# BBO Discussion Forums: Zar points and hands with no defensive strength - BBO Discussion Forums

Page 1 of 1

## Zar points and hands with no defensive strength Problems if opps compete ?

### #1Chamaco

• Posts: 2,902
• Joined: 2003-December-02
• Location:Rimini-Bologna (Italy)
• Interests:Chess, Bridge, Jazz, European Cinema, Motorbiking, Tango dancing

Posted 2004-May-22, 06:41

Hi all,
I read with much interest the article on Zar points and all the related examples, both on the Zar web page and the thread on the forum.

I like very much the assessments in terms of *offensive* strength of a hand.

But what really worries me is that according to Zar you are allowed to evaluate as "regular" opening hands distributional hands that lack the usual 2 defensive tricks required for opening in 1st-2nd seat.

E.g.:

Hand 1

void x KQxxxxQJxxxx

If I am correct this hand is

8 hcp + 1 control + 12 length p + 6 p (length- shortness) = 27 hcp, a full opening hand.

This is true if we buy the contract, but if THEY buy the contract in a major, the hand is worthless, no defensive tricks.
So if I bid the hand 1D (or whatever is your "normal" opening with this shape)such as it were a "normal" opening hand, and they get to 4 spades, my pard will double if he has 2 defensive tricks only , based on the QT promised with my opening bid.

So I agree this hand is exceptionally good (distribution matters!!) but I need to communicate to pard whether he/she can count on defensive tricks.
I would open the above hand as unusual 4NT, clarifying matters.

Hand 2

MP, none vulkn, you deal and pick
KxxJx QJT98xxxvoid

I showed this hand on another thread on BBF ("1st hand preempt or not ?").

I think this hand has the same problems: good playing tricks on offense, no defense at all.

ZAR p = 7hcp+ 1 control + 11 (length) + 8 (shortness) = 27 = full opening hand

Now, discarding ruling problems (the 8hcp for a minimum opener), the problem is that if I open 1D and they compete in clubs, pard is likely to double, just like as described in example hand 1.
Opening it as a preempt avoids this problem but may result (paradoxically?) in an underbid, and pass is also an underbid.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So my consideration is the following:
from my limited experience it seems to me that ZAR points is a very helpful tool to assess the level of the contract if you buy it.
So a system that uses ZAR points will gain considerably in effectiveness on many hands.

But it seems to me it is good practice, whatever is the system in which you will plug-in the ZAR evaluation, to still distinguish between bids that promise distributional strength from those based on balance of power (so you can double opponents in competition).

Am I missing something ?

"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
0

### #2mikestar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 913
• Joined: 2003-August-18
• Location:California, USA

Posted 2004-May-22, 07:47

No, you are right on the money. Though Zar may disagree, this has been part of opening theory since before Culbertson. Similar evaluations are encounterd in all counting methods. For example an opening bid using Losing Trick Count requires 7 or fewer loser, but this does not imply that all 7 loser hands are opened at the one level. A 6 loser hand with an 8 card suit or 7-4 will be opened at the four level. The common range for weak twos is 8-7 losers, etc.

I believe that Zar points are the best offensive evaluation for suit contracts on the market, that doesn't imply that Zar's bidding theory is better than anyone else's--these are separate issues.

However Ben has been having some successes opening hands like this at the one level--his systen has been adapted to it and partner won't be making those competive decisions base on the assumption of defensive strenght.
0

### #3EricK

• Posts: 2,294
• Joined: 2003-February-14
• Location:England

Posted 2004-May-22, 08:08

mikestar, on May 22 2004, 01:47 PM, said:

However Ben has been having some successes opening hands like this at the one level--his systen has been adapted to it and partner won't be making those competive decisions base on the assumption of defensive strenght.

This is the point. If your partner is going to assume a minimum number of defensive tricks, then you can't afford to open these hands at the one level.

That doesn't mean opening them is wrong, it just means that you need to have partnership agreement.

