Responding to a 15-17 Notrump – Part III
A Reader's Contribution
How Good Is: A . Kxxx . JT87x . xxx
After opening 1NT, your partner responds
over your Stayman inquiry. I believe that most players would follow up with
an invitational 2NT. Let's see whether that is best:
Nope. It appears that diamond contracts average nearly two tricks better
than notrump. Passing
2♦, therefore, is a prohibitive
matchpoint favorite. Of course, as has proved so frequently the case
in other simulations, trying for the game bonus can be a substantial
total-point winner — provided that your opponents donate their
quota of tricks in the play!
Now suppose that opener responds 2♠ (denying hearts).
Again, I daresay that most would try an invitational
An alternative would be to sign off in 3♦.
Let's test that comparison:
Even though the contract is a level higher this time, it still is better to play in diamonds at matchpoints. And it remains far better to invite game at imps.
* At matchpoints, play in diamonds when opener has no major.
* At imps, invite game.
Of course, opener might cooperate by rebidding
Now the question is whether we should invite game or simply bid it.
Here is the answer:
Okay, there is no news here: just bid the game, and come out ahead in the long run.
* With a 4-4 heart fit, go to game.
What about a general strategy for handling this hand? The following
chart details a number of options, with their
What? Sign off in 2♦? What system could even do
that? The answer is: my own system supports such an exit (we don't play
Stayman!); but that's another story. Take the ace or king away from this
♦ becomes the standout contract. The actual
collection, however, is too good for such conservatism, as there is much game
potential. Note, however, that 2♦ outscores
1NT even when opener might be long in one or both majors.
It appears that the best overall strategy is the one that perhaps most players would adopt:
* Raise 2♥ to game; invite in Notrump otherwise.
My thanks to reader Ed Judy for submitting this problem.