What should I bid? (July 2014)

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What should I bid? (July 2014)

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

All vulnerable, the bidding proceeds

1 (4) ?

and you hold:

Axx
AJxx
QT
T8xx

What should I bid?

X or 5 or Pass?

What does partner do over each action holding:


KT8xx
AKJ9xx
Ax

Cheers
Juzz

 

Hey Juzz,

That’s a difficult one.

Because of my balanced hand, I think I am inclined to start with a double as weird as that may seem. Partner is most likely marked with a spade shortage, so I’m guessing he will often be pulling the double and we can follow it up with a 5 bid. (This is probably ok since I’m assuming the sequence of 4NT (2 places to play) followed by 5 is used to show a good heart raise (?) so therefore double-then-5 would show a defensive hand?)

Sometimes partner might hold a doubleton spade and with that he would just pass our double and we defend 4X. With a singleton spade, I guess he may pass the double sometimes (probably rarely) without a great hand and that might still work out alright. Well, if partner does leave the double in with a singleton spade, then he probably has soft values (i.e. not wanting to commit to an 11-trick contract) and if that’s the case, there is a great danger that 4X could be making… But I think I am willing to take that chance, since partner is likely to remove our double with a singleton spade anyway.

But that now brings up the other possibility – passing. Maybe we can pass 4 and allow partner to double so we can then remove to 5? Or maybe, over partner’s double, we can bid bid 4NT-then-5 to show a good defensive raise to 5? That sounds good on paper, but in practice it probably doesn’t do enough justice to our hand with two bullets. It may be even more problematic if partner balances with 4NT or 5-minor and now we may need to “catch up” in the bidding to tell partner that we don’t have a bad hand.

Well, you’ve given a tough problem so I think I prefer double, but 5 is reasonable too.

As for partner’s hand, over a double I would probably choose to bid 5 followed by 6 (hoping to show a spade void). This is now getting into a grey area since I could also start off with 4NT followed by 5 but that may encounter partner bidding 5 over our 4NT and a 5 bid now may imply a club fit.

Over 5, you can probably now bid 5NT if that asks for trump quality since you’re now looking at a grand slam.

Over a pass, then I would balanced with 5.

Having said all that, I do have a preference for opening partner’s hand with 1 though. With the auction likely to get competitive based on my spade void, I would want to get my longest suit across since if it comes to a 5-level decision, it doesn’t matter whether we play in diamonds or hearts since they’re both at game level.

Cheers,
Andy

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