Junior Coaching: Overcall style.

This week we looked at partnership style on overcalls.

The Juniors were asked whether they would overcall with the following hands

Your RHO opens the bidding with 1Club do you overcall 1Spade with these hands.

3 answers per question,

a) you are vulnerable

b) you are nonvulnerable

c) you are nonvulnerable, Partner is a Passed Hand

1)       Spadexxxxx HeartDiamondAKxx ClubAxx

2)       SpadeQxxxx HeartAJx DiamondQxx Clubxx 

3)       SpadeKJxxx HeartKx DiamondKxx Clubxxx

4)       SpadeKxxxx HeartKx DiamondKxx Clubxxx        

5)       SpadeAKxxx Heartx DiamondQJxx Clubxxx

6)       SpadeAKxxx Heartx Diamondxxxx Clubxxx 

7)       SpadeKQJxx Heartx Diamondxxxx Clubxxx

As I told the Juniors, there are no right or wrong answers. It is all about partnership style.  The answers change depending on the form of game, imps or matchpoints, who your opponents are, or even what you had for lunch. Having said that, here are my thoughts on overcalling style.

You overall for one or more of 3 reasons. You want to compete in the auction, perhaps even to the game level. You want to help partner find the best lead. You want to obstruct the opponents.

1) I would overcall at any form of the game, any vulnerability. We may have a game. I hate that partner may make an unfortunate lead of a spade but I will take that chance.

2) I would pass. I have a bad spade suit and would welcome a lead in any suit. I may balance at the two level if I have a chance. Non-vulnerable I might be tempted to overcall 1Spade if partner was a passed hand but I would not be proud of it.

3) This hand has real tricks as opposed to the previous hand’s junk. I would overcall anytime.

4) I would overcall non-vulnerable anytime. I might overcall vulnerable when partner is a passed hand. I would probably pass if partner was not a passed hand. With this hand i can’t be sure of spades being our best lead.

5) Overcall anytime. I put this hand in to see if anyone would pass.

6) I want to overcall for the lead and probably would non-vulnerable. I would pass when vulnerable if partner was not a passed hand.

7) I might overcall non-vulnerable if partner was a passed hand. But I would more likely prefer to bid 2Spade  even though I only have a 5 card suit. The hand looks more like a weak jump overcall than a one bid to me.