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Subset ?

Hello ,

Law 23 is still confusing.
E ( dealer)

S bids 1Cl ( 2+) OOR and not accepted. E bids 1D .
Which of the following bids by S are deemed as comparable ? ( subset /smilar )

a) Dbl ( t/o)
b) 1nt ( 15-18)
c) 2cl
d) 2nt ( 10+ 5H - 4+Cl )

I'll be grateful if you give your explanations together with the reasons.

Looking forward to receiving from you .

Secaaddin Özdeniz


  • 1NT is a subset because it shows a balanced hand (hence including 2+ clubs) and 15-18 (hence a subset of an opening hand.

    2C as a natural overcall is also fine in my view, because it shows values close to opening values (unless partnership style differs significantly) as well as 5+ clubs (therefore 2).

    2NT again fine in my view for similar reasons to above.

    Double is not allowed because it doesn't show 2+ clubs.

    c) and d) are potentially contentious because they don't explicitly show opening hands, but they're very close and the law is designed with the view that you should try to be lenient in these close call situations. If the opponents are unhappy then they can always argue their case at the end of the hand.

  • Can 1NT be comparable if N-S are playing a strong NT and failed to (attempt to) open it.
    2NT gives additional information as it won't include exactly 5 hearts and 4 clubs unless 1C is system opening with that. Also, again unless system, many would open 1H with 55 so 2NT would suggest 6 clubs or if 55 poor hearts.
    Unless playing weak jump overcalls a natural 3C (intermediate or strong) would be ok - unless an intermediate hand has an alternative to 1C, eg an opening 2C 11-15 ?
  • a) Dbl ( t/o)

    Provided the Dbl guarantees at least 2 clubs and an opening strength hand, I see no reason why it can't be allowed. - Some players use a Dbl to show shape with anything from 9 points - if that is their attitude then a double would not be allowed. Of course if players double on big hands with distribution then this would fail.

    b) 1nt ( 15-18)

    The definition of a CC says nothing about other aspects of the system. The question then is "Does 1NT show the same, similar or a subset of the meanings attributable to the opening call?". If the side would open 1NT on 15-17 points and a balanced hand then you cannot attribute that meaning to 1 Club. I think I would need evidence of 15-18 hands (where a 1NT overcall is made) that would also be opened 1 Club instead of 1NT.

    c) 2cl

    Two-level overcalls tend to be based on near-opening values and 5 clubs. Unless NS overcall on significantly weaker hands, I would allow the overcall. (5+ clubs is obviously a subset of 2+ clubs)

    d) 2nt ( 10+ 5H - 4+Cl )

    I think the high card strength is fine (the hand by definition meets the rule of 19). Since we can attribute a hand containing 6 clubs and 5 hearts to open 1 Club then we have a subset. Of course we would have to especially check that North does not make use of the fact that South opened 1 Club i.e. gives preference to clubs when there is equal length.

  • For the purposes of determining whether calls are comparable, describing the meaning of 2C as "2+" is woefully inadequate.
    Do you open 1C on ALL hands with 2+ clubs? NO.
    So you cannot describe as 'comparable' any replacement call just because it guarantees 2+ clubs.

    A typical explanation of 1C (depending on their other agreements, let's assume "strong & 5") might be:
    "4+ clubs, unbalanced, no other 5-card suit (unless longer clubs), c.11-20 HCP; or
    balanced, 11-14 or 18-19 HCP."
    A call can be considered comparable if its meaning forms a subset of this.

    1. a 1NT overcall (assuming 15-18) is definitely NOT a subset. Quite the opposite! (But if they were playing Weak No Trump...)
    2. Double is closer to comparable, but IMO not quite close enough. There are still plenty of hands that would have doubled, but do not fall within the above description.
    3. 2C overcall, if based on near-opening values, I would probably allow, although strict interpretation might not.
    4. 2NT, like 1NT, is definitely not a subset, because you would not have opened 1C with "5+ / 4+" in hearts and clubs. If, hypothetically, 2NT showed precisely 4 hearts and 5+ clubs, then that might be comparable.

  • Although I didn't start the thread, thanks for all the very constructive replies - it shows how inadequate my understanding of the rules were!

  • It's been an interesting one to read, always good to get some views on these. As others have largely covered
    b) 1NT might be considered a subset if they're playing a weak NT and 1C is their systemic opening with balanced hands in that range. You'd need to check this.
    a) and c) there's room for interpretation about how similar to 1C they are, we've got two very respectable opinions differing about double for instance. I'd probably permit 2C, wouldn't be sure about double.
    d) That 2NT overcall it's quite hard to see how it can be consdiered comparable. It just seems to be mainly showing a heart suit and would presumably be opened 1H. Just a different bid to 1C.

  • Hello ,

    Thank you very much for your helps.
    The followings are the inferences I have made from your comments;

    a) Dbl cannot be a subset. The reason is that t/o dbl might have even zero number of Cl when the oponent has
    more than 16/17 + hcp . Exmp : 1D dbl ( AQxxxx AKxx Axx --) . In this case as 1cl bid (OOR ) always
    garanties at least 2cls but t/o dbl doesn't.

    b) 1NT , in my opinion , is a subset even they play 1nt 15-17 . Exmp :

      1Cl                          p          1H              P
      2nt (18-19 bal)     

    In this case 1nt falls in the range of 15-18 hcps
    If they are playing weak nt it has to be a subset If I'm not mistaken.

    c) 2cl as being similar it can be deemed comperable.

    d) 2nt still giving me headache. Exmp. If you held such a hand X AQxxx x AKxxxx
    What would be your opening bid ? if you would open it with 1cl then your 2nt would have to be deemed
    a subset as well

     If you share your thoughts  I will be grateful.

    Best regards.

    Secaaddin Özdeniz

  • I think the majority of players open the higher-ranking suit when 5-5 (especially if it's a major/minor 5-5). As such, if you replace an out-of-rotation 1!c call with 2NT, that gives away a lot of information beyond simply bidding 2NT on its own: it implies that despite having clubs and hearts, you considered the clubs more important to open (whereas most hands like that would open 1!h). So it isn't a subset.

  • I agree with ais523's last post, but disagree with ozdeniz that 1NT "is a subset even they play 1nt 15-17". It is not enough to have a single point of contact between two ranges (18hcp) and in any case for most people do not open all balanced hands with 1C.

    The one instance when it might be considered to be comparable is if they play a weak NT and they also play that they open 1C with all balanced hands, including those with much longer diamonds, such as with 3352 shape.

  • Thank you very much for your explanations. You have been very helpful.

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