What’s the right action with this? Concluded.

September 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm 12 comments

Sorry for being slow in putting this up. I’ve been trying to work out what’s gone wrong with my suit symbols, which I especially use because Sartaj likes them….

Weekend match vs Cayne
Board 18
Dealer East
NS Vul

The question was, what to open with the East hand:

s A
h1 Q6542
d1 KJ2
c KQ85
Dave Beckett
s K652
h1 98
d1 64
c A7432
s Q1074
h1 7
d1 AQ109753
c J
s J983
h1 AKJ103
d1 8
c 1096

Well, I can’t begin to say how excited I am. I opened 4D and that worked a treat as you can see. We bought it there while our teammates easily bid to 4H after East opened 1D and South overcalled 1H.

I’d kind of assumed, though, that if Sartaj got wind of it that I’d get strips torn off me….but, as you can see in yesterday’s comments, he’s for 4D too. Hi Sartaj!! Please come back again, this is fun having you on my side.

Chris, sorry, I  know you started with this bid too…forgive me for not finding that exciting. I must say, I was sorely tempted by 5D, only because that’s what I would have done 20 years ago. In the end, though, that seemed like a good enough reason not to.

The reason I was nervous about opening at the four level is having the ace of the long suit makes it dangerous to bypass 3NT. Yes? Does anybody have an opinion on that?

Another deal from this match tomorrow.


Entry filed under: Cayne matches.

What’s the right action with this? What do you lead on this?

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sartaj  |  September 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Yesterday, Meckstroth opened dealer, all vul, 2H on

    Very australian I thought.

    They lost 12 imps as they ended up in the wrong game.

    • 2. cathychua  |  September 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm

      And was that the fault of the preempt? Insufficient data so far!

      • 3. sartaj  |  September 4, 2009 at 12:26 am


        2S NF @ 2H
        Apparently, Rodwell did have a way to inquire about 3 spades.
        Not clear that 4S in 5-3 will be better than the 6-1 heart fit when the hearts deliver the texture they (should) promise.
        Thats what he must have thought….

  • 4. sartaj  |  September 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    haha Cathy
    I suspect that you and I might agree on preempts on about one hand in 12 (dlr at fav)

  • 5. Ben Thompson  |  September 2, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Single hands are useful to illustrate a point, but not to validate a point. Next week, any one of us could pick the East hand up, and experience a competely different outcome by making a few minor changes in the other hands.

    Luckily, many of the best players in the world are currently generating lots of data in Sao Paulo. An analysis of the results on hands where people open the bidding at different levels should be instructive.

    • 6. cathychua  |  September 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm

      But we have looked at here lots of preempts, it is just an ongoing discussion, so it isn’t meant to be considered in isolation exactly….

      • 7. Ben Thompson  |  September 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

        But the hands we look at here are chosen neither in isolation nor at random.

        We can all give reasons why some bid worked (or didn’t work, or was theoretically superior anyway). But a lot of our reasons are more qualitative than quantitative.

        For example, I think it’s better to open 1D than 4D on this hand, and I have a bunch of reasons for that, as does Phil. Ok, but by how much? Um … I don’t know.

        We’re never going to parameterize one hand well enough, and the situation well enough, to really really get a perfect answer to “how much better” but we can sure use the data to get a better answer than “I reckon”.

        • 8. cathychua  |  September 3, 2009 at 8:28 am

          But Ben, all I was doing was presenting the hand and observing what happened. I’m certainly not suggesting the bid is ‘right’, only that it worked a treat on the hand and it was probably the only bid that would have. All the following ran through my mind: 1D, 3D, 4D, 5D and pass. I should have thought of 2D as well as we are playing weak twos and maybe I could get my hand across that way cheaply….I have no opinion as to whether 4D is right or wrong. I picked it, it worked, I’m reporting! I do think though, that since certain types of preempts get bashings here on this blog from the commentators that it is not unreasonable to observe that they sometimes work.

          It would be interesting to see if Sartaj has a reasoned argument for his choice. I don’t. I hate all the options on this one.

  • 9. Chris Mulley  |  September 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Missing a making 3NT is a definite down-side of opening 4D. At this vulnerability (and, as my last comment hinted, perhaps only at this vulnerability) I think the potential upside outweighs the downside.

    At the vulnerability, this hand might qualify for my conventional 3NT opening (4-level minor pre-empt with a good suit); if partner/team-mates express Phil’s concern, I would be happy to bid 3NT with those methods instead.

    However, that bid does give them more ways of entering the auction, and part of the value of the pre-empt is on hands like this where you succeed in keeping them out of the auction entirely. Thus, I prefer to open 4D and miss the odd 3NT.

    • 10. Chris Mulley  |  September 2, 2009 at 10:57 am

      … or, (to pre-empt Phil’s retort) the absolutely normal 3NT that everyone else in the room managed to reach.

      • 11. phil markey  |  September 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

        i might open this hand 3nt in my system (ie to play) some of the time – for example its an auto 3nt opening in third seat – i’m happy to acknowledge that the “equity” to spend in this hand can be profitably spent pre-empting your opponents – but that is not the issue – the issue is where is the best investment ?

        opening 4 diamonds in first seat is to say its ok to miss the most likely game bonus in lieu of pre-empting your opponents – i think its horrible perception bias driven nonsense – like this…

        “However, that bid does give them more ways of entering the auction, and part of the value of the pre-empt is on hands like this where you succeed in keeping them out of the auction entirely. Thus, I prefer to open 4D and miss the odd 3NT”

        this is a swingy hand but that doesnt mean you need a swingy answer – like any game of incomplete information you are going to do the right thing that is going to turn out badly – this is simply a hand where its going to turn out badly a lot more than usual no matter what you do – if you had this hand 10 times a year for 10 years those results would still have a pathetic correlation to the right answer

  • 12. phil markey  |  September 2, 2009 at 10:05 am

    i think 4 diamonds is awful – bidding and making 3nt’s is a big part of your upside with ths hand so i reckon bypassing it is silly

    opening 4 of a minor is only good when you have a hand that is terrible for no-trumps – like an 8 card suit headed by the queen and out or a more extreme shape – the bid should be defined in a natural system as showing a hand that doesnt want to play in 3nt

    AQxxxxx is always going to make 3nt a likely spot – give partner a range of banana’s and 3nt will be +400 with no other game possible


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