AUDREY GRANT'S BETTER BRIDGE MAGAZINE May / June 2020 - Page 9

Vul: None Dlr: South 1♥ Vul: Both Dlr: South Pass Vul: E-W Dlr: East Pass Dbl Pass ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ w n s e J 8 7 2 A Q J 6 A J 8 7 3 Pass 1♠ ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ w n s e Pass A J 6 K Q 6 3 K Q J 7 5 2 Pass Pass ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ w n s e 1♥ 6 2 A 10 5 A Q 10 6 A K 9 6 2♥ Pass 1♣ ? 1♣ ? 1NT Pass ? 1♠ – This is a simple hand. I bid my suits “up-the-line.” This is the same rebid I’d make if partner responded 1♦. There’s no need to change course here and raise hearts prematurely. I can make a delayed raise of hearts if the auction continues conveniently, and then partner will know what I have. 2♥ – The danger of bidding 1♠ is I’ll want to follow up with 2♥ if partner now bids 1NT or 2♣, for example. That would overstate my values. The guideline I like to follow in this situation is: “If in doubt, support.” 1♠ – This is a matter of partnership style. I prefer not to raise with threecard support when I have an easy rebid. If I rebid 1♠ and partner has five hearts and an invitational or better hand, we can still find our fit later. If I raise to 2♥, however, it may be difficult to find our spade fit when partner is 4-4 in the majors. 1♠ – Certainly an issue of style. Raising in three-card support with an unbalanced hand is reasonable. In this case, however, having to ruff diamonds with the ♥A-Q-J does not look like an attractive action. I’ll bid and, if partner wants to play in 1NT, I’ll pass. The basic guideline is to bid four-card suit “up-the line,” looking for an eight-card major-suit fit. Although it’s acceptable to raise responder’s major with three-card support and an unbalanced hand, most of the panel feel this is not the time to bypass a possible spade fit. Double – I’m going to reopen with a double to protect partner in case partner has a penalty double of spades. I’d prefer to have more heart length, but I feel my hand is good enough to rebid 3♣ if partner bids 2♥. 2♦ – I don’t really have the right hand to penalize 1♠ doubled, so I’m going to bid out my shape. Actually, I’m more worried I might give the opponents a chance to reach a making heart contract – perhaps even game. But I certainly can’t pass with this much strength. Double – It’s always correct to try to reopen with a double in the balancing position in case partner has a trap pass. As long as you can tolerate anything partner might bid, it’s safe to double. Here, if partner bids 2♥, I’ll correct to 3♣. If partner does have nothing and I go down one, the opponents can probably make 2♠, so no big deal. Double – This hand is strong enough to compete to 3♣, so I would reopen with a double. If partner bids 2♥, then rebidding 3♣ feels comfortable. And, if partner has a trap pass of 1♠, then doubling will likely turn out extremely well for our side. With shortness in the opponent’s suit, opener is generally expected to reopen with a takeout double in case responder has a “trap pass” - wanting to defend for penalty but unable to double since a direct double would be negative. However, opener has to be prepared if responder doesn’t pass. Despite holding only two hearts, most of the panel feel they can comfortably rebid clubs if partner bids hearts. 2NT – Since I’m not passing and converting the double to penalty, I’m hoping partner takes this as showing equal length in the minor suits and letting partner choose. If partner passes … oh well, hopefully partner has the ♣Q or ♦K. Partner is marked with some points for the double but fewer than 8, so it’s too scary to pass. 3♣ – Partner is making a reopening takeout-ish double, so I’m not passing. It would be nice if 2NT by me were “picka-minor”, but I’m not sure it is, given my last bid was 1NT. So I’m going to hope to strike partner’s four-card minor. 2NT – Partner’s double is for takeout, so I won’t pass as my hearts aren’t good enough to defend for penalty. I’d like 2NT to say “pick a minor”, but that’s not the standard agreement. Regardless, I have a maximum and don’t want to guess which minor to bid. Partner’s allowed to bid a minor if they don’t think 2NT will be a good contract. 2NT – With 5 or 6 points and four spades plus a five-card minor, partner could simply bid 2♠ with heart shortness, having denied five spades by passing 1NT. So I expect partner has a more balanced hand with 6 or 7 points. 2NT here is “scrambling” – looking for a place to play – because I could just pass the double with a good heart holding. All the panel agree partner’s double in this auction is for takeout, not penalty, but with enough strength to defend if the 1NT overcaller chooses to pass. Responder won’t have five spades, and is unlikely to have four, so there should be an eight-card or longer minor-suit fit. Most of the experts are hoping 2NT will ask partner to choose the minor suit, but they aren’t sure partner will take it that way. BetterBridge.com 7