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The Outer Limits - Observations and Conclusions

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Outer Limits polls (1 and 2). I especially appreciated your comments, which clarified many points for me.

Some observations:

    Part 1 (1 Opening - Lower Limit)

       1) BWers are about evenly split between a lower limit of 10 and 9 HCP.

      2) Almost everyone opts for a 2 QT minimum.

     3) From the comments, I gather a few more could be persuaded to open on 7 or 8 HCP, if meeting the 2 QTs minimum.

    Part 2 (1 Opening - Upper Limit)

       1) About 1/4 of BWers quit bidding 1 at 21 HCP (presumably to bid 2N).

      2) About 1/2 of BWers quit bidding 1 at 23 HCP (presumably to bid 2).

     3) About 1/4 of BWers hang onto 1 through 25-26 HCP (presumably with higher 2 standards).


Some conclusions:

    1) The old adage that an opening bid across an opening bid equals game is long gone. The modern standard on this unbalanced hand type is to open hands of average HCP (10) and average defense (2 QTs). The expectation is that two opening bids equals a partscore, not a game.

  2) While rarely mentioned as a requirement, 2QTs is a nearly universal minimum requirement for opening 1. HCP is a less reliable minimum, varying from 10-9 to as little as 7-8.

    3) If I read the General Convention Chart correctly (probably not), about half the BW field is in technical non-compliance, with opening 1 bid not promising 10+ HCP. The GCC appears not to make allowances for distribution, supplying plenty of good arguments for both sides of this question. But if half the pedestrians jaywalk and citations are not consistently written, perhaps it is time to move the crosswalks or paint them over ;-). In any event, be sure to look both ways before crossing.

*** Correction - as Paul Friedman points out below, the lower GCC limit is 8 HCP, not 10 HCP. Please disregard my first sentence above. For the time being, I stand by the next 3 three. ***

    4) About half the BW field sticks to the traditional requirements for 2N (20 or 21-22) and 2 (23+). The old rule requiring true stoppers (not just singleton K or Q) still holds for most. About 1/4 of BWers play their 1 opener as almost forcing, while another 1/4 will bid 2N with singleton honor.


Final thought:

    My longtime partner and I alert our opening 1D bid as "15-22, 3+diamonds, nonforcing". Invariably someone complains that our range is "so broad". It has been hard for me to explain that our 8 HCP range is far narrower than that of standard 1 suit bids. For nearly all BWers in this poll, the opening 1 range is 10-22 (13 HCP, over half again as wide), and for some the outer limits could be 9-25 (17 HCP, over twice as wide). I may want to keep these poll results with our convention card for easy reference the next time it comes up :-).

    This is my first poll on BW, and was spellbound watching the results coming in (maybe I need a life!). It found it very helpful to see how other players approached this problem.

    Thanks again to all.      





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