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Feb. 09 Bidding Quiz (Pages 3 & 43)

edited January 2009 in All Things Bridge
In problem 1 this month Bernard defines the bidding as Standard Acol, weak no-trumps and 4 card majors. How can his preferred opening bid be 2NT? As I understand it, a no-trumps opening bid indicates: A balanced hand with no 5 card major suit?

Comments

  • edited 1:26PM
    I think you may have misinterpreted Bernard's shorthand when he says "weak no-trumps and 4 card majors". "Weak no trumps" is usually described as 12 to 14 HCPs, as distinct from "strong no trumps" as used in SAYC (American) and other systems, and may be 15 to 17 HCPs or a variety of other slightly differing ranges. I think most people accept a 5-3-3-2 distribution as being definately "balanced". "Four card majors" is a totally separate concept, referring to the minimum number of cards required for making an opening bid in a major suit (NOT no trumps), and this is in contrast (again) with SAYC, where the practice is not to open a major without a minimum of five cards in the suit. That system then allows the opener to bid a short minor (3 cards) or a completely artificial 1 Club, depending on partnership agreement.

    As to whether one should open 1-NT when holding a 5-card suit firstly depends on whether it is minor or major. With a minor I think most will agree that the bid should be 1-NT, but with a 5-card major opinion seems to be divided and controversial. Indeed it was aired in a "debate" in the EBU's English Bridge magazine (Aug 2007), and of course there is no clear-cut preference. My feeling is that the major needs to be VERY good to consider not going for a 1-NT opening (say 3 of the top 5 honours), as it seems to leave more room for manoeuvre. With a spade suit as in the problem, but with 14 or less total points, I would agree that a 1-Spade opening might be justified.

    However here we have (21HCP+1LP=) 22 points, so I think Bernard's answer in Bridge 93 is well reasoned. There are not enough points for an Acol 2-Clubs, or enough playing tricks for an Acol Strong Two, and you'd feel pretty to sick if your '1-Spade' was passed by your partner (for a "bottom"), which would inevitably have happened in this case.
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