Page 0043

FEB_08_EB p42-43 Debate 14/1/08 3:11 pm Page 39

The case

THE DEBATE

for the

strong no-trump

Or vote by post (Editor, English Bridge, 23 Erleigh Road, Reading RG1 5LR).

Comments for publication (not more than 200 words, please) are welcome. Tom Townsend

♠ K 4 3 ♥ A 10 9 3 ♦ K 10 6 4 ♣ K 3 Minus eleven hundred! In this structure, opener knows where he

The perfect weak no-trump. To rephrase stands when he opens one of a suit with a

that, your opening bid is seven tricks The match is drawn and Sunday afternoon balanced hand. He’s either minimum or

without a trump suit. A bit optimistic with is a relaxing one spent in the consolation very strong.

one ace and three unsupported kings but Swiss. Now back to the weak no-trump world.

if partner has his share, you may reach that Weak no-trump supporters may say, Playing Standard English Acol (SEA) we

target or at least come close. Unfortunately come on, this is the worst case, how often pick up this collection:

when this hand was dealt in the Brighton does it really go for a number? Often ♠ K Q 10 3 ♥ A 10 ♦ J 4 3 ♣ A Q 7 6

Swiss Pairs partner held the following: enough to spoil my Brighton. Others will The perfect strong no-trump. Let’s see

♠ 10 9 6 2 ♥ 8 5 4 ♦ 9 7 ♣ 10 8 5 4 say that it’s only vulnerable or in third seat how easily it works out starting with the

The doubling begins and you are that the weak no-trump is too dangerous SEA systemic opening bid of 1♠:

vulnerable against not. Do you leave to play, so why not play strong no-trump

partner to rot in 1NT? Or do you fish in these positions, otherwise weak? (i) Partner responds 1NT. With our

about for a 4-4 fit which may play for a Logical enough – the variable no-trump extra strength perhaps we can raise to

few tricks? That’s what I decided to do was the original Acol of Gray, Marx and 2NT? Wrong, partner passes. He holds:

when I held the responding hand, and we Simon. But do you really want to play two ♠ J 2 ♥ 7 4 2 ♦ Q 10 9 2 ♣ K 8 4 2

reached 2♠ doubled. Despite playing the bidding structures depending on the 2NT got us too high, so next time we

hand to its full potential, partner recorded board markings? More system to agree, so pass. Now he turns up with the

the following score: many opportunities to forget. Not for me. following:

So if we accept shelling out all these ♠ J 2 ♥ Q J 5 3 ♦ Q 10 9 2 ♣ K 8 2

Minus fourteen hundred! penalties as the occupational hazards of – and we miss an easy 3NT. If you

the weak no-trumper, what do we get in think responder was worth 2♦,

Anywhere else in the world this would be return? A little pre-emptive value when there’s another can of worms . . .

a cold bottom, but in the land of the weak the vulnerability is right, otherwise nothing (ii) Partner responds 2♣. 3♣ might be

no-trump we do score a handful of in my view. Or less than nothing. convenient but isn’t that what we do

match-points. The most common argument I hear in with a minimum distributional hand

Strong no-trumpers opened one of a favour of the weak no-trump is that when like this one?

suit. The next hand overcalled 1NT and partner opens one of a suit you know he ♠ K J 7 4 3 ♥ A ♦ J 10 3 ♣ K 8 7 2

was raised to 3NT, making 400 or 430. has either extra strength or extra distri- So is it 4♣, going past our likely

Now fast forward a week to the Brighton bution. This is true but, paradoxically, I contract of 3NT, or 2NT keeping

teams qualifying. Needing a decent win to believe it to be the strongest argument quiet about the fit? Neither appeals.

qualify for the finals, we wait by the bar to against. Playing the strong no-trump, (iii) LHO overcalls 3♦ and partner makes

compare scores from our final match. I balanced opening bids divide into three a negative double. 4♣, bypassing 3NT

venture to partner that our card looks ranges: and inviting unwanted preference to

solid, we may have half a chance. He does 4♠? 3NT with no stop? Pass with no

not agree: ‘What about the last board?’ 12-14 Open one of a suit, then pass or trump trick? On another occasion

‘What about it? I made 3NT plus one on a rebid minimally (typically raise partner supports to 3♠ after the over-

strip-squeeze, you know.’ ‘Nicely played partner to two or 1NT). call. Do we continue to game or pass?

for +430, maestro, but how do you think 15-17 Open 1NT (routinely with a

it’s going to go in the other room? Our five-card major in my view). If any reader thinks he knows the answers,

pair play 12-14. 1NT will go for a packet.’ 18-19 Open one of a suit, then rebid please don’t write in as none of these

On their return, team-mates duly announce to show extra strength (typically problems are mine. I open the hand 1NT

the following: a jump raise or 2NT). – strong!

www.ebu.co.uk February 2008 English Bridge 39

Index

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