Friday, July 07, 2006 10:26 PM

Weak 2's - 3NT overcall




          In “modern” bidding the opponents open “weak two’s” a great deal of the time. These weak two’s are designed to be destructive to keep you out of your best spot rather than disciplined and informing partner of the nature of their hand. You need understandings when you are presented with this problem time and time again. One understanding should be “fast arrival” with a 3NT bid.


          What does a 3NT overcall mean after a weak two ? Is it gambling with a long suit ? Is it off shape with their suit ? Is it a huge flat hand above the range of a two NT opener ?  I think the answer is that 3NT is a depending on context bid. The bid must be interpreted in light of the vulnerability and table position. By table position, I mean whether partner is a passed hand or not. It is also defined by the principles of “fast arrival”.


          I think what the bid should never be is a flat hand too strong to overcall the weak two with 2NT . That is silly as you are destroying one of your options which is partner converting for penalty or them getting into further trouble. You are also pre-empting partner with a huge hand. What is your hurry ? Double first and then bid NT and leave partner some room for investigation. 4NT is always quantitative in these auctions after you have doubled. Also if partner leaps to 4 of a major over your double , you must have the partnership understanding that 4NT by the doubler is not Blackwood . The bid describes the huge balanced hand that you were about to bid if partner had not leapt to game.


          A 3NT jump or even a 3NT overcall should be to play . If you are vul and they are not , your 3NT bid could hold a stack in their suit. Your 3NT jump may be off shape with a stiff in a major . The rule of thumb in these auctions is partner does not correct the contract unless she has slam interests. Bid quantitatively on these auctions only. In other words ,  if you feel 4NT can make , bid it as a slam try. Here is a hand from the Vanderbilt. You are a passed hand with Kxx KJxxx xxx ♣Ax  and they open a weak two diamonds. Partner overcalled 3NT so what did they do ? At both tables they bid 4NT giving the 3NT overcaller a chance to get to a slam somewhere. The NT overcaller leapt to 6♣ and that was cold.


          Going back to table position again , beware when partner bids 3NT in the balancing spot over a weak two. The bid may be partially a balance. Partner should double with huge flat hands that have any chance for a slam opposite a passed hand partner. A 3NT overcall is an example of “fast arrival” and not the Goren notion of the more I have , the more I bid . Doubles and then leaping to 3NT describe huge hands quite well. Slow arrival shows the bigger hands.