# Open or Pass?

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Here we look at hands where the question is «Do we open or do we pass?».  You’ll see some references to the Rule of Twenty, it’s a useful guide in these situations, but far from infallible and needs to be moderated by that legendary common-sense that is the hallmark of Wednesday Game players.  This selection of hands contains quite a few «12-counts we would pass».

1) N-S Vul

 K43 K98 K765 QJ9 Sur Oeste Norte  Este                  Pass  Pass ??

Would you open the South hand in third seat?  We wouldn’t.  To start with it does not pass the Rule of 20 .  And it gets worse, the hand has no Aces and no Tens.  But aren’t we supposed to open light in third seat?  Maybe, but only when there is a good reason to do so.  Opening this hand 1 has little or no preemptive value, and it’s not even a suit which we are desperate for Partner to lead.  So we’d pass this one.

2) E-O Vul

 K9654 5 AQ8632 5 Este Sur Oeste Norte Pass ??

For the third time this set, someone has an opening bid decision with a 5-6 distribution.  On the earlier hands, the higher suit had 5 cards and the lower 6-card suit was touching.  In both cases we discussed the choices between:

–         Opening the higher-ranking suit 5-card suit, pretending to be 5-5.

–         Opening the lower-ranking 6-card suit, planning to reverse into the 5-card suit.

Here, things are slightly different in two ways:

–         The suits are not touching, so it seems logical to open 1, planning to rebid 1 if Partner responds 1.  No need to reverse.

–         The hand is not suitable for a reverse anyway, it’s just not strong enough.  So, in this case, if the distribution were, say, 1=5=6=1 (instead of 5=1=6=1), we would open 1 and not 1.  Of course, some might say that the East hand is not worth an opening bid anyway, but we say “Phooey!” to that, the hand passes the Rule of 20 and there are no wasted value.  It’s an opening bid!  At least in our opinion.