What should I bid? (September 2014)


What should I bid? (September 2014)

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

Nil Vul, Dealer is East, Matchpoints. I was West.


West North East South
Pass 1

This hand occurred in the QBA graded pairs event.
Until I heard my RHO’s bid I expected to bid 4 over pretty much anything. My RHO opened 1, and I thought if it goes Pass by me, 1NT by N, pass by South I could try a double to get partner to lead dummy’s first bid suit, but it seemed like a long shot. So I overcalled 4, down 1 for 69% of the matchpoints.

I truly didn’t really know what I should do, that seemed the least complicated bid. A 2 or 3 overcall will surely be read as a cue-bid from partner, and I don’t want them to get to a making contract outside of spades, and if I try and back into the auction after passing the first time, surely a later spade bid will be read as a cue-bid. Also, given my hand, I had a thought that my RHO might have just have made a 2nd seat psyche.

Out of 14 tables in A Grade, 11 different contracts were declared. The worst outcomes for E-W was when South got to play in 2 after 1NT by north, then 2 by south, passed out.

As I was the only one in 4 clearly I was the only one who made this decision, I’m wondering what you would have done?

The whole hand:

Nil Vul
E Dealer

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

Hi Alan,

Interesting hand you have there!

When faced with such a scenario, your best course of action first is to pass, as you correctly pointed out that a direct 2 or a 3 bid would be interpreted as a cuebid. What your plan should be is to first pass then come back in later with a spade bid. This should definitely be understood as natural and not a cuebid – the reasoning for that is, if you had some other distributional hand, you would have other options available to you (such as double, or bid NT’s, or cuebid another suit etc). The one and only way to bid spades intending it as natural is to pass first and bid spades later.

For example, after your auction of Pass-1-Pass-1NT // Pass-2-? If you bid 2 or 3 now, this can’t be anything else but a decent hand with long spades. If you had the other 2 suits, you could now make a takeout double, or maybe bid 2NT, or maybe even 3. A delayed 2 bid now should be played as natural.

This delayed spade bid isn’t always natural in these “pass-then-bid-spades” scenarios. For example:
1 – Pass – 1NT – 2 // Pass – 2 This 2 bid now would be a cuebid, showing a good raise in hearts, as partner has overcalled 2.

Back to the actual deal, after passing the first time round, I would personally prefer to now bid only 2. You do have a good hand, sure, but you will need a lot from partner in order to make 10 tricks. A 2nd seat psyche of 1 isn’t impossible, but I would be inclined to rule that out as it would be quite an unlikely scenario. If my RHO does indeed have a 1 opening, then I know I will have a spade loser. This is another reason to go low with 2.

Just remember, when you do bid (a delayed) 2, your partner should know that you have a good hand – after all, you are bidding your opponent’s 5-card suit, so you certainly shouldn’t have a bad hand! Thus, there is no need to jump to 4. If partner does have a decent hand, he can continue the bidding over my delayed 2 bid.

I hope that helps.


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