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Can I open 1S with 9764 and 17 HCP?

edited March 2014 in All Things Bridge
AQT KQx  AQx xxxx playing weak no trump?


  • edited 6:30AM
    9 7 6 4 ?
    And presumably the answer is no if you only have 3 Spades?
  • edited 6:30AM
    Playing standard Acol with a weak NT, you should open a suit and plan to rebid in No Trumps.

    Given this principle, it is essential that you use your suit bid to identify any major-suit fit. You must bid one spade (despite the poor suit quality) or partner will never believe that you hold four cards in the suit. This is standard Acol and I strongly advise that you bid a four-card major whenever you have one.

    Imagine the alternative with:


    Say you open One Club on your three card suit. What do you do next if partner responds one diamond. If you bid No Trumps, you show your shape and point count, but hide your four-card major. If you rebid One Spade you tell partner a lie about your shape (you are showing five clubs and four spades) and partner is likely to avoid No Trumps when this is the logical final contract.

    One final point: If you open one spade and subsequently bid no trumps and play there, you will discourage a spade lead!
  • edited April 2014
    Here's another way to look at it: there is NO reason to play in spades from your side. Your hand has no ruffing potential at all. If partner has ruffing potential, then you will be trumping with his high spades, and you will be in trouble if spades are not 3-2. The bottom line is that flat hands with weak major suits are quite often best played in NT. If partner opened 1NT, with a flat hand it is suggested by every bridge writer on the planet to skip Stayman (when 4333) and jump to 3NT with the appropriate strength. If partner opened 1NT, you would not mention spades, so why mention them first when you bid first?
  • edited 6:30AM
    The reason Bridge is a great game is because it constantly throws up questions. With this hand you have 3 options, 1S, 1NT or 1C. All of them are a lie, it's a matter of choosing the lie that gives you the best chance of betting to where you should be and that it a matter of choosing the option that imparts the most information. You have recognised that with your bid of 1S your partner will expect greater strength spades than you possess. If you open 1NT you may miss game if your partner has 8-10hcp. I'd open 1C, and INT over partners bid showing 16+hcp and on from there.
  • edited 6:30AM

    The reason why you should open one spade, playing Acol, is that if you don't mention your four-card suit now your partner will never believe that you have one.

    You intend bidding no trumps at your next bid and you will complete the picture telling partner that you hold a balanced hand with a four-card spade suit and a narrowly defined point count. What could be more helpful to partner?

    I do not get stressed about the poor quality suit. If partner supports spades, she is likely to hold some honour cards (there are plently out), but even if she doesn't you simply draw trumps and watch as the opponents' honours crash each other. If the trumps are dividing badly, then it is unlikely that 3NT will succeed.

    It is worth comparing with the first problem hand on the cover of the current (May 2014) Bridge Magazine. Bernard Magee advocates opening one spade with:





    In this case Bernard is prepared to "rebid" a poor suit (e.g. if the auctin is 1S, 2H, 2S). Bernard quotes the saying "Length is Strength".

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