Monday, August 31, 2009

Too Strong?

I kibitzed this hand during the Bermuda Bowl round robin USA2 vs Norway match--dealer held:
Q9x
KQJxx
AQ
KTx

How good is this holding and what's your approach?

7 comments:

Nigel Kearney said...

It's not a hand that can open 1H and later call itself 18-19, if that's what you mean.

I'd call it a fairly ordinary 17 with the five card suit being cancelled out by having only one ace and the diamond situation.

Memphis MOJO said...

I discussed this with the walkers and they agreed with me (for what that's worth).

I would open 1H and don't see any problem rebidding 2NT. Over a minor, it's a point stronger, but partner knows that over a major, I might have this hand.

If it didn't work out, would I be surprised? Absolutely not.

Becker said...

At the table Hamman opened 1 Heart and rebid 2NT and the Americans reached a good 3NT (Zia had a balanced 9 count with Txx of hearts). The commentators seemed to be strongly in favor of the action, one calling the hand "much too strong for 1NT."

I don't mind the bidding, but would prefer to open a strong notrump if available--i'm pretty much with Nigel in thinking this looks like a decent balanced 17 count. If it's not your partnership's style to open 1NT, that's one thing, but I don't think that the hand is too strong.

Franco said...

I'm a 1H bidder. Only jack is a really good one, powerful 5 card suit, and some additional useful spots.

You also have a nice hand for 6 hearts should you catch a forcing raise.

If it goes 1H-1N and we play 2 or 3N, I'm not that worried about the diamond. Partner's expected length is 4+, he might have Jxx, the DK might be onside, we might make anyway, etc.

If we belong in spades, I'd wish I were declarer, though.

Jeff said...

K & R 15.60

thg said...

A curious problem, the hand looks to me to be better than 17, but the D:AQ tells me I want to declare the hand -- putting this hand down as dummy reduces its value.

I was surprised by the K&R evaluation and I wanted to see what kind of declarer value the D:AQ held, so I set out to do some double dummy simulation.

Since we're talking about strength, I decided to focus solely on NT and focus on two sequences: 1N and 1H-1N.

It seems that these days 8 HCP is generally enough to invite opposite a 1N opener (and opener will obviously accept) so game will be reached after both a 1N and 1H opener if responder has 8 HCP.

It will be no surprise that double dummy results confirm we want to bid game when responder has 8 HCP. But, game is better from the strong side: 61% vs 52%.

About one time in six there are more tricks available from the strong side. (This is pretty consistent whether responder has 6, 7 or 8 HCP.)

When responder has 7 HCP, he will pass 1N, but respond 1N to 1H and then raise a 2N rebid to 3N. 3N from responder's side makes about 31%. Add in a bit for declarer's advantage and this is close to being a game you want to bid.

From the strong side, game is about 38%. With the extra vig for declarer's advantage this is probably a game you'd want to bid...if the alternative was to play 2N.

Since the options are 1N or 3N, it should be noted that in 1N from the strong side you'll go plus 95% of the time; 3N from the weak side goes down at least two 29% of the time. I think this shifts the usual thresholds for wanting to bid game, but I'll leave that to others.

With 6 HCP, we'll play 1N after a 1N opening and 2N after a 1H opening. 1N from the strong side goes plus 87% of the time; 2N from the weak side goes plus 82% of the time.

I've taken two things from all this: the hand isn't as good as I initially thought and there really is value in making this hand declarer. If I knew I was going to be declarer in NT, I'd value this hand at 18, since I don't know that, 17 is probably right. The catch is that valuing it at 17 and opening 1NT makes it more likely that I'll declare NT. Oh for the days of the 16-18 NT!

kennyz said...

it's not "too strong" but I see no compelling reason to suppress my excellent heart suit, so I am opening 1H. I don't like wasting brain cells trying to figure out which 5 card major hands are worth a 1nt vs 1M opening. Either could work out, so I just open 1M (almost) every time and save the neurons for more meaningful decisions.