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Light Openings In 2/1

#1 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2003-September-23, 19:23

In another thread, regarding the following10 hcp hand,
Richard wrote:
A10xxx
AQ10x
xx
xx
"If you want to open these hands (and I think that its clear that you should) then the rest of your system needs to be designed to complement this style."

And Ben responded:

"This is an interesting statement. I open this hand 1S, I play 2/1 Game force, and, yes, my 2/1 GF has been what you would probably say is redesigned. This might be a topic for a seperate thread."

Ben then gave these two additional examples of minimum openers in his 2/1 style:

KJTxx
xx
AJ98x
x

and

AKQxxx
J9xx
x
xx


My question for Ben (and anyone else) is:

What is your criteria for a 2/1 response? Does it differ from what you would use if you opened 90% of 12s/15% of 11s, which seems to be more typical of 2/1 players?

Do you:
1) Take your cost for the lighter openings in the form of missing 2/1 reponses that the field is bidding (and bidding 1NT instead), or
2) Overbidding by keeping the 2/1 responses the same, or
3) Do you split the difference, or
4) Blaze to glory with spectacular declarer play B)

Peter
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#2 User is offline   mishovnbg 

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Posted 2003-September-23, 20:15

Hi Peter!
Main problem with the light opening: it is based normaly on good suit and if the opener failed to find support (or at least acceptable fill) such hand is downgraded dangerously, unlike one with 13 hcp. In same case light opening lead often to overbid, if you dont have system to menage such case. By the way it is true for distributional raise rebids of opener; losers way of counting tricks fail in same case too.
Natural system is very flexible and I like to play it! But it cant menage light openings in case of missfit. Most of the players who open light, like me, prefer to play with relays, even they hate to remeber sequences, like me B). Also most of them play strong 1CL system (unlike me, hehe) for low upper limit of openings. In same case light openings are no more light, but usual . Ofcourse in such case they give to opp field for nice experiments after 1CL opening too ;D.
One advice Peter: to open light, even you have no agreements with p, your hand must have not only source of tricks for trump contract, but for NT contract too. This mean you must have at least 1 good 5 card suit, good 4 cards is not enough!
Misho
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Posted 2003-September-23, 20:36

Hi Peter,

With most partners, I use rule of 20 even WITHOUT the tricks I mentioned earlier (multi 2D and acol 2 bids and "strongish" 3 suiters rolled into 2C/2D ). It still works in the long run.

Here is another tool you can use, especially if you lower even more the opening requirement...

Keep 1NT forcing,
Make 1M-2M "competitive" raise with virtually any 3 card support (1M-3M competitive with four card support, 1M-4M with 5 card support).
1M-2NT not so much jacoby, but limit raise or better
1M-jumpshift = fit jump, with suit, support, less than GF
1M-double jumpshift = splinter
1M-2C... either a) Clubs true game force, B) balanced Invite, c) balanced game force, d) 3 card support constructive or better, e) 3 card support game force.

The 2C bid and the jump shift (fit jump) take a lot of pressure off 1NT. For instance, 1M-1N-2x-2N is no longer balanced invite (go through 2C). This means after something like
1H-1N-2D, you can define an immediate 3C as "good" and a bid of 2NT as lebehnsol leading to a weak 3C or weak 3D raise. Combine with the free 2S on this auction, and you have lot of descriptive bids. This good/bad 2NT without competition by responder helps unravel some of the strain put on 1NT by light opening bids. If you play the 2C structure and role the acol and three suited bids in 2c and 2d like I do, you can lower from rule of 20 to rule of 19 (or I suspect even good rule of 18) and survive the light bids. A side help, 1M-1N-2x-2M is always disaster... since weak 3 card raise immediate, and constructive or better through 2C's.

(BTW,,, I follow ETM victory for 1M-2C auctions, with any opener response but 2D as full game force, but sometimes I temporize with 2D with strong game try waiting for partner to clarify his holding). But Light opening cleary should be in your arsenal.

BTW, the rule of 20 follows in a formalized way what Misho said... "This mean you must have at least 1 good 5 card suit, good 4 cards is not enough!". Good follows the rule for adding points for good intermediate cards, and five card suit needed to add up to enough "points" for the rule.

