Click Monday Evening Feature Hand in Menu
On scanning the travellers on Monday evening we often see bad contracts declared in a minor suit. Often a minor should not have been declarerd at all and, even when correct, it is usually at the wrong level, either conceding or stealing a top. When opener's 1C or 1D is raised, opener's first consideration should be to declare a safe NT contract in part-score or in game. That means HCPs are very important, unlike in a major fit where LTC takes more precedence. Today's hand illustrates this and also the need to contest 2-level contacts in FIT auctions. It is usually wrong to let them play at the 2-level when they have bid a fit: if they have a fit, so do we!!
South opens 1C and west is not quite good enough for double. Assuming no one is playing inverted minors (probably the worst convention ever inflicted on the average player), north's correct response is 2C. That is a uniquely accurate sequence in Acol because north MUST change suit if he can after a 1C opening. By raising to 2C north denies an outside suit AND, critically, limits his hand to 6-7 HCPs precisely: with 8-9 and the same shape, he responds 1NT. That is why south here knows not to try for 3NT. East should not be tempted to try 2D over north's 2C: give south the same strength and a decent 4-card diamond suit and a painful penalty double awaits. West, however, should bid now that the opponents have settled in a cosy 2-level fit. A take-out double describes his hand well, especially as he passed on the first round. East should prefer 2H to bidding diamonds, with good chances of a heart fit. Now south can safely compete to 3C with his known 9-card fit and sensing that a 2H contract will probably concede -110 against either -100 in 3C or +110 if 3C makes. West should leave it to partner to compete to 3H with a 5-carder, but here he passes. South can make 9 or 10 tricks after drawing trump and ruffing a spade in dummy, losing 2 diamonds and a heart. Expect lots of variety on this traveller: winning the part-score battle in fit auctions and knowing when to sacrifice is at the heart of good duplicate scoring.