THUNDER BAY DBC
TIP#4 GUY COUTANCHE//BE RELUCTANT TO INVITE GAME
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My tip is simple. At matchpoint pairs, be VERY reluctant to invite game with a balanced 8-count opposite a 15-17 1NT opener.
A case in point:
Opener
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♠AQ4 ♥AKJ5 ♦J6 ♣Q652
Responder
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♠J53 ♥73 ♦A7632 ♣K43
1N - 2C
2H - 2N
3N - All pass.
Opener has a pretty decent maximum. Responder has 8 HCP, an ace and king, and a 5-card suit. Yet the 25-point 3NT is a poor contract, requiring lots of luck(and probably weak defense) to make.
I know--one hand doesn't necessarily prove anything. But these are the facts:
The 1N opener is most likely to hold 15 HCP and least likely to hold 17. That means when you invite with a balanced 8-count you will most often be in 2NT with 23 points. And an aggressive partner might upgrade a 16-count and put you in a 24-point game. This is not usually good news.
Beef up responder's hand with some intermediates, like this:
♠J103 ♥73 ♦A10632 ♣K103
and a raise to 2N would be reasonable. But don't be surprised if this aggressive move fails. As you can see, game has better chances, but is still no bargain. The way folks bid nowadays, though, at least you will have plenty of company.
Try this approach for a few sessions. If disappointed with the results, just return to your usual responding style. And don't sue me for lost masterpoints;)
I was led to this tip not only from personal experience and style(I am a born pessimist, and always expect the worst), but from the opinion of one of Canada's top bridge players, ACBL Grand Life Master Duncan Smith[10,741.50 MP] of Victoria, BC. This tip is one of Duncan's "rules". Woe betide a partner who violates it