Into the valley of death? Concluded

May 25, 2010 at 4:15 am 15 comments

Ben, You are going to hate this, sorry! It was versus Cayne on the weekend.

Board 9
Dealer North
EW Vul









Dble……All Pass


In the other room after a 3D opening, West overcalled 3NT and made 9 tricks for 11 IMPs to Australia.


Entry filed under: bidding.

Into the valley of death? A further observation on bridge vs chess

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Questions of style. « The Overtrick  |  June 9, 2010 at 1:04 am

    […] 9, 2010 Towards the end of comments on this post, this interesting exchange took place (comments […]

  • 2. Simon Hinge  |  May 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I consider as a bridge player over the journey I have learnt some stuff and that stuff has been in part from two important players. Namely Michael Courtney & Cathy Chua. Whether the “themes” are their “themes”, or the “themes” were gained from Tim Seres over a vey intense period of 10+years in Sydney or other sources is largely irrelevant. But I learnt stuff from them and a double by East on this hand was expected, not style. Like if you don’t pre-empt you don’t have one!!

  • 3. Richard09  |  May 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I must admit that bidding 3NT over 3D seems like a reasonable shot, and I can’t understand why bidding 3NT over 2D wouldn’t be. The exact action wouldn’t be the direct overcall, perhaps, but action is called for – Pass seems ludicrous.

  • 4. Simon Hinge  |  May 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    and here’s me thinking 3NT will not make..but of course it was cold

  • 5. Chris Mulley  |  May 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I think this is a partnership style thing. I would have taken an action with the West hand because I wouldn’t think that partner will have enough to re-open with the East cards (as I wouldn’t). If you are confident that the East hand is a routine re-open, then you pass the West cards.

    • 6. phil markey  |  May 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      given that everyone plays takeout doubles i think its more common sense than style

      i think west has a clear bid if the 2 diamond opener is the dealer but otherwise his partner should virtually always be protecting his penalty pass when he has a shortage

      there is no risk of being “punished” by pard for reopening in this spot because your a passed hand protecting pards penalty pass – if pard doesnt have a penalty pass he doesnt have enough for game opposite a passed partner anyway

      no doubt there is risk in reopening – there is a risk opening weak 2’s as well – we could analyse these risks but i’m too busy pointing to the scoreboard

  • 7. Ben Thompson  |  May 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I don’t hate it at all. East and West are both lunatics (and Cathy is obviously one of them).

    How would East be going if North were KJ10x AQ10x Jx Qxx? Which gives West Axx KJx K98x K10x. EW get hammered in everything they try after East’s balancing double.

    Please bid this way against me as much as you can ☺

    • 8. phil markey  |  May 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      if your passing a 13 count with both majors as the dealer your welcome at my table

    • 9. Simon Hinge  |  May 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      btw Ben do you think it is automatic to pass as dealer on the hand you have given?

    • 10. Ben Thompson  |  May 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      ok, ok, poor example, but the principle is the same.

      One reason partner might have passed over 2D is that they are excessively greedy at the wrong ink.

      Another is that they wisely went quietly with a marginal hand. Hands like a square 16 count with poor diamonds. Who says South’s (and North’s) diamonds can’t be marginally better?

      So do you want to play partner for a hand where they could (in my view, should) have bid already, or a hand where they shouldn’t and didn’t bid already?

    • 11. Peter Gill  |  June 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      I must be a lunatic then. With North being a passed hand, I agree 100% with E and W ‘s actions. The likelihood of a re-opening double is so high that W’s Pass seems best.

      You have to be careful about criticizing E and W here, just because they have a different bidding style from you. Plenty of BBO commentators, post mortemers and appellants make the same error. Diversity – different styles of bidding – should be praised and appreciated, not condemned as lunatic, in my opinion.

      • 12. Ben Thompson  |  June 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

        “Style” is a very dangerous word. It lets you say “that’s not my style” when you disagree without having to justify it.

        The argument that North is a passed hand, so that East is therefore likely to be able to reopen, so that West is therefore ok to pass over 2D as he is likely to be able to defend 2DX, is worthy. Style doesn’t enter into it, it’s just a reasonable argument (and I happen to think that the EW hands are on the wrong side of the margin).

        A reasonable context for style is “we do [whatever] because of [whatever] so we therefore have to [balance with a X in these situations]”.

        An unreasonable context for style is “we do [whatever] because it’s our style”.

        When I hear an argument including style, it’s almost always the latter type, not the former.

        • 13. cathychua  |  June 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm

          I think this comment is 100% true in its general observations about the idea of style and how people use it, but given that you suggested EW were lunatics and invited them to bid against you in this way as often as possible, you are in fact attributing a style.

          On the other hand, I suspect there IS some style involved here. At relatively low levels this partnership is far less likely to pass in direct seat with slightly imperfect hands for entering the auction than other partnerships. So the balancer did not have to be as concerned with partner having ordinary opening hands as other balancers might have had to be. I guess that increases the chances of partner having what he had.

          • 14. Ben Thompson  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm


            Actually, this comment about EW entering frequently with ordinary but imperfect hands is a very good argument for the balancing double.

            I take it all back. I think the “enter with ordinary imperfect hands” approach has upsides and downsides, but it’s not provably wrong, and it’s quite playable (if you’re prepared to accept the increased volatility).

            With the context, the balancing double is quite reasonable.

            • 15. cathychua  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm

              Ben, you’ve made me think I will do a post on style tomorrow, we might continue the ideas of this there.


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