Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 in bridge has started out opposite of 2011

My first tournament of 2011 saw me win over 23 points at the Macon sectional. The first tournament this year yielded only a little more than 6 points, most of which was won in a pair game that I had estimated at 49% (but was actually 65%). Anyway, I got the 6.47 points that I needed for the next masterpoint milestone (2500 and Gold LM) by coming back from a miserable start to squeak into a tie for 9th in the Swiss.

It continually amazes me that Emory and I (and especially other top players who have played together for decades) still have so many disagreements about what certain bids mean. On the first deal of the tournament for me, I doubled a weak NT and LHO bid 2C. What is this? If you play strong notrumps, there isn't a great need for runouts so you would assume systems are on and this is stayman. Playing weak notrumps (good 11-14), it is common to have some sort of runout structure when they make a penalty double directly behind the 1NT opener. So, in addition to stayman, common ways to play 2C are that is is drop dead showing a 5 card suit or to show 4-4 in clubs and another suit. Strangely this pair with a decades-long partnership and 25000 mp combined did not know their agreement.

Another auction that apparently has no consensus of meaning is 4th suit by a passed hand. I had never had any discussion about what this means until yesterday. The specific auction was an uncontested P-1C; 1H-1S; 2D. I thought Emory probably thought it would be naturalish and forward going, something like a 2-5-4-2 10 count and was right. I can definitely see a good argument for it being an artificial 1 round force and playing Walsh-style responses to 1C, I can definitely see good arguments for 2D being drop dead (a minimum response with 4 hearts and 6+ diamonds).

Another one that came up was 2C-2NT; 3NT-4D. 2NT showed 5+ hearts with 2 of the top 3 honors. Should 4D be natural or a transfer? At the time I thought it should be a transfer (I am unlikely to bid over 3NT without extra heart length and if we play hearts, the big hand should be declarer) but in retrospect, it may make more sense to play it as natural and forcing. You lose right-siding a heart contract but gain the ability to explore for a diamond slam. Again, opinions were very divided even amongst us people who play together frequently.


  1. It's shocking that any partnership that plays a weak NT structure wouldn't know their agreements over interference. That's always my argument against penalty doubles there -- any decent partnership who plays weak NT is going to have a runout structure anyway.

    I don't think a passed hand can make a forcing bid in an uncontested auction, but I do think that new suits should be natural and maximal.

    I've never really had that last sequence come up that I know of, but my general philosophy would be that it's natural.

  2. Agree with Meg on all counts except the lack of a penalty (or card-showing) double of a weak NT. If you don't have one, the weak NTers get to mess around with you too much. The defenders need agreements though on subsequent doubles. So, for example, (1NT weak)-X-2C (natural) - X ,,, is that last double penalty or takeout? I am in the minority, but I prefer that one as at least penaltyish. You can cuebid as a takeout with not much desire to penalize.

    Finally, 2C-2NT (hearts)-3NT - anything is probably undiscussed by everyone. In fact, it probably makes you want to not play 2H as an immediate second negative. I would take 4D as a 2nd suit (either 5 cards or a good 4 carder) with a likely stiff or void somewhere.

  3. Unfortunately, so did I. :)