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Pass for penaltues or bid NT?

#1 User is offline   kieran c 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 13:00

We play negative doubles, Acol. We are vulnerable. I pick up
A87 6 QJT2 KT972.
Partner opens 1, RHO overcalls 2, I pass for penalties, partner dutifully reopens with X which I pass.
We defeat the contract by 1 (double dummy I can only make it 2 down) when there was a nice 3nt in it for us if I bid 2nt after the 2 overcall. Playing for penalties gave us an awful result.

I used the following criteria to pass for penalties:
8+hcp
misfit with partner's suit
rule of 6 (2 level contract + 4 trumps)
rule of 4 (2 level contract + 2 sure trump winners).

My hand also meets the bridgeguys.com "rule of 9" criteria (level of contract + my trumps + my trumps honours).

Catch is these criteria also describle a 2nt (Acol) response by me which finds us our 3nt game.

I can find no guidance in books or on the web in choosing between 2nt and passing for penalties.

Help!
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#2 User is offline   GreenMan 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 13:16

Don't forget to account for the vulnerability. At unfavorable, you need to set 2 four tricks to beat the game your way. That means taking 9 tricks in the opponents' strain of choice. That's a lousy bet.

Even at equal you need 8 tricks, and at favorable you need 7. So maybe one approach is to ask yourself, on the hand in question, "Would I sit for a double of a 5-trick contract instead of an 8-trick one?"
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#3 User is offline   gszes 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 13:42

another way of looking at your hand is there is a very strong probability
your side has a club fit and with your double stopper in dia (and probable lead)
your side should have an excellent shot at game opposite many minimum
opening bids. for ex KTxx AT9xx x QJx and many would not open that hand


You dont just have ten points you have an excellent ten--for ex lets say your
hand looked like A65 K QJT3 87654 now u have a cruddy ten and game
chances are considerably diminished. dont just look at your hand try to picture
your partners hand as well and see if you can imagine your best spot. On this hand
with game looking like a good bet you will have to check the vulnerability to
decide x or 3n (or even 2n).
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#4 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 13:51

I don't think your decision was awful. It is only wrong when: (1) You have a game and you cannot beat them 4 tricks; (2) You have a partial and you cannot beat them 2 tricks; or (3) They make and you would have, at worst, gone down one undoubled in your contract.

With your hand, it is likely that you will take at least 7 tricks against 2Dx, so the only thing to worry about is whether you have a game. That is far from clear. You have what appears to be a misfitting 10 count and your diamond values are worth a maximum of 2 tricks on offense.

There is one more thing, though. Is partner required to reopen the bidding? If not, passing could result in defending 2 undoubled, which is not likely to be a good result.
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#5 User is offline   kieran c 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 13:54

View PostGreenMan, on 2013-January-29, 13:16, said:

Don't forget to account for the vulnerability. At unfavorable, you need to set 2 four tricks to beat the game your way. That means taking 9 tricks in the opponents' strain of choice. That's a lousy bet.

Even at equal you need 8 tricks, and at favorable you need 7. So maybe one approach is to ask yourself, on the hand in question, "Would I sit for a double of a 5-trick contract instead of an 8-trick one?"

Thanks. My problem is that I thought these criteria indicate when it is best to play for penalties. Are they valid if game is a possibility? When all I know about partner's strength is that he opened and reopened with X, how can I tell which action (penalties v game chance) is best?
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#6 User is offline   kieran c 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 14:10

View PostArtK78, on 2013-January-29, 13:51, said:

I don't think your decision was awful. It is only wrong when: (1) You have a game and you cannot beat them 4 tricks; (2) You have a partial and you cannot beat them 2 tricks; or (3) They make and you would have, at worst, gone down one undoubled in your contract.

With your hand, it is likely that you will take at least 7 tricks against 2Dx, so the only thing to worry about is whether you have a game. That is far from clear. You have what appears to be a misfitting 10 count and your diamond values are worth a maximum of 2 tricks on offense.

There is one more thing, though. Is partner required to reopen the bidding? If not, passing could result in defending 2 undoubled, which is not likely to be a good result.

Thanks. Yes partner is almost required to reopen with a double if short (<3) in . If my reason for passing was extreme weakness I will bid something.
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#7 User is offline   GreenMan 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 14:22

View Postkieran c, on 2013-January-29, 13:54, said:

Thanks. My problem is that I thought these criteria indicate when it is best to play for penalties. Are they valid if game is a possibility? When all I know about partner's strength is that he opened and reopened with X, how can I tell which action (penalties v game chance) is best?


It's hard to evaluate all these possibilities, which is why this game is so much fun. :) ETA: The criteria you listed are generally for judging whether you'll survive sitting for the double, without taking your side's game prospects into account.

