What should I bid? (March 2023)


What should I bid? (March 2023)

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

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

West North East South
    1 1
2 Pass ?  

I wanted to Pass, then I realised that 2 is forcing! I didn’t want to bid 2NT with only Jxx, though that might be right. I knew I couldn’t bid 2 because it would be a reverse (and surely partner would have made a negative double with 4 hearts?). So I rebid 2. What would you do? NEXT: How does West continue? Partner bid 3 and now I passed, happy to get out of this auction. When North didn’t lead a spade (though they obviously should have), we made 13 tricks. Everybody seemed to have problems bidding the hand, though two pairs reached 5, which looks to be a sensible contract. How did they do so?

Thanks for your help.

Hi Dean,

I’ve chosen your question as the winner for March because I think it’s representative of so many auctions we have where there’s no ‘right’ bid and you end up choosing between several options, none of which are ideal.
In this case, if you had a spade stopper 2NT is easy; an extra diamond makes 2 the standout; and even a third club would allow you to support partner with 3. You have the worst possible shape for this auction!
I suppose your options are 2, 2 and 2NT. I would rule 2 out immediately for the same reason as you – it would be a reverse and I’m sure partner would have made a negative double of 1 if they had four hearts. Now you basically have to decide which of the other options would be less misleading to partner.
If we consider the pros and cons, if you bid 2 at least you have a good quality diamond suit but there are only four of them, whereas 2NT would convey your balanced hand and 12-14 HCP but would also suggest a spade stopper.
The questions I ask myself in these scenarios are:
1. How likely do I think it is that we’ll play in game?
I’ve opened the bidding and my partner has bid 2 over 1 so we’re around the 22+ HCP mark – game is still in the picture but not a certainty.
2. What is/are the most likely or best game/s?
We don’t have a major suit fit, so it’s probably 3NT – unless partner has long clubs or a sneaky diamond fit. All we might need from partner is a full or half spade stopper; something like Qx or 10xxx would be enough help to stop the opponents from taking 5 spade tricks.
3. Which bid will give partner the information they might need to make the correct decision?
If I bid 2 they might rely on me having longer diamonds and think I have an unbalanced hand. Maybe we’ll play in 5 or 5 when 3NT would have been better, if we both have balanced or semi-balanced hands. If I bid 2NT can partner cuebid 3 to ask me how good my stopper is (kind of like a 4th suit forcing auction but using their overcall suit)? If that’s something in our toolbox then 2NT seems more appealing. (Note: in competitive auctions at the 1-level it’s far more common for opener to rebid 1NT without a stopper in their suit. If you were a level lower I would be advocating for a NT rebid without much further thought.)
I think I would bid 2NT.
Subsequent bidding: West’s 3 rebid was non-forcing, and I would also pass. If West is able to cuebid the opponent’s suit to force me to bid again and usually ask for a stopper, I would do that. If not, then it looks like they have to choose between 3NT, 5 and 5 – yuck! (I acknowledge that if East opted for 2NT like me, then West may confidently bid 3NT and we’d go down.)
If I had to guess, I’d say that the pairs who reached 5 either had West make a lucky guess or had some more conventions at their disposal to help them find the right game.
I hope this helps you with future bidding misadventures!


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