29 January 2011

Penalising the weak NT

At my club almost everyone plays a weak no trump, Precision and Acol are the two favoured systems. It's probably because very few pairs seem to be good at penalising them. For example: My partner, North, opened a weak NT and East doubled. Without any agreement I bid 2 confidently. I love these bids, if partner thinks it's a transfer, great, showing hearts, great, both majors, great!
Dealer: North
Vul: N/S
K 3
K T 5 3
Q T 6 5
K J 3
T 9 8 7 4
A 5
J 7
Q T 8 5
Q J 7
A K 4 3
A 9 7 4
J 6 5 2
9 6 4 2
9 8 2
6 2
We're probably staring at -800 here and -1100 if they get it all right but West bid 2 over two hearts and picked up a solid +140 instead.

My favourite system (for now anyway) over a weak no trump has a penalty double (16+) but in the pass out I like to play double as more like 12+. Sitting down with a new partner our only discussion of system was "Landy and double is penalty". Sitting East at favourable I held this:
A 6
A 5 2
J 9 4
Q 9 7 3 2
I like better suits for 11 point openings so I let South open their weak NT. Two passes back to me and I was annoyed for playing something simple. Surely there's a partscore on for us, why do we have to lose 5 IMPs just because I didn't open? I could 'forget' I'm playing Landy and hope partner does likewise but he's sharper than that so I'll just double and trust he won't pick me for 16+!

The NT opener passed quickly but partner fell into a trance. "Don't bid 2, don't bid 2, don't bid 2..." Pass! Excellent.
Dealer: North
Vul: N/S
Q 9 8 3
T 9 7 3
K 6 2
T 8
J 7 5 4
Q J 4
A T 5
K J 6
A 6
A 5 2
J 9 4
Q 9 7 3 2
K T 2
K 8 6
Q 8 7 3
A 5 4

Partner led the Q and I'm supposed to give reverse attitude; surely he can't think I like this suit so my smallest heart should ask for a club. J continuation, sigh, declarer wins the King and fires back another heart to my Ace. I'll have to do the clubs myself; declarer took the second round but my well behaved partner had played his cards right so they're not blocked.

Declarer now has to guess who has which Ace, he knows neither of us have both but there's precious few clues as to which is where. Playing a diamond towards the table will allow 2 hearts, 1 spade, 1 diamond and a club for 500 away. Alas he played a spade to the Queen and Ace; on my clubs partner pitched his diamonds and declarer his spades. My last spade exit set up the spades with my partner holding an entry +1100.

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