What should I bid? (August 2016)

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What should I bid? (August 2016)

The best submission for August came from Viv Wood. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

Imp scoring, swiss pairs event.

All Vul, South is the dealer and his hand is:

KT842
void
QJ
AT9642

How would you open this hand?

My partner opened it 2, we have weak 2 as 5/5 spades and a minor available. I held –

QJx
KJ94
A93
Q73

I didn’t see game making here opposite what I expected a 2 opening to hold. I was mesmerised by my great hand though with a double fit. I kinda choked on it and bid a silly 3. After the lead I apologised to partner expecting most likely 1 off and was pleased when partner racked up 9 tricks midway, but not so excited when he eventually made 12!

He believes a 2 opening is correct here as he doesn’t have 2 defensive tricks.

We’d love to know your thoughts – thanks,

Viv

Here is the full hand, although I’m challenged to make it easier for you to read, sorry :)!

Bd 7
All Vul
S Dealer
Q J 6
K J 9 4
A 9 3
Q 7 3
 
A 9 5
Q 7 6 2
K 8 5 4
K J 8 5
[ 7 ] 7 3
A 10 8 5 3
10 7 6 2
  K 10 8 4 2

Q J
A 10 9 6 4 2
 

Hi Viv,

This problem essentially comes down to two things: Opening bid style, and preemptive styles.

When vulnerable, preempting openings should obviously be more solid, but as to what its maximum is, is up to partnership agreement(?). I personally don’t believe in “opening bids should promise so-and-so defensive tricks” as that makes it quite restrictive on what I can/can’t open. No doubt on this particular 5-0-2-6 hand, the QJ doubleton diamond weakens the overall strength, but I wouldn’t discount all three points as sometimes it is partner who holds the diamond values.

Essentially, I have to either treat the 5-0-2-6 hand as a minimum 1 (or 1) opener, or a maximum 2 (two suited) opener. When you’re sitting on this type of fence trying to decide to go for the aggressive option (e.g. a minimum 1 or 1 opener) or the conservative option (e.g. a maximum two-suited 2 opener), it is usually better to lean towards the aggressive option. (The main reason being is that we should rarely ever play partner for a maximum, so if we do open this hand with 2, with some average-ish hands where game is good (give partner spade fit and Kx clubs) partner will generally pass because on average, we’re more likely to be within the 7-8 point mark than 10 points so it’s not worth pushing to 3.)

This is not to say that opening 2 is incorrect – if the partnership’s preempts are weighted more to the conservative side, then 2 can therefore be opened.

This, of course, eventually leads to your actual problem of what responder should do with the 13-point hand of QJx  KJ94  A93  Q73. Because you are vulnerable, you can probably expect partner to have a decent hand with a 5-5 shape.

Let’s try to give partner some hands: AKxxx xx x Kxxxx ? I’m guessing that’s more of a 1 opener, so how about K109xx xx x AJ10xx ? Game is quite reasonable opposite that. Remove the 10 and it is probably still worth it particularly when you are vulnerable playing in an IMPs Swiss Pairs event. Or what about A10xxx x xx KJxxx? Game requires a finesse and a club break, again, probably worth bidding in IMP Pairs as you might even get a heart lead. In these last two examples, partner probably shouldn’t have a hand worse than that at vulnerable.

If partner has diamonds: K10xxx x KQxxx xx – there are four losers here. A10xxx x KQxxx xx: Game requires a finesse and a break in diamonds. Without the 10, then game has no chance. Or even AKxxx x Qxxxx xx: Game is pretty bad (swap the hearts/clubs around and game will require a bit of luck)

We can sit here all day trying to visualise hands for partner, but it’s starting to feel like it’s probably better to try for game when partner has clubs, but probably not if partner has diamonds. If partner does show diamonds, then our 3 rebid would be invitational so it’s probably a good sequence. Therefore, perhaps it’s probably best to bid 2NT to ask about partner’s minor and bid 3 or 4 depending on which minor suit partner has – you’re quite right in saying that the double fit definitely helps!

Of course, all of this is assuming that you know partner’s preempting style. If partner can be a 5-4 shape or even 6 HCP at this vulnerability, then you will have to think twice about bidding anything at all!

Anyway, hope that helps somewhat.

Kind regards,
Andy

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