The Debate Chris Jagger
Landy is Better Than Astro
Two top players debate a hot bridge topic. Tell us whose argument has won you over by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
OPPONENTS OPEN 1NT, and you bid 2® come in on the sort of filth I come in on, response if partner bids it. Works much
to show the majors. Partner can pick a the last thing you want to do is push better, doesn’t it?
major, or bid 2t to get you to bid your partner to the three level. Well, what happens if opponents com-
better major. Great – it’s just like playing pete? Are you going to volunteer 3™ and
Stayman over opponents’ 1NT opening, It is Easier to Be Doubled hope there is a fit somewhere, or keep quiet
but we call it Landy. Why do we play and miss a potentially huge fit as you have
Stayman over our no-trump? Because If you overcall 2™, opponents have a simple never shown your longest suit?
majors are really important when bidding choice: they either double you or they What happens if they don’t compete?
constructively. Why should we play Landy don’t. True, you may be in a grotty fit – in This is even worse! Imagine responder has
over the opponents’ no-trump? Because fact you may be in the opponents’ fit, but a 3-1-4-5 hand. If he bids 2™, then partner
majors are still pretty damn important they haven’t doubled you yet. With Astro may well pass and play in a gruesome fit,
when competing! And whenever you have there is much more chance for opponents while if he bids 2´ partner may actually
bid 2®, partner is in a hugely powerful to get their act together: they can consult have four spades and a longer minor. There
position: he knows both your suits in one each other, by passing then doubling, seems to be a lot of guesswork – I thought
fell swoop – now that must be worth doubling then doubling, doubling then that was what we wanted opponents to be
something. passing – about three times as many doing?
Sounds hard to believe that anyone options as over a direct overcall.
would play anything else, doesn’t it? But Conclusion
you know, some people have come up with How Do you Find Your Fit?
other dastardly conventions – in fact think- I don’t have answers to all these questions –
ing up defences to 1NT is almost a national This is one that even Astro enthusiasts lose but fortunately I don’t need them! Keep it
pastime. When I was a lad, people were sleep over: it is great when partner wades in simple, have as many natural bids as you
playing all sorts of defences against pre- and you have four card support, but for can, but make sure you have a way to show
empts, while nowadays pretty much every- those realists among us, we know that just both majors. A hand to prove the point
one just plays the simplest thing – take-out ain’t going to happen! makes sense.
doubles – which also happens to be best. I You hold a 4-5-2-2 shape hand, and I
suspect in years to come the same will be have a 4-2-3-4 shape. You bid 2® to show
true of defending against a 1NT opening. hearts and another suit. I bid 2t. Now N/S Game. Dealer South.
So what’s wrong with Astro? Roughly 69 what? Do you bid 2´ and hope I don’t have ´ 54
things, of which my esteemed editor has a 2-2-4-5 shape? Or bid 2™ and miss the ™ 10 4
confined me to mentioning just a few. spade fit? If you choose 2™, am I meant to t A K Q 10 3
go on in the hope of finding a fit? Will I get ® Q 10 9 7
The Loss of the Natural 2t Bid into deeper trouble by bidding, or miss a fit ´ KQ83 ´ J 10 9 6 2
by passing? This is a boring, everyday hand ™ QJ952 N ™ AK7
Catastrophe! Particularly as when you type, but I have no idea what to do! t 6 S t 8752
come in with 2t over 1NT the opponents Suppose instead I have a 4-2-2-5 shape. Is ® 643 ® 8
have two possible major-suit fits to find, partner meant to pass 2t with five hearts ´ A7
which is so much harder than dealing with and four diamonds, leaving me in a 4-2 fit ™ 863
a two-of-a-major overcall, where there is (and look who’s going to end up playing t J94
only one. this delightful contract!). Or does he bid ® AKJ52
2™, and finds I actually had a 4-2-4-3
You Never Play in Two-of-a-minor shape, and 2t was much better?
Both tables started 1NT – (2®) – 3NT. At
Great bit of kit Astro may be, but you rarely Anchoring to the Shorter Major one table 2® was Landy, and West heard 4´
get to play in a minor at the two level – it is from East, which was doubled and made.
all very well with spades and clubs to Some people sneakily play the methods the At the other, 2t was selected to show
venture in with 2t, but sadly you have other way round. With a 4-5-2-2 shape they spades and another; East passed and West
bypassed 2®. And if you are aiming to bid 2t to show spades, and then pass a 2™ led a spade – eleven tricks made! r
40 English Bridge February 2012 www.ebu.co.uk