Beowulf

Hi all

They haven’t fixed their initcap problem, and their mailing room isn’t quite up to speed, but Oracle finally sent me my OCP certificate.

Together with Geoff Hopcraft I’ve been experimenting with a homebrew big 1 opening: Beowulf. A 1 opening shows 15-17 balanced or any stronger hand. There are just two responses possible to 1: 1 showing any 6+ and 1 showing a bust. After that the bidding takes a surprising natural turn. So the relays and asking bids I’ve always been so very fond of have been sacrificed to robust natural proceedings. I can’t tell yet whether this is systematic imp positive, but if so, our competitive agreements more than make up for it. As always the 1 is the Achilles heel of conventional systems, ours being nebulous to the n’th power, for it can be as short as zero.

Here’s an example of Beowulf in action:

North
873
5
KQJ97
KT84
South
AKT95
AKT2
A64
5
West
North
East
South
 
 
 
11
pass
12
pass
1
pass
2
pass
2
pass
2
pass
3
pass
4NT
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.
 
  1. 15-17 bal, or any 18+
  2. 6+ hcp

After 1 the auction switched to natural mode and Geoff launched himself to slam.

During the auction Geoff figured the side fit would provide enough tricks for slam. As the cards lie slam barely qualifies as questionable. In order to enjoy the long Geoff needed to discard one on the top . Then the two top would have to survive before ruffing a third one high. After that he had to draw the remaining trumps ending in dummy to enjoy the . But at that point there are still only eleven tricks (four , five and two ). The twelfth needed to come from the suit, but when the Ace proved to be off side we wrote -50.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
873
5
KQJ97
KT84
West
J4
Q874
T5
Q9763
East
Q62
J963
832
AJ2
South
AKT95
AKT2
A64
5

I enjoyed the 3 bid best, I could show a big hand and my exact distribution, and we were just at the 3-level! I’ll keep you posted with more Beowulf action.

3 thoughts on “Beowulf

  1. Hmm, I don’t think North found the best line of play here.
    For this line of play the Ace has to be in West. I think the better play is to try this immediately instead of trying it in trick 10. Because if you play club in trick two or three and the ace of clubs is in east, you can still try to grab 12 tricks via another route (ruff two clubs and try some squeeze). Here the other route wouldn’t have worked also, because the only squeeze you can play for is a spade/club squeeze, which is not gonna work.
    The only squeeze I see that will work is a double squeeze, but you need the heart entrance in South for that and to make the club ruffs you have to cross to the North hand by ruffing hearts.

  2. @Dave: Thanks for the kind words.

    @KJ: The plan of ruffing a couple of in dummy was a dead end when East led a small trump at trick one. But on any other lead ruffing your losers is a winning plan.

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