What should I bid? (May 2017)


What should I bid? (May 2017)

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

Dealer: North
Vul: All

East’s hand:


West North East South
  3 ?  

I assume East should pass here, given that you should not double with 4-2 Majors.

My opponent was the one who held this hand and he doubled “to show an opening hand”, and as luck would have it, his partner had 4 and 3, so they bid to 4. This made and we got a bottom board, because I assume no one else doubled.

I would have thought there would be a big problem if his partner had bid 3 over the double.

Over an opponent’s 1-suit opening bid, Double then bid a new suit is a hand that’s too strong to overcall intially, but isn’t it same the principle over preempt where all immediate overcalls are strong?

(3)-3 (~12-17pts)
(3)-4 (~18-21pts)
(3)-X-(P)-3 ; (P)-3 (=22+ points)?

Thank you.


Hi Sid,

You’ve given a truly terrible problem! I honestly do not know what to do, except to congratulate the preemptive bid!

Your reasonings on the principles of doubles are spot on, except for the last bit where you wrote “(3)-X-(P)-3 ; (P)-3”. Against a preemptive opening, the “X-then-bid-new-suit” does not (should not) have its traditional meaning of a ‘strong overcall’. You can continue to play that of course that’s not a problem, but you will get more mileage by defining it as a “decent and flexible hand”. So if that auction had occurred where I doubled and removed 3 to 3, I would expect the hand to be something like a 5=3=1=4 shape (i.e. 16-19 points, five spades, tolerance for other suits, and obviously not four hearts else I would raise the hearts), so essentially what I said, a decent and flexible hand.

Similarly, in an auction of (3)-X-(P)-4 ; (P)-4, I would be expecting something like a 1=5=(43) shape with 17 or so points.

The reason why the “flexible hand” meaning is better than the traditional “strong overcall” is because the preemptive bid has made life very tough for us and we have to give us the best chance to find our best fit. So with the strong overcall hands, we’d just have to make do with a jump overcall.

Back to the actual problem of what I would do. It feels like overcalling 4 my longest suit might be OK, but this immediately bypasses a potential 3NT contract so I would rule that out. The choices are pass, double, or overcall 3. I don’t have the stomach to overcall 3 on a 4-card suit at the 3-level (some others might!), and between pass and double, I might just have to break the rules and chance a double. I will get lucky if partner bids spades or 3NT, and if partner jumps to 4, I will pass. If partner bids 3? I hope I won’t need to deal with it! (Either pass, or remove it to 4!).

The reason why this is a difficult problem is because we have more than a minimum opening hand. Remove one of the kings, and I would be saying that pass is automatic.

Good and unsolvable problem!

Kind regards,

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