What should I bid? (June 2014)


What should I bid? (June 2014)

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

Nil vul, West dealer
I was west. My hand was:

West North East South
1 1 Dbl* 3**
Pass Pass 3NT All pass

*=4+ hearts
We play Standard. 1 is 3+ clubs.

Should I have bid 4 over 3? Should my partner double 3 for takeout with
instead of 3NT?
Maybe I should open 1 then bid 4. The void in my partner’s hearts put me off, also only having 11 points. It is hand 8, match 9 from the VCC.

I would be grateful for your advice.
With thanks

Hi Margaret,

I would bid 4 over 3. High level competitive auctions can be quite hard to deal with, especially so when it comes to distributional hands. I’m not feeling great about my 4 but there are lots of good things that can happen. For example, maybe the opponents are about to bid (a making) 4 and we have a nice 5-minor sacrifice that partner is able to judge after hearing our 1-then-4 bids, or maybe the opponents are about to sacrifice in 4 and our 4 bid makes it easier for partner to judge what to do over a potential 4 bid.

I agree that our Heart void is a negative factor since partner had shown hearts with the negative double, but I would feel even worse passing over 3 with this distributional hand. It’s not that passing over 3 is an error, but I feel that bidding 4 with this extreme 6-5 shape will often put us in a better position than a pass would.

Having passed, your partner’s 3NT bid is fair enough. Doubling 3 for takeout is a potential option, but with this balanced hand, often you’d want to at least try to play in 3NT from the right side to guard the Kx of spades.

As for whether to open the hand with 1 or 1 – it’s up to partnership style. My preference is 1 since I always like to open my longest suit first, but 1 is not bad either – in fact, on this hand, a 1 opening would fair much better since you can then rebid 4 over the opponent’s 3 without needing to commit to the 5-level.

By the way, as to how your auction progressed, after partner’s 3NT bid this indicates that you and your partner probably have the balance of the points. Over RHO’s 4 bid, I would now definitely bid 5 with your hand. Partner’s negative double followed by a 3NT bid indicates that partner has exactly 4 hearts (if partner has enough values with 5+ hearts, partner would have bid 2, not a negative double), and so partner is marked with 2=4 in the majors. Therefore, it is quite likely that your side will have a minor suit fit – but it’s now a bit too difficult to show your secondary diamonds as a 4NT bid by you sounds natural, therefore, I think you are left with 5.

Hope that helps,


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