What should I bid? (February 2023)


What should I bid? (February 2023)

The best submission for February came from Peter Turnbull. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridgegear.

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

West North East South
Pass 2 2 Pass
Pass 3 Pass Pass

My question comes in several parts:
1(a) When East overcalled 2, how should we bid the hand? We obviously belong in 4, but with such a dreadful hand, I chose to pass partner’s 3 rebid. Should I have done so? What should I have bid, because I thought that 3 would show 5+ hearts?
1(b) If East hadn’t overcalled 2, how should we bid the hand? Am I allowed to pass partner’s 3 rebid after the 2 opener? What should I then bid, because I thought that 3 would show 5+ hearts?
2) One person suggested that, despite the 21 HCP (and two-loser hand), North should open 1, planning to rebid hearts (2 if I responded, 4 if an opponent intervened – apparently 4 would show the 5-6 game hand). What do you think about that?
Thank you for your advice.
It will be much appreciated.

Hi Peter,
Thanks for writing in for my first month of What should I bid?!

1(a). After a 2 opening and 2 overcall, North should make a forcing bid as they know they want to play game in one of their suits. A cuebid of 3 would definitely be game forcing here – then I suppose South might bid 3NT with J9xx and North can now bid 4. There should be an inference that North’s hand is not completely single-suited as they could have bid 4 or 5 at their second turn (rather than cuebidding) if the diamonds were the sole feature they wanted to show. This is not a situation where I would assume partner was on the same page as me unless we had an agreement. As South, if you weren’t sure exactly what your partner was up to, 5 would be a safe bet.
1(b). If North opened 2 and East hadn’t overcalled 2, I agree that 2-2-3-3 would show 5+ hearts, so you’re between a rock and a hard place. This depends on your approach to opening 2 – in my regular partnerships I generally play it as either 23+ balanced or game forcing with suits (without a solid HCP boundary as I focus on the playing strength). If this was your style, then opener’s 3 rebid would be forcing, South should probably bid 3NT, and North can bid 4 which would show 5 hearts and 6 diamonds. If you just play 2 as 21+ or similar, then South has to weigh up the risk of missing game vs the risk of getting too high. If your partner is not someone who stretches the boundaries of 2 openings, then I would consider bidding 3NT, but I can’t blame you for passing 3 either.
2. The North hand certainly has enough high card and playing strength to open 2, but it can make two-suited hands tricky to bid out, as was the case here. The benefits of a 2 opening are that you get your points off your chest, and if it’s an uncontested auction you can be fairly confident of getting to show both your suits (especially if you play that 2 is game forcing). On the other hand, 1 leaves you in a better position if the opponents interfere, and if partner responds then a simple 2 reverse means you’ve already shown both your suits at a much lower level than if you’d opened 2 (or maybe they’ll even bid 1 or 2!) There is a risk that 1 will get passed out – and you’d feel a bit silly in that case – but with such a distributional hand it’s likely that someone else at the table will be bidding spades or clubs and keep the auction alive for you.

Hope that helps,

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