What should I bid? (July 2015)


What should I bid? (July 2015)

The best submission for July came from Maura Rhodes. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

This hand was from the ANC:

Bd 11
Nil Vul
S Dealer
J 9 8 7 6 5
Q J 7
K 5
K 9
K 10 4 3
K 10 9
9 3
Q J 8 5
[ 11 ] 2
A 8 6 5 4 2
Q 10 4 2
6 2
  A Q
A J 8 7 6
A 10 7 4 3


West North East South
Pass 1 3  ?

What should South do now?  I am not sure if X here would be support for spades, or should we only play support doubles up to 2?  I didn’t feel I could pass as I had a singleton heart. I decided to bid my hand and rebid 4 which my partner corrected to 4, which went off. Our only making contract is 4.  Advice please.


Hi Maura,

Good problem. As always, preempts can make our lives much tougher, and this one is no different.

I think I would double. The X here is not a support X as they should only be applied up to and including 2 (sometimes 2). Any doubles at a higher level is generally best used as “cards” but of course, quite often you will have three-card support for partner’s major so it can coincidentally have 3-card support for the X. The main reason for this is because at such a “high level” (we’re close to bypassing 3NT), we can’t have the X promising 3-card support, otherwise you will be left helpless with so many other good hands without three-card support. An example is say you have a 2=2=6=3 shape with 17 points in the same exact auction as above – essentially you can’t do anything but to double to announce “cards” (assuming you don’t have a heart stopper).

On this hand, I have sympathy for 4 (and on some days it can certainly work out better than X), but the reason I chose to X is because I do not want to bypass 3NT. My hand does consist of extra strength as I have 15 points plus a 5-5 shape and singleton in opp’s suit, so that makes me want to act rather than to pass. (Obviously if I only had 11 points I would just pass.) Another good thing about my hand is that my 2-card spade holding is quite strong, in the form of AQ, so this can compensate if partner decides to rebid her good 5-card spade suit of, say, KJ10xx.

Also, because I have a lot of points in my short suit (spades) rather than my diamonds/clubs, that gives me reason to prefer X (and look for 3NT) than to try and find 5-minor by rebidding 4. Imagine if my 15-point hand was different, in the form of xx AQJxx Axxxx, opposite partner’s actual hand, game in 5 starts to look a bit better. If my shape was a 6-5, game prospects will increase even more (say, AQJxxx AQxxx). When opener bids 1 then 4, the minimum shape for that bid would be 5-5, and I certainly wouldn’t rule out a 6-5 shape. Therefore, I think a 4 rebid sounds like it should emphasise more strength in both of those suits – hence I prefer the more flexible double here due to a lot of my values being in spades.

If South does double, then North should have no trouble jumping to 4 with a 6-card spade suit and ten points. North knows that if South only has a doubleton spade, South should have a bit more high cards than if South had the ideal shape of 3=1=5=4 (because if South did have a 3=1=5=4, then North won’t need as much HCP to make game in spades).

Hope that helps.


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