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balancing against a weak NT

#1 User is offline   quiddity 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 01:42



Matchpoints.
A couple of questions about this situation:

1. What range do you expect for the balancing double? Is this hand good enough? What if the colors were reversed?
2. How much does North need to pass for penalties?
3. Should South invite? (Double by either North or South over 2 would be takeout).
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#2 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 02:05

View Postquiddity, on 2011-April-14, 01:42, said:



Matchpoints.
A couple of questions about this situation:

1. What range do you expect for the balancing double? Is this hand good enough? What if the colors were reversed?
2. How much does North need to pass for penalties?
3. Should South invite? (Double by either North or South over 2 would be takeout).


1. IMO, the balancing double should have a floor at the top range of their weak NT. Only big difference should be that our NT system is not in play after a balancing double. This South hand is minimum for balancing double of 12-14, but within range.
2. An expectation that N/S have more than half the deck --or a hellova trick source.
3. I know how everyone loves takeout doubles, but what is the logic where we have shown a desire to penalize them in 1NT, but can't double to suggest penalty of a suit contract when it is not assured that they have a fit?
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#3 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 02:11

1. I might double on this hand, but usually wouldn't, I think I need slightly more.
2. Any balanced hand will pass, or about 6+ if unbalanced
3. No I would pass 2H, game seems very unlikely
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#4 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 04:02

It's matchpoints, I think we should be allowed to double on many 14's in the passout seat, especially when everybody is white.

Partner's pass of 1NT doesn't promise much. We have an absolutely automatic pass of 2H!
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#5 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 04:38

View Postquiddity, on 2011-April-14, 01:42, said:

1. What range do you expect for the balancing double? Is this hand good enough? What if the colors were reversed?


Undiscussed I'd assume the X shows 15, but some decent players do it on 14. Obv this hand is a min if you do it at all. I don't think the colours make much odds especially at MP. If you crack it, then you crack it mainly because on balance you think you're increasing your score. If anything these specific colours makes me more inclined to show strength as there is the outside chance we have a game that pays better than taking them down - but frankly it is a relatively minor consideration.

Quote

2. How much does North need to pass for penalties?


Nothing if balanced - unless you've agreed some sort of run-out (the merits of which I would tend to doubt).

Quote

3. Should South invite? (Double by either North or South over 2 would be takeout).


No invite. You're min, got plenty of losers, and partner has not exactly come to life with 2. I'd have cracked 2. Not sure why you're playing T/O here after partner has passed for penalties. For sure P can have the balanced near yarb with nowhere to go - but it is relatively unlikely and this is MP - take the % option - and P can still run away with the 6 or so point hand and a suit if that looks better from their side.
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#6 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 04:46

Hi,

#1 10-12HCP

#2 10-12HCP

#3 No, but depends on the options, that were av. to North
in direct seat

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#7 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 15:06

1. Good 14 or a bit less if neither side vulnerable so I think passing the South hand is the percentage action. But there is a case for staying with the field as long as most of the whole room is playing weak NT and penalty doubles, since most other Souths will double.

2. Passing doesn't show values. Some bad hands, especially balanced ones, may just choose to pass and take -280 to avoid something worse. In this case partner has passed with a bad five card suit then bid freely so is marked with some values and is probably in the 6-9 HCP range.

3. Pass. Not close.
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#8 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-April-14, 15:09

Usually I would double with 15 in direct seat and 14 in balancing seat, so this hand is ok to me.

Definitely don't invite though! Your hand is minimum, and partner has made a non forcing bid.
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#9 User is offline   lowerline 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 02:20

If you need 14/15+ to double in direct position, you will pass with 13. Doesn't that mean your partner has to keep it open with 11/12 in balancing position?

Steven
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#10 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 03:57

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-April-14, 15:09, said:

Usually I would double with 15 in direct seat and 14 in balancing seat, so this hand is ok to me.


I am sure there is some merit to defending 1 NT undoubled with our side holding 27 hcps.

