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Don't bid your hand twice - Manx hands 3 example hand from Douglas Bridge Club

#1 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 05:19

It's a sound principle in bidding not to "bid the same hand twice" - not to keep on bidding when you don't have to unless you have something new to say. On this hand from Douglas Bridge Club 10 March 2021, board 7, West breached that principle and collected a poor board as a result.




To bid 5D, West should have significant extra shape (say 2-0-6-5 with a void in hearts) and/or significant extra strength - the West hand has nice diamonds, but is a pretty standard vulnerable 2NT overcall. East played the hand well to get out for -100 and a 40% board. 4 - 1 would have been 70% and 4 - 2 would have been 100%.

So remember, it's OK to bid again where you have:
  • extra shape compared to what you have shown;
  • extra strength compared to what you have shown;
  • new information that significantly improves your hand (perhaps partner bidding strongly in suit where you had unpromising holding like Qxx)

.. but not just to repeat what partner already knows

The identity of the guilty West is of course a closely guarded secret (but it wasn't Andy). Posted Image
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#2 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 09:45

south is guilty also. poor suit and Kj under 2nt bidder. I am not liking north 3 pre-empt raise also with 4432 even if this is bidding to 'level of the fit'. I would pass and bid 3 after the opps bid their / preference if I am allowed to do so. warning to partner have xxxx support but very weak.
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#3 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 10:21

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-March-11, 09:45, said:

south is guilty also. poor suit and Kj under 2nt bidder. I am not liking north 3 pre-empt raise also with 4432 even if this is bidding to 'level of the fit'. I would pass and bid 3 after the opps bid their / preference if I am allowed to do so. warning to partner have xxxx support but very weak.
Douglas43 and L Bengtsson's arguments seem cogent. Here, their good advice would work well. Nevertheless I confess that I would have been strongly tempted by the losing options, at the table :(.
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#4 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 13:03

I hate 2NT on the west hand. Just overcall 2.

This hand is WHY 2NT (or Michaels) with intermediate hands is a bad idea. Much easier life if 2NT is either weak (5 to a mediocre 11, say) that can comfortably pass any non-forcing bid, or with clear extras.
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#5 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 14:07

I'm with TylerE here - I'm only bidding 2NT if I'm 100% confident in how I'm going to follow it up, and in this case I'm not. In this case West is caught halfway in between a minimum and extra strength, which is why they had a difficult decision.
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#6 User is online   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 15:46

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-March-11, 05:19, said:

It's a sound principle in bidding not to "bid the same hand twice" - not to keep on bidding when you don't have to unless you have something new to say.


There have been occasions when playing with a particularly uncooperative partner or GiB where I had to bid my hand 3 times before they stopped bidding :)

You often end up in a fit with 2 or 3 fewer trumps simply because it is short in your suit
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 16:35

View Postsmerriman, on 2021-March-11, 14:07, said:

I'm with TylerE here - I'm only bidding 2NT if I'm 100% confident in how I'm going to follow it up, and in this case I'm not. In this case West is caught halfway in between a minimum and extra strength, which is why they had a difficult decision.


I'm quite the opposite, so probably close to Douglas - I consider it a picture bid that should not require follow up, unplayable as weak although with due consideration of vulnerability. So I might occasionally have extra values or shape, but normally I am going to pass.
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#8 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 08:46

View PostTylerE, on 2021-March-11, 13:03, said:

I hate 2NT on the west hand. Just overcall 2. This hand is WHY 2NT (or Michaels) with intermediate hands is a bad idea. Much easier life if 2NT is either weak (5 to a mediocre 11, say) that can comfortably pass any non-forcing bid, or with clear extras.

View Postsmerriman, on 2021-March-11, 14:07, said:

I'm with TylerE here - I'm only bidding 2NT if I'm 100% confident in how I'm going to follow it up, and in this case I'm not. In this case West is caught halfway in between a minimum and extra strength, which is why they had a difficult decision.

View Postpescetom, on 2021-March-11, 16:35, said:

I'm quite the opposite, so probably close to Douglas - I consider it a picture bid that should not require follow up, Unplayable as weak although with due consideration of vulnerability. So I might occasionally have extra values or shape, but normally I am going to pass.


  • Disagree with TylerE and SMerriman: IMO, Unusual notrump and Michaels should suggest that, with support for one of the suits, partner should normally bid game, at the prevailing scoring and vulnerability. (I concede that you need to be circumspect when vulnerable). Nevertheless, these 2-suiter bids should both be wide-ranging. Roughly conforming to the law of total-tricks. Extra shape would make up for lack of high cards. Such bids are more frequent, and seem to be more effective, on the more common intermediate hands. In the latter context, bidding both suits, one at a time, is less pre-emptive and likely to be more dangerous.
  • Partially agree with Pescatom, but IMO, the overcaller should often bid again e.g.

  • Double with with extra high-card strength.
  • Rebid the longer suit with a suit disparity e.g.6-5 or 7-5.
  • Rebid notrump with freaky shape e.g. 6-6.
  • Cue-bid an opponents' suit (e.g. cheaper for cheaper), with extra shape and strength .

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#9 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 10:09

View Postnige1, on 2021-March-12, 08:46, said:

Partially agree with Pescetom, but IMO, the overcaller should often bid again e.g.
  • Double with with extra high-card strength.
  • Rebid the longer suit with a suit disparity e.g.6-5 or 7-5.
  • Rebid notrump with freaky shape e.g. 6-6.
  • Cue-bid an opponents' suit (e.g. cheaper for cheaper), with extra shape and strength .



