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Need help analysing this hand

#1 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 07:32

This hand came up with a novice friend of mine (I wasn't playing) where she did badly but I'm struggling to see how EW can easily get to a spade contract.



EW have 3NT and 4 on (the former being thin), but the only way I can see them getting to the spade game is if East overcalls. I don't think the East hand is good enough, what do you think? Evidently some in the field did overcall because six Easts played in spades, four of them in the game making 10 or 11 tricks. If East passes, South raises to 3 and then West has a problem. What do they do, gamble 3NT and hope partner has values but couldn't come in over 2, or make an off-shape TOX? My friend and her partner ended up defending 4 undoubled three down for a 36% score. I don't yet know how the auction went at their table. It is very undesirable to defend an undoubled sacrifice when you have game on your way (although my partner and I managed to defend a cold game when we had slam on last Friday, so who am I to criticise?), but if EW are bidding solidly (i.e. not gambling), it is difficult to see how they can get a decent score, especially in a club with plenty of wild bidders. Your thoughts?
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 08:27

E doesn't have a bid over 2.

W has to do something over 3, if they double, W could easily bid 4.

Of course 4x scores better than 4, how did they get to 4 ?
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#3 User is online   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 08:42

I agree with Cyberyeti that West has a reasonable double of 3H and East has enough to bid game, it's decent but not laydown contract, on the actual layout a couple of finesses are winning.

If South raises 2H direct to 4H, does West have enough to double (I think probably yes?)
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#4 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 08:53

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-March-05, 08:27, said:

E doesn't have a bid over 2.

W has to do something over 3, if they double, W could easily bid 4.

Of course 4x scores better than 4, how did they get to 4 ?


I have just found this out.



I have told her her hand was not suitable for a double, and that if she was going to bid anything, it should be 2 but the hand is not good enough. South made an aggressive 4 raise (maybe they used the knowledge they were playing against a weak pair in their decision) which should go for -500, and West fell asleep by the look of it.

She is enthusiastic and I am trying to help her improve, but I feel she is not going to playing with this partner. This wasn't the only board of the evening her partner made a very poor bid and it cost them then as well.
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#5 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 09:01

my analysis. north more chance has A. south more chance Q(xx) so 3NT/4 lucky contract what makes. most days game will be down than game will be made.
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#6 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 09:30

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-March-05, 09:01, said:

my analysis. north more chance has A. south more chance Q(xx) so 3NT/4 lucky contract what makes. most days game will be down than game will be made.

It's not necessarily down then, xx, AQJxxx, xx, xxx 4 is cold. but sadly not from the side that's going to bid it

Should go 2-X-4-X as the auction went, looks like W fielded a psyche E didn't quite make.
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#7 User is offline   manudude03 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 09:38

View PostAL78, on 2021-March-05, 08:53, said:

I have just found this out.



I have told her her hand was not suitable for a double, and that if she was going to bid anything, it should be 2 but the hand is not good enough. South made an aggressive 4 raise (maybe they used the knowledge they were playing against a weak pair in their decision) which should go for -500, and West fell asleep by the look of it.

She is enthusiastic and I am trying to help her improve, but I feel she is not going to playing with this partner. This wasn't the only board of the evening her partner made a very poor bid and it cost them then as well.


Indeed West did fall asleep. A lot of novices think you can't double game contracts without 4 solid tricks (assuming penalty which is the case for most of them), but that simply doesn't apply when partner has shown values (and isn't even necessarily needed when they haven't). Take away both kings and West still has a double.
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#8 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 09:44

I disagree with the double; I agree with everyone else that 2-p-3-x; p-4 seems like a normal auction.

But when she does double, what does West need to hit 4? A personal note from Shapiro? Or do they treat that as responsive (minors) - they shouldn't? This is possibly down in his hand, and partner doubled. My only concern would be that we don't get it enough for *6*.

I know, I know, West is so used to people doubling on hands like East's that he's reasonably scared about -590. This result isn't East's fault (I would argue -590 would have been if West doubled with a king or so less and it rolled).
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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 10:29

Obviously east should pass 2H.

Almost as obviously, south has no business bidding 4H. 3H is reasonable.

Personally, if I were west, over 3H, Iím not at all convinced that double is a good call. I have short, weak spades for a double and I have Kx in hearts, with the lead coming through my hand since my double pretty much guarantees that partner will be declarer.

