A paradox bid is a non-forcing call of the suit you don't hold when length in one of two suits has been shown or implied by partner's bid, generally when the partnership expects to subside in one of these suits. Let's start with an example, bid against me by an efficient looking Italian pair at the 1998 European Mixed in Aachen.
In this writeup suit-ambiguous bids are marked "¥" and ParadoX advances "¶"
|A deal from play: Advancing an ambiguous major overcall|
Strange auction against unknown opponents! I assume this was part of a more general defence to phoney club. East's response of 1¶ paradoxically showed heart support, and the ability to play the two level. Had East bid 1 West (presumably) would have corrected with a spade hand.
I was North and actually held clubs with 4 spades for my 1. I made a takeout double of their implied heart fit and we bid to a 3 contract, but that's another story. While this may look pretty trivial, this style of advance can be used in any situation where partner has implied length in one of two suits. It is also very efficient, generally freeing up an extra step. Try our 1¥ example using an alternative (and cumbersome) 1=relay sequence
Look what has happened. Opponennts have got in first and now it's you who has to guess.
Furthermore, using relays there is no room for you to play in hearts at the one level (unless you agree that you might pass the relay). Paradox advances always save one step, and always allow you to drop the auction at the existing level.
Do you get the idea? Here West has shown an undisclosed major. If East can raise one, she bids the other one. Therein lies the paradox!
You have overcalled ambiguously at the one level but can still subside safely in one of either major. You have messed up the phoney club, but opponents still don't know your actual suit. You can use the now spare 1/1 (or double) systemically for other awkward interventions such as a Raptor 4/5+ hand. Cool!
As it happened my own partnership was already playing ParadoX in several situations ...
Extending a strong 2 clubs
ParadoX negative responses allow you to incorporate 8 trick major Acol Twos into
otherwise game forcing 2
The challenge is to open 2 as either 8 tricks in a major or a massive hand, yet still stop in a playable contract opposite partner's usual rubbish. The answer is to make 2 a semi positive relay and to make paradox negatives in a major on very poor cards. In this scheme
In the examples partner has opened 2 which in our methods can be game forcing, a 16+ three-suiter, or 8-9 tricks in a major.
J32 853 10852 Q84
Nothing for either major. Bid 2 and pass 2=(natural with 8-9 tricks)
Q5 93 10763 J9652
Trick for spades only - bid 2¶ (later you can raise spades)
3 J853 J9643 862
Your 2¶ call shows a single trick for hearts only. Partner will now place the contract.
Q3 9853 85 J7532
With a trick for either major you bid 2=semi+ve
The gains from this seemingly devious style:
You will need some ageements to force game or make a slam tries. The full 2 responses are on my own two system page. If partner has a nine trick Acol major Two you will find the method also always works. We not infrequently get auctions:
2 - 2¶;
2 - 2¶
Much to our opponent's surprise!
ParadoX Tricks opposite the Multi 2 diamonds
I claim no originality for ParadoX advances which are an intrinsic part of the Multi.
But even here partnerships tend to underuse the method. Let's start with
Partner opens Multi 2¥ showing a weak
two in either major (commonly) or various stong hands (rarely)
However ParadoX allows similar bids at the three level - extending the preempt
It would be nice to play similar ParadoX preempt extentions at the four level, but my view and experience is that this does not work. There will always be hands where you simply want to simply bid game in your own major when partner pre-empts. 4 and 4 should be natural responses.
ParadoX and lebensohl
The basic lebensohl situation is that one player has shown values via perhaps a no-trump bid or double and an opponent
has made a bid at the 2 level. The lebensohl bid is then 2NT* commanding a 3 "puppet" reply
which is either passed or converted to another suit "to play". Direct bids of a
suit can then be played as forcing. Lebensohl and ParadoX advances are just made for each other ..
Pairs nv/nv - 1NT is weak or mini
Partner has commanded a 3 call, and generally is going to convert to diamonds to play. But his suit is long and ambiguous, you have fit for clubs.
Tell him about that with a ParadoX 3 bid! (Which he will usually pass). If there is fit about they will bid on in spades and partner will be able to judge whether to compete the four level. With four cards in both minor the ParadoX bid is 3!
Note that it is safe to force the 4 level should there be 9-10 card club fit. The LAW will protect you non vulnerable.
Q983 6 10 10987542
A good example of what Paradox in competition is about. The call may make no difference to you, but facilitates your partner's bidding considerably.
ParadoX opposite 1NT defences
Pairs nv/vul: Your left hand opponent open 1NT
The "DONT" 1NT double and Cappitelli 2 overcall, showing an unspecified long suit have been around in ACBL territory for some time, but were only legalised un UK in 2005 (you can blame me).
"Long unspecified suit" you say! Of course ParadoX advances are on here. I'd call a cheeky 2 indicating that you are happy to play in the other suits at least at 3 level. "Good luck opponents".
Using a Multi bid after partner opens
While the Multi 2 evolved as preempt, there is no reason why you cannot
apply the same principles show a weak long suit once partner has opened! This works best opposite
shortish minors that may commonly be a balanced hand outside your 1NT range. Multi's 'built in'
ParadoX advances make this audacious gambit quite safe.
My thanks to Belgium's Tom Huybrechts for sending these innovative extensions to me. He uses this style to allow weak jump shifts and fit jumps opposite a loose 1 opening
Putting more into semi constructive sequences
| I like to play a mini no trump, and with a six card suit opposite we will pre-empt to the three level
guaranteed an 8-9 card fit. 1NT - 3! - all pass on a combined 17 points scores just fine.
Playing all four 3 level suit bids as preempts does however put a lot of strain on your conventional two level sequences. This page isn't about 1NT bidding, but once again I like an ambiguous bid - 2 showing length in unspecified minor, and either game or slam invitational values. I could have used 2NT for this purpose, but we like 2NT as an uninformative game invitation.
Both of the hands below hands pose a problem opposite partner's 9-12 mini no trump. The first may scramble a thin game, but will be in trouble if the diamonds cannot be run. You need an honour. The old Blue Club approach of 3 of a minor inviting 3NT solved this, but with ParadoX you can handle both of these via a 2 4-way bid. The key is opener's rebid showing what fit is available.
Knowing the long suit will be fluid the first hand can bid a cheeky 3NT. Opponents still don't know our long suit! The perfect reply for the second hand is interestingly 3. You can more or less bid slam immediately on super-fit.
As in the other examples you still subside in 3 of a minor if the suit is not running. Over 2NT positive for both minors responder bids 3NT with the first hand and shows his suit forcing/slammish with the second inviting a cue. The general method is perfectly playable opposite stonger no trump ranges, but you may have strong 3 level bids available and not need it.
If you make bids where one or more of your suits is always there but undefined then you will have
opportunities for ParadoX advances. Some that I have used or come across:
Links to my own bridge homepage,
and the chrisryall.net Weak Two Archive. If you find ParadoX
advances interesting you can link here from your own Bridge site
www.chrisryall.net/bridge/paradox.htm © Chris Ryall 1987-2008