Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

I Love The Winning

"I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play." –Boris Becker.

I was thinking about that quotation this morning as I try to recover from a post tournament "hangover" after coming back from the Kingston Regional.  In the end our tournament results were good and it was fun to win all our matches in the Swiss yesterday.  The field was fairly good and we had to beat some good teams.  But even when we didn’t win it was great to play.  It is so good to actually compete in person with Isabelle after all the BBO practice sessions.

Isabelle was really in the zone yesterday.  I could tell just by looking at her.  It was all coming very easily and she made no mistakes that I can remember.  If she can play like that, the sky is the limit for her. 

We spent some time looking for ways to get to the small number of games we missed this week (I don’t think we missed any slams at all) but it was hard to think of how to do better.  Sometimes you just can’t get there!  No bidding system gets you to every decent game.  Sometimes one of you has to take a push.  Here is a hand we have been discussing which falls into the latter camp.  How would you bid these two hands playing 2/1 with constructive raises.


S Kxx H AKxxxx D X C Axx



Our auction was 1H-1NT (forcing)-2H (showing 6)- all pass

This is a great contract.  Now it is true that we only have 21 HCP but every single card is working.  And the power of aces and kings not quacks is clear in this hand.

I can think of two ways to get there in our system and one way that would require a system change.  You either rebid 3H on the opening hand over the forcing one notrump or you treat the responder hand as a constructive raise and bid 2H.  The thing that makes this a bit difficult is that until you know you have a fit opener’s hand is not that good and responder’s hand does get better with the sixth heart but once responder bids 1NT she has no bid over 2H since 3H would show a 3 card limit raise.  We did chat about the idea of having a way of showing a near constructive raise once opener shows a six card suit but couldn’t think of a sensible approach.  (Yes we talked about 2S).

At the other table North opened 1H but our partners doubled and now responder had an easy 2H bid solving the problem.

I have so much more to say about the our weekend adventure but I am too tired now. 


ColinMay 20th, 2008 at 12:15 pm

I wouldn’t change the system on the basis of a single hand that missed a game on a finesse – especially not complicated the responses over forcing NT which are already complicated enough.

Responders hand isn’t a constructive raise and openers isn’t a jump rebid.

If you were going to make any change – you can consider playing 2M as the normal 5-9 instead of 8-10. Constructive raises help when you have them but there is power in the semi-preemptive nature of a simple raise. 1S 2S is a lot harder to bid over than 1S 1NT. If you have a hand like xxx xx AJxx xx – I want to be able to bid 2S over 1S and try to shut out the auction before the opponents get in.

lindaMay 20th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

I agree we decided we can’t change the system. I also agree that there is an argument for not playing that constructive raises but instead playing it just as a raise. I would probably still keep the four card constructive raise though (and play at the 3 level). So 2H would show up to a limit raise with 3 trump or up to a constructive raise with 4 trump. But we aren’t changing anything.

HervéMay 20th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Opener might want to rebid 2 clubs with such a hand, i.e. one that could be interested in making a game try if partner has heart support. Responder should almost always prefer to respond 2 hearts with a 2 card heart support. Then, you are in a better position to decide whether or not to invite and use whatever tools you have at your disposal to do so. We use the next step (2sp) to ask what kind of support partner has (i.e. 2card support min, or max, or 3card support non-constructive). Just a thought.

Ray LeeMay 20th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I’m a simple-minded person — so I have to ask, why didn’t responder bid 1S? Opener might well feel worth a jump to 3H now, and you’ll get to game.

However, if I were you I wouldn’t start from here. The weakest feature of 2/1, IMHO, is the vast number of hands that have to respond with a forcing 1NT. Thus the fewer hands that fit that category, the better. Let’s change the hand to spades, to avoid the 1H-1S red herring. Suppose partner opens 1S, and I have

Qxx AJxx xxx xxx

If I have to bid 1NT and then 2S on this, and also bid the same way with

xx QJx Kxxx 10xxx

let’s say, then we can’t have very sensible constructive sequences. Support with support, as Bergen used to say. On the first hand, play something that lets you just raise partner to 2S. Simple.

lindaMay 20th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Doh. Of course on this hand you can bid 1S. I was so focused about the right heart raise… Anyway, if you do bid 1S responder will likely bid 3H since the 1S bid improves her hand. As you say it does solve the problem on this hand. When we discussed it we talked about the impossible 2S bid (over 2H) but forgot about the possible 1S bid.

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