View PostFrancesHinden, on 2011-April-14, 02:11, said:

1. I might double on this hand, but usually wouldn't, I think I need slightly more.


A question to you, Frances, since you say you believe u need slightly more than this to balance, what do you double with in second seat ?
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#11 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 04:24

View Postlowerline, on 2011-April-15, 02:20, said:

If you need 14/15+ to double in direct position, you will pass with 13. Doesn't that mean your partner has to keep it open with 11/12 in balancing position?

The fact that p could have 13 points is not enough reason to keep it open with 12. On average he has 7-8 points (slightly more than half the remaining points since responder needs less to act than partner does). We won't be able to make game very often and even when we do we may have a hard time bidding it accurately.

The consideration should be if 1NT is sufficiently likely to go down to warrant a penalty double.
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#12 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 05:10

The objective of bidding is to maximise your score. Bidding 26-point games helps to maximise your score, but the gains from doing that have to balanced against the losses from investigating game but going minus.

In an uncontested auction, you can make descriptive bids and limit your hand without much risk. Typically that makes it easy to reach game with 13 opposite 13, and easy to stop somewhere lower when you have fewer points. If you have a balanced 13 opposite a balanced 5, you can often find a 4-4 or 5-3 fit, or failing that you can play in 1NT. If you end up in a poor contract, you will rarely be doubled.

When the opponents have opened 1NT, the situation is different in several ways:
- You have lost a whole level of bidding, so it is harder to bid accurately when you're in the game zone.
- Because opener has shown 12-14 HCP, it's less likely that you have 13 opposite 13, so there is less benefit in trying to cater for that possibility.
- If we act with a balanced 13, and partner has a balanced 5, we won't be able to find our 4-4 fits. We will sometimes be able to find our 5-3 fits, but only at the cost of sometimes playing in a 5-2 or 5-1 fit. Our alternative to finding a fit is to defend 1NTx or 1NTxx.
- If we do end up in a poor contract, the opponents will be comparatively well-placed to double us.
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#13 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 05:54

View Postgnasher, on 2011-April-15, 05:10, said:



When the opponents have opened 1NT, the situation is different in several ways:
- You have lost a whole level of bidding, so it is harder to bid accurately when you're in the game zone.
- Because opener has shown 12-14 HCP, it's less likely that you have 13 opposite 13, so there is less benefit in trying to cater for that possibility.
- If we act with a balanced 13, and partner has a balanced 5, we won't be able to find our 4-4 fits. We will sometimes be able to find our 5-3 fits, but only at the cost of sometimes playing in a 5-2 or 5-1 fit. Our alternative to finding a fit is to defend 1NTx or 1NTxx.
- If we do end up in a poor contract, the opponents will be comparatively well-placed to double us.




-We lost a whole level and it is less likely that we have 13+13, but game requirements for us are reduced by A LOT ! Hand will be played almost double dummy and defense will have no communication whatsoever. I will take that over 13+13 hcp 3 NT anytime, where i have no idea which defender has what.

-If u act with balanced 13 and pd has 5 same goes for them, his pd may have 5.

-We may end up in a poor contract and they may double us true, again, same goes for them if it is his pd who ends up with poor hand.

Everything u said can be applied for other side. But i just cant imagine a strategy, where EACH and EVERY single time when our side has 14+13, 13+13, 14+12,14+11,14+10,13+12,13+11,12+12 they will play 1 NT in peace.

Two other things i would like to mention about the dangers of being too conservative vs weak NT.

-Passing to a weak NT in 2nd seat creates strategical advantage to weak NT side for various reasons. One of them is giving oportunities to his pd to fool with you and of course with your pd.

-Doubling in 2nd seat, lets say vs 12-14 NT, EVEN if you DBL with a 12 hcp they are underdog in long run, because their strong hand is sitting in front of our strong hand. As i said everything else that can turn out bad for our side is applicable to their side.

And last of all, everything you mentioned, will STILL be a problem when you double with 14 instead of 12. It is not like doubling with 1 or 2 hcp extra is giving you a free ride ;)
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#14 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 08:11

View PostMrAce, on 2011-April-15, 05:54, said:

Everything u said can be applied for other side. But i just cant imagine a strategy, where EACH and EVERY single time when our side has 14+13, 13+13, 14+12,14+11,14+10,13+12,13+11,12+12 they will play 1 NT in peace.


