Oct 1999

Conventions... worth it?  

We start with a question to ascertain your bidding methods.

You hold:



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 4H- regardless, and then blame it on misfortunate when they go -2, Flannery users can get a bit scientific.

Let us consider the bids:

  1. 2H-. 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 3H- even!

  2. 3H-. 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
        S- A x x x
        H- A Q x x x
        D- A x x
        C- x

        Why, you are cold for 5-up!

    However, if partner had instead:

        S- Q J x x
        H- A Q J x x
        D- x
        C- 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.

  3. 2NT relay.
    • If partner bids 3C- (showing 3 clubs), you sign off in 3H-;
    • 3D- (4-5-3-1), you proceed to game;
    • 3H- (minimum 4-5-2-2), you pass;
    • 3S- (maximum 4-5-2-2) or 3NT (4-5-2-2, some values in minors, thus solidifying your diamonds), you proceed to 4H-.

    Yes, we have used a convention for its proper use now - to assist us in avoiding a bad game.

    Partner's actual hand was:

        S- K Q J 4
        H- A Q J 8 3
        D- J 8 4
        C- 6

    4H- makes.

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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