2C opener

I am dealt 9 Hearts the AKJ10 , 2 small singletons and a small double ton .
Am I permitted to open 2C showing 23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit ?

Comments

  • OK - this has been rehashed many a time

    You can't (at level 4) have such a wide-ranging agreement - you have to restrict it a bit.

    You can open 2C showing 23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit that is not clubs (disclose hand may not be strong) or a strong hand with a club suit.

    It is only a slight variation in practice - but a much longer and necessary agreement/ explanation is needed.

  • John, take a look at the notes to 7C1of the Blue Book.

  • edited May 26

    Yes

    (1) A ‘Benji’ 2Cor 2D opening (or any other opening with a similar meaning) which may have ‘eight playing tricks’ in any suit must by agreement satisfy (a) above. An agreement to make such a bid on a hand with many playing tricks but limited high card strength must be clearly disclosed.

    (a) Any meaning or meanings as long as they all show a strong hand (16+ HCP, or 12+ HCP with at least 5 controls)

    So what's the problem with my response?

    (

    1) The agreement is illegal. If the OP had a legal agreement he could of course open with the hand suggested HOWEVER it would be a psych.

  • I'm not sure that his is correct Weejonnie... Blue Book, 7 C 1 - under notes:

    5 It is permitted to open (say) 2C to show an unspecified long suit that is not clubs under
    (b)(iv) above. If such an opening may contain (for example) a solid eight card major with
    little outside this should be clearly described and not called simply, ‘Strong’.

    So, as long as this is described fully as, either 23+ points, balanced, some strong hand that needed a forcing opening bid, or could be a long solid suit with little defensive values.

    Essentially requires full disclosure of possible meanings and it would certainly be legal to have such an agreement.

  • edited May 26

    As long as you specifically exclude CLUBS as one of the options there is no problems - that is what note 5 says. Once you say " some strong hand that needed a forcing opening bid" then the hand has to be 'strong'. And the hand of the OP is not 'strong' by definition.

    Which is why my (2nd) comment - specifically defines the hand as being 'strong' if the suit is clubs. Once you use that definition the OP call of 2C is perfectly allowable to show that hand - provided opponents are advised the hand may not be 'strong'.

    Again - if you define all the suit bids as being strong, there is no problem - you can bid what you like, BUT if partner allows for the fact you may have a 9-card suit to the AKJ and no other strength then this is evidence of a concealed partnership understanding (red psych) - and I suspect a TD would score the hand as 60-30 against the bidder.

  • I wasnt saying that we describe the hand as strong, but rather that a strong hand is 2 out of 3 possible hands for the 2C..

    a) strong and ballanced
    b) strong and shapely
    c) long solid suit that would not be strong in other suits and no defensive values

    Just because strong is one of the possibilities should not preclude weaker hands surely, as long as it is disclosed as such? Otherwise, how is the multi 2D allowed as this is a mix of weak and strong possibilities

  • edited May 26

    It depends on how the bid is defined and described.

    "23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit" is too vague to pin down the bid description to a specific legal bid. There are two possible legal bids that could be being described here:

    1. A strong bid, in which case the closest you could get is "16+ HCP or 12+ HCP with 5 controls; and either additional high cards bringing the hand up to 23 HCP, or else a strong suit which will give 8 tricks when played in that suit". You're starting with a "minimum strong bid" and defining it further via placing on extra restrictions. This is what most players would naturally assume from a "23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit" description, so if you're playing it as meaning something else, that description is probably misinformation.
    2. A multi, in which case the bid has four possibilities: a) 23+ HCP (strong option); b) 8+ tricks in hearts, no minimum HCP count (single-suited pre-empt option); c) 8+ tricks in spades, no minimum HCP count (single-suited pre-empt option); d) 8+ tricks in diamonds, no minimum HCP count (single-suited pre-empt option). I'd describe this as something like "either 23+ points, or else a long diamond, heart, or spade suit worth 8+ tricks offensively but could be weak defensively". This version doesn't allow you to have a long club suit, because an artificial pre-empt has to either show or deny the suit bid.

    So if you're playing the strong version, your hand isn't allowed because it's too weak. If you're playing the multi, this hand is allowed (its long suit is not clubs) subject to your opponents being informed that this sort of hand is a possibility. (Their defence to your bid is likely to vary depending on which option you're using, e.g. a double of a strong 2!c is probably lead-directing, a double of a potentially pre-emptive 2!c is more likely to suggest competing in clubs.)

    Most of the confusion over the new 2-level bidding rules is that many bids that people traditionally think of as strong (e.g. the Benji single-suiter bid) are classified as multis under the current classification. (A bid that might be a 2!c opener in Benji might well be a 4!h opener for players playing other systems, so it does often turn out that a bid that the bidders think of as strong is thought of as pre-emptive by their opponents!)

  • ais - I think we are talking the same story, as long as there is full disclosure, then it would be legal. Alerting and letting the ops know just that it is STRONG would be wrong, but you say: it might be long solid suit with few points and no defensive values, or strong shapely or 23+ flat, then this should be fine?

