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Do you open all 12-counts?

This is obviously a broad question, and many factors should be taken into account, including the vulnerability, the seat, the honor structure, distribution and form of scoring...

The modern trend is to open light and we see more and more younger players open random 11-counts. Therefore, I've heard some players saying "I always open 12-counts". But should we really use the word "always" at bridge???

I may sound a little bit old-fashioned, but I like to have sound openers in first and second seat, especially vulnerable. Third seat, especially not vulnerable, you can forget any rules and find any reason to open a decent-looking 8-count. By sound openers, I mean a hand that's worth at least 12 HCP. Partner is unlimited, so should be able to count on you for having a full opener. Otherwise how can they judge their hand?

A hand that's worth 12 HCP could be a great 9-count such as AQ10xx K109xx xx. That hand contains 2 great 5-card suits, one of them being the boss suit, and you have a clear rebid. Definitely an opening bid to me. But is QJ KJx Qxxx QJxx worth 12 HCP? Definitely not according to the K&R hand evaluator which rates this hand as an 8.30-count! And I have to agree. This is an ugly flat hand, containing no 4-card major, no aces, just one king and no intermediates. I would never consider opening this hand in 1st or 2nd seat and even in 3rd seat, one could wonder the real merit in opening such a terrible hand.

The HCP system is a good start but is still incredibly flawed. The K&R hand evaluator is much more accurate to evaluate the "nominal" value of a hand, that is before a fit has been established, since a fit (or a misfit) could change the value of your hand. When it comes to deciding whether to treat your hand like an opening hand, or like a 15-17 NT, or like an 11-12 2NT response to a 1C/1D opener etc., using the K&R variables should allow you to get to the best contract most of the time. 9 HCP versus 9 HCP can make game, but a terrible 13-count opposite a terrible 13-count don't always make game...

So, do you open all 12-counts?

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