Today at 2pm at the Riverside California regional tournament I will talk about balancing. Because I was late sending my handout, there will not be copies at my talk so I have uploaded it to my downloads section on this site.
When the opponents have stopped in a part score at the two level, should you pass it out or bid? The answer depends on what contract they have stopped in and what kind of hand you have yourself. If they have stopped in two of a minor, that is not necessarily a good score for them since notrump might make more, so only balance when you have the perfect hand for it. However two of a major is almost always a great score for them, so don’t let them play there if at all possible.
And this is the key:
A golden rule of competitive bidding is not to let the opponents play in two of a major when they have an eight card fit. This means that we strain to reopen …
and where to go for more discussion of this concept.
A good book to read to follow up on these ideas is the classic To Bid or Not to Bid: The Law of Total Tricks by Larry Cohen which explains the law of total tricks as a basis for when to compete in these and many other auctions.
Simply stated, the “law” says that you want a nine card fit to bid over their three level contract and you do not let them play an eight card major suit fit at the two level unless they are going down or you think that they are making four!