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Opening with 5 clubs and 5 spades

#1 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2015-March-19, 18:01


I play Acol with 4 card majors. Tonight I opened this hand 1 Club, despite remembering the 'rule' that with two five card suits you open the higher ranking one. I was worried that If I opened 1 and partner responded 2 I would have to show my five clubs at the 3 level and then at the 4 level. I thought that by bidding 1 and then 1 and 2 I would have described my hand at two levels lower but only told a little lie about my Club suit, worth it I thought.
As it turned out my partner had good Clubs so we bid and made 6NT while everyone else made 4 plus one or two. Maybe that was because we had more room to communicate.
Afterwards one player said we were lucky because I didn't follow best practice and it just happened to fall our way this time.
I have checked up, and the EBU system file says always bid the higher ranking 5 card suit, so does the Bernard Magee Basic Acol cribsheet, but Klinger and Brunner say that Clubs & Spades is an exception. My Club suit is better than my Spade suit. Would my bidding be different if the two suits were reversed?
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#2 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2015-March-19, 18:17

Opening 1 used to be expert standard but times, they are a changin. 1 can work out spectacularly well if you can indeed bid 1 then 1 then 2 but often it becomes quite muddy in competition, say,
1-(1)-p-(2)

You really should bid 2 here on any excuse if you have an unbid 5-card major which is kind of a big deal. Unfortunately if you play this style, partner will not know if you have 5-5 or 6-5, let alone some 6-4 hands that you would rather not double with. And this is just interference to the 2-level...

Also bids like
1-1NT
?? or
1-2 can get nasty (what if partner has a 3-card fit? or should he refrain from ever bidding 2 with 3 spades?). Sure you can agree to bid 2 with most of your 5-5 hands but then what if you have 5-4 strong? 6-5? 6-4? It's a mess.

Overall, it is probably not as bad as its current lack of popularity indicates but to me, also clearly inferior.

Note: this is mostly coming from a 5-card major background but I believe the fundamental problems are the same as you will have shown a 5-card spade suit by the second round of bidding anyway (i.e., 1-1NT; 2).
... and I can prove it with my usual, flawless logic.
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#3 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 00:41

This is a 1C bid in "classic" Acol. You weren't lucky in your outcome, any more than anyone else is lucky when their "system" bid works out well.
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 04:12

We take an unusual approach to this in our Acol based system and can open either depending on hand type.

We play 1-1red-1 as forcing if you had a real response, meaning this hand is 1-1red-2, NF 2 decent 5 card suits, not a particularly good hand.

With a minimum ish opener and suits a little less good than this, we open 1 and rebid 2 over 2red, with values to force to game over a 2/1 and broken suits we open 1 and rebid 3 over 2red. With values to force to game and concentration in the suits we bid 1 then spades twice. With a really huge hand, we open 1, rebid an artificial GF 2N over 2red, then show clubs.
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#5 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 04:43

I don't think your approach is so unusual CY - opening 1 with extras and 1 with weaker or stronger hands is a treatment I have seen around a fair bit. It gets around a lot of the problems from Csaba's anaysis while playing to Acol's strengths. Another reasonable approach is to open 1 if you consider the hand strong enough to rebid spades over interference up to X level in a red suit, where X is typically 2 or 3. That can work out similarly to the other approach.

If you look at older books they will recommend always opening 1 with this shape. One late-1960s book I read as a child talked about the idea of opening 1 with 5-5 blacks "coming across from America" and giving some discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the method. The conclusion was along the lines of it being logical but 1 is still to be preferred in Acol. I did not notice the idea of a different opening for different ranges in print until the 1980s, although it is undoubtedly considerably older than this.

In the end, this is not greatly different in terms of luck from opening 1M with 4 and picking off their major fit, whether that be positive (they miss their 2M/4M contract) or negative (they avoid the bad break and play in a better NT contract or set us). For players with a 5 card major background it looks like bad bidding and luck, yet the ability to find such minor suit fits is a strength of Acol and this was apparently just one of those (rare) hands where Stone Age Acol had an advantage. In a long match you can smile inwardly and look forward to the many more hands where their system will struggle; in a short match you just have to grit your teeth. Telling your opps they were "lucky" without any prior discussion seems a bit rude though, esepcially if it came from a non-Acol player that did not really understand how the system works.
(-: Zel :-)
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#6 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 05:52

Hi,

ask your partner.

Sry, both styles are ok, ... the majority style is to open spades,
but if you feel happy / comfortable go ahead, open 1C.

In general I think it is easier to open 1S, but this may just be due
to the fact, that I never did open 1C.

