What should I bid? (September 2013)

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What should I bid? (September 2013)

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

Dealer North, All Vulnerable, you are South holding:

Hand:

JT
AJT83
9
AKT84

Bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1 P 1
 P 11 P 22
 P 2 P 33
 P 34 P 3NT
 P 4NT P ?

1 1 promises an unbalanced hand
2 2  game force;
3 3 forcing/semi-natural;
4 3 Hx in hearts
All other bids are natural.

You and your partner have a very aggressive opening style, and conservative game-forcing style.
Do you agree with your bidding so far and what do you bid now?

Hey Max,

I would pass. I am assuming partner has a 4-2-5-2 shape (assuming 2 did not show a sixth diamond) and it feels like it’s against the odds that partner will have a useful holding in hearts and clubs for a slam in hearts or clubs to be good – plus, our spade and diamond holdings are pretty poor opposite partner’s two main suits.

I think that partner will probably have around 17-18 to have bid a quantitative 4NT, but I also think that more often than not, his spades will be at least AQxx and his diamonds at least AQJxx (or AKxxx). In addition to a heart honour (from partner’s 3 bid), it won’t leave much space for a club honour. (i.e. the attractiveness to invite to slam for partner will be higher when his spades and (especially) his diamonds to be good suits). With an even better diamond suit such as AKJTx or AQJTx, then it might even be possible for partner to have a good 16 count to 17 to bid an invitational 4NT, but it’s unlikely to be an 18 count (since he’d then probably force to slam himself).

Not only that, partner also had a chance to bid 4NT quantitative over our 3 bid. Had partner chosen that immediate 4NT bid over our 3, that probably suggests a scattered 18 count with an average diamond suit such as AJxxx since then he’d probably have Qx of clubs to make his hand feel more “no-trumpy” and thus not bother about a 3 bid which could be aimed more towards a suit contract. We didn’t bid 2 over 2 after all, so it is unlikely (probably impossible) for us to hold a six-card suit. Therefore, I would say that his 3 bid followed by 4NT suggests a hand that has xx of clubs and a good diamond suit.

Cheers,
Andy

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