Strong two bids - again

Apologies for bringing this up again but I was asked an interesting question about how a wrongly assessed Benji hand could be treated. Here's the hand:
East opened Benjamin 2C on
S.K H.8 D. AKJ1095432 C. Xx
I wasn't called and the hand played out without questions being raised. Subsequently I was asked whether the bid of 2C could be treated as a psyche especially if it was a surprise to partner. This got me thinking: we permit the 1NT ranges to be upgraded or downgraded as long as it is made clear that this is a possibility. Why don't we permit the Benji bids to be similarly upgraded/ downgraded or any other bids for that matter?

Comments

  • The hand is fine as a Benji 2C opener - it has 8 playing tricks with diamonds as trumps. The only time a hand has to be strong is if the suit is clubs.

    The Blue book IIRC (and I do!) states that if the high card strength of the benji bid may be less than might be expected then the opponents should be informed. - so the answer to your question is that we DO allow Benji bids to be upgraded/ downgraded - except in the suit actually called. If partner thought that this hand was a surprise then it is more likely to be regarded as a deviation rather than a psych (it does after all have an above-average number of high card points.)

    (Obviously clubs (being their own RAs) can define what calls may/ may not be used).

    The EBU (and WBF) regard hands that open at the one level with 7 (or fewer) points as being "highly unusual' and the EBU bans agreements to call on these at the one level from all competitions. The EBU also bans 1NT calls of being fewer than 9 HCP. Other than that there are very few restrictions on the specification of the range of a hand - other than that hands that are not 'strong' have limitations on them at the two and three levels.

    The aim of ensuring that hands meet a certain strength before multiple meanings are allowed, is to provide some protections for the other players - such as ensuring that they are not browbeaten from competing because they think that a 'strong call' will have a lot of Aces and Kings in it - i.e. great defensive rather just offensive trick-taking potential. the current definition (16+ points or 12+ and 5 controls) is, admittedly, arbitrary but no one has come up AFAIK with a different definition that can be easily made and applied.

    So when I play Benji and hear my partner call "2 Clubs" I will alert and say "8 playing tricks in an unspecified suit. If the suit is not clubs then the hand may not be strong, or 21/22 HCP". That is all that is needed.

    There is no reason, whatsoever from describing e.g. a weak 2 as 6-10 points including adjustments: in fact I bet a lot of aggressive players if they were honest, should in fact make such an explanation if asked to explain their announcement (which should probably be 'weak to intermediate'). Note that you cannot play a precision Club system by defining 1 Club as "16+ including adjustments" since under the blue book, the hand must by definition be strong. (You can of course open 1 Club if the hand has 5 controls and is 12+ points)

  • "So when I play Benji and hear my partner call "2 Clubs" I will alert and say "8 playing tricks in an unspecified suit. If the suit is not clubs then the hand may not be strong, or 21/22 HCP"."


    You and a relatively very small number of others who have studied the Blue Book may well have such an agreement, which is certainly permitted under Level 4.

    But I and the vast majority of players who play "Benji" do not actually have an agreement as you have described. When my partnerships open 2!c, we explain "a strong hand in an unspecified suit or balanced 21-22 or stronger ranges".

    So if I or my partners were to open a Benji 2!c with the hand in the opening post, I would rule that there is evidence that we are playing a non-permitted agreement, because we might just as easily make the same opening 2!c if we had our minor suits swapped round.

    Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

  • @weejonnie said:
    The hand is fine as a Benji 2C opener - it has 8 playing tricks with diamonds as trumps. The only time a hand has to be strong is if the suit is clubs.

    The Blue book IIRC (and I do!) states that if the high card strength of the benji bid may be less than might be expected then the opponents should be informed. - so the answer to your question is that we DO allow Benji bids to be upgraded/ downgraded - except in the suit actually called. If partner thought that this hand was a surprise then it is more likely to be regarded as a deviation rather than a psych (it does after all have an above-average number of high card points.)

    (Obviously clubs (being their own RAs) can define what calls may/ may not be used).

    The EBU (and WBF) regard hands that open at the one level with 7 (or fewer) points as being "highly unusual' and the EBU bans agreements to call on these at the one level from all competitions. The EBU also bans 1NT calls of being fewer than 9 HCP. Other than that there are very few restrictions on the specification of the range of a hand - other than that hands that are not 'strong' have limitations on them at the two and three levels.

    The aim of ensuring that hands meet a certain strength before multiple meanings are allowed, is to provide some protections for the other players - such as ensuring that they are not browbeaten from competing because they think that a 'strong call' will have a lot of Aces and Kings in it - i.e. great defensive rather just offensive trick-taking potential. the current definition (16+ points or 12+ and 5 controls) is, admittedly, arbitrary but no one has come up AFAIK with a different definition that can be easily made and applied.