Well, there are, to my mind, a lot of merits in playing a non-traditional, non-penalty double type of defence to the weak NT - at match points anyway.

Not sure you'll find a lot of agreement here though - most seem to prefer to have an axe.

Nick
"Pass is your friend" - my brother in law - who likes to bid a lot.
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#15 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 11:37

One of the big issues with doubling on some lightweight hands, as advocated by MrAce, is that there is one person at the table who has the most knowledge of the balance of points ... and this player is not on our side. The one notrump opener has limited his hand whereas the doubler can hold 13-20 points. The lack of precision in the double does make it significantly more difficult to penalise the opponents if they run from 1NT.

Most of us who face the weak 1NT on a daily basis seem to prefer maintaining the strength of our doubles whilst appreciating that we will miss the occasional game when we are both balanced. Presumably our experience has shown that this is a reasonable trade-off.
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#16 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 12:10

Quote

But i just cant imagine a strategy, where EACH and EVERY single time when our side has 14+13, 13+13, 14+12,14+11,14+10,13+12,13+11,12+12 they will play 1 NT in peace.


This is completely disingenuous as you know. It is not EVERY TIME our side has one of these holdings. It is only true when we both have balanced hands unsuitable for overcalling something else. On top of that, when they have already announced 12-14 the odds of us having one of these combinations goes down a lot.

You realize the same phenomenon can happen when they open 1S? Or a preempt? I mean think about how bad it is that this can happen to us over a weak 2 bid, where they have not even promised any points, and it is much more likely we have one of these combination of points. It is always the case that balanced hands with the wrong shape to act can easily get shut out when they are ~13 opposite 13 and the opponents bid something. This does not mean it's right to start bidding on those hands just to cater to that possibility, as there are a plethora of other possibilities we also have to think about.
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#17 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 14:51

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-April-15, 12:10, said:

This is completely disingenuous as you know. It is not EVERY TIME our side has one of these holdings. It is only true when we both have balanced hands unsuitable for overcalling something else. On top of that, when they have already announced 12-14 the odds of us having one of these combinations goes down a lot.


When one looks at his hand and sees 12-13-14 balanced hand, it is not WHEN WE BOTH have balanced hand case anymore, because at least i damn well know i have one. It is FAR from being unlikely because i also know if pd has the beans, he is balanced.

And it is very pessimistic to think that when we double with 12 in balancing seat and can not find pd with beans hand we are necesarilly doomed. And lets be doomed once in a while for God's sake. None of us will be sent to hell for bailing out a -500 or -800. It surprises me to see people worrying about this so much and let the opponents ride uncontested just to make sure we always stay in our comfort zone.


View Postpaulg, on 2011-April-15, 11:37, said:

One of the big issues with doubling on some lightweight hands, as advocated by MrAce, is that there is one person at the table who has the most knowledge of the balance of points ... and this player is not on our side. The one notrump opener has limited his hand whereas the doubler can hold 13-20 points. The lack of precision in the double does make it significantly more difficult to penalise the opponents if they run from 1NT.

Most of us who face the weak 1NT on a daily basis seem to prefer maintaining the strength of our doubles whilst appreciating that we will miss the occasional game when we are both balanced. Presumably our experience has shown that this is a reasonable trade-off.


-I do not advocate doubling on lightweight doubles, i am against being too conservative vs weak NT by both ends of pdship.

-As i said before, doubling with 15 instead of 13 is not magically covering the issues you stated. If it was i would be more than happy to accept it.

Also, there is much more to DBL a weak NT (especially in 2nd seat) besides just the bean counts. I know OP asked the range only but we all know the range itself alone is not always the deciding factor.

xxx
AQx
xx
KQJTx 12 hcp, I would love to double, i know what to lead and i probably will end up taking 6 tricks myself.

KJxx
KJxx
Qx
Axx 14 hcp, i would not dbl, i dont even know what fire for first lead and i dont even think i have a safe exit.