Ben
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Posted 2003-September-24, 02:53

The way I normally descide what level we can play, is by LTC (Loser Trick Count). Here in our region, we have the silly rule of 18, so with less we may not open at 1-level >B) If you use the rule of 18 alone, it's too dangerous/agressive, but if you use LTC next to that, you can open with any -7LTC hand (or better), even if you have 7 or 8 HCP. A hand I recently opened 1D with (not pre-emptive because of the 4-card S):

KJxx
xx
AJxxxx
x

It didn't go wrong: my p bid 2H (FG with 6+H) and I raised to 4H which means minimum. When does my p jumps? If he also has -7LTC or better. And if we don't have a fit, we know we should stay low if we're both minimal.

And euhm, Ben, IMO the rule of 20 is nice, not too agressive, but still not a lame passer. On the other hand, I've experienced that rule of 19,5 is better. It means you can open with good hands which only get to 19 (this example above, and that completely in the beginning of this topic). There again raises the question "What is a good 19 hand?". That's where my LTC comes in again and some common sense...
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Posted 2003-September-24, 06:23

Quote

KJxx
xx
AJxxxx
x

And euhm, Ben, IMO the rule of 20 is nice, not too agressive, but still not a lame passer. On the other hand, I've experienced that rule of 19,5 is better. It means you can open with good hands which only get to 19 (this example above, and that completely in the beginning of this topic). There again raises the question "What is a good 19 hand?". That's where my LTC comes in again and some common sense...


Free.. Did you notice I said I "WOULD" open the "19" count hand at the beginning of this thread. The reason being, I count that hand as 20 since I add or subtract from the hand. I too would open the example hand you gave 1D, especially if I had the 9 of spades or the 9 or diamonds among those 'x's you showed. This hand is too good for one of my non-vul preempts and not good enough suit quality for one of my vulnerable ones. :-)

I also DONT open (1st or 2nd seat) some hands that look like rule of 20 hands opening bids. Let's examine a few of those, since I have shown ones I do open.

Jxxxx
KQ
AJ
xxxx

That is 9 cards and 11 hcp. I pass that one for sure. Justification, perhaps, is my forumula subtracts a point for doubleton Heart Q and doubleton Diamond J. But real problem is lack of suit quality. Change it to...

Jxxxx or Qxxxx
KQ KQ
xx xx
AJxx AJxx

I still pass. However the second on is very close. Make it,

QTxxx
KQ
xx
AJxx

and I am very likely to open 1S, and change the x of club to the 9 or Ten I surely would.

Ben
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#6 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2003-September-24, 07:12

Thanks guys.

But what criteria do you use in determining whether to make a 2/1 response. Does it land you in bad 3NT contracts often?

Peter
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Posted 2003-September-24, 08:29

The criteria I use is do I want to force to game. If I don't, I would not make a 2/1 GAME FORCE. Now, I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but I don't make special exceptions for partners who follow normal rule of 20 (with appropriate plus and minus additions).

If your partner opens rule of 19 or rule of 18, that does put a lot of pressure on 2/1 response. If my partner routinely open's very light, then you have to add more treatments to your 2/1 responses.

Among these are BART and the multi-meaning 2C response I mentioned earlier. Let's assume for a minute that you do play BART and the 2C think I mentioned earlier in this thread. Here is how you might respond to 1S with a club suit.

1S-2C = clubs with GF hand
1S-1NT-any-3C = clubs very weak hand
1S-1NT-2C-2D-any-3C club fit, just less than an immediate 2C response
1S-1NT-2any-2NT = reverse good/bad(better hand for Clubs than immediate 3C or better hand for diamonds than immediate 3D)... paradox responses

So
1S-1NT-2D-2NT-3C (opener would pass a hand with good invite in clubs)
1S-1NT-2D-2NT-3D (opener can not stand to play 3C, probably 6/5)
1S-1NT-2D-2NT-3H (opener would not pass game try in clubs or diamonds)

Playing BART, you can further divide the range into bad, invite, and strong invite
1S-1N-2C.....
3C immediate (or pass) weak
2D then raise clubs, strongest
2NT reverse good/Bad with clubs or D

same rules apply here for diamond suit...
1S-1N-2C
3D immeidately weak (2D bart)
2D-2x-3D very good diamonds (near 2/1)
2N-3C-3D intermediate values.

