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From the floor: the August Debate
the debate. Like so many MANY years ago my analyses
Thank you all those who voted and sent in their bridge issues, there are many showed that it was preferable to
comments – too many to be all published! Michelle factors which help you find play a weak no-trump at pairs
Brunner wins the debate with 60% of the votes. the best bid – a good suit and Heather wins the argument
would lean you towards a suit here in arguing that an opening
I WILL not be voting on the no-trumps anyway, because of opening, whereas tenaces sug- 1NT should not include a five-
Brunner/Dhondy debate as they the scoring system. gest 1NT. card major.
are both right. Their articles Graham Hannaford, For those in doubt I find the However, it seems preferable
were, however, very helpful in Churchdown Bridge Club Losing Trick Count a good to play a strong no-trump
clarifying the issues involved, guide. A one-level suit-opening system at IMP scoring, and here
particularly Heather highlight- THAT the debate appears to be should contain no more than there is a much stronger case
ing the downside of Five-card unsettled after several decades seven losers but a weak no- for opening no-trump bids to
Stayman in response to 1NT. since its conception ought to trump usually has eight. include a five-card major and
Michelle admits she would lead you to conclude that the One small caveat: with a so Michelle gets my vote here.
open 1♥/1♠, not 1NT, with a net long-term benefit of either borderline decision you would So, if I am allowed two votes,
strong five-card major. Conver- method over the other is likely be more likely to open 1NT if it is for one to each!
sely (although she does not say to be immaterial. Hence, to list your five-card suit were hearts John Griffiths, Herts
so explicitly), I am sure Heather theoretical arguments for each rather than spades, for obvious
would open 1NT, not 1♥, with case and attempt to trade them pre-emptive reasons. MY vote goes to Heather, unless
♠AQ ♥107532 ♦KJ4 ♣QJ3, off is unlikely to be productive. Mike Pomfrey, by e-mail the five-card major is very
just like my first-year students Fortunately there is another weak, e.g. J-x-x-x-x), otherwise
would. The point at issue is approach available, which is to I AM with Michelle including you might miss an eight-card
surely how good, or bad, the analyse statistically the results her exceptions. I have experi- fit (or longer), which usually
five-card major has to be before achieved by each policy based mented with opening 1NT all plays better giving possible
you change from one opening on historical results. An attempt balanced hands with 12-14 ruffs in the short-trump hand
bid to the other. at this was undertaken almost HCP but was uncomfortable and reducing the risk of the
My personal guideline is that exactly a year ago by Ben Dick- doing so when a high percent- defenders attacking a weak,
if my five-card major is suffi- ens using ‘BridgeBrowser’, the age of the points were in the short side-suit in no-trumps.
ciently good that I would be analytical tool developed by five-card major. Wallace Curtis,
happy to play with it as trumps Stephen Pickett. For those with Mike Bennett, by e-mail London N12
opposite three small cards, I access, the link to his report is
will open 1♥/1♠; if not, 1NT. here: http://forums.bridgebase.
Philip Wraight, Staveley com/index.php?showtopic=152 2007 National County League Finals
THE August issue mentioned Dickens examined 52 million
that the majority of EBU mem- hands played on-line, focused
bers play pairs at their club, but on about 170,000 that matched
your columnists seem to aim his criteria for a borderline
their articles at Teams play 1Major/1NT opener, and exam-
– a totally different game. ined both the overall IMP and
Hence the Debate, like most MP gain v loss of each strategy.
other ‘stuff’ in English Bridge, At either form of scoring the
has only a passing interest, e.g. results suggest that there is a net
get your games right at all costs gain to be had by opening 1NT,
Photo: Graham Jepson
from Heather Dhondy, whereas but the benefit is small.
the bread and butter hands win For a given partnership the
or lose tournaments. outcome is more likely to dep-
I frequently open 1NT with a end on subjective issues. Some
five-card major to give my partnerships may perform
partner a point range early in better by opening 1NT when
the auction. The pairs game is others may perform better by MICKLEOVER Court Hotel, Derby, was the venue for the first
heavily weighted to making opening the major. It just boils National County League Finals, organised by Graham Jepson
one more trick as declarer, and down to what falls into your of Yorkshire. The five bridge areas of the country (North,
Midlands, South-West, East and Metropolitan) were represented
lack of information by the op- comfort zone.
at three levels by county teams of eight who had won their
ponents often leads to poor Tim Ackers, Gloucester respective championships. The winners were Leicestershire
defence – particularly on the (Section A, in the picture), Berks & Bucks (Section B),
opening lead. EACH of your learned ladies and Warwickshire (Section C).
Most hands are played in has some right on her side in
www.ebu.co.uk October 2007 English Bridge 37