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5: Some 1-level Problems

Seminar Five

We addressed 1NT (12-14 balanced) in earlier lessons because:

  • the most common patterns are balanced
  • 12-14 is the likeliest HCP holding (for other than pre-emptive hands)
  • it is a limit bid meaning that control of the auction rests with one partner
  • it has well-developed continuations
  • it takes space, leaving less room for the opponents to compete

Bids of one of a suit and responses to such bids are unlimited in strength and rather unspecific in shape so the first bid needs careful thought. Its all about handling whatever partner may throw at us without misleading him too badly. This also a key reason why we open 1NT if possible so we never mislead partner by bidding it later with a mere 12-14.

We looked at several hands which presented debatable opening bids. The first step with all hands was to count HCP and see if the hand was eligible to open 1NT, rebid 1NT or neither. The synopsis is what should form in your mind when you pick up the hand. And should the synopsis be balanced with 12-14 think no further: bid 1NT (but in tempo).

  1. S: A T 8 3; H: 6 2; D: A K 6 5; C: K Q 4
    Synopsis:16 HCP and balanced (the rag-doubleton heart is no discouragement).The plan is to open a suit and rebid NT. Which suit? S & D are biddable. 
    Against 1D. If we open 1D, partner may bid 1H and we can no longer show both the S suit and the balanced 15+ hand. 1D followed by 3 passes gives a lower scoring but not obviously safer contract than 1S. Over 1D, the opponents may have a cheap one-level overcall in H. 
    Against 1S. Partner may initially expect a five-card suit (in a weaker hand). If partner responds 1NT (as he will on all hands failing the rule of 14) we could get too high if we make a try and he had 6 HCP but miss a game if we dont bid again and he has 9. 
    Recommendation: on balance bid 1S.
  2. S: T 8 6 4 3; H: J D: A Q 5 C: K Q J 4. 
    Synopsis: 13 HCP unbalanced, 5 weak Spades 4 good Clubs. To open 1C or 1S. 
    Against 1S. If we open 1S and partner responds 2H we can only bid 2S (suggesting 6) on a rubbish 5-card suit or 2NT showing unremarkable S but lying that the strength is over 15 HCP or 3C showing the shape but reversing (forcing partner to a choice at the 3 level). If opponents overcall 1C with 1H and it comes back to us we can bid 1S or double. 
    Against 1C. If we later bid S we suggest 5C and 4S. Opponents can overcall cheaply in H.
    Recommendation: on balance bid 1C.
  3. S: K Q 4; H: A K 6 5 D: A T 8 3 C: 6 2. 
    Synopsis: 16 HCP balanced, 2 biddable touching suits, good controls. 
    Against 1D none as long as partner knows to show a 4CM so that bidding 1NT denies one. 
    Against 1H: can never mention D (would promise 5H). Partner may anyway assume 5H (as usual). 
    Recommendation: Open 1D intending to bid NT as cheaply as possible unless partner bids 1H when raise it.
  4. S: K J; H: K Q 4 D: K J 7 4 C: Q 9 8 3. 
    Synopsis: 15 HCP balanced, both minors, no aces
    Against 1m: normal but hand is marginal for rebid of 1NT and some devalue aceless hands maying this too weak to rebid 1NTpartner might get overexcited. Partner might respond NT and we would like to protect our tenaces.
    Against 1NT: partner might not get excited enough now and might get distrustful in future
    Recommendation: None. Toms in a minority of one here in wanting to open 1NT.
  5. S: A T 8 3; H: K J 4 D: A K 6 5 C: 6 2. 
    Synopsis: 15 HCP balanced, good D & S suits, good controls.
    Against 1S: nothing, we dont mind passing if partner responds 1NT, and bidding 2NT (losing the D suit) if partner bids at the 2 level.
    Against 1D: little but H values wasted if LHO can overcall 1H and then bidding S suggest unbalanced, 1NT is risky with no trick source and flimsy H when RHO gets the lead in eg C, double suggest support for C too.
    Recommendation: dig in with spades.
  6. S: A K 6 5; H: A T 8 3 D: K Q 4 C: 6 2. 
    Synopsis: 18 HCP, both majors, good controls
    Against 1S: cant bid H later without implying 5 S so might miss H fit if partner responds 2m
    Against 1H: nothing, this is the textbook bid. Can support S if partner mentions them (as he will with 4). Can bid 3NT if partner names a minor.
    Recommendation: Easy, bid 1H.
  7. S: K 5; H: A Q J 8 D: J 8 6 4 3 C: 3. 
    Synopsis: 11 HCP unbalanced with 4 good H and 5 weak D
    Against Pass: if NB now, despite meeting rule of 20 requirements, likely to be frozen out of auction.
    Against 1D: rubbish suit to rebid if partner says eg 1S
    Against 1H: promises 5+H if have to rebid D, implies 6+ if rebid H, gross lie about strength prevents rebidding NT (NT rebid shows too good to open NT never too weak).
    Recommendation: Bid 1D.
  8. S: K Q; H: A K D: 9 7 5 4 2 C: J 7 6 3. 
    Synopsis: 13 HCP, unbalanced2 doubletons
    Against 1D: allows a 1M opposing overcall or over 1M response have to bid 2C showing the shape with exactitude but not really describing the hand
    Against 1NT: not quite the right shape
    Recommendation: Toms agrees with the book (but none of the group) that 1NT is the lesser lie.
  9. S: 7; H: A K 9 8 6 D: Q J T 8 C: J 4 3. 
    Synopsis:  11 HCP unbalanced
    Against 1H: risk that opponents will compete in Spades and win the battle of the part-scoresthe hand does not meet the supplementary Rule of 15 (sum of HCP and length of S suit) for 4th in hand openings.
    Against pass: pusillanimous except 4th in hand as safe rebid of 2D showing unbalanced shape and promising 5+H
    Recommendation: Open 1H except 4th in hand when Pass.
  10. S: J 3; H: K 9 8 5 3 D: A Q 2 C: K 9 7. 
    Synopsis: 13 HCP balanced with weak 5CM
    Against 1H: only rebid will be 2H on scruffy suit, possible competitive overcall of 1S
    Against 1NT: risk of losing 5-3 major fit
    Recommendation: bid 1NT