Friday, November 18, 2011

Make general rules for unforeseen situations

Just when we thought we were nailing things down pretty nicely in the context of a 2/1 bidding system, we ran into a couple of disasters this evening.  On the one hand, it felt great to use a Lebensohl auction to reach a 4H contract that no one else in the room reached (we made it, and it contributed to our 57% game). And on the other, we felt rather stupid to have these kinds of snafus (we were half-a-board shy of coming in first, and these boards would have made the difference).

I'll omit who did what and simply present the bidding on two of our disasters.  Post what you think in the comments.  Our new agreement to deal with these situations is also posted in the comments.

First hand:
Is 2NT forcing? Game forcing? Can it be passed?  What would you do with the South hand?  Is that what your partner would also do?

Second hand:
Is the 4D forcing?  Game forcing? Can it be passed?  What would you do with the North hand? Is it what your partner would also do?

If you and your partner disagree, then it's time to have some general agreements in place to deal with unforeseen situations.


  1. There is no way you can anticipate everything. So, we now have two general principles to deal with this sort of thing:

    (1) All second-round jumps by responder are game forcing. We had this agreement for suits, but it now applies to NT also. (We play that an immediate jump shift is weak).

    (2) A new suit introduced above 3NT is forcing for one round.

    With 3-card support for hearts, but a balanced hand, South has a decision to make in the first hand. But pass is not one of the options. He can bid either 3NT or 3H. 2NT, passed, made 5.

    On the second board, North has to make a bid even with his piss-poor hand. 5D stands out. 4D, passed, made 6.

  2. We'll get it right next time :)

    Important addition to (1): any jump at responder's second turn sets GF IF his first bid was a 1/1 reply (obviously responder can't make any forcing bids if for example he has limited his hand with 1NT initially).

  3. 1)
    I thought that 2NT was definitely not forcing and simply invitational in NT. I toyed with the idea of bidding 3H but I'll pass.

    I play 4th suit as game forcing so 2NT/3C/3H/3S here would all be invitational hands.

    Weak hands with fits are always hard, partner presumably has hearts and diamonds (maybe 2461) shape otherwise they'd have bid diamonds directly. We have 1 trick which is about what partner would hope from us. Pass.

  4. Daniel, we too play 4th suit forcing. So, that was definitely one possibility for North on the first hand, instead of 2NT. 4th suit (2D) would have kept the auction alive and made South bid 2H.

    On the second hand, South had a 3-1-5-4 hand with 25 points. A clear way of keeping the auction forcing would have been to bid 4S instead of 4D. Another possibility was to bid 4NT instead of the takeout double. Neither possibility occurred to me at the table.

  5. Now 4th suit forcing on #1 I don't like, it's misleading: it appears to be asking if N has D's stopped or perhaps 3 card support for spades, neither of which S is interested in. This seems pointless.
    Both 2NT and 3NT look perfectly OK to me and (as you know :) ) my personal preference is 2NT, just in case partner has plans...

    4NT on #2 occurred to me too later: 5+ clubs in the N hand are almost certain from the bidding (a 1-4-4-4 hand would normally bid hearts after the dbl), so with a little bit of luck no losers there, and then the only issue are the major suit aces.

  6. I mixed up N and S in the first paragraph...