Tuesday, April 3, 2012

If you forget option 3, does it mean your system is too complicated?

Partner and I play "multi-Landy" as our defense against NT. It is targeted towards competing only we have a two-suited hand:

  1. double shows an equal or better hand
  2. 2C shows both majors
  3. 2D shows a long major (partner bids 2H and I correct if needed)
  4. 2H shows hearts and a minor
  5. 2S shows spades and a minor
  6. 2NT shows both minors
So, what should I bid with this hand after East opens 1NT?

Easy! 2D, right? Except that this bid is so rare that I plumb forgot about it.  We missed a cold heart game because this was the deal:

Either this is an indication that I should remember our systems better or that we should simplify them.

p.s. Of course, we still may not have found it.  West might double 2D and East might bid 3D. At which point, 3H will still be merely competitive whereas 4H would be a shot in the dark.


  1. Couple of things I think I disagree with. First, I would double with your hand, you are not quite equal, but you have a great lead, and 2 sure entries outside, I think the chances of beating 1N several tricks is quite high. And if they run, partner now knows you have a good hand with Hearts, easier to raise.

    Second, I am read that the 2D bid is so rare, and think you might not be overcalling 1N enough. I find that a major suit overcall of 1N occurs a lot (perhaps too much with me), but that is why I pretty well insist anything I use allows 2H/2S to be natural over 1N. I want to be in there quick, with no doubt.

  2. When you are an improving player it can be difficult to the right balance when it comes to conventions. When I used to do teaching sessions in the Beginners/Intermediates Lounge on BBO it was very noticeable that some (real) beginners were more interested in collecting conventions even though they had little idea how to play them.

    I play multi-landy with my regular partner, but not with LotG. My advice for all intermediate players, and for one-off expert partnerships, is just to play Landy, where two clubs shows the majors and the other bids are just natural. It is simple, easy to remember (we play Stayman over our 1NT and theirs!) and the benefit is high.

    Playing multi-landy, you need lots of agreements over follow-ups and competition.

    David's points about a penalty double here are well made.

  3. Since Multi-Landy is not legal in ACBLand (except around D.C.) we 2D and 2H as transfers in the Major 1-step above. This lets the overcaller raise or bid a 2nd suit with really good hands. Double is used for 4M + 5m. 2S and 2NT are transfers to the respective minor. After X: 2C is pass or correct and 2D asks for the 4-cd M. I think this approach will gain in popularity as it becomes known.

  4. David: You are right. Double is a superior action on this hand.

    Paul: I think natural over 1NT is okay over weak NT, but since most of America uses 15-17 no-trumps, it's better to compete with 2-suited hands. But you are right about the agreements on follow-ups in multi-Landy, but over a strong NT, we are mainly attempting to be obstructive and, if possible, go plus. So, partner mostly just passes the overcall. Once in a while, he corrects to the minor.

    Larry: Not legal?! Okay, I went and read the ACBL rules and you are right but it appears that it is the 2D bid that is illegal. The way I read it, making 2C show an unspecified suit is okay but not 2D and higher have to show a specific suit. I think that if we simply swap the meanings of our 2C and 2D bids, we'll be legal ...

  5. Landy + rest natural is what I've always wanted to switch to, but you wouldn't listen :)

    Any defense that doesn't include natural 2H/2S overcalls is suspicious in my opinion.

  6. If you like Multi-Landy but are discouraged by inability to play it with the GCC, you might like some of my suggested structures in my book, Overcalling Opponent's 1NT. Some of them would solve this exact problem on this deal.

    The simplest version I propose has 2D (both), 2H and 2S showing extras, with weaker hands and one or both majors bidding 2C. With this hand, then, an intermediate 2H call would make game easily found, whereas with garbage a 2C call would allow competition without partner getting excited.

    More complicated versions would allow a lot more to be defined, some more geared toward defending stronger 1NT openings.

  7. Ken, thanks for the suggestion. I've added your book to my shopping cart at B&N. I'll have your book once something else pushes it over the $25 free shipping threshold ...

    1. Well, of course there are other great options by the same author! LOL