Finally: If I was a beginner, I would try to get rid of as many exceptions
as possible, I still have the wish, if I start with something new.

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

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Posted 2015-March-20, 06:06

My old Goren book says open 1 Club with your hand. And that would be true if you had a very strong hand as well. It is the lone exception to the higher ranking five-card suit rule. But if you had a "reverse" strength hand, you'd open with the Spades, intending to bid a "high reverse" in Clubs next.

Of course, as others have said, this is an older, classic, and maybe out-dated strategy.

Regardless of how you play, obviously the most important thing is good communication with your partner.
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#8 User is offline   campboy 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 07:20

In Acol there are two common problems from opening 1 on this shape.
  • With a weak hand, a 2/ response is awkward: you're not strong enough to bid clubs, and 2 is non-forcing.
  • With a medium-strength hand, a 1NT response is awkward: 2 is not constructive, and you're not strong enough for 3, normally played as game-forcing.

These aren't really problems in other systems, where 1 - 2 - 2 is forcing and/or 1 - 1NT - 2 might not be a real suit, so is unlikely to be passed.
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#9 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 07:37

I would even open 1 with 5 and 6. You can never persuade partner you have 5 otherwise. Either the opps preempt you or partner does and usually the major scores better, if say partner has 3 and 4. Sometimes you will miss out, but I would really like to see the North hand before judging whether it was bad luck or bad bidding to miss 6N after opening 1

It may be that you just judged the hand better than the field.
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#10 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 09:10

Aaaargh! How many players who know absolutely nothing about technical bidding are going to comment that 1 is always the correct opening on this hand. IT ISN'T. Especially playing Acol. Ok, with other systems, such as 2/1, opening 1 can sometimes be right. Especially if there are opportunities to clarify the hand with checkback, or with a forcing 1NT bid available, etc. But even the great Jimmy Cayne (JEC on BBO) and his team open 1 playing 2/1. Opening a 1, rebidding 1 and then rebidding 2. Albert Dormer (up there with Terence Reese as a technical authority on Acol) quotes in The New Complete Book of Bridge that "With two 5 card suits, the higher-ranking is opened unless the suits are clubs and spades. In that case, in theory, to start with 1 is cheaper, but in practice it often works out that opener is unable to define his 5-card length in spades - the more important feature. It is often better to open 1 unless the club suit is strong and the spades weak." Hmmmm....so Dormer is not too sure himself.

Here's a nice 11 HCP, 2.5 quick trick hand that most players will open. AJ632985AQ1098

With Acol, and for that matter most other systems, you should open promising a suitable rebid. Rebidding that not so weak but semi-anaemic spade suit at the 2 level after opening 1 could be disastrous. So opening 1 is the correct thing to do. I like the way Cayne and his team bid it, even though technically it could promise a 6-5 hand. Ok, sometimes the opponents will interfere and a spade fit will get lost in the crossfire, but then again if you open 1 a possible club fit can get lost too.

Personally, I have ALWAYS opened 1 with 5-5 in the black suits and 15 or less HCPs.
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#11 User is offline   fourdad 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 11:14

The only commonality seen in many of these posts can be described in one question.

"What is your partnership agreement?"

I you had one, there is no need for the question.
If you did not, with a regular partner, shame on you.
If you did not, with a pick up partner, welcome to the world of internet bridge!!

:D
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#12 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 11:17

The Badger, did you look at the other posts or do you just like to comment on stuff you haven't read? (I know I sometimes do, I'm just wondering.)
... and I can prove it with my usual, flawless logic.
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#13 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 11:26

View PostThe_Badger, on 2015-March-20, 09:10, said:

Aaaargh! How many players who know absolutely nothing about technical bidding are going to comment that 1 is always the correct opening on this hand. IT ISN'T. Especially playing Acol.

....

Personally, I have ALWAYS opened 1 with 5-5 in the black suits and 15 or less HCPs.


The fact that an approach is old fashioned doesn't mean it is necessarily wrong, but that is a pretty bold assumption you have made about some of the posters in this thread.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#14 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 12:18

Just to add something with regards to the Acol context:

It may no longer be fashionable, but it was quite common to open 1C with 4333 (4spades),
assume now, the auction goes

1C - ?
1S

Partner now knowes only about 7cards, 3+ clubs and 4+ spades, in other words he knowes nothing
worth while.

I will agree that this scenario is less likely than some issues that may arise after
a 1S opening, but there are downsides.

And while writing, I recalled, that

1C - 2NT

is also a allowed start of an auction.

Smooth sailing with 55 in the blacks.

