X-Clubs 59

Isn’t it wonderful how even learners can sometimes get a great result despite doing everything wrong. Why I am writing this deal up? Because it actually led to a very interesting, sometimes even heated, argument with one of my favourite partners, with whom I play our version of “Evil Acol” which includes the “Evil 2NT” response to a 1NT opening bid. I will continue that discussion in future issues, but for now let me relate the story of our beginners who brilliantly ended up in the same ‘ridiculous’ contract that we would have with our “Evil” system. This deal comes from last Wednesday's X-Clubs

Board 18 from 26/05/2023
Dealer East NS Vul


Despite a a perfect 1NT opening, our novice East opened 1C. South passed and West bid 3H! I’m guessing that West thought this was a ‘preempt’. East now bid 3NT, thinking she had to bid. West passed! Can you imagine anyone with any lessons under their belt doing that? But there we are, that is what happened, and when South led a low diamond, having learnt something about opening leads against No Trumps, declarer proceeded to take nine more tricks after winning the king of diamonds.

Most EW pairs were in 4H, a reasonable shot at game. Some more conservative pairs were in 3H or even only 2H. Of course Deep Finesse says that NS can make 4S so maybe an immediate jump to 4H will stop that, whether South doubles 1NT (I would) or not. But seriously, no North would bid 4S whether South doubles 1NT or not.

When I told my usual Evil Acol partner this story, he said he would have bid 4H. I suggested that this is precisely why we have the Evil 2NT addition to our system, where a bid of 2NT asks opener whether they have a suit without cover. We also do not open 1NT if we have two suits without cover, so this situation is ideal. West bids 2NT and if East shows a weak heart suit by bidding 3H, West is probably well advised to pass, or in a teams match, raise to 4H. But given that opener would bid 3NT (cover in every suit, hence certainly Ax of hearts) which contract stands more chance of making, 4H or 3NT?

I asked my good friend Mike at X-Clubs for a few deals where I specified a 12-14 1NT including Ax of hearts and cover (minimum Qxx) in all other suits. Have a guess how the results might come out over 20 such hands, using Deep Finesse as the judge. Then we will take a look at the results and discuss the merits or otherwise of the Evil 2NT when partner opens 1NT.