    So when I play Benji and hear my partner call "2 Clubs" I will alert and say "8 playing tricks in an unspecified suit. If the suit is not clubs then the hand may not be strong, or 21/22 HCP". That is all that is needed.

    There is no reason, whatsoever from describing e.g. a weak 2 as 6-10 points including adjustments: in fact I bet a lot of aggressive players if they were honest, should in fact make such an explanation if asked to explain their announcement (which should probably be 'weak to intermediate'). Note that you cannot play a precision Club system by defining 1 Club as "16+ including adjustments" since under the blue book, the hand must by definition be strong. (You can of course open 1 Club if the hand has 5 controls and is 12+ points)

    The trouble with saying "8 playing tricks" is that there is not a definition of playing tricks in the Law book, the Blue book or the White book so that could confuse opponents. Where do we go from here?

  • The idea behind the alertable strong 2 regulations is basically that there are two ways a hand can be strong: offensively or defensively. A hand like the one in the OP has a lot of offensive strength but basically no defensive strength; you don't want to mislead your opponents into thinking that what you have is a little stronger than a 2NT bid, when in fact the hand's a little stronger than a 5!d bid.

    If this sort of hand is a 2!c bid, the opponents are entitled to know that the hand may be severely lacking in defence (opposite that hand, they might well have a slam of their own!) So if 2!c is systemic on this sort of hand, it needs a description more nuanced than "strong", so that the opponents aren't misled into bidding timidly. (The reason that the suit isn't allowed to be clubs is so that the opponents can safely agree to use the double as part of their defence against what is potentially an artificial pre-emptive bid.) That said, there's no reason you can't include a hand with a hugely strong diamond suit and nothing else as one of the possible meanings of a 2!c bid, as long as it's disclosed. (In fact, in traditional Benji, 2!c is more commonly an offensively strong hand than it is a defensively strong hand, so if you describe the bid as "Benji" and the opponents know what that is, they'll be expecting a hand something like the one in the OP, although maybe not quite that extreme.)

    As for whether this can be treated as a psyche (assuming that "very good suit" is not part of the disclosed meaning of the bid, and thus the bid doesn't match the claimed meaning), we'd need to see how their partner responds to it, which might not always be possible depending on the other hands. A simple bidding sequence to consider is 2!c, (6!h); if the 2!c opener's partner would not double 6!h if they held a weak hand, then they're probably allowing for the possibility that the opener holds a hand like this, and thus the bid is systemic. (If 2!c is always strong, then passing implies the possibility of a slam of your own, so a weak hand would need to double to prevent it. If 2!c can be a very good suit in an otherwise bad hand, then passing allows for that possibility.)

    Re: the "playing tricks" definition: the opponents are entitled to as much information as the partnership has. It's quite possible that the partnership has agreed "8 playing tricks" without discussing what that means, in which case the same terms should be used to explain the bid; the opponents might not know what it means but the partner has no more information than they do. (It's a bit like saying "undiscussed"; in this case, you've discussed what the bid means but not what the meaning means.)

  • @AlanB said:
    Subsequently I was asked whether the bid of 2C could be treated as a psyche especially if it was a surprise to partner.

    It was not a psyche because it was intended to meet the "8 playing tricks" description.

    This got me thinking: we permit the 1NT ranges to be upgraded or downgraded as long as it is made clear that this is a possibility. Why don't we permit the Benji bids to be similarly upgraded/ downgraded or any other bids for that matter?

    We "permit" NT ranges to upgraded or downgraded, but this is just about disclosure.

    If the range for NT is at the bottom of the permitted agreement then upgrades are not permitted. The minimum for 1NT opener is 9HCP, if your agreement is 9-11 you cannot agree to upgrade any 8HCP hand.

  • edited September 14

    @AlanB said:
    The trouble with saying "8 playing tricks" is that there is not a definition of playing tricks in the Law book, the Blue book or the White book so that could confuse opponents. Where do we go from here?

    "Strong balanced (21-22) OR strong with a long minor OR intermediate-or-strong with a long major"

  • As a TD, you need to investigate when asked to rule on a '8 playing tricks in any suit' opener, when the hand is not 'strong'. Check whether any verbal explanation or the system card distinguishes between clubs and other suits, or between minors and majors. Ask the bidder if this hand would be opened with the same bid if the long suit was clubs. Ask the bidder's partner if they would open this hand, and if not what is their minimum for the bid, and is it the same if the long suit were clubs.

    This should enable the TD to distinguish a permitted agreement, a permitted agreement which is inadequately explained, and an illegal agreement. If it is a permitted agreement which is inadequately explained then there may be misinformation and the pair should be educated to improve their disclosure.