The style is playable, but there are some things you have to consider, even in an Acol
context.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#15 User is offline   slothy 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 17:05

When i play Acol i use a simple rule to open 1!C or 1!S..

If i cannot make a high reverse of 3!C over 2 level red suit response over 1!S i open 1!C otherwise 1!S.

If partner has the money over a 1!C opener, i can pattern out in the flow of the auction....of course if there is intereference (there normally is :P) then this is where partnership agreement predominates...

But then again if opponents interfere over 1!S you are practically paddling the same canoe as when you open 1!C.

Alex
gaudium est miseris socios habuisse penarum - Misery loves company.
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#16 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 19:49

1) this has nothing to do with whether you play acol or 5 card majors
2) opening 1C on this shape is very out of fashion.
3) opening 1C is great if opps are silent because you get to show the 5-5 at a low level (bid spades twice)
4) opps are rarely silent though and you run the risk of losing spades. so opening 1C is fine as long as you can control the auction, which means you are strong enough (in HCP or extra distribution) to bid spades at a high level if opps pre-empt.
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#17 User is offline   SelfGovern 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 20:15

Suit rank is a wheel, not a stack. Hearts are above diamonds, spades are above hearts, and clubs are above spades, and so on.

There are many hands where starting 1!C gives you better auctions. And there are a similar number where opening 1!S will give you better auctions.

One poster says, "oh, open 1!S, in case the opps come in!" But with hands of moderate strength, how, then, do you show the other five black cards you hold? On the other hand, when I open 1!C I have much less angst about introducing my 5-card spade suit at the 2-level after a 2!H or 2!D overcall, and partner might infer that I have a 5-5ish hand, since I chose not to re-open with a double.

These are style issues, not issues of right or wrong. I suppose someone unbiased could run a full set of simulated hands and do an analysis -- but any personal bias is likely to influence the results. Until then -- agree with your partner, and remember that the new ways are not always the best ways.
Liberty breeds responsibility
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#18 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-March-20, 21:28

View Postslothy, on 2015-March-20, 17:05, said:


If i cannot make a low reverse of 3!C over 2 level red suit response over 1!S i open 1!C otherwise 1!S.



It''s no big deal but just to avoid confusion it's called a high reverse.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#19 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2015-March-21, 01:26

I don't know acol but are you allowed to open 1s and rebid 2s over 2d in acol?


3c would show extra??


I am going to assume 2d promises a rebid in acol?


2s shows some minimum very often?

so 3c here shows extras
----

if so then your options in acol are:

2s=minimum opener
3c=natural and extras in acol.

-----------

If 2d does not promise a rebid over 2s then let me know.
Houston we have a problem.
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#20 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2015-March-21, 01:51

View PostThe_Badger, on 2015-March-20, 09:10, said:

Aaaargh! How many players who know absolutely nothing about technical bidding are going to comment that 1 is always the correct opening on this hand. IT ISN'T. Especially playing Acol. Ok, with other systems, such as 2/1, opening 1 can sometimes be right. Especially if there are opportunities to clarify the hand with checkback, or with a forcing 1NT bid available, etc. But even the great Jimmy Cayne (JEC on BBO) and his team open 1 playing 2/1. Opening a 1, rebidding 1 and then rebidding 2. Albert Dormer (up there with Terence Reese as a technical authority on Acol) quotes in The New Complete Book of Bridge that "With two 5 card suits, the higher-ranking is opened unless the suits are clubs and spades. In that case, in theory, to start with 1 is cheaper, but in practice it often works out that opener is unable to define his 5-card length in spades - the more important feature. It is often better to open 1 unless the club suit is strong and the spades weak." Hmmmm....so Dormer is not too sure himself.

Here's a nice 11 HCP, 2.5 quick trick hand that most players will open. AJ632985AQ1098

With Acol, and for that matter most other systems, you should open promising a suitable rebid. Rebidding that not so weak but semi-anaemic spade suit at the 2 level after opening 1 could be disastrous. So opening 1 is the correct thing to do. I like the way Cayne and his team bid it, even though technically it could promise a 6-5 hand. Ok, sometimes the opponents will interfere and a spade fit will get lost in the crossfire, but then again if you open 1 a possible club fit can get lost too.

Personally, I have ALWAYS opened 1 with 5-5 in the black suits and 15 or less HCPs.


I do not know Acol

Just my take but opening light in HCP dist hands seems to ba a problem if we cannot pass. I understand this may be old old school.

Can I pass your example hand and still win in 2015? I assume if I pass partner knows I pass these hands.
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