Eric
0

### #4inquiry

• Posts: 14,564
• Joined: 2003-February-13
• Gender:Male
• Location:Amelia Island, FL
• Interests:Bridge, what else?

Posted 2004-May-22, 08:38

Yes, mike is correct that my partners have become use to my light opening bids. This sometimes causes a problem in a normal sounding auction. Consider this hand from MP last night....

Scoring: IMP

West North East South
Pass  1    2NT   Pass
3    Pass  Pass  Pass

I was nothr, with a big hand, four clubs, short diamonds, I felt save passing 3. Partner will be short in clubs and with S will balance back with double if it going to go 3 pass to him. Partner passed. What was the problem for us? Partner with short knew that they had a nice club fit (they didn't), so he choose the pass. We beat this five, for +500, but this was only 33.3% MP score. Playing with a normal opener, North would have doubled 2NT to suggest penatly double of one of the minors. Now we easlily collect +1400 and essentially all the matchpoints (well other 1400's existed). So my partner allowed as I might be weak, and didn't doulbe initially over 2NT. This is the kind of adjustments that are often made due to my light opening.

Now as to bidding theory, I recall a famous hand from early bridge world days, where editor Moyse was trying to see what Tobias Stone (of Roth-Stone fame) would open with
QT432 AKJ432 2 2,

He tried every permeuatation, but Stone insisted he would PASS with this hand. Finally, he said something like a little old lady dying of cancer asked his advice on what to open (1s, or 1h) but she was going to open so Stone had to give his best advice between these two horrible options, what would he tell her to bid, and Stone still insisted on PASS. Of course, ZAR says this easily an opening bid today.

Now to the question of defense stregnth. I will be pulling partners penalty doubles for sometime to come. Surely, I am willing to go to at least 4 (as all you who opened 4 on that hand with the long suit. Let's see what ZAR has to say about these "open or preempt" type of hands. He says if you can open with 7HCP, do preempts so 1 or 2 points? No, he recommends that preempts show 22-25 ZAR points and a decent suit. This is useful, because when your partner preempts, you can start adding up the ZAR points very accurately. If you preempt with a hand with 28 or 29 ZAR points, you are just asking to miss games and slams. The hand is question is a perfect example.

Kxx Jx QJT98xxx void

Dist pts = 19, HCP = 7, Control =1, for total of 27. But I also assume I am going to play this hand in , and thus I will get at least 3 points for "extra" diamond legnth and a void, so this hand is likely closer to 30 than 27. But even at 27 it is way too good for the preempt. Let's give your partner a few average hands with support (since we have 7 hcp, average will be 33/3 = 11/12 hcp)...

Ax Kxxx Axx xxxx

If you open 3/4 playing ZAR ponts, your partner will count his 27 zar fit points, and say.... hmmm.. .25 (your max), plus my 27 = 52, one too low for 5 . You have a reasonable play for 6, and 5 is a great contract.

x AKTx Axxx Jxxxx

Here. 6 is laydown, even with your K wasted. Partner might carry to 5 over 4, considering himsefl - brave, in the process, after all you could easily be off two clubs and a spade. But his 12hcp+11DP+5CP+3fit points = 31 total, plus your promised 22-25 will be 53 to 57.. and he might deserve a tad more fit points, given the expected 11 card plus trump fit. But slam will not enter his mind.

Now reconsider each of these pairs of hands where you open and rebid . Once your partner supports you, you gain bonus ponts for the eight , and your partner will know you have 26 pts at a minumum (you may show extra and if invited you will know you have extra). Game and slam are easily bid on the hads above.

Now weight these "average hands" against the problem associated with opening 1, wihich are 1) your partner will play you for some defense tricks, and 2) you give the opponents maximum room to evaluate and judge their fit.

Well, if your partner doubles them at a low level for penalty, you will rebid s. So that is not a huge problem. Give them maximum room is a split decision at best. If you try to crowed them with 4 you might force them into a good contract they would not reach on their own. When you opening the bidding they have to get out of their normal auction and into a defensive bidding posture, you will get clues from the bidding about rather or not your K is useful or wasted.