  • [Robin]: " If it is a permitted agreement which is inadequately explained then there may be misinformation and the pair should be educated to improve their disclosure."

    BB5C3 states that it is permissible to agree to open e.g. 2!c with lots of playing strength but without the high-card requirements of 5C3 (a) or (b), but that it must be adequately disclosed.

    Could I just check, inadequate disclosure would make this a legal agreement that has been inadequately disclosed rather than an illegal agreement, i.e. the adequate disclosure is not part of what makes the agreement legal.

    I hope the question is clear.

  • @VixTD said:
    . the adequate disclosure is not part of what makes the agreement legal.

    Adequate disclosure is not part of 7C1: no agreement is illegal because it is inadequate explained. The requirement for adequate disclosure is universal.

    BUT The explanation which does not distinguish some (non-strong) suits from other (strong) suits is strong evidence that they have an agreement to treat all suits equally.

  • @weejonnie said:
    The hand is fine as a Benji 2C opener - it has 8 playing tricks with diamonds as trumps. The only time a hand has to be strong is if the suit is clubs.

    Note that you cannot play a precision Club system by defining 1 Club as "16+ including adjustments" since under the blue book, the hand must by definition be strong. (You can of course open 1 Club if the hand has 5 controls and is 12+ points)

    Interesting that you're getting around the requirement for a 2♣ hand to be "strong" by including some weaker hands in the agreement and calling it a multi, but you're not prepared to do this for 1♣ which is just as flexible, if not more so. Pretty much every hand that you might want to upgrade from a 14- or 15-count to a strong club is perfectly legal to agree to open 1♣. The only hands you can't are hands with long majors, or both majors, which you'd prefer to open in the major anyway.

  • supposing someone opens 2 clubs and partner states strong - opener's rho has great hand and bids 2NT to tell partner points and shape. everyone then passes, lead card and dummy put down then 2c opener states his 2c was weak.

    can you confirm when the opener should confirm that his partner has given misinformation. at one club I play, everyone says you cannot do anything until the end of the auction. In the TD video, when the lady alerted after her rho had passed, the auction was put back.

    can anyone confirm best procedure please

  • If you are declarer or dummy you should correct misinformation at the end of the auction. Defenders should do it at the end of the play.
  • @gordonrainsford said:
    If you are declarer or dummy you should correct misinformation at the end of the auction. Defenders should do it at the end of the play.

    Just to clarify for Sheba.... had the lady in the video not alerted at all then what Gordon says applies as to when her partner should correct the misinformation (in this case saying her partner should have alerted her bid but didn't)

    In the case in the video the lady forgot she should alert her partner's bid and so corrected her lapse as soon as she remembered. That is OK and is actually helpful because doing it when she did (before her LHO had called) gave her RHO a chance to call the director and change her Pass if she so wished

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • edited September 18

    [Robin]: "Adequate disclosure is not part of 7C1: no agreement is illegal because it is inadequate explained. The requirement for adequate disclosure is universal."

    The reason I asked was this used to be the case. An older version of the Blue Book had the following, where it is clear that proper disclosure is part of what makes the rest of clause (__c) applicable (whether this was intended or not). This would in no way relieve the player of the obligation for full disclosure in other situations.


    Strong openings are often described as ‘Extended Rule of 25’ which means the minimum allowed is any one or more of:
    (a) any hand of at least 16 HCP, or
    (b) any hand meeting the Rule of 25, or
    (c) subject to proper disclosure, a hand that contains at least the normal high-card strength associated with a one-level opening and at least eight clear cut tricks.

  • @VixTD said:
    The reason I asked was this used to be the case.

    I know (and knew you knew) but I find it easier to deal with the regulations as written, rather than look at how they had changed.

    1. I never heard anyone properly disclose their '8 clear cut tricks' hands under the previous regulation
    2. No one was ever 'done' for opening an '8 clear cut tricks' hand which their partner did not disclose properly
    3. Similarly, I have not heard anyone disclose that their 8 playing trick hands may not be strong if the suit is not clubs.

    'Ask Robin' in December's magazine may have something about 'Benji 2C' and 'intermediate-or-strong hands with 7/8 playing tricks in a major'. This may be a nudge towards some better disclosure or otherwise conforming to the regulation.

    As someone brought up on Acol twos, I do find it difficult to understand the desire to open 2C on hands which are not worth opening 1M and a jump rebid of 3M. Clearly I am getting old and grumpy :)

  • I've never charged anyone with playing an illegal method because they didn't disclose it either, but I would have done if they had, and that's what I've been teaching directors to do. I shan't any more.

Sign In or Register to comment.