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2NT opening bid with an unbalanced hand?

#1 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 03:31


We play Benji weak twos. I had this hand last night, and I panicked and bid 2C, which is obviously wrong.:( We ended up off one in 5 clubs, while others made 3NT. With 21 HCP I felt I had to make a strong opening bid, but my cribsheet says 2NT should be balanced. I have found one site that says 2NT can be semi-balanced, which I assume is 5422. Is this a 2NT or a 1C opening? My instinct is to bid 2NT.
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#2 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 03:48

 Liversidge, on 2014-February-11, 03:31, said:


Is this a 2NT or a 1C opening?

The answer is "Yes". If you open 1 (my choice) it is unlikely to be passed out and then you can rebid 2. If you open 2NT (20-22) the spade suit is unlikely to bite you in the bum. Note that you should not open this a 20-21 2NT - the hand is far too strong - and this is really the main problem with a 2NT opening; if you open this 2NT and also a 4333 soft 20 count then the range is simply too wide. If you decide to treat the hand as balanced it is 22-23. That might well make it a 2 opening but if so you rebid 2NT rather than 3. I suspect this was the reason you ended up in 5 and either of the other routes would see you safely in 3NT.
(-: Zel :-)

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#3 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 04:09

 Zelandakh, on 2014-February-11, 03:48, said:

The answer is "Yes". If you open 1 (my choice) it is unlikely to be passed out and then you can rebid 2. If you open 2NT (20-22) the spade suit is unlikely to bite you in the bum. Note that you should not open this a 20-21 2NT - the hand is far too strong - and this is really the main problem with a 2NT opening; if you open this 2NT and also a 4333 soft 20 count then the range is simply too wide. If you decide to treat the hand as balanced it is 22-23. That might well make it a 2 opening but if so you rebid 2NT rather than 3. I suspect this was the reason you ended up in 5 and either of the other routes would see you safely in 3NT.

I have just come across the EBU Standard English ACOL system file that says (1.3) "2NT may also be the best choice on some slightly unbalanced hands (including a hand with a singleton ace or King)"!! I wouldn't have called a hand with a singleton slightly unbalanced,ace or no ace.
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#4 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 04:58

Playing Benji it seems fine to open this 2C. After 2C-2D; 3C, partner should only be going beyond 3NT if he has interest in slam or a very shapely hand. Most likely he'll just bid 3x, after which you can reply 3NT.

ahydra
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#5 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 05:17

 ahydra, on 2014-February-11, 04:58, said:

Playing Benji it seems fine to open this 2C. After 2C-2D; 3C, partner should only be going beyond 3NT if he has interest in slam or a very shapely hand. Most likely he'll just bid 3x, after which you can reply 3NT.

ahydra


Checking up on my crib sheet again, it says you can bid 2C with an unbalanced hand and 4-5 losers (bid 2 diamonds with 0-3 losers). This hand has 3 1/2 losers - 1 club, 2 1/2 in hearts. So maybe my bid was OK after all.
Replace the heart 10 with a Jack and there would have been 3 losers. Would that have made it a 2 Diamond opening bid?
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#6 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 05:39

 Liversidge, on 2014-February-11, 05:17, said:

Checking up on my crib sheet again, it says you can bid 2C with an unbalanced hand and 4-5 losers (bid 2 diamonds with 0-3 losers). This hand has 3 1/2 losers - 1 club, 2 1/2 in hearts. So maybe my bid was OK after all.
Replace the heart 10 with a Jack and there would have been 3 losers. Would that have made it a 2 Diamond opening bid?


Personally I wouldn't open that hand 2D - though it's a matter of style. The reason for this is the hand is not particularly good on playing strength: a lot of your points are in the short suits and you only have 5-4. Contrast that to something like A AKQxx AK109x Qx which is also 22 HCP, three losers, but has so much more playing strength. You have 4H pretty much in your own hand (even if partner only has xxx xxx Jxx xxxx).

ahydra
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#7 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 05:39

A Benji 2 opening should not be based on the number of losers. It should be:
2: I want to be in game even if you have a misfitting yarb.
2: I need some help from you to make game but my hand is too strong for opening at the 1-level since I wouldn't be able to show my strength no matter what rebid I chose. And/or I am afraid of being passed out and missing game.

As such the hand is strong enough for a 2 opening since if responder just has Jxxx of hearts you want to be in game. You would like to tell partner that "if you have four hearts OR some values we want to be in game but otherwise let's just play some partscore, I suggest 3". The problem is that opening 2 and rebidding 3 doesn't tell partner that. How is partner supposed to know that he should bid on with xxx-Jxxx-xxxx-Jx but not with the major suits reversed?

So opening 1 is more practical. If partner has a very weak hand with hearts, probably one of the opponents will bid spades and we can rebid hearts. The auction could go
1-(p)-p-(1)
2-(2)-3)-p
4
or something like that.

The alternative is to open 2 (or 2, whichever shows about 22-23 is your system) and rebid 2NT. If partner has some 3-5 points we will probably make game even if he doesn't have hearts.
... I am not at all keen on arriving at the 4 level with no idea of where our fit(s) might be. --- Zelandakh
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#8 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 07:03

You open a strong 2 mainly because of the risk of a one-level opener being passed out when you have game on. Opponents might come to the rescue from that scenario but not something on which you want to rely, except under duress.
You open at the 1 level if the fear of being passed out is outweighed by problems that you create for yourself in the continuations by opening a strong 2.
On this hand a problem is that the hand has support, to a greater or lesser extent, for playing in a trump denomination of any one of three suits (four if you include NT as a denomination). Removing an entire level of bidding before you have even begun to investigate the optimum (or existence of) trump fit when there is so much choice to consider is generally a recipe for agony.
It is possible here for responder to have sufficient cards for game to be on but unable to respond to 1C. But I think it unlikely, which is why doubts about trump strain may take precedence and argue for opening at the 1 level.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 08:03

I would open 1, but I'm not sure this is standard. Give partner as little as xxx, J8xx, xxx, Jxx and 4 could easily be there so I can see the temptation to open 2.

What was partner's hand and how did the auction go ? It's possible that the 2 opener was not the fatal error.
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#10 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 11:22

Like most, I want to open 1 (but I'd treat it as balanced if the pointed suits were reversed). I don't expect it will be passed out, but it might - this one just has stuff, not an obvious competitive issue (okay, somebody has the spades :-). If I do that, I'm bidding hearts next - at least to the 3 level, even opposite partner's pass.

Like a few above, I'm going to treat this as more than 21 if I treat it as balanced, and so open 2, not 2NT - but the rebid is 2NT. 2, then 3 (3 more so) is a really ugly auction that you want to reserve for hands where you have serious interest in 6 or 7, so much so that you are willing to miss 3NT and play in the bad MP 5 if partner doesn't have what you need. Not only is this club suit not in that ballpark, it's almost impossible to get to your 4-4 heart fit after 2-2; 3 - and that's where you want to play when it exists.
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#11 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2014-February-11, 12:01

I should say the 2N 22-23 rebid is not a panacea, give partner xxx, x, Jxxx, Kxxxx and how do you think the auction will go ? 3N+1 with 6 cold ?

Particularly if your 1 bid actually shows them, you stand a better chance after 1 or 2-2-3, but of course partner is more likely to have a heart suit than a club suit.

Also partner might have something like Jxxx, x, J10xxxx, Kx where you're not going to reach 6 without a 1 opener I suspect.
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