Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who's overcalling?

Would you overcall in this situation (playing imps)?

red/white

pass - (1S) - ?

A4
94
AQT74
KJ84

Partner is a passed hand and you are vulnerable (the opps not).
Stepping up or not?

I'd say the mainstream 'expert view' is pass (WTP?).

Anyone who's been reading my previous post should know a thing or two about my views on the subject of 2-level overcalls, "the suit quality paradox" especially. Here we have above average strength and a less than robust suit, still I'd overcall for sure.

This is a hand from the Bermuda Bowl final 2009 in Sao Paolo. A couple of the most successful players in ACBL-land both overcalled. Eric Rodwell and Lynn Deas both came in with 2D, an action not duplicated at the other table in either match.

Was this a desperate attempt to create a swing? I doubt it. This was board 22 (of 128 deals in Open final, 96 deals in Women) and after the first stanza, USA led Italy 54-19 in the Open but trailed China in the Womens with 27-68.

What was the outcome of this 'frivolous' action? Not much actually. It was a partscore deal with your side having the highest partscore, double-dummy, in 4D and opps cold for 3S. Everyone sold out to 2 or 3S (overcall or no overcall) making 8 or 9 tricks. Partner had K72/872/K95/T932.

Which probably begs the question: What's my point then?

My point is that a couple of players some people maybe would consider a notch above "mainstream experts" seems (to at least some extent) share my view that this is a winning strategy. How about that?

10 comments:

Memphis MOJO said...

1. People remember the occasional minus 800. They forgot the (many more) times when something good happens.

2. People are afraid of criticism. You won't usually get criticized for passing, so they take the "easy' way out.

Paul said...

This is an interesting hand, being short in both majors, which is one reason why many would pass. After all, what can bidding really achieve?

Imps, apparently :)

Memphis MOJO said...

At IMPs, the question is always could we have a game, and the answer here is yes.

If you bid, you invite partner in.

If you bid, you will get a diamond when partner is on lead.

ulven said...

An online Swedish poll showed ca 80% overcalling and 20% passing (after 40+ answers), responders ranging from less experienced to experts.

I wonder how those figures would look in ACBL or UK?

Memphis MOJO said...

I'm guessing among the mainstream experts in ACBL-land, 70% would pass, 30% bid.

Among average players, 90% would bid.

We could submit this to It's Your Call as a problem and find out. Do you mind if I submit it under your name?

ulven said...

That's ok.

Would be interesting to see the comments. You also know the source if you want to publish the full deal.

ulven said...

Don't forget to eventually send or post the results/comments. Although an ACBL member I opted out of the Bulletin when they started charging extra for overseas shipping :-(

Memphis MOJO said...

I submitted it, but there is a time lag. The questions are sent out ahead of time and there's the print schedule time lag, too. I'll let you know if it's used and what happens.

Csaba said...

And Ulf please don't forget posting :)

Alain Lacourse said...

I would definitely overcall. You have an opening-strength hand and you have a good suit, which partner and I describe as AJTxx or KQTxx or better. Here you have AQTxx, which is appropriate for this action. By the way, we always overcall with that suit quality, even for our weak twos and preempts. When we end up in defense, pard can rely on my bid for the play or for a juicy double if it's appropriate.