Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021


TedMarch 16th, 2021 at 4:18 pm

Hi Bobby,

On BWTA, if playing a forcing NT where opener would bid this way with a weak NT type 5=3=3=2 hand, how would this affect that evaluation?

bobbywolffMarch 16th, 2021 at 5:16 pm

Hi Ted,

Although 5 card majors with a forcing 1NT response over partner’s opening one of a major is far and away the accepted system played in the USA, especially among experienced tournament players. However, it is both flawed and to be blunt, an extremely questionable choice.

You, of course, are inquiring about one of its several serious setbacks, since if the opener is dealt your above reasonably common distribution, the final contract is likely to rest in a 3-3 fit when other far superior part scores (including 1NT) are available.

However, to have the above start an intelligent discussion of the problems involved, is impractical, and beyond the scope of (in length) to which this forum is intended.

Suffice it to say what others are so inclined to think, just “grin and bare it”.

Yes it becomes often difficult to screw around with the falcon and could be thought to be similar to politics in the USA, just accept and go on to the next topic, whatever harm it causes to the future of our beloved home.

However, on the record, I have never been a fan of the above choice, but for simplicity sake, not to mention shaking up so many dedicated believers, it becomes questionable at best to proceed further, if, in fact, the reader does not want to delve into even the possibility of changing his already developed mindset of what has likely lasted many years.

Sad, but true but perhaps the entire world bridge population affected (banded together with this conundrum) will one day, after finding a forceful bridge lover who is also well enough respected, to finally answer the question, “of everyone talking about the above fault(s), but no one ever doing anything about it”, at least seriously published

Yes, unfortunately it would result in a decided change, but hopefully this incredibly important but difficult task, could and should, be accepted by a relatively young and very talented bridge lover, who, of course, is dealt the time to do it.

Thanks for listening, assuming you are still there.

bobbywolffMarch 16th, 2021 at 5:59 pm

Hi again Ted,

As a tiny head start, an imaginative partnership could (should) make that 1NT response (to 1 of a major) “Intended forcing)” then allowing a 12-14- balanced (5-3-3-2) any to pass partner’s 1NT initial response.

That in turn, would forbid partnerships who concoct unusual 1NT responses (not in the main stream) from being certain that the opener will rebid, therefore forbidding experimentation by the responder since he might be passed out right there.

At least to me, that proposed disadvantage turns out not to be, since I am not pleased nor likely ever will be, for a bridge partnership to go unilateral by doing whatever that might mean.

To accomplish the above, I suggest that partnership (1NT response, semi-forcing) adopt a 14+-17 1 NT opening bid even including some 5-4-2-2s. as long as those longer suits are not both majors. The above then will allow the 1NT response to range up to 11+ or even 12-.

And away we go!

TedMarch 16th, 2021 at 10:42 pm

Thank you, Bobby. I like your suggestion, although this means a 1NT response can no longer be used as the start of a 3 card limit raise. Any suggestions there?

bobbywolffMarch 17th, 2021 at 5:19 am

Hi Ted,

Sure, just play limit raises in all suits and jump to three with only three. In reality you lose very little to nothing at all, and sometimes you not only effectively preempt your opponents, but then if one of your opponents have three of that major he cannot count on his partner to have only a singleton.

At least to me and over time, I not only think that losing your current method of first bidding a forcing NT with three of your partner’s major is not a loss, but in practice, even a small gain.
Another somewhat tiny advantage is not allowing 4th hand to get in a two level lead director.