T987
KQT9
Kx
AT9 i would love to double

etc..
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#18 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 14:57

The question is not "how are you going to beat the weak NT?" You will, it will happen, frequently without any work on your part. The question is "how are you going to lose to the weak NT?" Because you will, sometimes.

If you keep your doubles upstrength, you're going to be losing the odd hand +150 into +600, true. If you double on "partner could have passed a 13/bad 14", you're going to be losing the odd hand -800 into -150. Or, perhaps, -560 or -760 into -150. Which one's worse?

Because the 12+13 can go the other way, too. My best results playing weak NT weren't the times we stole their game, or got them to the wrong one - it was when they stepped in and it was wrong.
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#19 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 15:06

Timo, you seem to be assuming you are going to defend 1N X when you double 1N in direct seat. For instance, wanting to double because you have KQJTx of a minor and a 12 count since you have a good lead seems silly. In my experience, you will rarely get the opportunity to actually defend. In fact most people use pass as forcing.

More likely, they will bid something, partner will have some 9 or 10 count and want to bid game, or invite game with less, or compete. If he cannot do so, because your range is unmanageably wide, that is a huge loss. If the poor guy drives all the way to 3D or 3S with 9 points and 5 spades, he will be really disappointed at the result.

Likewise, I would be thrilled to double with 44 in the majors and a 14 count because we will have a game or a partial much more often, and no matter what partner does he will probably not be that disappointed with our hand. I also have good defense if they run to 2 of a major, we might get them for a number.

It just seems incredible shortsighted/naive to double with xx AQx xxx KQJTx because we have a good lead vs 1N X.

The point of the double is to get your side in and be able to bid/explore for game effectively, not to defend 1N X.

Likewise, the point of not reopening or Xing with 12 is to make bidding manageable for partner. As gnasher pointed out, we already lost a level of bidding room. Our bidding is going to be less accurate. We need to find the right balance of being able to bid game often enough vs not being too high too often because our range is too high. Most people think ~14/15 is the right balance.

You say "1 or 2 points" don't really matter that much. What is your partner supposed to do with a 10 count when they have found their runout? What about an 8 count? These are common occurrences, and 1 or 2 points does matter a lot in those cases.

No offense but it seems like you don't have much experience with weak NT if you really think having a good lead or getting to 13 opp 13 games is our primary concern.
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#20 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-April-15, 17:14

Here is how I would analyze it. This involves some assumptions which, of course, you may not agree with:

1) Your agreement is to double with 14 in the direct seat and 13 in fourth seat
2) It goes 1NT-pass-pass to you, red vs green as on this hand and you have a balanced 13 HCP.
3) All four hands are balanced. This assumption is not entirely realistic but makes it much easier to assess the likely outcomes and I don't think it favours doubling over passing.
4) At every other table the auction will be 1NT-P-P-P
5) You defend better than the field and 1NT is quite a difficult contract to play and defend so your expectation from passing is 55%.

Simulation shows that the distribution of partner's HCP will be approximately as follows:

3-5 HCP 21%
6-8 HCP 43%
9-10 HCP 22%
11-13 HCP 14%

When partner has 3-5 HCP you are conceding 180 or 280 for a bottom, so -55%. When he has 6-8 HCP the contract may or may not make but you are getting a bottom when it makes and only increasing the penalty from 50 to 100 when it fails by one which is not certain to be a top. I'd say your MP expectation is around 40% so -15%. When he has 9-10 you will often get 300 for a top but may get 100 and tie other tables or they could run somewhere you can't effectively penalize them. Still you will average around 85% for +30%. Opposite 11-13 you probably get a top but things could still go wrong if they can run and you end in 3NT-1 for example. Maybe 95% expectation so plus 40%.

This adds up to (-55 * .21 - 15 * .43 + 30 * .22 + 40 * .14) = -5.8%.

I also think if you relax assumption 4 and allow for a range of outcomes, your bad results from doubling will still be near bottoms but your good results will score a bit less. Plus you would hope for an expectation a bit higher than 55% from passing if you defend well.
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