TIPS FOR IMPROVERS
Points of interest from the October 2012 duplicates
1 The Rule of 19 or the Rule of 20 is only a guide and should be used with discretion
Board 19 Tuesday 23 October
Even if a hand qualifies as an opening bid because it satisfies the Rule of 19 or the more conservative Rule of 20 that does not necessarily mean that it should be opened.
Consider Board 19:-
This hand scores 20 if you add up the number of points plus the number of cards in the two longest suits. However if you open 1 Diamond and partner almost inevitably responds 1 Spade what on earth are you going to rebid. You cannot rebid 1NT (even if playing strong no trump then a 1NT rebid would show 12-14 balanced), you cannot bid 2 Hearts because this would be a reverse showing 17 plus points and to bid 2 Diamonds is to most minds gruesome. Accordingly you start off proceedings with NO BID ! ! !
However if we change the Hearts and Clubs round to give:-
Then you could just about open 1 Diamond because if partner bids 1 Spade you can at least rebid 2 Clubs showing the 5-4 shape.
So the moral is make sure that you have a sensible rebid if partner responds in your short suit. If you have no sensible rebid then do not open.
2 Do not overcall at the two level on a balanced hand and 5-3-3-2 shape
Board 3 Tuesday 23 October – EW Vulnerable
If West opens the traditional 1 Club when holding 5-5 in the black suits then it is permissible for North to overcall 1 Heart. However if West opens 1 Spade which is favoured by the modernists then North must not under any circumstances overcall 2 Hearts even though he is not vulnerable. A two level overcall either shows a six card suit or a good hand in a 5-4-3-1 shape.
If North does overcall an opening bid of 1 Spade with 2 Hearts this is what will happen. East will pass as he has a penalty double. West will now re-open with a takeout double (note that West does not bid 3 Clubs) because he wishes to allow East to pass if he has a penalty double of 2 Hearts. 2 Hearts doubled becomes the final contract.
East should start off the defence by leading a Club because partner’s 1 Spade has not guaranteed the King. West wins trick 1 with the Queen of Clubs and returns a Spade to the 10 and Jack followed by the Ace of Spades at trick 3. East plays a second Club to the King at trick 4 followed by a Spade ruff at trick 5. When playing a third round of Spades at trick 5 West is careful to play the Queen asking East to switch to a Diamond (the higher ranking suit) at trick 6. Thus East plays the Jack of Diamonds at trick 6 to the King. The Ace of Diamonds follows at trick 7 and a Diamond ruff at trick 8. The defence have taken the first eight tricks and East still has KJ10 of Hearts. Thus when the smoke has cleared the final result is 2 Hearts doubled minus five for 1100 points to East West.
Now while it is true that East West can make 13 tricks in 6 Clubs they are extremely unlikely to bid a slam if West opens 1 Spade whereas if West is of the old fashioned school and opens 1 Club then there is a much better chance of reaching slam.
3 Do not cover an honour with an honour if your own honour can never be caught
Board 2 Thursday 18 October – Dealer East
1 Heart 1 NT
South failed to find the killing opening lead of a Club and instead started off with the 7 of Spades (second highest from a bad suit). North won with the Ace and does best to switch to the Jack of Clubs. However North returned a second Spade. Declarer now cashed the third and fourth round of Spades discarding a Club and played the Queen of Diamonds from the Dummy. North should not cover because he knows that his King can never be caught. When North instinctively “covered an honour with an honour” then East now made an overtrick for a top score of 430.
Some of you might say but what if the Diamond suit were divided:-
Any East who knows his suit combinations would start off by playing a low card towards the Queen in this case which pays off against South having a doubleton King for one loser eg:-