I think we basically agree then, you're obviously just getting more 6-6 or extra loaded overcall hands than I seem to do B-)
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#10 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 12:48

View Postnige1, on 2021-March-12, 08:46, said:

[list][*]Disagree with TylerE and SMerriman: IMO, Unusual notrump and Michaels should suggest that, with support for one of the suits, partner should normally bid game,


I'm sure that works out great for you the twice a year (if that) you get that hand.
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#11 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 16:01

Apart from with my current partner, I've tended to use the two suited overcalls on either weak or strong hands, either we are suggesting a distributional game or we are suggesting sacrificing over the opponent's game. Overcalling on intermediate hands as well means partner has to consider we might be competing the part score as well, that is three different aims and we have to estimate which one when we are at the three level and all partner knows is which two suits I have.
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 16:39

mikeh, where are you when we really need you? :)

I suspect that the most important thing as always is that the partnership has a firm agreement. But it's certainly difficult to evaluate whether to privilege frequency or certainty or to gamble for both with overcalls on intermediate hands, unless of course you have played attently a heck of a lot of bridge.
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#13 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 16:41

I do not like:

north's 3H. yes it is generally played as less than invitational, but it ought not to be played as 'preemptive', since opener has no room to enquire...he has to decide whether to bid game or not, and since say Kxxx Axxx xxx xx is a normal 3H raise, and we are about a trick less than that, bidding on garbage turns the game into a guessing contest. We pass, and either balance 3H over 3m, if passed around to us, or we hope partner can take some action. Does this mean that occasionally we miss a good result? Yes, but so what? Don't go chasing tops on every board

South's 4H. Yes, he has a right to expect a better hand from partner but we barely have an acceptance of an uncontested limit raise, and partner doesn't have a limit raise, plus we can expect (more often than not, and yes I do see that on this hand the club Queen is onside) the AQ of clubs too often be in the wrong hand AND east often to be overruffing dummy in clubs.

West's 5D: for the reasons given by Douglas. 4D was merely competitive, and west's clubs are weak, he lacks any shape beyond what he's promised and he has better defence than he promised... that spade King is potentially very well positioned, and he has the club Ace, as opposed to say KQxxx, which might or might not be a trick, but which in any event requires a loss of tempo when trying to set it up.

As for the discussion about 2N: historically it was common to be taught that 2-suited overcalls should be weak or strong, and never intermediate.

However, as best as I can tell from my expert partners, the expert opps I sometimes play, and the reading/kibitzing I have been doing, that is no longer the expert consensus, although I am sure some good players still do this. Nowadays the consensus appears to be that one has to 'get in' with the descriptive distributional information as soon as possible.

Here's some of the rationale:

Say we consider the west hand as intermediate (I wouldn't...to me this is a normal range vulnerable 2N, but if we were white v red then it would be intermediate)...and we have a style wherein we do not show a 2-suiter with intermediate hands.

Our choices then are pass(!) or 2D...obviously we'd opt for 2D.

Say it then goes 3H on our left, P by partner and either Pass or 4H by RHO. How happy are we?

Well, say partner has Axx xx xx Kxxxxx?

Improbable, but definitely not impossible. We are cold for 5C.m But can we bid 4C over 3H or 5C over 4H?

Only if we have a combination of a death wish and a deep dislike for partner, who happens (when they bid 4H) to be looking at QJxx QJ10x xx xx

The problem, in other words, is that when we hold an intermediate hand, and our style prevents us from showing both suits, we will frequently find ourself in a position in which we cannot afford to show our second suit because when we have shape, often times the opps also have shape and can be raising the level based on their fit plus their hcp, and we can't tell if they are bidding on shape alone or on strength.

Bidding 2N on intermediate hands is imperfect...that's why (historically) it wasn't done much. But decades of high level play is the crucible in which styles are explored, tested, modified, rejected, etc.

One other plausible reason for the change to wide range treatments is that these days most people bid (including opening and raising) on hands that, 50 years ago, would have been routine passes. Plus even many non-experts are much better at relatively sedate competitive auctions than was the case many years ago. A 2D overcall of 1H really doesn't do a lot to disrupt their auction, while 2N can wreak havoc even against solid pairs...you've simply taken away valuable bidding space.

Btw, see what a 2D overcall might have led to: North bids 3H, preemptive, east bids 4D, and south, opposite a preemptive raise, has no reason to bid over 4D...if 4D makes, it is only 130 or 150, and 4H rates to go down 200 opposite many weak raises, even undoubled. Thus the 2N overcall was actually working, due to poor competitive choices by N-S, until West committed his own error.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#14 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-March-13, 02:33

As the guilty West, I am in the camp that bids when the shape is right (subject to minimum suit quality, especially when vulnerable), rather than "weak or strong". This is influenced by the law of total tricks, another reason why I shouldn't have bid twice. If it's right to bid to the level of the fit, then it's right whether the 2NT hand is weak, intermediate or strong.

In defence of North's 3 bid, Andy and I are one of the stronger pairs at club level, and one of the points we make to our improvers is to be compete against the good players, not to sit back and let them pick your pockets. Admittedly as North I might pass, then balance with 3 over 3.
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