Friday, February 26, 2016

Partner Opens a Minor, you bid a major and opener supports you

Look at the following hands when Partner opened 1 Diamond, you responded 1 Spade and Partner rebid 2 Spades:

1. ♠ AT43    2. ♠ AT432     3. ♠ AT43   4. ♠ AT43
    ♥ KQ7         ♥ K73            ♥ K32        ♥ T43
    ♦ J87          ♦  KT5            ♦ K73         ♦ KQ7
    ♣ 963         ♣ T5              JT4         ♣ A83

What do you do?  Lots of players just bid 3 Spades and leave it up to opener. But wouldn’t it be nice if there were a very specific series of bids that defines your response? Well, guess what? There is!

Here are the rules for this series of bids. By the way, this is nothing unusual. This series is just standard bridge. It’s just that not too many people are aware of it.

1) If you, as responder, have four Spades and 10 points or less, pass.

2) If you have four Spades and 11-12 points, bid 2 no trump.

          If partner is at the top of her bid (at least 14 high card points) she goes to game.  If she has 13 or less points, she closes out in 3 Spades.  This bid of 2 No Trump is a very limited bid.  It tells partner specifically the hand you hold.  It says nothing about playing the hand in No Trump.  It is inviting one of two bids, either 3 Spades or 4 Spades.

3) If you have five Spades and 10 points, bid 3 Spades.

4) If you have five Spades and 11-12 points, bid game.

 
Applying these rules to the hands above:

Hand 1:        Pass.  You have ten points and four Spades. Even if Partner has a maximum hand at 15 points, you don't have enough for Game unless you're lucky.

Hand 2:       3 Spades. This describes your hand specifically.  You have 10 HCP and five Spades.  It invites Partner to bid 4 Spades if she's at the top of her bid.

Hand 3:       2 No Trump.  This also describes your hand specifically.  You have 11-12 points and four Spades.  You are asking partner to bid 3 Spades if she has 13 points or less, 4 Spades if she's 14 or better.  She cannot pass 2 No Trump unless she supported you with only three Spades, which is not a good idea unless she has a singleton. This should be easy to remember because when responder’s second response is 2 No Trump in any bidding situation, it generally always promises a balanced hand with 11-12 HCP.

Hand 4:        4 Spades.  Don't get excited and think about Slam just because you both have opening hands and a major suit trump fit.  Partner has told you that she has a minimum hand by her just supporting your major suit bid.  You have a 4-4 fit and probably a maximum of 28 points.  Forget Slam and be content with a fairly safe Game.

     This is a standard bid but my experience is that very few players use it.  If you use it you must have a firm understanding with your partner about what the bids mean.  But you will find that you will arrive at the correct contract much more often than others who get these types of hands.  

So the result, at least with the hand with 10 HCP, is that while you are in 2 spades making, others are in 3 and 4 spades, down one or two.

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