Responding to a 12-14 Notrump – Part I
Game Invitations with 11 HCP
Your partner opens 1♦, then rebids
over 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,
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
* 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
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 high-card-point complement.
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.