Iíd pass

As it happens, east has a reasonable 3S balance. By no means is it clear, but it does seem to me to be a reasonable action, unless west broke tempo over 3H, in which case east has to pass.

If east does balance, west could Ďhangí her by raising to game. Certainly, at imps, Iíd raise if we were vulnerable.

Game isnít great but it happens to make. Beware of the thought process that Ďgame makes as the cards lie, therefore it was a mistake not to bid ití
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#10 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-05, 18:43

Thanks very much for the analysis, very helpful.
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#11 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2021-March-06, 02:54

Agree w/ all the others and Iím glad Mikeh (who else could it be!) mentionned the 3S balance as Iíd gladly risk it green at MPs.

A few take always for your friend:

- a TOX shows sound values, support for the other suits (especially unbid majors), and no natural call available (or a monster hand that can handle any response) - so here, a S less, a D more and a K more are required, at a bare minumum, for the call

- overcall over a weak 2 as you would over a 1-level opening but a little more seriously - here, the hand lacks a little something, maybe CK instead of CQ and extra intermediates in the black suits, the 54 distribution with ę†concentrated†Ľ values would be a + for some action

- actions we aim for are to be good statistically; game is not great (HA in openerís partner and SQ at opener) and the fact that it makes doesnít mean you should be in it; consistency means for 1 hand you get a bottom, the next 4 ones will reward you with above average

Maybe other take aways

- for your partnerís friend - when partner showed values and opps are clearly sacrifying, donít let them get away for free, if no freaky distribution seems to be around, at least apply the ax so that under ticks are at night rate

- for S - the LOTT can be tweaked by 1 on some occasions (green vs red, double fits, extreme distributions, 3 vs. 2...), but this flat hand does not qualify.
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#12 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2021-March-06, 05:20

View Postapollo1201, on 2021-March-06, 02:54, said:

Agree w/ all the others and Iím glad Mikeh (who else could it be!) mentionned the 3S balance as Iíd gladly risk it green at MPs.

Why would anyone pass in this position unless they thought LoTT is total BS? :)
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#13 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-March-06, 05:56

View Postapollo1201, on 2021-March-06, 02:54, said:

Agree w/ all the others and Iím glad Mikeh (who else could it be!) mentionned the 3S balance as Iíd gladly risk it green at MPs.

A few take always for your friend:



- overcall over a weak 2 as you would over a 1-level opening but a little more seriously - here, the hand lacks a little something, maybe CK instead of CQ and extra intermediates in the black suits, the 54 distribution with ę†concentrated†Ľ values would be a + for some action



Imo, overcalling after they open a weak two in front of one is quite different from a one level overcall

White v red AKxxx in spades and nothing else at all is a 1S overcall.

Iíd need at least a side ace to consider doing it at favourable after a weak 2H.

I think it more accurate to say that a 2-level overcall of a weak two shows a hand one would open at the one level, rather than a hand one would overcall at the one level

An overcall at the 3 level requires even more. An opening hand with a decent 6 card suit or a very good opening hand with a decent 5 card suit.

The problem with shaded overcalls is two-fold.

One part is that openerís hand is reasonably well-defined, and responderís double is pure penalty, so responder can apply the axe freely when weíve made a mistake. No rule eliminates that risk but obviously having oneís values will tend to reduce it

The second part, especially for 3 level overcalls but also, to a degree for 2 level overcalls, is that the weak two has taken away bidding space, which leaves advancer little room to invite, and any invitation commits to at least the 3 level (or 2N). Since one will always overcall with good hands, advancer has to be aggressive. When you throw in light overcalls as well, advancer needs to have great mind-reading skills to survive.

Meanwhile, if one passes with a moderate hand, one has to rely on advancer to help via balancing. But sometimes the opps can inflict a bad board on us. Get used to it. Hoping for perfection in competitive bidding is like hoping to win the powerball lottery. Nice to fantasize about but it ainít ever happening to you.
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#14 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-06, 12:12

View Postmikeh, on 2021-March-06, 05:56, said:

Imo, overcalling after they open a weak two in front of one is quite different from a one level overcall

White v red AKxxx in spades and nothing else at all is a 1S overcall.

Iíd need at least a side ace to consider doing it at favourable after a weak 2H.

