Source: www.qldbridge.com By Joan Butts
THE ABF Summer School, which started in November and is currently underway, is offering a fascinating insight into newer players’ thinking. Around 1100 novice players have enrolled for this free ABF initiative, to better prepare themselves for more competitive events such as the Summer Festival of Bridge in Canberra in January, and the Gold Coast Congress in February. If you haven’t yet enrolled it’s not too late. Go to abfsummerschool.com to receive the lessons each week in your inbox. Past lessons may be downloaded there too. At the end of each weekly lesson is a voluntary exam of five multiple choice questions. The answers to the very first question of the first week’s topic – Notrumps – were interesting.
The question was “What would you bid on the following hand when partner has opened 1NT (15 – 17)?”
753 J84 K6 AJ642
3NT was the answer I selected as correct, but as you can see from the graph, far more novice players chose 2NT. I also received comments on Facebook about the choice of 3NT rather than 2NT. Most of these asked why 3NT would be chosen with only 9 points. It was interesting too, and a relief, that only a tiny percentage of players chose 3.
What this highlights is the fact that newer players are not taught to value length in notrumps (and in a suit too perhaps) from the outset. I believe it’s vital to add for length both in a suit and in notrumps. After all, doesn’t a five-card suit stand more chance of developing an extra trick than a four-card suit?
The hand in question is worth 10 points, nine in high cards, and one in length for the five-card club suit. Too strong to bid 2NT. Give 3NT a go! I believe that experienced players would bid 3NT in a second, because they have played too many contracts in the unattractive spot of 2NT, making nine tricks. (Some players avoid 2NT at all costs). Trying for 3NT and hoping to make tricks with the club suit is a much better goal. When I set the question it never occurred to me that so many would choose 2NT over 3NT.