Conventions... worth it?
We start with a question to ascertain your bidding methods.
K 9 7 6 4
K Q 7
10 9 4
Partner opens 1 (5 card major system) in first seat at favourable vulnerability. This is IMP's. Your RHO passes. What do you bid?
If you read Larry Cohen's "To Bid or Not to Bid" you will add 5 to 5 and deduce that is is safe to bid 4. The argument is that you are usually secure in contracting to the number of combined trumps. Thus, if you had a 5-3 fit, 2-level is OK. Of course, with more combined points, you would have extra source of tricks!
But with half the pack in points, the LAW helps. Who knows, they may be cold for 4 or in some number of clubs.
Thus the 4 bid. Do you agree?
- Now for the second scenario. Your partner opens a 2 Flannery! This shows 5, maybe 6 hearts, 4 spades, and in the 12-16 point range.
Your bid now?
To assist you in answering the question, I can tell you that a 2 bid by you now is signoff, and a 4 bid is to play. We will assume that 3 asks for a maximum (15-16) to proceed to game. If you bid 2NT, this enquires on partner's hand type. Partner has bids to describe all possible distributions.
Well... what do you do?
Playing Flannery denies you a bid to show a weak 2 in diamonds. Flannery must therefore be effective for you to forego a rather nice preempt. Whilst the standard bidders will shoot to 4 regardless, and then blame it on misfortunate when they go -2, Flannery users can get a bit scientific.
Let us consider the bids:
- 2. Safe but it is highly unlikely that you will play it there. Not in this day and age. Once the opponents discover that they have a spade fit, you will have a problem buying it in 3 even!
- 3. Hmmm, asks for maximum yes, and certainly better than just a signoff at the 2-level. Game may be on if partner has a magic hand like
A x x x
A Q x x x
A x x
Why, you are cold for 5-up!
However, if partner had instead:
Q J x x
A Q J x x
K J x
With a club lead or a spade lead and club shift, you will be at least -1.
In the first hand there were no wasted values, whilst in the second hand the honours in the minors were not dovetailing at all.
- 2NT relay.
- If partner bids 3 (showing 3 clubs), you sign off in 3;
- 3 (4-5-3-1), you proceed to game;
- 3 (minimum 4-5-2-2), you pass;
- 3 (maximum 4-5-2-2) or 3NT (4-5-2-2, some values in minors, thus solidifying your diamonds), you proceed to 4.
Yes, we have used a convention for its proper use now - to assist us in avoiding a bad game.
Partner's actual hand was:
K Q J 4
A Q J 8 3
J 8 4
This hand was played from OKB, week 37, and is board 124.
IMP-37 lmrange Dlr: West Board 124 S 982 Vul: N-S H 2 anon1 D T952 anon2 S KQJ4 C KQJ87 S T3 H AQJ83 H K9764 D J84 nwa D KQ7 C 6 S A765 C T94 H T5 D A63 C A532 West North East South anon1 lmrange anon2 nwa 2D* Pass 2H Pass Pass 3C 3H Pass Pass Pass Opening lead: CA Result: Made 4 Score: -170 Points: 5.45
Playing a convention has all its ramifications. Unless you can use it properly, playing a simplistic style might reward you better.
At least you will have less misunderstandings but, most importantly, bidding and play will "flow" smoother and this even rhythm assists in playing better!
Like all conventions, Flannery has its uses, if used correctly.
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