A number of people that I play bridge with started learning 2-over-1; but found when they tried using it that the frequency with which hands suitable for its use is low. One of them even quotes 8% and, like many of the others, has stopped using 2-over-1, preferring other methods of showing strength when responding to partner's opening bid.

I've looked through the usual frequency and distribution tables for bridge hands; but have not been able to answer my question: is there a statistical method for calculating the frequency of 2-over-1 hands ?

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    8% is a LOT. If every time it happens, you win half a board, you are doing 4% better than the competition, easily the difference between winning a tournament and finishing 10th out of 40. – Alexander Woo Oct 23 '18 at 22:47

i don't have access to hard stats, but based on my 4+ decades of playing competitive Bridge that figure rings true. If we consider a 26 Board Duplicate session as a typical evening, our side can be expected to open the bidding 13 times, with perhaps 6-7 of those being a Weak 1NT opening or 1 of a minor, perhaps 3 being opened above the 1-Level either weak or strong, and the remaining 3-4 being opened 1 of a Major. For two of those to then employ either the Forcing 1NT or 2-over-1 response, the two key system bids, sounds about right.

Remember that 2-over-1 is designed as a teams-of-four system that trades off weaker performance in part scores for increased accuracy in slam bidding. This leverages the IMP scale to best advantage, but can hurt MatchPoint performance. For a pair with specific aspirations in MatchPoint events only the switch you describe might be worthwhile - it certainly worked for Barry Crane, who shone in both team and pairs play with a system designed very much for MatchPoint (and Board-a-Match) events.

  • Many thanks for your response FIWEH (Forget I was ever here), which is very helpful, especially the reference to the Babe Ruth of Bridge. Could you enlarge on your comment about 2-over-1 being designed as "a teams-of-four system" ? Alternatively, I have a voracious appetite for reading if you could provide a reference or two. . . . . . . . . . . Thanx ! – Stefanovitch Oct 28 '18 at 21:27
  • @Stefanovitch: Check out Richard Pavlicek's site. If you want to play a matchpoint-optimized system, build it around 4 card Majors and weak NT, with aggressive openings. This gives you the greatest advantage in the part-score auctions you will have on most hands. For an IMP-optimized system build it around 5-card majors and either 2/1 forcing responses to the same, or a Strong Forcing One Club opening, to maximize accuracy on slam auctions & decisions. – Forget I was ever here Oct 29 '18 at 19:30

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