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An Opening Hand?

#1 User is offline   Dumoti 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 08:57

I went to a sectional yesterday, and there was a lecture. I don't normally pay attention to such things, but this one was about 2-way NMF, something I know little about.

I was unconvinced by the lecture, partially because the first example showed both opener and responder with the A and partially because one of the example hands was:

JT
987
KQ64
AQ52

and the discussion centered around all the problems that would ensue with this hand. However, I didn't feel that the hand merited an opening bid. Yes, it is 12 HCPs, but one of those points is the jack in a doubleton. I asked others what they thought and was surprised to hear that about half of the people thought it was an opening bid.

One person responded that he simply opened all 12-point hands. Presumably QJ QJ QJxxx QJxx is an opening bid for him.
Another responded that it had 7-losers and so it qualified as an opener.
A third responded that he opened a fair number of 11-point hands.

So my question is: Is this an opening hand? Why or why not?

Please do not hijack this thread into the pluses and minuses of 2-way NMF. Should you wish to do so, we can easily start another thread entirely devoted to Checkback Stayman vs. 2-way NMF.
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#2 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 12:45

If I'm playing a system with a normal range of openings, I will pass maybe one 12-count a year. This isn't it.

There is a big advantage to opening the bidding. You have good system for it, it stops the opponents using their system, you get a chance to start describing your hands at a low level and you don't feel the need to make up for your borderline values later in the auction when it is riskier. So balanced 12 counts are well within the range of most tournament player's one-level opening bids.

This hand also has some good features. Your points are concentrated in your long suits, you have 2.5 quick tricks and you have good intermediates in your short suits which might be useful fillers for partner's hand.

In short, I think not opening this hand is unduly conservative.
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#3 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 14:07

I really see no reason to downgrade the hands. There are some much worse balanced 12-counts, while here, you have 2 suits, headed by AQ and KQ. If you pass, you will probably not be able to catch up later.
My grandma counting 2.5 Honor Tricks with 2 biddable suits would even open without the SJ 🤣🤣🤣
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#4 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 14:45

Make the spade J the diamond J and I'd open. You have it right to downgrade this, although it's close. 3rd hand I'd open easily, 4th I'd pass it out.
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#5 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 15:21

I would open this hand as I use not only HCP, but also use Quick Tricks (Defensive tricks) in evaluating a hand. My normal standard is 12 HCP and 2 QT to open hands. As the number of QTs goes up, the HCP can reduced. This hand has 2 1/2 QTs, so even discounting J, I'd open it. If it had 13 HCP and 1 1/2 QTs, I'd consider opening it. But hands with 1 QT or less, I'd never open unless it was possibly a preemptive bid.

Quick tricks are evaluated in each suit separately and totaled for the hand. They are a means of evaluating the underlying strength/foundation of the hand. The honor combinations that yield QTs are:

AK = 2 QTs
AQ = 1 1/2 QTs
Ax = 1 QT
KQ = 1 QT
Kx = 1/2 QT

But even these measures should not be used alone or blindly applied. For example, AQ KQx Jxxx xxxx is not as strong as your original hand and I might consider passing it.
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#6 User is online   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 15:43

Easy 1NT (12-14) opening for us.
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 16:21

It's an ugly hand but I would still open it in any seat, 12hcp and two and a half quick tricks.

If you don't want discussion about the
convention that got you thinking about this hand, just don't mention it :)
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#8 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2018-September-23, 20:52

View Postapollo1201, on 2018-September-23, 14:07, said:

I really see no reason to downgrade the hands. There are some much worse balanced 12-counts, while here, you have 2 suits, headed by AQ and KQ. If you pass, you will probably not be able to catch up later.
My grandma counting 2.5 Honor Tricks with 2 biddable suits would even open without the SJ 🤣🤣🤣


Your grandma would open Axx xxx xxx AQxx since it is an opening bid with 2.5 quick tricks.

4-3-2-1 point count arrived and many 2.5 quick trick hands became passes.
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#9 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 02:02

View PostTramticket, on 2018-September-23, 15:43, said:

Easy 1NT (12-14) opening for us.


