The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Round #2

New round, I pick up  S: AQ64
 H: KJT652
 D: T4
 C: 2

Another light, distributional opener. I don’t think anyone would hate this one (unlike board 30). As always, I don’t think I can be embarrassed by the most likely rebids (1S, 1NT or 2 of a minor). The wheels don’t come off, unlike last time, since there is no interference. (Neither side is vulnerable).

Me Partner
———–
1 H: – 1 S:

2 S: – 3 D:

3 H: – 4 S:

Pass

Betsy held  S: K983
 H: 8
 D: KQJ73
 C: QJ5

Her hand doesn’t mesh well with mine, especially when I turn the invitation back around with 3H. On the other hand, with a 12 count I’d have probably just bid game over 2S. In any case we lose the non-trump aces and make 4 (partner finessing against the heart queen, which wins, to provide a discard). This is worth seven out of eight. Looking at the scores, one pair went down, two pairs defended against clubs (N-S have a 9 card fit, but it requires south to overcall an A9xxx suit if I open. But S has 12 HCP and can easily open in 3rd seat…), and the rest played in a spade partial.

Next, I get an opener nobody can complain about.
Board #2 —  S: AK3
 H: KT853
 D: JT2
 C: K8
Despite having full points, I’ll have to rebid 2 Diamonds over my partner’s expected forcing-1NT response. (Since we play a new suit at the two level is a near GF, we need to use 1NT to handle lots of intermediate hands). But I needn’t have worried, we have a simple auction. Partner bids 2NT (Jacoby 2NT – a strong forcing heart raise) and I show a minimum by signing off in four hearts. LHO cashes the diamond ace and king and I have the rest of the tricks. (Betsy held  S: QT
 H: AQ984
 D: 87
 C: A653). We get slightly below average (3). Apparently a few souths decided not to cash out on the lead.

Board #3 finds me in fourth seat, vulnerable, with
 S: KQJT
 H: K874
 D: 5
 C: AKQ5. Will I get to open my 18 count? I’d be surprised. But the auction I witness is even more surprising….

SOUTH Betsy North Me
--------------------
1NT   P     2C    P
2D   P     2S    P
P   P

1NT showed 15-17, leaving precious little for everyone else. North bid stayman, asking for a major, and then showed 5-4 in the majors. I play that sequence has some values, but it’s hardly universal. Since partner has few points and north has the majors, I go quietly.



 S:98752
 H:AT63
 D:42
 C:93

 S:63
 H:J2
 D:JT87
 C:JT864


 S:KQJT
 H:K874
 D:5
 C:AKQ5

 S:A4
 H:Q95
 D:AKQ963
 C:72

The play is routine. I lead the SK, dummy wins and … leads a club? Huh? I win, play the ST (a mistake. I shouldn’t advertise that the suit is 4-2) and lead clubs twice. Declarer leads a diamond to dummy and then runs the HQ. While declarer has every reason to expect the points to be more evenly split, if my partner does have the King and Jack, she’ll surely cover. In any case, I win, pull trump, cash my good club. For some reason we only get them down two, +100. (Did Betsy pitch her fifth club on the last trump to hold her diamond guard and HJ? I guess so, but I don’t remember). We get slightly above average, some E-W are competing to 3C (for +130). Most N/S are in diamonds making 2 or down a trick in three.

I agree with South’s choice of opening, but it’s a matter of taste. I’ll admit I’m tempted to bid 1D and then rebid diamonds cheaply (for fear of a transfer into spades and getting dropped).

After two rounds I’m averaging over 12 points a hand (and with many of the 9-11 point hands being highly distributional, enough to consider opening). That average would slip little over the rest of the night….

Update: Fixed my table macro so that South has clubs instead of two diamond suits.

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Written by taogaming

April 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Bridge

11 Responses

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  1. I don’t know, Brian, I think your opponents’ bidding on the third board was pretty bad. South opens 1NT with an unbalanced distribution and all his points concentrated in Diamonds. It looks like a clear 1D bid to me. North then bids Stayman with only 4 HCP. I’ve always seen 8 HCP as a requirement here. Stayman is an attempt to get to game, after all. You can bid it with no points and some support in the three higher suits, as long as you pass your opponent’s bid. That isn’t Stayman so much as a cute way of running from No Trump and winding up in what is hopefully a safer suit contract. But once North bids Spades, she’s definitely showing 8 points. If her partner had a third Spade and a maximum hand, he would have jumped to 4 Spades and they would have gotten stomped.

    Good discipline on your part to just pass. You had to know something was amiss before your first bid–there weren’t enough points for everyone to be telling the truth.

    Larry Levy

    April 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  2. Opening 1NT with a solid 6 card minor is fairly well accepted by tournament players. Although they usually don’t do it with 16-17 (since it’ could easily make 3NT opposite a mediocre 5-6 count that would never dream of raising).

    If north had a 3rd spade and a max (give her my queen of spades) then 4 spades is pretty reasonable to make even though North only has an ace. lose tow clubs, trump finesse, trump ace, lose trump and run diamonds. If they split you are done. An AKQxxx suit is a nice source of tricks….

    I’ll admit, Norths bidding (with a four count) surprised me. I was expected a weak 4-4-5-0 (or 4-4-4-1 or small variant), when North bid 2S I was assuming 5-4-(13) with 7-8 points, but apparently there are people who play that auction as a “Garbage stayman.”

