Release 2.19n
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19th Mar 2020 18:23 GMT
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Our commentaries are now used by a few clubs, some of which are close by.
For reasons of security we will no longer be posting them on the website.
Naturally when you have played in a session you will be emailed the commentary that night.
They all use Standard English Acol and are suitable for Second Years+
There are 24 boards each week.
Any club who wishes to use our commentaries should contact me:

More Hosts Please!

Our club is totally unique in that it offers anyone who rocks up to our club a guranteed game.
To enable us to fulfil this valuable commitment we need more volunteer hosts.

We already have a small but commited group of volunteers. We need more to spread the burden.
Identify a Tuesday session in the forthcoming months where you would be able to volunteer and drop a line to our Host Angel


Chief Host Angel !
Chief Host Angel !

Our club has always been a great advocate of 'everyone gets a game'. Just turn up and a partner will be found - every time.
It particularily suits people graduating from courses who have yet to find a regular partner and people new to the area who want to try our club (good choice!)

Our lovely Maureen is our Chief Host Angel.  Her task is to allocate volunteer hosts to session dates.
She looks a bit shocked here actually:-)

Announcing this that and the other
Announcing this that and the other
We have all got used to 'announcing' the range of partners opening bid of 1NT. Now the rules have been extended to announcing the range of the opening bid of 2NT.
Subsequent transfers and Stayman also require an announcement.
Additionally those of us that play 5-card major suit openings, a minor suit opening that could be two cards or fewer should be announced even if it is non-forcing. 
19th February

For the next few weeks we will be looking at overcalling.
This means making a bid when an opponent has already opened the bidding.

Remember that all the guidelines now change, because somebody has already opened the bidding.  You cannot follow the rules for opening the bidding, because you are not opening the bidding; you are overcalling:

Overcalling 1NT

This is a hand (slightly doctored) that was played at the club on Thursday night.

Had you been dealer, you would have opened 1NT.  You have a balanced hand, with 13 HCP.  Perfect!
But you aren't dealer, and Right Hand Opponent (RHO) opens 1♠, before you get the opportunity to open.  Why shouldn't you bid 1NT anyway?

The answer is twofold:

1.  Points!
When you open the bidding, you just need a 'better than average hand' in terms of High Card Points.  If the remaining points are evenly divided between the other three hands, you will have the majority.  Even if partner has a little less than his fair share, you are unlikely to land in too much trouble.
However, when an opponent opens the bidding, you know that the points are stacked against you!  Maybe RHO only has 12 HCP, but he could have a lot more!  It is far more likely that your opponents have the majority of points.

2.  Spades!
RHO opened 1♠.  If you are left to be declarer in 1NT, your Left Hand Opponent (LHO) should lead a spade.
(It's almost always right to lead a suit that your partner has bid - you have to have a very good reason not to:  the only generally accepted excuse is that you haven't got any!)
Click on 'Show all Hands' above, and see what would happen if North leads a spade against 1NT:  South will take 6 spade tricks before you even get the chance to play another suit.  And then there are another two aces, and perhaps a heart trick or two to come for the defence!

So that's why you shouldn't bid 1NT (even though you have 12-14 HCP) if the opposition has opened the bidding already.
Furthermore, you're not really good enough to start bidding suits at the 2-level, so the best you can do is Pass, and hope that the opposition bid too high!

So when can you overcall 1NT?

1.  To overcall 1NT, you need more points than you would to open 1NT.
     You Need 16-18 HCP

2.  You need to have high cards in your opponent's suit, to stop them taking the first umpteen tricks in the suit.  In these circumstances, these high cards are called 'stoppers' or 'guards'.

3.  Oh, and of course your hand should be balanced overall!

The hand below is the same hand, but doctored a little more!  Now West has a balanced hand with 16 HCP, and sufficient stoppers in spades that even if North leads a spade, you can ensure that they won't be able to cash lots of tricks in that suit.

Responding to a 1NT Overcall

It's probably worth revising how to respond to a 1NT Opening Bid at this point.  There is a separate page on this, but in summary:

When partner opens 1NT, &

a) you have a balanced hand:

  • 0 - 10 HCP   Pass
  • 11-12 HCP   Bid 2NT
  • 13 + HCP     Bid 3NT

b) you have an unbalanced hand:

  • 0 - 10 HCP:  Bid your long suit at the 2-level.  Opener must pass now.
  • 11+ HCP & a 5-card major:  Bid suit at the 3-level.  Opener must not pass.
  • 11+ HCP & a 6-card major:  Bid suit at the 4-level.  There's no point bidding anything else!
  • 11+ HCP & a long minor:  It's usually best to play in No Trumps, so pretend your hand is balanced, and bid accordingly

When partner overcalls 1NT, the responses should be almost exactly the same.  The only difference is that you don't need so many points in order to explore a game contract.  Because partner is showing 16-18 HCP, you only need 9 HCP to be certain that you have enough points between you.  And 7 HCP is enough for the possibility.  Therefore...

When partner overcalls 1NT, &

a) you have a balanced hand:

  • 0 - 6 HCP   Pass
  • 7 - 8 HCP   Bid 2NT
  • 9 + HCP     Bid 3NT

b) you have an unbalanced hand:

  • 0 - 6 HCP:  Bid your long suit at the 2-level.
  • 7+ HCP & a 5-card major:  Bid suit at the 3-level.
  • 7+ HCP & a 6-card major:  Bid suit at the 4-level.
  • 7+ HCP & a long minor:  pretend your hand is balanced.

On the hand above, East has 9 HCP and a balanced hand.  When West overcalls 1NT after South's opening bid, East knows that West has 16-18 HCP, and therefore knows that they have 25 HCP between them.  East should just bid 3NT straightaway.