What should I bid? (August 2017)


What should I bid? (August 2017)

The best submission for August came from Brian Thorp. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

We were sitting NS Vul v Non Vul in a Swiss Butler event. East dealt.



We were playing a weak NT with 5-card majors and better minor with negative doubles up to 3.

West North East South
    Pass  1
 4  ?    

What do you recommend North calls?
If North passes what do you recommend South calls?
If North doubles, what do you recommend South calls?

Thanks Andy,

Hi Brian,

North should pass 4. North can’t be sure about defeating the contract (sure, Q is a trick, KQ “may” be one trick, but opener is not guaranteed to have 2-3 defensive tricks in his hand).

Once North passes, South should now double. Doubles at this high level should not be “purely for penalties”, it should merely say you have additional strength. Most of the time, the double is left in and you will be defending, but partner is allowed to remove the double with a very distributional hand.

Although South has a nice 5-5 shape, he should not commit to declaring by bidding 5, since that might be too high (as you see here). Best to double to announce extra strength, and if North does bid, North has a lot of options, such as 5, or 5, or quite often 4NT as “two places to play”.

If South does double however, North, with a 3433 shape and a defensive Q, should pass out the double – and thus you will defend 4X. If North’s shape was something like 1=4=4=4 or similar, then he should definitely take out partner’s double and bid.

It is true if South doubles, North may bid 5, but the thing is, with the spade singleton, it’s likely that North will have three spades (i.e. length) and therefore would more likely pass than bid anything else. But if he does bid, and if he does have a five-card heart suit, he should not be committing on the hearts as there are other strains available (i.e. the 5-level is game for all contracts, so there’s no need to prioritise hearts over a minor suit). For example, if North has a 2=5=2=4 shape, I would expect him to bid 4NT (two places to play) over my double, and therefore we will find our clubs.

Kind regards,

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