Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

USBF Open Team Trials about to begin – the usual suspects (conventions)

With only a few days to go before the open team trials begin I thought I would have a look at the teams playing in the Round Robin and check out their convention cards. If you would like to do the same, it is easy because the USBF has conveniently posted the cards on their website. Just go to list of teams and click on any player to see their convention card.  Unfortunately most of the pairs have not posted their convention card but as required have simply posted the bids that require a pre-alert (special preparation). 

So far I have looked at 26 pairs before I stopped to clear my head.  Here are my results so far.  Most won’t surprise you but perhaps one or two items will.

A) Most of the field I have looked at so far plays a 2 over 1 variation usually with a strong notrump.   No surprise there.  There is a standard based system but there are several strong forcing club  and a surprising number of multi-way club variants with 1C being for example a strong balanced hand, a weak notrump or clubs.

B) 10-12 notrump is very rare indeed and even 12-14 notrump[ isn’t all that common with most of the field playing 5 card majors and strong notrump

C) Players who play 2/1 are generally playing weak 2 bids of some kind.  Flannery occurs now and then and even the odd 2D multi.

Are you surprised so far?  Well here is one that is “newer”

D) Almost everyone is playing some sort of transfer advances (usually one under) in competition.  The most frequent situation is after an opening bid and an overcall by the opponents.  But players are using transfer advances in other situations too.  This seems to be the norm rather than the exception so take note.

E) Most of the players play 3rd from even low from odd or 3rd and 5th against suit contracts with fourth best being the system of choice against notrump.

F) Multi-Landy which strangely requires a pre-alert is the most common defense over strong notrump.  2D showing a major has been declared “special” by the ACBL (I guess that means the USBF too), 2H and 2S showing that major and a minor or 2C showing both majors are still user friendly

So most of us watching most of the event shall find the North American style of play something we are used to.   I guess it means that the efforts to slow-down innovation in ACBL country seem to be working that way for many partnerships.  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

But I can’t wait for it all to begin!  Roll on!

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