I'd alert, but I'd definitely not pass and I wouldn't assume
partner really has clubs.
NMF over a 2NT rebid certainly isn't standard in the
expert/high-intermediate community; I believe it's more common to use
some other checkback structure where 3C is artificial and 3D is more
likely to be natural, regardless of which minor has been opened. Wolff
Signoff is one of those. BWS2001 uses 3C as the checkback, and by
default uses 3D to show a fit in opener's minor (but a leaf uses 3D as
natural and forcing). The Pavlicek System does appear to use NMF, with
a rebid in opener's minor natural and forcing.
Post by Ashok
Second--forgetting education, sophistication and all that
jazz--is the treatment worth it? As far as I can tell, all
it does is allow the responder to bid 3S to play. What
one loses is the ability to bid two-suited hands with
I think having some sort of checkback helps sort things out when
responder has bid a 5-card major or holds both majors (4-4 or 5-4). In
no case, however, should a 3-level rebid be "to play". IMHO all
three-level suit bids over a 2NT rebid should be forcing. Having a way
to play in 3 of a suit after this rebid is not terribly important
(although Wolff gives you a way to do so).