Weak or strong?
Posted by Rakesh Kumar on Sunday, 13 July 2014 at 23:50
No, I'm not asking about your cup of tea, this is about your notrump opening. I spent some time watching the first day of the ANC Teams Round Robin remotely, simply by keeping an eye on the progressive scores displayed on the website. It struck me that the choice of notrump opening strength, and the methods opponents used against a weak notrump, were significant factors in the results on this hand
(board 18, round 2; NS vul, E dealer):
In the Open, 2 NS pairs successfully reached 3NT and the rest played in making part-scores, usually in notrumps. In the Seniors', 4 played in 1NT by NS, making 9 or 10 tricks, while 2 again bid and made 3NT. However, in one match where "real men play a weak notrump" was the dominant philosophy, both Wests opened 1NT. At one table this was not doubled and went 5 off for -250. That turned out to be no loss, because at the other table, the penalty doubles began early and EW eventually escaped (?) to 2C doubled for -800. Gulp! In the Women's, 2 pairs made 3NT and 5 made part-scores. One West did play in 1NT doubled, although she extricated herself for a mere -300.
But it wasn't all bad news for the weak notrump. There was also this hand from the same match (board 4; both vul, W dealer):
In the Open, 5 of the 8 NS pairs reached 4S and duly made it, while 2 stopped in part-scores in spades, and one went astray in a notrump contract. Remarkably, in the Women's there were no NS pairs in game. In the Seniors', one of the "real men" sitting East played in 1NT for -200, but he didn't mind at all, because his team-mates were one of the 2 pairs in 4S. There were quite a few hiccups at the other tables, mostly leading to minuses for EW in assorted part-scores. Then again, just to prove that it wasn't all about the weak notrump, one East opened 1C and was allowed to play there, for +70!