Kleinman and Straguzzi wrote that, in general, shooting for penalties is a five-way parlay. All the following must be true:

--Opener must be able to balance (if you're considering an initial trap-pass; not a factor here)
--The balance must be a double (ditto)
--They can't run to a safer spot
--You can beat their contract
--You can get more on defense than by making your own contract

They recommend the agreement that opener won't balance unless he has extras. If you have that agreement, then your pretty good 10-count is worth game, so on defense you know you'd need more tricks than if you were just trying to beat the score for, say, 3=.

This agreement helps responder evaluate those 10-11 counts in this situation, and it helps opener, because if responder makes some minimum bid (e.g., 3 with your hand if you held an ace or so less), then he can better judge to pass, because with your actual hand you'd show your strength somehow.
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#8 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 17:32

While Kleinman and Straguzzi may advocate that the reopening double promise extras, I don't think that is even remotely close to standard.

Having said that, I do think that you should have bid 2N, if available as about 11-12, balanced, invitational to 3N, over the 2.

Why?

Well, for one thing QJ10x is a wonderful holding that should be seen as making the rest of your hand worth a bit more than the '10' points at which you valued it, at least for notrump. Compare holds this to AJxx. You have the same 2 diamond stoppers, but you'd only have 5 hcp in the other suits with which to build tricks. On the actual hand, you contribute 7 hcp to that end.

You also have wonderful clubs, in context. K109xx is far better than, say K762, yet both count as '3' points.

The stiff heart is a minus factor in terms of bidding, since it means that we may have difficulty exploiting what rates to be partner best/longest suit. However, imo, the pros outweight the cons.

Into this mix, and very importantly in this case, is the vulnerability.

You can't be sure that you'll reach game if you bid 2N, nor that you'll make game, but this type of hand often fetches game on fewer than 25 or 26 hcp, since on a diamond lead, you gain a tempo, and thereafter RHO may be endplayed since he rates to hold most of the defensive values.

And if you can bid and make game a significant amount of the time, then you need to be able to consistently hold them to no more than 5 tricks or you will lose in the long run. Getting 500 when you only make game 1/2 the time is great. Getting 300 when you make game 65% of the time is bad. I know...the arithmetic is more complex than that, but you get the idea.

While I sympathize with pass, and think that if you pass, you have to pass again, I think bidding 2N immediately stands out.

Make it white v white and I think it far closer, and don't know that I can be unbiased in that I 'know' the outcome. I rarely play for 2-level penalties with this trump holding....very rarely indeed. Opps all too often have AKxxxx and some side tricks and I am rarely happy. Having said that, opps have hammered me successfully on occasion on such holdings, so I may be the one out of step, not them. But red v white, this hand at imps, I'd never play for penalties.
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#9 User is offline   GreenMan 

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Posted 2013-January-29, 17:44

View Postmikeh, on 2013-January-29, 17:32, said:

While Kleinman and Straguzzi may advocate that the reopening double promise extras, I don't think that is even remotely close to standard.


They do acknowledge as much. I don't really know what's common these days.
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#10 User is offline   kieran c 

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Posted 2013-January-30, 11:48

Thanks Mikeh I am beginning to get my head around the pros and cons and will hoepfully be better prepared next time.
P.S. to make it even worse...it was at teams :(
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#11 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2013-January-30, 12:02

View Postkieran c, on 2013-January-30, 11:48, said:

Thanks Mikeh I am beginning to get my head around the pros and cons and will hoepfully be better prepared next time.
P.S. to make it even worse...it was at teams :(

Actually, being at teams doesn't make it worse as long as you get reasonable compensation for your missed game (assuming there was a missed game).

+500 against +600 is not a disaster at teams. At matchpoints, it is the end of the world.

If you can only get +300 or +100 it is worse. +100 when you have +600 available is a loss of 11, which is bad.

If partner would have turned down the game invite, the numbers are much better. +100 against +120 or +150 is a nothing at teams, but +300 or +500 against +120 or +150 is great.

Aside from missing out on a vul game and getting little in return, the other disaster at teams would be if they make and you would have made. -180 against +120 is bad.

Still, one should try to penalize the opps when one can. This perticular hand may not be a great example, but it is definitely worth considering. And trying to penalize 2 of a minor has a limited downside, since it is not game.
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#12 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2013-January-30, 13:37

I agree with all of the above as to the vulnerability, probable favourable lead and club spots making a move towards 3nt a good gamble but it's still a risk, just with the highest upside.

In a looong match I have found it useful to penalize them early, especially at different vul where being wrong doesn't cost too much. Down 1 or even making serves notice that they better not get frisky in future competetive auctions.
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