Monday, July 26, 2010

General Principles

Discuss with partners weird auctions and ask for their take.  Being "right" is less important than being on the same page.  A case in point.

Last Thursday, a friend (who shall remain nameless) and I perpetrated this nightmare auction:

3H-all pass

This, of course, made no sense.  3H cannot be to play, can it? 

I asked my wife about the sequence, giving her my friend's hand.  She passed 3H also.  Weird.

So, I then had a more sane discussion with my regular tournament partner.  Of course he agreed that 3H was clearly a fit bid of some variety, supporting spades.  But, what meaning?

My take was "bid where you live."  I wanted to show heart values naturally, implying a stiff club, honor-third in spades, Ace or King of hearts, with good diamonds headed by the Ace.  That way, when partner has something somewhat like his actual hand (AJxxxx-K10xx-x-xx), he likes his hand, which is a good thing.

Eichenbaum's take was that 3H showed shortness, as many calls in similar sequences tend shortness.

I don't know or care so much whether "where you live" or "shortness" is the better in theory.  The best is whatever we agree and whatever springs from consistent thinking.  In retrospect, I would probably expect shortness with Eichenbaum but expected a "where I live" approach with the friend.

Maybe toss this sequence at your partner?


Roy Hughes said...

Thank you for a very interesting post. I agree completely that weird or "impossible" sequences are interesting and instructive. Backing up one bid for a moment, there is an old idea that 2S in this sequence should be moderately constructive, since 2D is playable if responder is weak. This is in contrast to 1D-1S;2C-2S, which is weaker, since 2C may not be playable. Back to 3H: I like bids to be natural unless that is completely impossible, and my threshold for "impossible" is very high, and 3H doesn't qualify. I would take it as a natural game try, just under a reverse, possibly 5-6 or 5-7. I certainly wouldn't bid an undiscussed 3H and expect partner to take it as spades -- I would just bid 3 or 4 spades.

Kenneth Rexford, Esq. said...

I suppose some of the assessment of impossibility depends on stylistic concerns, as well, like how weak a reverse might actually be.

That said, in discussing this hand later, I conceded that perhaps there might be a hand where 3H could be natural, but then I thought that utility kicked in. 3H as a descriptive game try makes a lot of sense when partner has a fit-dependent hand and already thinks that there is a misfit.

Then again, maybe zooming makes sense on these hands, as well, without describing diddly.

All of this, though, is why the "bid where you live" default seems to make a lot more sense to me. It is a nice hedge against a pass, especially at IMP scoring.

Unknown said...

I pretty much agree with what Roy said.

For what it's worth : with my partner I have agreed that any bid that isn't explicitly agreed on as being "conventional" should be natural. In our case, this should therefore be a natural bid (we play ACOL).

Opener is likely to have 5+ diamonds, 4 hearts and spade shortness. Also he should have 15/16 points at max for else he would have reversed.

As for responder: he is unlikely to have a strong hand for he would have bod something else than 2spades (i.e., 3spades as an invite with a 6+ card suit).

With both partners not being very strong, 3♥ is probably non-forcing.