Andre Asbury

What’s a Max Weak Two?

The District 7 NAP finals got off to an ominous start for Emory and I and my defensive mishaps did not improve the rest of the day.

We started against the McLaughlins and they reached 4H after Mark opened a 5-10 weak 2 and then after a 2NT inquiry said he had a good weak 2. He could have shown a weak 2 he is ashamed of, a minimum, a super max, or a solid suit.

Dealer: S

Vul: E-W






















A trump lead stands out to me but apparently lots of people chose a more aggressive lead as we got 2.5 out of 8 when my subsequent defense gave him a trick. He played 4 rounds of hearts and then took a spade finesse and led a club to his K and my ace.

By this point I am pretty sure from partner’s signaling that declarer is 3-6-2-2. I can see that if he ever gets back to his hand, a repeated spade finesse will provide 1 discard but the only back to his hand is to trump a minor suit. So if I cash a club he will easily be able to trump the third one and pitch a diamond loser on spades. A spade lead is obviously out of the question. A diamond lead appears to be able to hold him to 4 if partner has the Q, for he will again be stuck on dummy and have to lead a minor suit to us and we can then cash a winner in the other minor. But if declarer has the DQ, a diamond lead would give him a 12th trick. So the question becomes whether a 10 count with KQT of hearts and Kx and Qx in the minors would be a super max or just a decent weak 2. Obviously there are better 10 count weak 2’s (HAK and Kxx on the side) but this still is close to the best hand he could have and open a weak 2. So I played partner for the DQ and he made 6. In retrospect, we are probably above average already for having made a good opening lead and I should make a passive club continuation.

A couple of rounds later, we came up against the eventual winners Owen Lien and Kevin Wilson, and after two fairly average boards, we had this annoying one.

Dealer: E

Vul: E-W





















West North East South
Pass 1
2  2 Pass 3
Pass   4 All Pass   

We cashed our 3 black suit winners (A, A, then K). Kevin led the jack of hearts off the dummy and Emory followed low, at which point he tanked for a few minutes and eventually dropped my stiff K. Yes, I could have bid a little more aggressively and help get us to 4 but I really think I bid enough and 4 is probably the most common spot. Playing for the stiff K offside is definitely anti-precentage and even more so when I have shown at least 5-5 in spades and a minor. The reasoning for choosing this play is beyond me – because he didn’t think I would bid Michaels vulnerable with only two Axxxx suits, as if the singleton K makes my hand so much better. Argh.

On the next board against a different pair Emory opens 2, RHO looks for a few seconds and then says, “is that a weak 2” and I respond with a Sean-like response (see his post on Alert Procedures) “I didn’t alert it so it probably is.” She comes back with, “Well, I’m still allowed to ask.” Me: “Yes, but you’re not allowed to suggest what you may or may not think it means.” We wind up getting to 3NT going down 1 when LHO, holding KQT4 and the A, finds the correct play of a low heart at trick 2 after the K held trick 1. The lady’s hand who asked about 2: xxx, Jxx, Axxx, Txx.

1 Comment

Linda LeeNovember 25th, 2010 at 12:10 am

With so many categories to chose from it is hard to decide if the first hand is a max or a supermax or whatever. I think it isn’t a great 10 count and I can see why it is a max, as described.

Your defensive signaling seems to have been the part of the problem. You didn’t get a good count and/or partner who has two pitches on the hearts could he indicate he didn’t like diamonds too.

Not sure what your carding is but I would throw a discouraging club and diamonds on the hearts.

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