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Can someone explain 31P-65R-31

Posted By: David Rockwell
Date: Friday, 30 August 2013, at 5:01 a.m.

In Response To: Can someone explain 31P-65R-31 (Bob Koca)

I don't have my arms all the way around this one. But, I do have some thoughts.

First note that 31S (24-23, 13-10) is usually not the best move in the sequence 31P-XX-31. E (24-21, 6-5) and N (13-10, 6-5) are more likely to be correct. This is also true of 31P-XX-21. The fundamental is to build your forward position in the opening if your opponent has done nothing to start making offensive points. There are many exceptions to this which is why splitting may seem natural. But, it simply isn't urgent here. Opener has an edge in a priming game which means building points is priority #1. Responder wants a running game or holding game; you don't.

I believe that the only other time when 31P-XX-31S plays well after a properly played second move is 31P-42P-31. When you need / want to split with a 31, 24-21, 6-5 is usually more effective than 24-23, 13-10. We see the 24-23 split frequently on the first two moves, so it looks natural. But, the main reason for playing it on one's first roll is that 8-7 and 6-5 leave direct shots and 13-12 is blocked. It is often the only reasonable ace. (Switch the midpoints in the opening position so that 12-11 is available and check how strong 24-23 is now. It sucks.) After 31P-XX-31 we have another choice for that ace (6-5) and it is very often the best one. I'm surprised that 24-23 plays as well as it does n this sequence rather than the other way around.

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