As Tramticket rightly says, it's an easy weak 1NT opening for us this side of the Atlantic, even with two suits open and without stoppers. So, it's an easy 1 opening and a rebid of 1NT if partner bids a major in 2/1.
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#10 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 03:05

Hi,

simple answer: Open the hand.
Peoble try to find excueses to open, not not to open.
If you want arguments: Both minors are real, if you end up defending
and partner on lead, you want partner to lead a minor (which ..., depends
on your system), you have kings / you have Aces, the Aces compensates
for you JT, and even the Jack is acompanies by a Ten, you are 4432 not 4333.
Most of the peoble you play against will open this hand, are you convinced,
that it is a 75% EV++ decision not to open? If yes, pass, otherwise go with
the field.
But in the end, this is a partnership decision, if YOUR partner agrees with you,
than do whatever you want.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#11 User is offline   Dumoti 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 11:36

So assuming that your partner has a mirror-image hand:

AQ52
KQ64
987
JT

JT
987
KQ64
AQ52


What are your chances of making 3NT?
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#12 User is online   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 11:55

View PostDumoti, on 2018-September-24, 11:36, said:

So assuming that your partner has a mirror-image hand:

AQ52
KQ64
987
JT

JT
987
KQ64
AQ52


What are your chances of making 3NT?

We wouldn't be in 3NT (except maybe vulnerable at teams). Our auction would be: 1NT (12-14), 2C; 2D, 2NT; Pass.
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#13 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 12:08

View PostThe_Badger, on 2018-September-24, 02:02, said:

As Tramticket rightly says, it's an easy weak 1NT opening for us this side of the Atlantic, even with two suits open and without stoppers. So, it's an easy 1 opening and a rebid of 1NT if partner bids a major in 2/1.


It would be an easy 1 NT opening for me when playing weak NTs on this side of the Atlantic.
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#14 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 14:45

View Postspotlight7, on 2018-September-23, 20:52, said:

Your grandma would open Axx xxx xxx AQxx since it is an opening bid with 2.5 quick tricks.

There was a concept of biddable and repeatable suits too. And even non-biddable suits also, that became biddable if the hand had another suit. Anyway I think with only 1 biddable suit she would need a small extra vs. 2 1/2 QT so she would likely pass this one haha.
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#15 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 15:32

It may be useful to think in terms of notrump range when discussing how to open balanced hands.

Assume for now that one plays 15-17 1N. A 3 point range is a very good idea for a number of very solid reasons, which would be beyond the scope of the thread, but I will assume that this is generally accepted for 1N, with 2N openings, and jump rebids (and notrump rebids after 2C) being 2 point ranges. Again, there are good theoretical reasons for having 2 point ranges at 2N or higher, yet 3 point for 1N.

So, if we use 15-17 for 1N opening, we can logically use 12-14 for 1m then 1N.

Using a 3 point range allows for finely adjusted invitational/forcing/signoff decisions by responder.

So if one is playing 12-14 1m then 1N, this is a perfectly fine minimum.

I wouldn't advise using losing trick count for hands intending to rebid 1N: while I do use it as a final metric when the decision is extremely close, it is a better tool to value shapely hands than flat ones, imo.

I can tell readers that in my current serious partnership, we open almost all flat 11 counts, but we play 14-16 1N (partly because 14-16 arises far more often than does 15-17 and we play good methods after 1N and partly to allow us to open 11 counts and not end up too high opposite a 12 point responding hand).

I would devalue short honours, but any devaluation of the spade Jack would be offset by the fact that it is accompanied by the 10. J10 tight is not to be sneezed at in the absence of any reason to expect that partner has short spades.

Meanwhile, passing this hand poses huge dangers.

We may get frozen out if LHO opens, and parther is stuck. We have huge problems if partner opens in 3rd chair....what do we bid if he opens 1 of a suit?

Over a possibly light 1S, maybe we can bid 2N, but that risks getting too high, and in any event a lot of experienced pairs use 2N artificially in that sequence, precisely because it is so unlikely to be the correct natural bid. What do we do if she opens 1m? We have horrible shape for a limit raise, and no major cards.

In other words, opening 1D here makes life very easy while passing can lead to a range of bad outcomes. Now, are 1m definitely always leading to a great outcome and passing a bad one? No, of course not but the percentages are definitely in favour of opening.

