Page 0039

Frances Hinden The Debate

Opening Light is Winning Strategy

Or write to the Editor, English Bridge, 23 Erleigh Road, Reading RG1 5LR. Short comments for publication are welcome.

IN 1973, Reese and Dormer suggested a . . . and some possible layouts: Pass – (2t) – 3® – (Dble) and you concede

minimum of 13 points for an opening 800; after your 1® bid West overcalls 1NT

bid* in The Complete Book of Bridge. This ´ A5 and East raises to 3NT for –400. Alter-

was based on the premise that you need 26 ™ 8 natively you could pass both times, but then

t AK8742

points between the hands to make game, you might find it’s like the previous layout

® A 10 7 3

and thus it ensured a hand would not be ´ K 10 9 8 ´ QJ743 and a club is the only lead to beat 3NT.

passed out with game making. That may ™ KQJ65 N ™ 10 9 4 2 Admittedly, partner might have Hand 2:

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have made sense at rubber bridge, when t Q65 S t J 10 After you open 1®

the emphasis was on bidding and making ® 2 ® 85 Hand 2 you will get to 3NT

games and slams, but modern duplicate ´ 62 ´ AQ73 that might easily go

bridge has a different emphasis: at both ™ A73 ™ J5 three down, while a

t 93

teams and pairs the few big scores are t KQJ86 pass gives you the

® KQJ964

relatively less important than getting more ® 10 3 chance of playing in a

of the smaller swings right. Competitive After a 1® opening as South, you have a club part-score. That

bidding today is thus much more aggres- reasonable chance of getting to 7® even is the biggest risk of a

sive than it was forty years ago. with East-West bidding hearts; if you pass, light opening; I believe that the first three

The best way to get involved is to open. the auction might start (1™ – on 11 HCP!) – layouts are more common.

You start to describe your hand before the 2t – (3™): good luck even getting to a small An alternative to opening at the one

opponents can get going while if you pass, slam! level is to pre-empt (e.g. 3® on my sample

you give up the advantage of being dealer. hand). If you pre-empt on this minor-

If you have something worth saying you ´ K 10 9 5 4 suited hand you can’t afford also to do so

should bid, whether at the one level or ™ 10 9 8 5 with a typical ´ xx ™ x t xxx ® KQ9xxxx

higher. An opening bid may let you: t K8 because partner will have no idea what to

® 10 3

1. Tell partner what to lead; ´ A87 ´ QJ3

do. Similarly:

2. Bid constructively to a good game; ™ KJ64 N

™ Q2 Hand 3 is not suitable

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3. Make bidding harder for opponents; t J76 S t A Q 10 5 4 2 Hand 3 for a weak 2´ – partly

4. Let partner know you have some ® A72 ® 85 ´ A J 10 8 6 2 because hearts might

defensive cards. ´ 62 ™ A953 be better, but mainly

A pass (or a pre-empt) is perfectly accept- ™ A73 t 43 because partner has

t 93 ® 2

able if your opening bid isn’t going to do at no right to expect

® KQJ964

least two of these. Opening 1™ or 1´ on a two aces and so much

10-count with a decent six-card suit or two If you pass, West can open 1NT, raised to playing strength; you

five-card suits is not very controversial, so 3NT by East and this will make with over- definitely don’t want to pass, so you must

let’s look at a 1® opening. Here’s a hand tricks on a spade lead. If you open 1®, East- open at the one level.

(Hand 1) that I think is a clear opening even West have no hope of bidding game. What you should do as responder is to

vulnerable against not . . . forget the idea that ‘opening bid opposite

´ 10 7 4 3 opening bid means game’. If partner will

™ 10 8 5 4 open on distributional 9- or 10- counts, be

t 8642

Hand 1 wary of forcing to 3NT with a balanced 12

® 3

´ 6 21 ´ AJ98 ´ KQ5 opposite without a fit.

™ A73 ™ K96 N

™ QJ2 To conclude, there is nothing original

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t 93 t A75 S t K Q J 10 here. As far back as 1969 Cohen and Lederer

® KQJ964 ® A 10 7 ® 852 said it for me in their book All About Acol:

´ 62 ‘Acol players believe firmly in the principle

™ A73 that the safest form of defence is attack . . .

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these light openings frequently impede the

® KQJ964

*Including length points e.g. 12 HCP with opposition to such an extent that they miss

a five-card suit, or 11 with a six-card suit. If you pass, the auction might go: (1´) – their own best contract.’ r

www.ebu.co.uk August 2012 English Bridge 39

Index

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