Responding to a 12-14 Notrump – Part I
Game Invitations with 11 HCP
Your partner opens 1♦, then rebids
your heart response. Should you drop the bid there, or invite a game with your
11-point wonder? This problem is analogous to that from
Simulation #3, in which responder must decide whether to
raise a 15-17 notrump with an 8-count.
Conventional wisdom decrees
that — high-card-point totals
being equal — the more balanced the strength between declarer and dummy,
the more options declarer would be likely to have, and the more tricks should be won
overall. Let's investigate that.
Here is a
SIM screen dump of some randomly generated
deals that conform to our specifications:
Note that passing 1NT at matchpoints still is the winning action,
as the typical hand is entitled to just eight tricks. Here, the
Average Trick Rating (ATR) is 8.11, better than
that of 8.0 for hands of with a 15-8 point-spread,
but not enough better to justify trying for game — at least not without
a 4-card major.
* A 12-11 HCP distribution is only marginally better than 15-8.
Note also that — as in the strong notrump study — at imps the tables
are turned; bidding is highly productive. A player with an
Extra Trick Factor (ETF) of .5 can score
63 additional points per hand (vulnerable) by raking in those game
* Passing 1NT is a clear choice at matchpoints.
* Inviting a notrump game is worthwhile at IMPS.
The Best Honor Combinations
Article #3 details the hand types that best support
an opening notrump bid; little is different here. The following chart shows
trick-taking power of a few honor combinations, using just
3-4-4-2 patterns in this sample:
As before, the suit of AJxx proves to have somewhat magical powers. Perhaps we should do a special study on that holding!
The Value of Control Cards
We already know that possession of control cards is important. Let's evaluate the trick potential by control content.
Not surprisingly, the winner is a holding of
That beats the combination of A-A-K, presumably
because another queen or pair of jacks is included in each hand to fill out the
The bottom line:
** At matchpoints, keep on avoiding those 23-24 point notrump games.
** At imps, keep on bidding them.
Soon, we will look at major-suit enquiries and their ramifications. Enjoy.