What should I bid? (November 2013)


What should I bid? (November 2013)

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


I frequently come across hands like the following:-


Where H=an honour, and just give yourself enough points for an opening bid.

My partnership opens 1NT with 11-14 HCP and it may hold a five-card major.

With the above hand if I open 1S and partner bids 2H, I have nowhere to go holding a maximum of 13-14 HCP.

Repeating the spades would show a 6-card suit and bidding 3 of a minor would show a much stronger hand than I actually hold: So I have opened 1NT on occasion, for which I have been chastised by both opponents and different directors.

Furthermore, to compound the problem ABF regulations state that the singleton must be an honour, and that the 5-card suit must be weak.

Can you help, please?

Bert Forage


Hi Bert,

The way I would always treat this hand is to open 1S. In the scenario where partner does bid 2H, you will have to make an extra agreement where your rebid here now could be potentially this type of hand. For example, maybe you might agree that a 2S rebid does not promise a sixth spade and it may be a hand such as this. Or maybe you can agree with your partner that a 2NT rebid shows a minimum but can hold a singleton in partner’s suit — if however the 2NT rebid shows 15-17, then you would have to go back to the first option of rebidding 2S. It may not be the best, but either one of these agreements would be much preferred than opening 1NT. Not because of the Bridge Laws-aspect (well, that too), but more that you will be losing out on a lot by opening 1NT when you cannot show your spades for further competitive bidding.

By opening 1NT, you are only guarding against the scenario where partner responds 2H. But that is only *one* scenario and it also requires partner to have 10+ points. But what about other times when partner responds 1NT, or 2C, or 2D, or how about when there’s competitive bidding when it’s your opponents who overcall 2H? There are so many different scenarios that can happen and in all of them you would have much preferred to have opened 1S than 1NT. Planning your rebid is always a good rule that we learn, but just take note that you should not try and go too far with it.

This is a very similar example of how one might handle a 1=4=4=4 shape that’s within your 1NT point range. Do you open 1D (or 1C) and deal with the expected 1S response from partner, or do you just 1NT hoping to “solve” that problem? I would definitely always open 1D and in the event that partner responds 1S, then I would rebid 2C (or 2H reverse if within strength). However, I’m not worried about that because there are so many other scenarios that can happen, for example, my LHO might be the one that overcalls 1S, or maybe partner can respond 1H, or maybe partner can support my diamonds etc etc.

Hope this helps,


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