Sweet Sixteen

by Rowan Ferguson

I get a bit excited when I get an opening hand (strange aren’t I) but of course often we don’t get to play the hand. However with 16 pts there is a much better chance. So I want to give the good news to partner as soon as possible. If I am balanced or semi-balanced I can tell partner a very narrow point range, 15-17 or 16-18 and also tell about my shape.

Compare this to a 1C opening 12-19, 2 C’s various shapes. Which is more descriptive? I try to bid 1NT as often as possible because it tells partner so much.

Like these:
1. Axx
xxxx
AKJ
KQx
2. xx
AKxx
Jxxx
AQJ
3. Ax
Qxx
AKxxx
Jxx
4. Axx
Axx
Axx
Axxx

Hand 1: Regulation  bidding
Hand 2: Who cares about a useless doubleton? You don’t know that you are going to end up in NT.
Hand 3: Add a point for extra length in D
Hand 4: Played this hand today and opposite 8 pts and 5 H’s we ended up in 4 Hearts making. Try doing that after a 1C opening.

Sorry, all you control freaks out there. You have described your hand so well (and know nothing of partners hand) that you have to give partner control of the contract. They may ask for more information (staymen etc) but they choose the contract. So chill out and let partner have a go.