I think it more accurate to say that a 2-level overcall of a weak two shows a hand one would open at the one level, rather than a hand one would overcall at the one level

An overcall at the 3 level requires even more. An opening hand with a decent 6 card suit or a very good opening hand with a decent 5 card suit.

The problem with shaded overcalls is two-fold.

One part is that openerís hand is reasonably well-defined, and responderís double is pure penalty, so responder can apply the axe freely when weíve made a mistake. No rule eliminates that risk but obviously having oneís values will tend to reduce it

The second part, especially for 3 level overcalls but also, to a degree for 2 level overcalls, is that the weak two has taken away bidding space, which leaves advancer little room to invite, and any invitation commits to at least the 3 level (or 2N). Since one will always overcall with good hands, advancer has to be aggressive. When you throw in light overcalls as well, advancer needs to have great mind-reading skills to survive.

Meanwhile, if one passes with a moderate hand, one has to rely on advancer to help via balancing. But sometimes the opps can inflict a bad board on us. Get used to it. Hoping for perfection in competitive bidding is like hoping to win the powerball lottery. Nice to fantasize about but it ainít ever happening to you.


I consider whether I would make a non-jump overcall at the two level over a 1 level opening bid. If so, the hand is good enough to overcall a weak two. This is consistent with guidance I have heard that says act over a weak two as you would over a 1-level opening. Overcalling a weak two is therefore equivalent to a dirt minimum opening bid at worst with a decent suit. Of course overcalling a the three level demands a full opening hand with a good suit, and I use the suit quality test for guidance on suit quality.
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#15 User is online   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-March-08, 17:03

Hm. Doesn't a monster hand require at least fifty HCP? B-)
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-March-09, 10:23

Attack of the 50-HCP Monster?
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#17 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 03:52

Did everyone open the 2H. Its a fairly ordinary 2H - then getting to 4H is impressive pre-empting :)

FYI My favorite Qplus Demo managed to get to 4S using 2/1, SAYC and Acol

It overcalled in the 5 card major systems and North didnt open in Acol
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#18 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 06:50

View Postthepossum, on 2021-March-10, 03:52, said:

Did everyone open the 2H. Its a fairly ordinary 2H - then getting to 4H is impressive pre-empting :)

FYI My favorite Qplus Demo managed to get to 4S using 2/1, SAYC and Acol

It overcalled in the 5 card major systems and North didnt open in Acol


My guess is everyone did open 2. Weak twos in the majors are almost universally played at my club. The reason for the poor score is that six pairs found a spade contract, 2, 3 or 4, two pairs found 3, and one pair found 2NT, all making, so some (at least five out of 12) EW pairs didn't get a 3 raise from South, and it looks like no-one else got a 4 raise. I have no idea whether those in a spade contract found an overcall on the East hand or introduced their suit after West entered the auction. I could find out assuming it is possible to look at the boards and the auction/play at individual tables for sessions you haven't played in.
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#19 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 19:26

View PostAL78, on 2021-March-10, 06:50, said:

My guess is everyone did open 2. Weak twos in the majors are almost universally played at my club. The reason for the poor score is that six pairs found a spade contract, 2, 3 or 4, two pairs found 3, and one pair found 2NT, all making, so some (at least five out of 12) EW pairs didn't get a 3 raise from South, and it looks like no-one else got a 4 raise. I have no idea whether those in a spade contract found an overcall on the East hand or introduced their suit after West entered the auction. I could find out assuming it is possible to look at the boards and the auction/play at individual tables for sessions you haven't played in.


Thx. I appreciate the overcall, by most of what people say, and what I read isn't there. I'm actually interested at how Q found the bid :)

Actually looking at it again doesn't it just about qualify an overcall, and according to the page I am reading (BridgeWebs) you should aim to be aggressive. Qplus is my kind of player
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#20 User is online   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 03:51

View Postthepossum, on 2021-March-10, 19:26, said:

Thx. I appreciate the overcall, by most of what people say, and what I read isn't there. I'm actually interested at how Q found the bid :)

Actually looking at it again doesn't it just about qualify an overcall, and according to the page I am reading (BridgeWebs) you should aim to be aggressive. Qplus is my kind of player


It is a matter of style but most pairs play an overcall of a weak two as being constructive rather than looking for a sacrifice (don't bid weak over weak"). Also if the opener's partner doubles, it's for penalties
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