To me, the decision is not evne that close, if I am allowed to opne this hand 1 by regualation, I do. All you 4 bidders are pessimist, worried about what they can make. I am always an optomist, and am lookng for what I can make. Especially when I hold an OFFENSIVE oriented hand. On this hand, I want to play the contract if at all possible.

Ben
--Ben--

### #5Zar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 153
• Joined: 2004-April-03

Posted 2004-May-22, 09:26

*** chamaco wrote: "♠void ♥x ♦ KQxxxx♣QJxxxx

If I am correct this hand is

8 hcp + 1 control + 12 length p + 6 p (length- shortness) = 27 hcp, a full opening hand.

This is true if we buy the contract, but if THEY buy the contract in a major, the hand is worthless, no defensive tricks.
<

First - VERY interesing discussion topic. Thank you.

The question here actually is "WHERE do you want to be with this hand - do you want to sit in defence or do you want to play in a minor".

That's the question, and I am sure you have the answer. Two minor Aces and some kind a fit in PD's hand wil get you far ahead, right? With 16 HCP total on your side. And these 2 Aces are the 2 defensive tricks you PD might have for the double (which the dummy will ruff with its lowest spade:-)

Anyway, let me go through the rest of the topic - an important issue, no doubt.

ZAR
0

### #6Zar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 153
• Joined: 2004-April-03

Posted 2004-May-22, 09:35

*** chamaco wrote: "♠Kxx♥Jx ♦ QJT98xxx♣void

I showed this hand on another thread on BBF ("1st hand preempt or not ?").

I think this hand has the same problems: good playing tricks on offense, no defense at all.

ZAR p = 7hcp+ 1 control + 11 (length) + 8 (shortness) = 27 = full opening hand

Now, discarding ruling problems (the 8hcp for a minimum opener), the problem is that if I open 1D and they compete in clubs, pard is likely to double, just like as described in example hand 1.
Opening it as a preempt avoids this problem but may result (paradoxically?) in an underbid, and pass is also an underbid.
<

Another good point - in Zar Point system the hand opens with 4D, showing 26-30 Zar Points and 8-card suit. The same way when you open 3S I know you have 26-30 Zar Points and 7-cards in spades.

NOTE that the pre-epmtive effect is STILL there, but I know you have 26-30 Zar Points and the corresponding length in the corresponding suit. This clarifies the matter immediately at ANY level since I can calculate +-1 your distributinal Zar Points and can deduct the values you have in terms of HCP+Controls.

If you play naturally (whatever that means :-) the problem you stated is there (even if you use Zar Points).

ZAR
0

### #7mikestar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 913
• Joined: 2003-August-18
• Location:California, USA

Posted 2004-May-23, 15:40

I see that Zar is not in disagreement with mainstream theory in that he will open a hand with 26+ Zar points with something other than a one bid if the system has an appropriate alternative opening bid that shows the hand type. I assume this applies to shapely two-suiters with no defense as well if the system has a bid for them.

Zar does believe in opening defenseless hands at the one level if the only systemic alternative is pass--in this case both alternatives create problems and he chooses aggression. I would choose conservatism because I prefer to have the opposite set of problems. This the sort of difference of opinion that makes a horse race (or different bidding systems).
0

### #8Zar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 153
• Joined: 2004-April-03

Posted 2004-May-23, 17:28

*** mikestar wrote: I believe that Zar points are the best offensive evaluation for suit contracts on the market, that doesn't imply that Zar's bidding theory is better than anyone else's--these are separate issues.
<

Agree 100% (with both parts of the statement :-) Bidding and evaluating (be it in the initial opening stage or re-evaluating at a later stage) are different parts of process.

