What’s an Opening Bid?
Over the past few days, I spent some time watching the USBF Team Trials to choose USA-2. As expected, pairs bid aggressively and, in general, played and defended very well. Also, as expected, there were some disasters.
However, what struck me as interesting were the requirements for a 1-level opening bid in a suit. Now I realize that of the pairs in the final, winner-takes-all, most were playing a strong-club system, so systemically they can handle lighter opening bids — but how light is “lighter”?
I just quickly skimmed through the final half of that final: 4 segments of 15 boards each and picked out some hands to illustrate my question. I’d be curious to hear your comments. Am I a wimp because I would not have opened some of these as 1-level openings? Before saying yes, keep in mind that with a couple of partners I play a non-vulnerable 10-12 1NT opening (except in 4th position!).
Board 3, 1st position, favourable vulnerability. South opened 1♦ on this 10-count. Goren, or his ghost-writer, would have said that doubleton jack was not pulling its weight.
Board 8, 1st position, both not vulnerable. West opened 1♦ at both tables on this 4-3-3-3 11-count.
Board 16, 1st position, neither vulnerable. West opened 1♦. You may have noticed that these first 3 openings were 1♦, which is interesting because in the systems being played, an opening 1♦ bid is “nebulous” as it often is in strong-club systems. Most of the examples turn out to be 1♦ openings.
Board 18, 1st position, favourable vulnerability. East opened 1♦. I notice these are also all in 1st position — maybe you don’t get to open if you are not in 1st position!
Board 19, 1st position, favourable vulnerability. South opened 1♦. Geoff has an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, but two 9’s — perhaps that makes it a better than average hand 🙂
Board 22, 1st position, unfavourable vulnerability. East opened 1♥. Well, at least this is a change from diamonds. It is also an 11-count and not a 10-count as in the previous couple of hands.
Board 28, 3rd position, favourable vulnerability. East opened 1♠ on this 8-count — it must be all those 10’s and 9’s. Or is that with a 10-count being an opening bid in 1st or 2nd position, 8 is more than enough in 3rd?
Board 29, 1st position, both vulnerable. North opened that quacky, flat, 11-count — what else? — 1♦.
Here are a couple from the last two segments (there were more than two, but I don’t think I need more to make my point).
Board 8, 1st position, neither vulnerable. Sitting E-W are a pair that are not playing a strong-club system. That enables West to open this semi-balanced 11-count 1♣.
This is getting repetitive so lets skip a bunch. Here’s a hand that is less than average — it has no 8!
Board 27, 1st position, neither vulnerable. South opened 1♦. That’s a whole 10 HCP, including a stiff queen.
So, am I a wimp in not considering any of those hands a 1 of a suit opening?