What should I bid? (June 2023)


What should I bid? (June 2023)

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

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

West North East South
1 Pass Pass 1NT
2 2 Pass Pass

South realised it could be a transfer to Spades from North but thought it had been interrupted by West’s bid of 2 so left it at 2. Was this correct bidding or should a) North have bid 2, leaving it for South to raise if possible OR b) North have bid 2 indicating a transfer to Spades and South responding by bidding 2.

Hi Lillian,
Thanks for writing in. This is a great question because it’s something that can come up frequently – whenever the opponents interfere over your 1NT opening or overcall.

In general, it’s best to play ‘system off’ when this happens. Without having discussed it with my partner, I would have done what South did and passed. I will add that West’s 2 bid is absolutely wild and I wouldn’t recommend it!

After the opponents bid over your 1NT opening or overcall, most people go back to basic, first principles, natural responses. 2-level bids are natural and non-forcing, and 3-level bids are natural and forcing. Therefore, with North’s hand I would bid 2 to play there. If North had a game-forcing hand they could bid 3 to show five spades, and allow South to choose between 3NT and 4 depending on their fit. A double would be takeout with some decent points and very likely both majors, asking partner to bid a 4 card major if they have one.

It’s not applicable on this deal but you could also look into the Lebensohl convention, where North’s 2NT would force South to bid 3, over which North can bid naturally. This can help your partnership compete when the opponents overcall and responder has a distributional hand but not enough points to make a game-forcing 3-level response (e.g. a hand that would have transferred to a minor).

As a side note, a common approach is that when the auction begins 1x – Pass – Pass, the fourth seat 1NT overcall is weaker than a direct 1NT overcall – often 11-14 HCP (although I prefer 13-16 HCP). This is useful to support your partnership to get into the auction when the second player (who passed over the opening bid) had a hand with some HCP but an unsuitable shape for an overcall or takeout double. With a strong NT hand, you can double initially then rebid 1NT (or support partner’s suit if you have a fit).

Keep up the good work!

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