Saturday, May 24, 2008

Follow-up to Forcing 1NT: An interesting example

In Friday's club game, I picked up this hand:


Partner, John K, dealt and opened 1 Heart. We play 2/1 game forcing, so I bid a forcing 1NT. John rebid 2 Clubs. Now I could have shown a strong club raise with an artificial call of 2 Spades, since this could not be natural (since I would have bid 1 Spade initially), but (a) we hadn't discussed this treatment, and (b) I had stoppers in the unbid suits, so I bid 2NT, which showed a hand of about this strength and invited John to bid 3NT with something extra. John instead rebid 3 Clubs. What now?

John showed 5-5 or longer in his suits and a fairly weak opener. So he had at most 3 losers in Spades and Diamonds. With my King and Ace, I thought I could cover 2 of the 3 losers. He surely had most of his points in his 2 suits. If he had as little as Axxxx or KQxxx of hearts and Kxxxx of clubs, there is a good play for 5 clubs, since there would be only 1 heart loser and no club losers if the suit split 2-1 which is very likely. Even if clubs split 3-0, he might have the Jack also so we would pick up half of those hands as well. So I thought that 5 Clubs would be a favorite to make, and partner might not be able to raise 4 Clubs when game was on.

Since this is matchpoints, I had to also consider our prospects in 3NT. We should get 5 club tricks, my ace of diamonds, a spade if that suit is led, and whatever else we can score depending on where partner's cards are. I decided that it was likely that we had only one combined stopper in either spades or diamonds, so we would have to take 9 tricks on the run. I didn't like our chances of that happening.

So I chose to bid 5 Clubs. This hit the jackpot, as partner's hand was:


The clubs split 2-1 as expected, so we lost only a heart and a spade. 3NT would have had no play with a likely diamond lead, and with this 10-point minimum, John may well have passed a 4 Club invitation.

When we checked the traveler at the end of play, 3 pairs reached 5 Clubs, one went down in 3NT, one made a club partial and the other 3 passed out the hand! I think that the pairs who passed it out undervalued both hands. Dealer's hand should be opened since it has a good 5-card major and meets the rule of 20 (total points + length in the 2 longest suits = 20 or more). My hand, which shouldn't be opened in first seat, is a good third seat opener (it is usually good tactics to open light in third seat to preempt the opponents).


Jennifer Jones said...

Here is a comment from a reader:

Switching hearts and spades in both hands then what is the sequence to reach the same contract?

Repeating with clubs and diamonds switched.

My wife and I usually switch hands to see if our methods remain consistent with respect to shape and card placement

Thanks for posting this method


Jennifer Jones said...

Here is Bob's answer:

"Jenn was asked how this auction would differ (a) if hearts and spades were switched, or (b) if clubs and diamonds were switched. The auctions would be the same in both cases (i.e., 1S-1NT-2C-2NT-3C-5C or 1H-1NT-2D-2NT-3D-5D), but the option of an artificial bid to show a strong raise of opener's second suit (1H-1NT-2C-2S) is not available when the opening bid is 1S, since a 2H rebid is natural and weak."