What should I bid? (August 2013)


What should I bid? (August 2013)

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




P 1 ?

You are vulnerable, opponents are not. You open most 11 counts, except those that are “4333″. The competent opponents are playing Standard. Should you overcall 2 here?

If you pass, the bidding will proceed:

P 1 P
1NT P 2 ?

And now I ask again, should you bid 2 here?

Hi Warren,

These overcalling situations is usually dependent on your partnership’s style. I know many good players who prefer to have a good hand and definitely a good suit when vulnerable to make a 2-level overcall, but there are also many others who don’t need as much tight constraints. Ulf Nilsson wrote an article a few years ago called “Suit quality paradox” in his [now defunct] blog about his belief in aggressive overcalls. (You can read about it here)

For me, my style is that I think I would overcall. Although our suit isn’t great and we have three cards in spades (negative factor), the good sides of it is that we have good controls and a 6331 shape. I would really feel very uncomfortable if I passed only to see my LHO raise to 2 then my RHO rebids 3 or 4, since in those auctions I am afraid of missing our part score (or possibly even a game!). The tipping point for me is definitely the 6331 shape, since if my third heart (or spade) was a small club, I would for sure lean towards a pass.

If I do decide to pass (a decision that I would not fault), then after your described continuation I would probably also pass again. It’s an interesting problem though. When our LHO bids 1NT then partner probably has 3-4 spades. Our RHO doesn’t have heart length so partner is likely to have 3-4 hearts as well. Unless the opponents have a big club fit, then partner should have a bit of length in clubs and hence he will be short in diamonds.

No doubt that acting in the continued auction is much more dangerous than the original first-round problem since the opponents have already exchanged a bit of information and they now have a much easier time to penalise you even if it wasn’t worth a penalty pass if it was a direct 2 overcall. For example, LHO might have a 2-4-4-3 shape with AJ7x of diamonds that would prefer a negative double over a direct 2 overcall, but versus a delayed 2 overcall, with the extra information, this hand may find it easier to double for penalties without requiring very good trumps. This just follows the “get in early, get out early” philosophy.

And yes, I understand that I will pay off to a penalty pass over the direct 2 overcall but the auction is not yet over – partner might save me in 2 🙂 Or maybe we can scrounge up 6 tricks for -500 versus a Non-Vul game. At least I will be happy when I hit a fit with partner and win the part score or even finding a good 5 game!


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