1

At matchpoints, not vulnerable vs. vulnerable, I opened one heart with the following (all X's are 7 or lower).

♠ J9x
♡ A9xxxx
♢ J9
♣ AT

Normally, I need 11, not 10, high card points to open even with a good six card suit. Here I "stretched" with 10 because of the two doubletons and good intermediates (three 9s and a T).

Partner raised to game with 12 points (opening hand), we went down one, losing one trick in each suit, and got a bottom on the board.

Was this an unlucky result? Or did I overbid?

10
  • Which seat were you in?
    – ruds
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:48
  • 1
    @ruds: Mine was first seat. Are you saying that the opening would have been more appropriate for third or fourth seat?
    – Tom Au
    Oct 24, 2022 at 16:24
  • Jx is worth maybe at most 0.5 a high card point, though aces are worth more than 4. I wouldn't open this in 1st or 2nd seat even in my light opening Precision partnership! I think this is a fine weak 2 though. Oct 24, 2022 at 23:58
  • @AlexanderWoo: If I had it to do over again, I would open this a "weak two" in first or second seat, and 1H only in third or fourth seat.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 27, 2022 at 19:06
  • @TomAu: I'm a firm believer that your weak 2 range in 3rd seat should be about 0-14 hcp. As long as game isn't a possibility, partner doesn't need to know how strong you are; any strength limitations only provides information to your LHO. (Partner does need to know about your length to make Law of Total Tricks decisions.) In 4th seat, most people play weak 2s show about 10-12 hcp and a 6 card suit (you just pass with weaker hands, which aren't really possible), though some play that 'weak' 2s show 13-15 and a 6 card suit in 4th seat. So I would open this hand 2H in all seats. Oct 27, 2022 at 20:41

2 Answers 2

4

Opening that hand would be very aggressive, and not something I'd support.

  • You have maybe ten points. J9 of diamonds is pretty much zero, that neither is likely to take a trick nor is likely to help anything partner has take a trick unless partner is long in diamonds (in which case you'd just ruff the long ones anyway).
  • You don't have a good heart suit. You could easily lose three heart tricks with that suit.
  • Your spade jack is also pretty mediocre.

Don't count length AND shortness - count one or the other, if you're counting points. This is the worst distribution with a six card suit, remember, from a distribution-point perspective - you have to have two doubletons (or shorter) with a six card suit.

I'd be pretty upset if you opened this 1h opposite me. I also don't love 2h here (with only Ah and an outside ace, this isn't screaming "interfere") but certainly some would, especially in higher level competition.

Your partner needs to be able to trust that you're in a particular range when you open. Your bidding with this hand either means your partnership ends up in slams/games that you shouldn't be... or it means your partner adds a point to ranges, but then ends up not bidding games/slams you should be in. Both are not good.

3
  • If I had it to do again, I would open a "weak two" rather than at the "one" level. I consider A, KQ, or QJT equivalent "headers" for my six card suit, and I like the side ace in a short suit, as well as the top of the 5-10 range.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 25, 2022 at 3:23
  • You're certainly welcome to, and I think some would value it that way. I generally wouldn't, as I like my weak 2s to be a little more predictable.
    – Joe
    Oct 26, 2022 at 0:53
  • Re "predictable," I believe my "weak twos" are pretty well defined. Six card suit. One sure "top" trick (A, KQ, or QJT) to go with three "long" tricks, and no more than one defensive trick outside. Point range is less important to me than "functionality."
    – Tom Au
    Oct 27, 2022 at 19:00
-1

Some ten point hands can be valued as opening hands, but that one, not quite. The reason is that the J9x and J9 combinations aren't worth very much. That is, your ten and two nines are worth less than usual because they are in short suits. Finally, for a hand with a six card suit, the 6-3-2-2 distribution is the worst possible.

The "rule of 20" suggests that the sum of high card points and the length of the two longest suits should be that number. So with ten high card points, you should have a 6-4 (or 5-5) distribution.

Change the hand slightly to

♠ JT9x
♡ A9xxxx
♢ J9
♣ A

and you'd have a better case for opening with it, because of the 6-4 distribution in the majors, the T and 9 together in the long spade suit, and a singleton as well as a doubleton.

If I had the original hand today, I would open a "weak two" rather than at the "one" level with it. I consider A, KQ, or QJT equivalent "headers" for my six card suit, and I like the side ace in a short suit, as well as the top of the 5-10 range.

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