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Q&A Time …

After my review of the deal shown below I had an email from a reader, as follows:

I have a couple of questions about the bidding on Board 13 from last Wednesday.

  • We beginners were taught the requirement to overcall at the 2 level is 10+ points and a good 5+ card suit. East overcalled 2H at our table and it looks like some other Easts did too. Obviously you decided against the overcall. Why was that, please ?
  • When East does overcall 2H what is North’s correct response? Some, including me, chose to bid 2S. Others bid 2NT. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Let me show you the full deal again:
Board 13 from Wednesday 12/12/2018

Board#13 12/12/2018

I sent the reader a reply as follows:

You may have been taught about when you CAN overcall but I don’t think you have been taught when you SHOULD overcall and why. As East I did not bid 2H over North’s 1NT because I have taught my learners about the reason the weak 1NT was first introduced, and the benefits of the weak 1NT. In essence, a 1NT opening defines a hand pretty accurately, as to shape and point count. Opener’s partner is then in charge, and should know what to do if opponents try to interfere. East-West are vulnerable and therefore will go down by 100 for every trick they are short. The East hand has a decent heart suit but that’s all, and lots of losers everywhere else. In the one case at the club when East did overcall and South passed, 2H was down two for +200 to NS and a top score for NS. South in fact had such a good hand that South should have DOUBLED the 2H overcall and scored +500. Why double? Because that was why the weak 1NT was invented, South knows they have the balance of power by at least 6 HCP (North has a minimum of 12 which gives NS at least 23 and EW 17. Quite enough to score a good penalty.

1NT and continuations is such an important part of most bridge systems, especially Acol, so I intend to concentrate on that aspect until your Wednesday sessions start next year. By being fully familiar with the 1NT opening and what to do and how to do it next, you should be well ahead of the rest by the time you go to your first session next year. Keep the questions coming! More about this next time, and another reader’s questions.

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