  • As ais mentions it is fine - providing one of your " long solid suit with few points and no defensive values" options is not, by agreement, clubs. The hand given meets the requirments of a Benji 2 Club hand: it is just that you have to explain it may not be 'strong'..

  • @00011326johnR said:
    I am dealt 9 Hearts the AKJ10 , 2 small singletons and a small double ton .
    Am I permitted to open 2C showing 23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit ?

    Why on earth would you want to (as distinct from opening 4!h - or 4!c if you play SA Texas) except to hope that it would deter the opponents from coming in? That is fine, so far as it goes, if you are absolutely punctilious about full disclosure. The problem is that there is a subset of opponents who will not ask but assume that you have lots of lovely high cards. Sure, they should not assume, but unless you take active steps to tell them what is going on they will be disadvantaged. The problem is worse if, as in many clubs, convention cards are not in general use (so that even if you have one and it has a supremely accurate description of your actual (and legal) agreement well highlighted, people may be used to ignoring it). Somehow this doesn't feel like there is a level playing field.

    @weejonnie said:
    If the OP had a legal agreement he could of course open with the hand suggested HOWEVER it would be a psych.

    It's slightly more complicated than that. If the agreement is made legal by merely omitting the non-strong club hands, then of course to open on AKJ10 to 9 hearts and out is in accordance with the legal agreement. Opening on ditto in clubs would be a psyche.

    Players are allowed to do that only once. After that it is likely to be ruled that there is an implicit agreement, and knowingly to have an implicit agreement to do something that is not permitted as an explicit agreement is of course a serious matter.

  • It's this mythical subset that worries me. I can't imagine why anyone would think that strong has to include defensive values or be based entirely on points.
    We now have to assume that everyone thinks this.

  • @Alan16248 said:
    It's this mythical subset that worries me. I can't imagine why anyone would think that strong has to include defensive values or be based entirely on points.
    We now have to assume that everyone thinks this.

    I am fortunate enough not to play in clubs where the apparently prevalent desire to open pre-emptive hands with an artificial 2!c is common. But at the clubs where I play a significant proportion of players frequently do not ask all the questions that I think it would be in their interests to ask.

    In those clubs therefore, the subset is not mythical, but comprises a substantial minority of the players.

    In the same clubs the assumption is that a 2!c bid described, for example, as "Benjy" is going to deliver a hand which:
    (a) is not strong enough for a game force;
    (b) is not suitable for a pre-empt of any sort; and
    (c) is considered "too strong" for an opening bid of one - there may be a chance for game opposite a hand which would pass a one bid.
    Of course such an opening may not be based entirely on points, but the expectation of most of the players, based on what they and/or most opponents actually hold when they make such a bid, is that there will be quite a lot of high card points, including defensive values outside the main suit.

    Of course expectations elsewhere may differ. Of course there may well be clubs, possibly lots of them, where this issue isn't a problem. But please accept that there are clubs where it would be.

  • Martin: "how is the multi 2D allowed as this is a mix of weak and strong possibilities"

    None of the non-strong possibilities is allowed to show diamonds.
  • I have never totally understood the various versions of Benji so if anyone uses this word to explain a bid I ask what it means.
    In my system, apart from NT distribution, 'too strong to open at the one level' is synonymous with 'game forcing.'

  • @Abbeybear said:

    @00011326johnR said:
    I am dealt 9 Hearts the AKJ10 , 2 small singletons and a small double ton .
    Am I permitted to open 2C showing 23+ points or 8+ tricks in a suit ?

    Why on earth would you want to (as distinct from opening 4!h - or 4!c if you play SA Texas) except to hope that it would deter the opponents from coming in? That is fine, so far as it goes, if you are absolutely punctilious about full disclosure.

    I can think of a few legitimate reasons. One is to discover how strong your partner is, allowing you to stop in 3!h if they have a Yarborough and a misfit, and try for 6!h if their hand is stronger than expected. (For example, at neutral vulnerability, 4!h might show 7 tricks in hand, 4!c 8, and 2!c…4!h 9, letting your partner know whether it's safe to invite slam.) Another is to see if your opponents interfere over the 2!c bid before they know what it means, which might help in the play.

    However, I agree that this hand is effectively a pre-empt (if you don't have an appropriate artificial bid available, you're opening this 4!h not 1!h, which implies to me that it's a pre-empt and not a strong bid), and thus any artificial bid that includes it is a multi. The EBU's rules also agree with both of us on this.

  • @Alan16248 said:
    In my system, apart from NT distribution, 'too strong to open at the one level' is synonymous with 'game forcing.'

    Clearly people who play three weak twos and thus only one strong bid would agree with you. At least a significant proportion of people who play Benjy (i.e. those who do not bid either 2!c or 2!d on essentially pre-emptive hands) would not.

    @ais523 said:
    I can think of a few legitimate reasons...

    Clearly I was guilty of exaggerating slightly to make my point :/ . Equally clearly it is a matter of style. If I am dealt a lot of playing tricks but not lots of lovely high cards, I want to bid as high as possible as soon as possible to make life difficult for the opposition. Others may of course, and quite legitimately, adopt a different philosophy.

