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Archive of Previous Poor Bridge


Adam and Phil’s Helpful Guild to 1NT Auctions

By Adam Lea and Phil Smith


Adam writes:
I've been feeling a bit guilty about nominating other people for poor bridge, so to balance things out, I thought I'd show you a couple of hands where I was at fault.

Hand 1

E/W Vulnerable, East Dealer, Adam sitting East
WestNorthEastSouth
1NT 2*
2NT** AP

* any single suited hand
** Lebensohl

8 7 4
10 6 4
7 6 5
A 9 8 4
K Q 10 6 2 J 9 3
5 2 K Q 8 7 3
A K Q 10 J 3 2
7 2 Q 3
A 5
A J 9
9 8 4
K J 10 6 5

Lesson 1 - By Phil
Before we start with the responses to 1NT let’s do a quick revision of counting: an ace is worth 4 points, and king 3, Queen 2 and jack 1 point. So should you hold a hand like East you would have 9 points. Usually a 1NT opening is 12-14 points, in the UK at least.

Lesson 2 - By Phil
Don’t be phased by oppo’s strange/rubbish bidding. So when oppo make a really rubbish 2C overcall (presumably forcing, 3C only looks OK because north finds 4 card support for clubs!), just assume that you system remains the same. So, if 2NT is usually, say, Lebensohl then it still is. On the other hand, if 2NT is an attempt to go off for no good reason when oppo cash, oh I don’t know – say a long single suit, then that’s just rubbish.

NB: Lebensol over a 2 club overcall (should you play it) is invitational to game, nearly always in a major, as 2{anything} is competitive (pass forcing), and 3{any} is Game forcing. If you inspect the card you’ll realise that west has a game force and should NOT bid lebensohl… except when partner has psyched the 1NT opening. See lesson 1.

Consequences of not following advice - by Adam
2NT goes two off for -200 and a bottom. I should explain that I somehow miscounted my points and thought that I had 12. Then I thought that Lebensohl didn't apply if the conventional overcall didn't show an anchor suit.

Hand 2

E/W Vulnerable, East Dealer, Adam sitting North
WestNorthEastSouth
1NT 2*
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 5 AP

* Landy

K 5
2
J 9 7
A K 8 7 5 4 3
Q 9 7 2 J 8 6
Q J 5 4 A 8 7
K 6 3 A Q 8 5
J 2 Q 9 6
A 10 4 3
K 10 9 6 3
10 4 2
10

Lesson 3: - By Phil
Two suited bid show your hand straight away. And if partner knows your hand then he has a great chance for bidding the right contract! Landy is the simplest of the two suited methods over 1NT – it simply let’s partner know that you have 5-4 or better in the majors and around 10-14 points. Using Landy you’ll find your best major contract all the time – well worth it if that’s 4 Hearts or 4 Spades, in at pairs, finding the best major partscore could well be worth a lot of matchpoints. Obviously your partner has to play along and actually use the information he’s been given.

Lesson 4 – By Phil
When using two suited methods, for god’s sake - know your responses!
2D over Landy asks partner to pick a major. Further bids are up to partnership agreement, but using common sense helps: consider the auction above – as North would have passed a weak hand with clubs, north is clearly strong.

Consequences of not following advice - By Adam
I thought 2D in response to a Landy 2C is an enquiry bid, asking for the better major. I think partner took it as natural judging by the constant correction to diamonds. This goes three off for a bottom.

I'll leave you to provide the commentry (be as sarcastic as you like!) [Thanks, I will be! - Phil]