Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 3

April 29, 2010 at 1:02 am 7 comments

Michael continues his tale of our adventures in the Last Train.

You often hear from strong no-trumpers about how occasionally the weak NT goes for a number. Well, against that check out this board from match 3:

Match 3
Board 14
Dealer East
Nil Vul









Pass…..Dble……All Pass

As South I opened a weak NT and West doubled. Cathy redoubled for blood and E/W were toast. They escaped to 2D but that wasn’t cheap either. From our point of view, the defence was fun…

I led ♥A and continued the suit to Cathy’s Queen. Partner cashed the ♥K and then played king and another spade. I won, and cashed a third top spade, on which Cathy pitched a club. Now a club to North’s Ace was followed by a heart, ruffed by declarer’s 8 and over-ruffed by Michael’s 9 with dummy discarding. Now a club, ruffed by north and yet another heart ruffed by declarer with the 4 and overruffed by my 5. Again dummy discarded. This meant the defence had taken the first ten tricks and Cathy still had the Queen third of trumps sitting behind dummy’s Ace, King! Six shy, +1400 not-vul and 15 IMPs vs. the datum.


Entry filed under: defence.

To bid or not, the full deals. Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 4

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Gill  |  May 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    West’s Double, opposite a passed hand, is sick – it’s the sort of bid that validates what Ron Klinger said in his Wednesday newspaper column about a sickness that affects Antipodean bidding.

  • 2. Ben Thompson  |  April 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Penalties aren’t where the weak 1NT really gains or loses. The penalties flow each way in equal measure, so that part of the story is really just about cranking up the volume.

    And in the play, the information the opponents have is more specific on points but less specific on suits. That’s kind of a wash too.

    I think the real cost and benefit of weak 1NT is pre-emption.

    Opening 1NT tends to lose major suit fits in moderate hands – costing both partscores and games. Weak 1NT happens more often than strong 1NT, so weak 1NTers wear this cost more often

    But 1NT takes space away from the opponents too. It’s hard to bid accurately when you’re starting a level higher. And you may not find a way in, even with your preferred groovy mechanism. Once again, weak 1NT happens more often, so weak 1NTers enjoy this gain more often.

    I reckon defence is hard, so you suffer less pre-emption cost than you should, whilst your pre-emption gain is all in the bidding so you get it all (or closer to all).

  • 3. phil markey  |  April 29, 2010 at 11:49 am

    i play a feeble weak 1nt opening but i also play that after an immediate double of a 1nt opening responder redoubles to play with a balanced 7-8+ and after a passout seat double opener automatically redoubles

    its a classical “best form of defence is attack” position

    a significant weakness of the weak 1nt is partscores which is partly why west is a chook – no big upside to double holding an average/bad 14 balanced – opposite a passed partner with the reasonable prospect his opponents wont be in the right spot his best position is defending

    • 4. khokan  |  April 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      I agree about the double – no lead, a moderate hand and a passed partner.

      In the GNOT semis last year, at nil vul, I doubled a weak NT with xx Axx Jx AQJ10xx. This was passed around to opener who redoubled and this was passed out. Even though I blew a trick on the opening lead, and dummy tracked with a 9-count, the contract went for -600. I don’t think the penalties flow equally with weak NT – they just don’t figure to, especially when the (sound) doubler sits over the weak NT.

      • 5. phil markey  |  April 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        i’m not sure about “flowing equally” – certainly when you open a weak 1nt and the next guy makes a sound double your not in good shape – the issue is whats the best thing to do in your shitty spot

        because you are already in a shitty spot its an ideal time to attack – there isnt a heap to lose but there is a heap to win

        re your hand – do you think its different if the redouble is immediate ? – i mean in the auction you had you didnt run over the redouble when you might of so life is easier for pard looking at some sort of crappy collection when he passes it out

      • 6. Ben Thompson  |  April 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

        The penalty tap doesn’t turn on just when the next guy doubles. It’s also wide open when he overcalls. Or his partner. And they’re a level higher against a weak 1NT than against the strong 1NTers.

      • 7. khokan  |  April 30, 2010 at 9:37 am


        On my hand, if the redouble was immediate, I would have run – we probably would have been doubled in 2C, which makes with an overtrick.

        On the auction we had, I don’t think running is a sound option because it could have been our hand (it was – we can make 3NT!) and partner only needs a quick trick to beat it.


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