OCT_EB_p34-35 North plus Bramzel 18/9/07 12:10 pm Page 34
Freddie North Both hands are balanced and contain 12
points. So both come into our systemic
Of course one hand proves nothing but
what must surely emerge is that two hands
orbit and thus we open 1NT – or do we? with the same point count can offer very
In fact Hand 1 is the worst shape possible different prospects. It follows, then, that a
ONE of the outstanding features of our for generating tricks and is badly lacking in little fine-tuning can be extremely
fascinating game is the necessity to aces and intermediates, tens and nines. So, advantageous.
exercise judgment. Take that element with a little fine-tuning we deduct one Let’s look at the other end of the scale:
away, so that all we have to do is press the point. Now as a flat 11 count we should pass opener has a 14 count.
metaphorical button and out pops the and that would certainly be my
unassailable answer, and perhaps it recommendation.
would be time to look for a more chal- Hand 2, although mustering no more Hand 3 Hand 4
lenging pursuit. Fortunately, I doubt points than No. 1 and still lacking in aces, ♠AQ5 ♠ AQ
very much if this will ever happen is nevertheless quite a different kettle of ♥K64 ♥ K 10 9
because, however much we try to rely on fish. The 4-4-3-2 shape offers more ♦Q74 ♦ Q 10 4
what Terence Reese called ‘the pitiful potential and the undergrowth – those ♣QJ53 ♣ Q J 10 4 2
props’, there will always be imponder- tens and nines – is thick and lush!
ables, such as luck, the psychological Although we could put many different
factor, timing, human error and the hands opposite these two, the most imp- Hand 3 lacks scope for any form of
vagaries of distribution creating general ortant feature to consider is to avoid adjustment. Even if you substituted an
mayhem. getting too high when partner has an extra club instead of one of the other
Of course, to be a good bridge player opening bid. Suppose these are the East- small cards, the opening of 1NT seems
we do need guidelines, even rules, if we West hands: quite reasonable. But notice how Hand 4,
are to maximise our chances, and many with exactly the same point count, looks
of these indispensable gems that we learn so much more robust. It’s not only the
from an early age form an excellent basic Hand 1 five-card suit that catches the eye, it’s those
framework. They don’t impede our judg- ♠KQ3 ♠ A84 tens that boost its potential.
ment, merely enhance it. However, disre- ♥K642 W
♥ AJ Let’s set the scene. South holds Hand 4
garding sophisticated gadgets (Terence ♦Q53 S ♦ K 10 8 4 and decides to promote (fine-tune) his
Reese’s pitiful props) what about those ♣Q74 ♣ J532 hand to a full-blooded 15 count which the
basic guidelines – in both bidding and system dictates can be described by a rebid
play – that many players treat as gospel? in no-trumps.
It’s here that there is room for a little If West passes originally the bidding will
fine-tuning because to a very large extent very probably stop in 2NT: Pass – lNT –
– by the very nature of the beast – this is 2NT, and no doubt declarer will be well Deal 1. Dealer South. Love All.
a much neglected area. satisfied to make his contract. ♠74
Let’s start with no-trumps and the point ♥AJ83
count. Playing the popular 12-14 1NT ♦AJ96
opening what do you make of these two Hand 2 ♣976
hands? ♠ K Q 10 ♠ A84 ♠ K9853 ♠ J 10 6 2
♥ K 10 9 6 W E
♥ AJ ♥ Q754 W E
♦Q6 S ♦ K 10 8 4 ♦ K2 S ♦ 8753
Hand 1 Hand 2 ♣ Q 10 9 3 ♣ J542 ♣ 85 ♣ AK3
♠KQ3 ♠ K Q 10 ♠AQ
♥K642 ♥ K 10 9 6 ♥ K 10 9
♦Q53 ♦ Q6 Now West will play in 3NT (lNT – 3NT) ♦ Q 10 4
♣Q74 ♣ Q 10 9 3 and will surely be in with a great chance of ♣ Q J 10 4 2
landing his game.
34 English Bridge October 2007 www.ebu.co.uk