The range of the "intermediate" and the near 2/1 responses, of course, are tied to your how far your partner routinely stretches the values of his opening bids.

As do I play a lot of bad 3NT contracts? I land i a lot of bad contracts (3NT or otherwise) playing light opening bids or sound opening bids. So you will have to explore that with others. :-)
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Posted 2003-September-24, 09:38

Quote

Thanks guys.

But what criteria do you use in determining whether to make a 2/1 response. Does it land you in bad 3NT contracts often?

Peter


The term "bad" needs to be redefined after you write +600 in your column. Those "bad" 3NT games are usually a source of imps for the side that plays them not for the defense.

I open light and invite solid, about 2/1 I like slights 2/1 overbids specially with distributional hands that will be a problem after a forcing 1NT.

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Posted 2003-September-24, 11:15

Bens most recent post is an excellent illustration of the basic point that I was trying to make. At its core, a 2/1 game forcing response structure is incompatible with a light opening style. Yes, 2/1 can be made forced to support light openings if you are willing to add in a myriad of complex options. In this case, Ben has created a 2/1 game forcing style in which

1D 2C is game forcing
1H 2D is game forcing
1S 2H is game forcing
1S 2D is game forcing

In order to support these five bids, he has adopted the following:

A multi 2D opening including Acol 2 bids in a minor as well as big balanced hands
A strong, artificial and forcing 2C opening also incorporates Acol 2 bids in a major
2C as a game invitational relay over 1 level openings
1NT as a weak relay over 1M openings
Game invitational fit showing jumps over 1M openings

This system is a clear example of the problems that occur when you attempt to force a square peg into a round hole. In this case, it is highly undesirable to take a response structure that was designed for sound opening bids and attempt to force it to support a light opening style.

Far better to start from first principles and design an integrated system that is internally aligned.
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Posted 2003-September-24, 12:33

Quote

Far better to start from first principles and design an integrated system that is internally aligned.


Hmmm... let me take some round pegs and toss them at some specific round holes I hope the fit into. First, in general, I play rule of 20 opening bids, and I don't use any of the methods I listed as a way to "catch" partners bid if he made a bare rule of 20 opener. I specifically said, "If my partner routinely open's very light, then you have to add more treatments to your 2/1 responses." And that quote was in the context of a rule of 18 opening bid.

Second, I resent the fact that you state that I added Multi-2D (and others) to deal with the fact that partner might open weak. In fact, I added Multi 2D because papathegreek insisted that we play it. After playing it for a while I liked it, but my his responders schedule to multi-2D was not anygood. So I googled Multi 2D and read several people's 2D structures. I liked Chris Rydall's so I brow beat him to accept Chris's. Papa DOESN'T open weak hands still to this day, because he uses 2H/2S opening bids for all those rule of 18/19 hands and some rule of 20 hands despite my pleas not to for opening bids.

It is true, that if you want to open flat 9/10 hcp hands or mildly shapely 8 hcp, 2/1 is not the way to go. Go forth and join the moscito clan or one of the other light opening systems. With the pluses and minuses those system generate. Or open a mini-1NT system.

The 1M-2Club convention, part of the DC standard and ETM victory, and other systems, is a kludge to take the pressure off 1NT, but it has been an effective one. In those systems it has nothing to do with protecting against light opening bids, it just turns out that it offers a variety of ways to show a suit naturally after 1NT that works to help you keep your 2/1 response "heavy" as opposed to Luis's view as stretch to make the 2/1. Luis way is fine if all you play is imps as you want to bid close games anyway, especially vul.

I happen to play BART, and the 2C convention, with several of partners who would never DREAM of opening some of the rule of 20 hands I do open, and these partners don't play multi 2D or Rydall's 2C structure. The fact that these conventions can have their ranges tweaked to allow for 2/1's to be stronger is nice (and playing just bart alone, you can accomplish much of this as well).

So Peter, don't read too much into Richard's comments. Light openings work well at the level of rule of 20 with proper corrections (other post have discussed those). Rule of 19 will see you out ok as well, as long as your partner gives you a little slack. Rule of 18 in the context of 2/1, well, you need some guidelines or as you guess, you will bid game after game, many of which are down several.

Ben
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