    Brian

    April 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm

  3. This light opener is not light. It’s a full opener, with 10 cards in the majors and 2 defensive tricks, and even the valuable heart ten. Anyone who passes is a point-counter — partner can have as little as K2 A432 432 5432 and your side will miss a great game.

    I am not fond of opening 1NT with a solid 6-card minor, especially at IMPs where 5m or even 6m may be the right spot. But that’s more a matter of style.

    Eugene Hung

    April 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm

  4. This light opener is not light. It’s a full opener, with 10 cards in the majors and 2 defensive tricks, and even the valuable heart ten. Anyone who passes is a point-counter — partner can have as little as K2 A432 432 5432 and your side will miss a great game.

    I am not fond of opening 1NT with a solid 6-card minor, especially at IMPs where 5m or even 6m may be the right spot. But that’s more a matter of style.

    Eugene Hung

    April 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm

  5. The 1NT opening is OK. The preemptive value of 1NT is substantial. As you saw. It’s also OK to open 1D and rebid 3D. Rebidding 2D is too little; partner will pass with, say, 2222 A22 222 A22 [This blog filters out strings of x’s.], not thinking it’s remotely close, but you have nine (ten on a heart lead) top tricks. Of course, you might get too high vs. a singleton diamond, but there’s no reason to be so pessimistic.

    Your opponents were playing 2-way Garbage Stayman. After 1NT-2C; 2D, they play 2H and 2S show bad hands with at least 4-4 and 5-4 in the majors respectively. Pretty much everyone plays Garbage Stayman these days; a 2H rebid showing at least 4-4 in the majors and junk is useful. Using 2S for a specific weak hand, however, isn’t likely to be the best use of the sequence, though I know some good players who play that way.

    JeffG

    April 27, 2009 at 8:39 am

  6. This light opener is not light.

    I actually wrote that prior to the comment thread on the other post. Pretty much everyone would (or, at least) should open that hand, whereas the prior hand was definitely a stretch.

    Pretty much everyone plays Garbage Stayman these days

    The things I don’t know … that was the first time I encountered it.

    Brian

    April 27, 2009 at 10:13 am

  7. New to me too. In that case, Jeff, is the 2H or 2S rebid alertable? What about the original 2C bid? And I assume that if the Stayman bidder is actually interested in game, they raise their partner’s major suit bid or bid 2NT over a 2D response?

    Larry Levy

    April 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

  8. Well, I’m out of date on exactly what’s alertable, but if you have a real stayman and it goes
    1NT-2C
    2D- then you just bid 2N to invite.

    In some of my partnerships, we play that 2N is a transfer bid, so that all invites go through stayman. So
    1N-2C
    2X-2N maynot have a four card major, but

    1N-2C
    2X-3N does show one.

    I believe that makes our 2NT bid in the first auction alertable, but it may make 2C alertable too.

    Brian

    April 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm

  9. Well, I’m out of date on exactly what’s alertable, but if you have a real stayman and it goes
    1NT-2C
    2D- then you just bid 2N to invite.

    In some of my partnerships, we play that 2N is a transfer bid, so that all invites go through stayman. So
    1N-2C
    2X-2N maynot have a four card major, but

    1N-2C
    2X-3N does show one.

    I believe that makes our 2NT bid in the first auction alertable, but it may make 2C alertable too.

    Brian

    April 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm

  10. The original 2C is not alertable in any of the cases. Neither are the 2H or 2S rebids. There are enough variations there that you pretty much need to ask if you need to know. But—any rebid after Stayman which does not promise a four-card major is alertable. So if you have no way to invite other than via Stayman, then the 2NT rebid is alertable. Likewise, if you have no direct forcing bid in a minor, so 1NT-2C; 2x-3m is natural and forcing and may or may not have a major, it’s alertable. You don’t want to know why that particular alert quirk exists.

    The only difference between Garbage Stayman and regular Stayman is that responder may be weak with both majors. So all bidding other than his rebidding 2H (and maybe 2S if playing 2-way Garbage Stayman) is just the same as always.

    Garbage Stayman (at least one-way) doesn’t really give anything up of note. With five hearts and an invitational hand, you transfer to hearts and bid 2NT. With four hearts and an invite, you bid Stayman and either raise or bid 2NT as appropriate. With game-going hands and both majors, you use Smolen. Since it is more or less free, the vast majority play it. Most of the rest play Puppet Stayman.

    JeffG

    April 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  11. The original 2C is not alertable in any of the cases. Neither are the 2H or 2S rebids. There are enough variations there that you pretty much need to ask if you need to know. But—any rebid after Stayman which does not promise a four-card major is alertable. So if you have no way to invite other than via Stayman, then the 2NT rebid is alertable. Likewise, if you have no direct forcing bid in a minor, so 1NT-2C; 2x-3m is natural and forcing and may or may not have a major, it’s alertable. You don’t want to know why that particular alert quirk exists.

    The only difference between Garbage Stayman and regular Stayman is that responder may be weak with both majors. So all bidding other than his rebidding 2H (and maybe 2S if playing 2-way Garbage Stayman) is just the same as always.

    Garbage Stayman (at least one-way) doesn’t really give anything up of note. With five hearts and an invitational hand, you transfer to hearts and bid 2NT. With four hearts and an invite, you bid Stayman and either raise or bid 2NT as appropriate. With game-going hands and both majors, you use Smolen. Since it is more or less free, the vast majority play it. Most of the rest play Puppet Stayman.

    JeffG

    April 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm


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