>
partner won't be making those competive decisions base on the assumption of defensive strenght.
<

Also through – doubles on the lower level are cooperative at best (primarily oriented towards strength, support, negative, etc. )

>
This the sort of difference of opinion that makes a horse race (or different bidding systems).
<

True again – I have had long discussions with the older generation of experts (both from the Blue Team and from the American World Champs) and they all tend to be supporters of VERY strong openings (as opposed to Zar Points, that means). These conversations are priceless treasures and I DO intend to publish them AND I have their permission to do that (they didn’t give me the time to do it, though :-) In facts, a lot of the Zar Poinst adjustments were suggested by some of these true experts in our truly enjoyable and respectful conversations.

>
I see that Zar is not in disagreement with mainstream theory in that he will open a hand with 26+ Zar points with something other than a one bid if the system has an appropriate alternative opening bid that shows the hand type. I assume this applies to shapely two-suiters with no defense as well if the system has a bid for them.
<

Even MORE so with a 2-suiter – you will never have the TEMPO to bid your suits. As Pietro Forqett use to say (the teacher of Garozzo, Arturo Franco etc.) “This game is played on suits”.

*** eric wrote : “That doesn't mean opening them is wrong, it just means that you need to have partnership agreement.”
<

By all means, and in general it means orientation (attitude) as the one mentioned above.

Cheers:

ZAR
0

### #9Trpltrbl

• Posts: 1,230
• Joined: 2003-December-17
• Location:Ohio
• Interests:Sailing, cooking, bonsaitrees.

Posted 2004-May-24, 12:42

6-6 hands are offensive. Don't know many people that going let opps play at 4 level in a major when you have 6-6 in minors. I know I won't..

Mike
“If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment,
so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there
be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work.”
0

### #10Zar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 153
• Joined: 2004-April-03

Posted 2004-June-01, 07:52

*** Mike wrote: "6-6 hands are offensive. Don't know many people that going let opps play at 4 level in a major when you have 6-6 in minors. I know I won't..
<

Exactly - that's why I mentioned that the "orientation" of the hand is of primary importance and Zar Points capture this "attitude" very well on the background of cooperative doubles. With 6-6 you are not going to be willing to sit calmly in defence anyway, with or without Zar Points.

ZAR
0

### #11DrTodd13

• Posts: 1,156
• Joined: 2003-July-03
• Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 2004-June-01, 11:02

I was talking to Ben about this a little but I'd like to see ZAR points mapped
to opening balanced hands. What should the ZAR range be for 1N and 2N
openers that roughly corresponds to the standard 15-17 and 20-21.
0

### #12Zar

• Group: Full Members
• Posts: 153
• Joined: 2004-April-03

Posted 2004-June-29, 10:20

Todd:

The ranges not only for balanced but for all possible distributions evaluated in Zar Points are published as listed below.

The direct translation of Weak and Strong NT is a bit tricky because of the fact that the more HCP you have the less the relative portion of distribution you have - we can get deeper in this if you are interested.

The Offensive Bidding numbers for Zar Points have been posted to the main Zar Points thread “Zar Points – useful or waste of energy” while the defensive bidding once are in the “Competitive Bidding” thread for Zar Points.

IF you are interested, the corresponding numbers for:

- Goren offensive;
- Goren defensive;
- Milton (HCP) offensive;
- Milton (HCP) defensive;

are also available. They would enable you to “check” the probabilities against the overloading of the bids in your system – you might be surprised by the picture.

Let me know if this wouldn’t be “too much” for the purposes of this forum:

ZAR
0

### #13Trpltrbl

• Posts: 1,230
• Joined: 2003-December-17
• Location:Ohio
• Interests:Sailing, cooking, bonsaitrees.

Posted 2004-June-29, 16:35

I have found out that Zarpoints are great in suitcontracts.
But I prefer standard evaluation for balanced NT hands. I have enough tools in my system to find out where I belong, and if fit is found I refer back to ZARpoints.
Just my opinion.

Mike
“If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment,
so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there
be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work.”
0