I know the OP doesn't want a thread-jack into 2 way new minor, but either the OP didn't fully understand what was being said or, and this is to me the most likely (given the apparent carelessness of the presentation) it wasn't well explained. I have taught 2 way new minor to a number of players who were initially reluctant and, without exception, all of them now play 2 way in all of their regular partnerships. Since this group includes 4 different players with, each, multiple national titles, I suggest that maybe the OP should keep an open mind.
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#16 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 15:40

View PostDumoti, on 2018-September-24, 11:36, said:

So assuming that your partner has a mirror-image hand:

AQ52
KQ64
987
JT

JT
987
KQ64
AQ52


What are your chances of making 3NT?


Your glass is 1/2 empty. My partnership routinely passes AK A 11 counts and 4x3 12 counts and even we would open this.

When it's not our hand we often gain from setting the defence and have an easy rebid. 3nt is far from hopeless in your example and if you change the usefull 10's into x's we can stop in 2nt often enough to show a long term profit.
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#17 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 17:21

View PostDumoti, on 2018-September-24, 11:36, said:

So assuming that your partner has a mirror-image hand:

AQ52
KQ64
987
JT

JT
987
KQ64
AQ52


What are your chances of making 3NT?

Partner has an absolute minimum for a GF and opener has an absolute minimum for an opening, the hands don't fit particularly well. So this is one of the thinnest games we should be in with balanced hands (when both partners have 5-5 and it is a misfit we sometimes end up in completely hopeless games).

Even so, 3NT has chances.
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#18 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 18:24

It's duplicate. Getting +150 when other people are getting +400 is just as bad as getting -100 when others are getting +120.

Yes, opening this hand will get you too high sometimes. It will also disrupt the opponents bidding or get you into thin making games at other times.

Novices frequently play as if you got 1 point for making your contract, lost 10 points for going down, and got 0 points any time you defended. This is very far from the actual method of scoring.
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#19 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 19:54

IMO, if you feel the need to open these kinds of hands, then utilize a weak NT. Either the 12-14 acol kind, or my favorite, the 10-12 balanced (I like to do that vulnerable, btw). If you're not ready to do that, then you need to utilize some judgement. Most of the people I play with grew up with the idea that an opening hand opposite an opening hand = game. If you're opening bad 12 counts and your partner is putting you into game with bad 12 counts, you're going to go down on those. I'm continually amazed by the number of good boards I get when I pass this kind of hand and either we stay out of a bad game, or the opponents bid away and have no idea that I have this much in defense. Just because you pass once, doesn't mean you are out of the auction, either. If it sounds right, you can come in later.
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#20 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2018-September-24, 20:25

View PostHardVector, on 2018-September-24, 19:54, said:

IMO, if you feel the need to open these kinds of hands, then utilize a weak NT. Either the 12-14 acol kind, or my favorite, the 10-12 balanced (I like to do that vulnerable, btw). If you're not ready to do that, then you need to utilize some judgement. Most of the people I play with grew up with the idea that an opening hand opposite an opening hand = game. If you're opening bad 12 counts and your partner is putting you into game with bad 12 counts, you're going to go down on those. I'm continually amazed by the number of good boards I get when I pass this kind of hand and either we stay out of a bad game, or the opponents bid away and have no idea that I have this much in defense. Just because you pass once, doesn't mean you are out of the auction, either. If it sounds right, you can come in later.

There is little difference in whether one opens these hands because one plays 1N as 12-14 or 15-17. In one case one opens 1m intending to show 12-14 by one’s rebid, in the other one sows it by opening 1N. Now, there are a host of implications depending on which way one goes, but overall there is not much to choose between the two approaches. It is, IMO, very wrong to pass these hand types.

I suspect I’ve played some higher level bridge than have you, and I can’t recall seeing an opponent ever pass this sort of hand in 1st seat. Maybe Grannovetter might, but he’s known for his ultra-conservatism. I’ve played 10-12 a great deal, but eventually abandoned it as have, I believe, most top-ranked players, to the limited time stent that they played it. It’s fine in and of itself, but there are subtle costs when one does not open 1N. But that’s for another day.

Btw, if one plays a light opening style, and I don’t consider 1D to be aggressive in the least (in my serious partnership we’d open without the spade Jack), one needn’t reach silly games. Lower the expectancy for opener, and logically one raises the requirement for responder to gf.

In my current partnership, we will play 2N with a soft balanced 13 opposite a balanced 11 and a bad balanced 12. Now, we have science on our side��, since we use a 2H response as a balanced invitation. But you can get the same result, more or less, via using 2N as a good 11-12, allowing opener to pass with this sort of opening bid.
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