  • @Abbeybear said:

    Clearly I was guilty of exaggerating slightly to make my point :/ . Equally clearly it is a matter of style. If I am dealt a lot of playing tricks but not lots of lovely high cards, I want to bid as high as possible as soon as possible to make life difficult for the opposition. Others may of course, and quite legitimately, adopt a different philosophy.

    They can adopt a different philosophy. But not an illegal or misleading approach to their bidding systems.

  • I play Benjy with only one partner and we describe it as semi-balanced 22-23 points or a strong-two in any suit. I have another partner with whom I used to play forcing strong-twos in the majors.

    There's a small but significant difference between a strong-two and a hand that might open at the one-level hoping to rebid at the three-level.

  • @weejonnie said:

    They can adopt a different philosophy. But not an illegal or misleading approach to their bidding systems.

    Absolutely. I was of course arguing earlier that there was a significant danger that something that was not illegal was nevertheless misleading. Others disagreed.

    @Tag said:
    I play Benjy with only one partner and we describe it as semi-balanced 22-23 points or a strong-two in any suit. I have another partner with whom I used to play forcing strong-twos in the majors.

    You seem to share the philosophy prevalent in the clubs where I play. I don't play Benjy from choice, myself, so it tends to be only with pick-up partners (when I am often directing). The limited time available for system discussion inherent in such arrangements means that the expectations for 2!c are rarely discussed at all, except perhaps to note which strong balanced ranges go with which bid. Most of the time the session passes off peacefully enough without either of us opening 2!c or 2!d (one reason why I don't play Benjy from choice is that the bids come up so infrequently - warning - commercial for strong club systems :p ), but if 2!c does come up we are normally on a similar enough wavelength as to what partner might have.

  • Well, I play both Benji (not from choice) with one partner and 3 weak 2s with most others. As such, my 2C most of the times means that I wanted to force a response regardless and may include, 23+ points and balanced, a traditional 'strong' 2 in the majors, or a long semi-sold suit with few values outside of that suit and certainly not 'strong'.

    The reason is that with the hand described by the OP (I too would not open 2C with this, but lets see): 9 Hearts the AKJ10 , 2 small singletons and a small double ton.

    Options, 2C or 4H.

    4H would make it impossible for partner to go on if they had:

    Ax xx AKx xxxxxx

    Whereas opening 2C makes 6H a possibility.

    I would generally require 15+ points to open 2C, but you can see from the above that this is the philosophy of those that like to open 2C 'light'. Too strong to preempt but does not want to open 1H for partner to possibly pass.

    Something like:

    AKJ10987
    KQJ10
    void
    32

    This is the sort of hand that I would open 2C with myself - too strong to pre-empt, too strong for a 1S open (as you can make game on your own on many distributions)

  • With apologies to those who also read the Bridge Club Live comments forum where we have already had a discussion on this, last Tuesday, I shuffled and dealt within the laws and produced this wonder:
    S -
    H AK98xxx
    D -
    C KQJTxx
    Just 13 points and only 4 "controls".
    The TD was not called to any table to adjudicate on the folk who opened this with a Benji 2C.

  • Just out of interest, more than a quarter of the room (3 of 11 tables) played in 4S by West (I gave the South hand).

  • I think I would open 1H intending to rebid 6C. Letting them play in 4S seems surprising.

  • I remember reading somewhere (I thought it was the White Book but it isn't, I checked) that partnerships are assumed by default not to have any agreement about how to bid a double void, and thus that bidding 2!c in this circumstance isn't evidence of an illegal agreement (although it might well be classified as a psyche).

    Is this reasoning correct, though? I can't find official support for it.

  • @ais523 said:
    I remember reading somewhere (I thought it was the White Book but it isn't, I checked) that partnerships are assumed by default not to have any agreement about how to bid a double void, and thus that bidding 2!c in this circumstance isn't evidence of an illegal agreement (although it might well be classified as a psyche).

    Is this reasoning correct, though? I can't find official support for it.

    I'd not heard of that one, ais523

  • edited June 2

    It is assumed that players have no agreements on how to bid freakish hands. And yes I have read the same statement. See https://www.ebu.co.uk/forum/uploads/editor/nq/6a4mxkcr83ki.pdf

    On the hand given, I would certainly allow the opening 2!c as the hand has "8 playing tricks with hearts as trumps, the hand may not be strong" which is how I describe it as one of the options, provided the bid to show the suit showed hearts, not clubs.

    I think you are right to decide that there is most likely no 'partnership agreements' on how to handle such a monster - but I would record the hand and auction to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen the next 10 times, such a hand is dealt to them. =)

    I don't think it would come as a psych either. Since the call isn't a gross distortion of strength or length. (it is only 3 points or one control short)

  • But, as examples go, it does represent the validity of the EBU's attempts to prevent innocent (timid ... naive ... whatever) folk being put off by "a Benji 2C is a strong bid" because, as I wrote above, 3 of the 11 tables played 4S (making) by West.
    My reaction to this statistic was stronger than Gordon's but as I'm bound by BB@B, I'll just "think my thoughts".

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