What should I bid? (September 2023)


What should I bid? (September 2023)

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

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

West North East South
Pass 1 2 3
Pass 4 Pass 6

I have lots of questions about this hand, and big hands in general.

1. Would you open 1 or 2 with this hand? Some other players pointed out that the hand has only 2 losers, so maybe I should have opened 2.

2. I had planned to jump shift over the 1 response, bidding 2. When East overcalled 2, I knew my 3 was a reverse, so forcing. I didn’t know how to continue when partner raised to 4, so I just bid 6.

a. Should partner have responded 1 or 1 on his hand?
b. If he had responded 1, how would you bid now?
c. When partner responded 1, then supported hearts, does that suggest he has a stronger hand?

3. I would be really interested in your recommended auction. Given the vulnerability, I suppose some Easts won’t overcall.

4. What do you think of reaching 7? Is it a good contract? I realise it doesn’t make on this hand. 7 actually requires hearts to break 3-2 and clubs to break 3-2, I think.

5. If my hand was different – say, the same hand but 5 hearts and 6 clubs, then I’ve been advised that it is inadvisable to open 2 because it can be difficult to show both suits. Is that correct?

Thank you,

Hi Beverley,

What an interesting hand!

My rule of thumb for 2 openings with long suits is that I’ll do it if partner passing my 1-level opening will devastate me – in this case, I think your hand meets my criteria. One point to consider is that when you have shortage in spades it’s highly likely that one of the other three people at the table will bid them, reducing the risk of being passed out in 1. So, dealer’s choice for your opening bid; I can see the merits of 1 and 2.

I wrote about this in relation to a 2-5-6-0 hand in February 2023 as well –

“The benefits of a 2 opening are that you get your points off your chest, and if it’s an uncontested auction you can be fairly confident of getting to show both your suits (especially if you play that 2 is game forcing). On the other hand, 1 leaves you in a better position if the opponents interfere, and if partner responds then a simple 2 reverse means you’ve already shown both your suits at a much lower level than if you’d opened 2 (or maybe they’ll even bid 1 or 2!) There is a risk that 1 will get passed out – and you’d feel a bit silly in that case – but with such a distributional hand it’s likely that someone else at the table will be bidding spades or clubs and keep the auction alive for you.”

I like your plan for the auction. It’s important to consider your rebid before opening the bidding, to make sure you know where you’re going and how you’ll show your hand.

When responding to 1 openings, I will generally show a 4-card major in preference to diamonds if I have a hand which is less than about 11 points (i.e. will not invite if partner rebids 1NT showing 12-14 HCP). This is so that I can find my 4-4 major fit on the first round of the auction, since I’m not guaranteed to be bidding again with a weaker hand. With a stronger hand that will definitely be taking a second bid, I’m happy to show a 5 card diamond suit first, then a 4 card major, as I am planning to bid again over whatever partner does. As such, I would respond 1 as North, planning to pass if partner rebids 1NT or 2 – and yes, if you and your partner agree to respond 1M rather than 1 with weaker hands, then I would expect partner to have more values on this auction.

If the auction begins 1 – P – 1, it depends what conventions you play (splinters, control bids, etc). I would splinter as South (if I play splinters) to show game values, 4 hearts and a singleton or void spade. Once East overcalls 2, you no longer have a jump to 3 available, which makes it trickier. A 3 cuebid would show a game-going hand with heart support and encourage partner to show their controls. It’s also quite safe to bid 4NT keycard here (even with a void) as you have all of them except the ace of spades, and you could subsequently ask about kings with 5NT to find the king of diamonds.

7 doesn’t look like an amazing contract on these cards. North’s hand is just about as bad as it can be for South, though, with the AQ, no J and a singleton club, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for bidding it.

Keep the questions coming!

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