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H. Anthony Medley is an Attorney, an MPAA-accredited film critic, and author of Learn to Play Bridge Like A Boss,Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed, and UCLA Basketball: The Real Story. He is a Silver Life Master and an ACBL-accredited Director and the author of a bridge column for a Los Angeles newspaper.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Reverse Drury

Players have known for a long time that it is wise to open very aggressively in third seat.  It is not uncommon to open 1S on a hand like this one.

♠ KQ875
♥ A74
♦ 984
♣ J10

Bidding 1S makes life tougher for the opponents and it may help you on defense, but it comes with a downside.  If your partner has a maximum passed hand she may start jumping around, getting you too high.

When your partner opens one of a major in third or fourth seat, you need a way to show your good hands.  Often you will have a hand worth ten or eleven points in support of partner’s suit.  You might like to jump to three of the major but if she has a weak or sub-minimum opening bid you may go down. 

The answer is this.  If you have a limit raise for partner’s major, bid 2C instead of jumping to 3 of the major.  This is artificial, stating that you have a maximum passed hand, a limit raise, with at least three-card support.  This converts the jump to 3 of the major to weak instead of a limit raise. Because the 2C bid is artificial and says nothing about clubs, it is alertable, as is the jump to 3 of the major.

W        N         E         S
                      P         P        
1S       P         ?         

ONE               TWO               THREE          FOUR            
♠ KJ84           ♠ J72              ♠ J10754       ♠ 974
♥ Q83            ♥ AK983         ♥ 34              ♥ 64
♦ Q983           ♦ K6               ♦ QJ8            ♦ AQ43
♣ J3               ♣ 732             ♣ Q108         ♣ KQ97

Hand One:  2S.  Make your normal bid.  You need ten good support points for a Reverse Drury bid.

Hand Two:  2C.  This is the Reverse Drury bid.  It says nothing about clubs.  It says you have better than a normal raise, typically a good ten points and up.  Do not bid 2H.  Your partner may pass a two over one bid when you are a passed hand.

Hand Three:  3S.  The jump raise is weak but it promises long trumps without much else. 

Hand Four:  2C, Reverse Drury.  You do have three trumps and you have eleven high card points along with a doubleton


2D or 2H:       Opener says she has a full opening bid and is interested in game if responder has a good Reverse Drury hand.  It is possible that opener has a very big hand and is waiting to see what responder does next.  Opener may have real diamonds but she may not and just be waiting to see what responder thinks. If she bypasses diamonds and bids hearts, she has at least 4, but still promises a full opening hand.

2 of the major: In this case, 2S.  If opener rebids her major, it shows a weak hand and denies any possibility of game.  Responder should pass.

This is called Reverse Drury because originally the way to show the full opener was to bid 2 of the major suit by opener and the bid of 2D by opener showed the weak hand. When this was changed, the use of 2D to show the strong hand was called “Reverse” Drury. Most people just refer to now it as Drury because I don’t know anybody who plays it the original way.

Opener can bid other things besides 2D or two of the major.  Other bids confirm a full opening bid, too. For instance, a rebid of 2N by opener should promise 18-19 HCP.

W        N         E         S
                      P         P        
1S       P         2C       P        

ONE               TWO               THREE          FOUR             FIVE               SIX
♠ AKJ87         ♠ Q9874          ♠ J9874         ♠ KJ98743     ♠ QJ874          ♠ KJ763
♥ 87              ♥ 3                  ♥ AK              ♥ 2               ♥ KQJ            ♥ KQ
♦ Q87            ♦ AK108           ♦ 92              ♦ AK7            ♦ KQ9            ♦ Q98
♣ 873            ♣ K105             ♣ AQ84         ♣ AQ            ♣ AJ               ♣ Q104

Hand One:  2S.  You have less than an opening bid and want partner to pass.  When opener rebids the major, responder always passes no matter how good his passed hand happens to be.

Hand Two:  2D.  Counting distribution you have better than a minimum.  You are willing to go to game if partner has a maximum hand.  If partner has a minimum Reverse Drury hand he will bid 2S and you will pass. 

Hand Three:  4S.  Counting distribution you have around sixteen points and your partner has ten or more with spade support.  Bid game.  Do not bother bidding clubs.  Why tell the opponents something you prefer they do not know?

Hand Four:  4NT.  Ask for aces and bid a slam if partner has one or two aces.  You have about 22 HCP now that spades have been supported. 

Hand Five:  4S.  Just bid a game.  You have a big hand but East has a maximum of eleven points.  When you know game is worth bidding and when you know there is no slam, do not waste time making bids that you do not have to make.

Hand Six:  2S.  This is a 13 HCP hand but it is balanced and minimum and it has poor quality points, (queens and jacks). 

If you have a hand with clubs and no support for partner’s major, you cannot bid 2C because that would promise support for partner’s major.  Bid 1NT and hope for a sane result.  Conventions all come with benefits but they all have the occasional drawbacks too.

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