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Most players will bid 1 spade with (s) AKJxx (h)Axxx (d)xx (c)xx. That is, 12 hcp and a five card major.

If you "redistribute" the two spade spots, you get: (s) AKJ (h)Axxx (d)xxx (c)xxx.

Many systems would say that this is not enough to bid a short one club. They would require 13 hcp, or something like (s) AKJ (h)Axxx (d)xxx (c)Jxx.

Are there systems that say "12 is 12," so go ahead and bid 1 club without the jack?

Conversely, are there other systems that say, "your three card club suit is so short, we need 14hcp for one club"?

Would any of the answers change if the hand had FOUR clubs instead of three and two diamonds instead of three?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

1) Yes, there are systems that that open these ugly 11 counts (Repeat after me: Subtract a point for 4-3-3-3 distribution!), but they are (a) strong club systems that limit an opening bid to 15 or so HCP; (b) systems with a weak NT; or (c) systems with a strong club AND a weak NT.

N.B. The average playing potential, in both NT and a suit contract, is almost a full trick less for a 4-3-3-3 compared to a 4-4-3-2 hand. This is evaluated by awarding a point for the doubleton in 4-4-3-2, AND subtracting a point for the 4-3-3-3. You are significantly overbidding your 4-3-3-3's if you do not make this adjustment.

2) NO, not really; but there are systems that say you really only have 12 points (or even 11) because the hand is crap.

3) No, the answer wouldn't change on reversing the minor suits in any system I know of.

Update from comments:

  • Considering AKJ-Axxx-xxx-Qxx: Nominally 14; -1 (flat); -1/2 (poor honour placement) = 12.5. I would open, in preference order: 1NT if weak; 1H if playing 4-card majors; else 1C. With proper evaluation of distribution and honour-support, 12 point hands are worth an opening. I intend to rebid 1NT over partners 1D or 1S, or raise 1H to 2H. If partner jump-shifts I will give a single raise. I will not voluntarily compete past 2S unless partner shows 10+.
  • Considering AKJ-Axxx-xx-Jxxx: I wold prefer to see the SK trade with a small clubs, but this will do. Nominally 13, +1 for diamond doubleton, -1/2 for poor honour placement = 13.5. My preference for openings remains identical to the previous comment: iNT, or 1H, or 1C with the same proviso.

Update #2 - Advanced Hand Evaluation
Those interested in more precise and more accurate hand evaluation could do worse than to adopt the Banzai Point Count. This uses a 5-4-3-2-1 system and then multiples the result by 2/3, rounding a remainder of 1 down and a remainder of 1 up. This can be done independently of any system, or even partnership understanding, to simply improve one's judgement of hand worth. (Of course, if you DO discuss it with partner, it becomes a partnership understanding and must be revealed on your convention card.)

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Part three was would your answer change if you had three spades, four hearts, two diamonds and FOUR clubs instead of three diamonds and three hearts? I edited the question to make this clearer. Which systems say that (s) AKJ (h)Axxx (d)xxx (c)Qxx is really 11-12 when it is nominally 14? boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/8308/…? –  Tom Au Apr 29 '13 at 21:45
    
Considering AKJ-Axxx-xxx-Qxx: Nominally 14; -1 (flat); -1/2 (poor honour placement) = 12.5. I would open, in preference order: 1NT if weak; 1H if playing 4-card majors; else 1C. With proper evaluation of distribution and honour-support, 12 point hands are worth an opening. I intend to rebid 1NT over partners 1D or 1S, or raise 1H to 2H. If partner jump-shifts I will give a single raise. I will not voluntarily compete past 2S unless partner shows 10+. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 22:25
    
Considering AKJ-Axxx-xx-Jxxx: I wold prefer to see the SK trade with a small clubs, but this will do. Nominally 13, +1 for diamond doubleton, -1/2 for poor honour placement = 13.5. My preference for openings remains identical to the previous comment: iNT, or 1H, or 1C with the same proviso. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 22:31
    
OK in "part three" changing 3-4-3-3 to 3-4-2-4 improves your hand by improving the distribution, right? –  Tom Au Apr 29 '13 at 22:31
    
Yes, by about 2 pts. Also the fourth club improves the CJ, so maybe 13.75 is a better estimate. Throw in 2 round 10's and it is an easy 14 count. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 22:33
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