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A classic Acol 3NT opening by East here. This hand came up (board 4) in Tuesday's duplicate.
A 3NT opener is a long solid minor with nothing on the outside. They don't come round that all that often.
You don't expect to play there of course. The idea is to barrage at a high level so that the opposition are forced to enter the auction at the 4-level.
Some of our players got into trouble when 5♦ was doubled. A very expensive 'save' against a 'sometimes but not always' 4♠ contract the other way.
Had the vulnerability been more favourable (green versus red) 5♦ would have been a great 3rd seat opener.
As always with barrage bidding once 3NT is opened East should stay silent now and leave it to partner to take any further initiative.
Use RO20 to determine whether we are too strong to open at the three level.
We are too strong to open 3ª on this hand because if we add our high card points to the amount of cards we have in our two longest suits = 21. Far too strong to pre-empt.
Also, applying tactics and strategy to the game, whilst we open 1ª is first or second seat with this hand (first seat being the dealer) in third seat after two passes it looks more likely that the opponents have some sort of heart contract. Best to open 3ª now. So, same hand but different openings depending where you are seated in the auction.
Well! Who would have thought? You can open 4NT and it is not Blackwood - it is something completely different and exclusive as an opening bid.
Rather than asking how many Aces It asks which Aces.
This deal came up at our duplicate session on the 16th September.
One of the primary objectives of this bid is its preemptive value. If you are massive in one suit with a modest amount of points there is every chance the opponents have a similar hand their way in a different suit. I think that you will agree that it makes life hard for them when they have to enter the auction at the 5-level!
It is also useful of course for pin pointing top controls in the other suits to determine whether there is a slam. Our deal here shows that there are two cashing aces missing and so 5♠ is the limit.
It is a very rare opener indeed but useful with our sort of hand or maybe something like this:
or this ..
This hand is only a twelve count but if we can find partner with the A♦ we can make a grand slam.
The responses after 4NT opening bid are as follows:
5♣ shows no aces
5♦ shows the A♦
5♥ shows the A♥
5♠ shows the A♠
5NT shows two unspecified aces
6♣ shows the A♣
This deal recently came up at a major championship.
You are sitting minding your own business with this hand when partner opens 1©.
Your right hand opponent doubles for take out. What to do now?
One thing you do know is that the opponents have got a 4ª game on.
They have yet to uncover it. Rather than waiting for your left hand opponent to bid 4ª and then you bidding 5© you should bid 5© straightway. It is called an advance sacrifice.
As always with barrage bidding, the contract is irrelevant. Coming up with the best score is what we aim for. We are hoping that any penalty we incur is less than what the opponents would score.
Nevertheless, on this deal your left hand opponent, not to be outdone, bid 5ª.
A top class defence beats it. When your partner leads the ace of hearts you follow with 10©.
This unnecessary high card is a suit preference signal asking partner to switch to the higher seniority of the other two suits. A diamond. He duly does, because he is clever. You ruff.
Partner eventually scores another diamond trick to set this contract.
ª A Q J
© 6 5 2
¨ Q 4 3 2
§ Q 3 2
Partner opens 1NT. Are you really going to invite to 2NT with this?
With seven of your eleven points in a short suit and the rest of the intermediate cards very small partner would need a top of the range 14 points to have any chance of making 3NT.
Even then it would be very hard.
At match pointed pairs particularly, pass with a poor eleven count. The lovely Andrew Robson says pass partner’s 1NT with any eleven count unless you have an extra source of tricks such as a five card minor to help the hand along.
Why enter -200 on the scoresheet when you could be entering +90
You are defending against the auction 1NT - 2NT – 3NT and you hold:
ª 10 9
© 9 6 3 Choose a lead.
¨ 9 6 4 3 2
§ Q 5 2
Against this 3NT contract many will choose to lead their longest suit in the hope of promoting the small cards for later.
On this hand however there is no hope of promoting the diamond cards.
Some will lead the 6¨ the second highest of junk. The fourth highest, 3¨ would guarantee an honour card.
And yet on the given auction, partner is marked with around 13 or 14 points and at least four, possibly five spade cards.
Are we still going to lead a daft diamond?
Don't worry about confusing partner with the lead of the 10ª. He knows you only have a couple of points (he can count too) and that you only have a couple of spade cards. (he can see the dummy)
The only person who doesnt know anything at this point is poor old declarer.
Defence is the hardest part of the game. We are defending half the time.
It all starts with the opening lead. That's tricky enough but think of poor old (less of the old) partner. What assumptions will he make?
There are two elements to the opening lead. Which suit to lead then which card out of that suit. The second part is quite easy. Once you have chosen your suit the lead card is standard in any system.
Partner will make assumptions on your choice of lead suit AND the specific card chosen.
Choosing the 2ª lead against a no trump contract partner can start to put your hand together straightaway.
He now knows:
You only have four cards in the suit at most
You have an honour in that suit
As this is a four-card suit your hand shape must be fairly balanced.
And another thing ..
It is easy for the person on lead to start with a doubleton against a suit contract hoping to get a third round ruff. But if that doubleton is two small cards, say the four and the two, what is partner to make of it? The four could be fourth highest, it could be a singleton, it could be the start of middle-up-down (MUD) or it could be the start of a doubleton. Is your partner psychic?
The defence is all about setting up communications with partner. Just avoid the confusion and avoid the dilemma. Lead something else. If the moral high ground produces a misunderstanding just remember that you and your partner share the same score sheet.
Don’t you just hate it when you open in fourth seat after three passes and then the opps pinch a contract?
RO15 assists on whether to open in fourth seat after the other three players have passed.
It works like this:
It advises that a hand should only be opened when in the pass-out seat if:
the total of the high card points in the hand
the number of spade cards add up to fifteen or more.
And so with a hand like this where you would open 1♣ in any other seat...
♥ 9 7 4
♦ A Q 8 2
♣ A Q 9 6 4
Applying RO15 it is best to pass. You are likely to suffer competition on your left if you open 1♣
They will find stuff they never thought they had. Bridge would be lovely if it wasn't for the opponents!
Points don't make tricks. It is all to easy, and a bit lazy to use exact point counts
to evaluate the hand.
Upgrading and down grading hands should all be part of your armoury.
Take this hand from this Tuesday Pairs at our club. Board 6.
Are you really going to open 1on this and rebid 2NT after a 2-level response from partner?
With six of your points in a short suit where are your tricks going to come from.
Better to downgrade the hand a point and open 1NT.
Click to read more about hand evaluation