Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Playing Bridge With Isabelle

Since we got back from Shanghai Isabelle and I have been working on a bidding system.  This has been a lot of fun for me.  I told Isabelle she was like spring.  She  has so many new ideas, she is really taking me out of my bidding rut. 

One interesting new element is Nagy Game Tries.  These are named after Peter Nagy a Canadian expatriate from the Montreal area for any of you who don’t know him.  The idea behind this convention is to provide responder with many ways to make a trial bid since some hands work better using short suit game tries and some using long suit why not do both. 

For example after 1S-2S

2NT asks about support for long suit game tries.  Responder now shows what suits he would accept a long suit game try in starting from the lowest


3C   I would accept clubs (does not deny diamonds or hearts).  After this opener can check on a red suit by bidding it.

3D I would accept diamonds but not clubs


3S I wouldn’t accept any game tries

3NT I would accept all game long suit game tries

All suit bids over 1S-2S are short suit game tries in that suit.  3NT shows a balanced hand and is a choice of contracts and suits at the 4 level are long suit slam tries.

This is not a new convention but it is new to me.  What I like about it is that it is versatile, it allows you to do a lot of things but it is not complicated and it is easy to remember.  You can use it in other auctions too such as after Drury auctions or even after 1D-1H-2H.

This is not to say we haven’t had some lively discussions about some topics.  I would interesting in hearing your thoughts about this one.  We had a discussion about overcalling 1NT after an opening bid and in the sandwich position.   The questions posed are:

Is 1NT too dangerous after someone has opened the bidding on your right especially if you are vulnerable. Is it important to get in the auction on flat balanced hands and how does that outweigh the risk.  In the end we decided for now to bid 1NT in the direct chair but raised the range 1 point when vulnerable from to 16-18.  The argument for this is that you often need to get in on the auction and it makes it easy for partner to come in on many hands facing a strong notrump.  Playing a good rescue system it isn’t very likely to go for a number. It seems strange that we who open light 1NT are so worried about overcalling a 15 count but we are.  We did decide that in the sandwich position it is just too risky.  So (1C)-P-(1H)-   we will stay quiet with a balanced 16 count and wait for developments.  But we do want to come in on shapely hands.  The sandwich notrump seems a good choice but wait… we now have so very many ways to bid spades and diamonds.  What does 1NT,2C,2H,2NT and double all mean!  So far our idea is that 1NT shows a weak 2 suited takeout, 2NT 5/5 intermediate or better, DBL shows a more balanced hand but has support for the unbids suits (sort of like the balanced 15 count we were talking about but at least 4/4) and the cue bids are natural.  I am not sure this is a great solution.  Does anyone out there have any ideas?


Ken RexfordNovember 4th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

I personally have experienced little pain and much gain overcalling a direct 1NT with even lighter hands than I would open. But, in contrast, I also experience a lot more benefits than most when others overcall 1NT and I or my partner doubles light as Responder.

As to Sandwich, the structure you have posed is fairly common and reasonably effective (“cuebids” are natural). One of my favorite examples of this, however, was written up in a NABC Daily Bulletin when partner (and the opponents) took my heart overcall as Michaels.

I tried an approach where 1NT showed takeout with expected values in Responder’s suit (something like 4414 after 1D-P-1M-1NT) and the double implied otherwise. The idea was to allow better consideration of 1NT/3NT as viable contracts, and even contracts in Responder’s major. The result was TMI for the opponents when the bought (or wisely elected not to buy) the contract. I gave that up after just a little bit of experimentation.

lindaNovember 5th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Thanks Ken. Your experience confirms our thoughts mostly. We will try this out for a while and see how it goes.

lindaNovember 5th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Thanks Ken. Your experience confirms our thoughts mostly. We will try this out for a while and see how it goes.

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