Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Back in the saddle

I was back mentoring today with three wonderful women.  What I usually do is play for about an hour.  I don’t discuss the deals unless something very interesting comes up.  Then at the end I go through several of the deals and point out ideas of interest.

Today we had 10 fascinating deals.  I stopped twice during the session to talk about a particular hand.  Because I know the women will read it I think I will discuss a few hands that we didn’t discuss at the table.  Both hands have the possibility of a minor suit fit in a slammish auction.  Modern bidding has worked hard to do away with minor fits!

Do you have a good way of finding out if you have a 4-4 minor suit fit after partner opens 1NT?  Francine and I play forcing and non-forcing Stayman which is actually quite good at this.  Anyway that is what I was thinking about when I got this hand.






Cora opened 1NT in first chair.  What should I do?  I could just bid 3NT or I could try for slam.  I couldn’t think of a good way playing transfers to find out if we had a minor suit fit.  Quite often a suit contract might make when notrump won’t.   I just decided that my spot cards were too good to chicken out and I bid 4NT.  Actually the spot cards were very important (especially the diamonds) and made 6NT quie a nice contract.  Cora bid and made it and we didn’t have any 8-card fit. She held






Cora’s diamonds match up well with my diamond spots and most of the time (and on this deal) she can take three diamond tricks which is all she needs.  So even though we didn’t have a fit all those lovely spots made 6NT a fine place to play.  If my diamonds had been A543 instead things would not have been nearly as nice.  Now here is a deal where Katie and Krista could have found a 4-4 minor fit and didn’t.






I often hear that players want to play 2/1 because of the enhanced slam exploration possibilities.  But this hand illustrates that playing standard you can still explore slam, just don’t jump around.  Katie was not vulnerable against vulnerable and Cora passed in first chair.  Katie has a terrific hand.  It is in my opinion worth about 20 HCP.  The only high card that isn’t working hard is the J which might be useful if partner has even the 10xx of diamonds.  The 10 and 9 are useful spot cards too.  She opened 1 and heard partner bid 2 .   At this point whatever partner we clearly have enough for game so I am thinking about slam.  I am also not yet certain where to play the hand.  The obvious bid to me is 3 which is a game force and shows my second suit.  Katie bid 3NT.  This does show her points but it takes up so much space, loses the club suit and gives partner some tough choices.  Here is the whole deal:











Krista might have pressed on I suppose because she does have a good eleven but that is a big push opposite 18 or 19 and I think pass is the normal call.  How good is 6 ?  If clubs break then you are a favorite to make the deal.  Even when clubs are 4-1 you still are have decent chances and those good club spots might come into play.  I think I would be pleased to get there.  As the cards lie you can make seven since the clubs break and the heart finesse is onside.  Standard bidding with a tiny bit of tarting up is quite good at getting to slams.  But you have to bid slowly when you have a good hand.  If you do jump to 3NT after a 2/1 you might want to agree that if you opened a major you are 5-3-3-2 exactly and if you opened a minor 4-3-3-3 since otherwise you always have a better bid.  The only time I think you have a problem is when you have a raise of responder’s suit.

Here 1 -2 -?  If you want to raise hearts and want to explore for slam you have an awkward bid and might have to make up a bid (bidding a 3 card minor for example).  Some people might chose to play 1 -2 -3 is forcing.  That means that when you have a heart fit you might wind up in game on less than 26 HCP but at imps that isn’t really so bad.  There are other choices as well.  (This problem is solved by playing 2/1 Game Forcing).

You can encounter some similiar problems when playing 2/1.  For example you need a way to handle auctions where responder has delayed support.  An example in both systems is

1 -1 -2 -?  Responder can’t easily raise diamonds and force to game.  I use a gadget here where a jump shift by responder shows support and is game forcing and usually shows a card in the jump shift suit.

1 -1 – 2 -3 Artificial diamond support, game forcing, normally a spade card.   Whether you play standard or 2/1 you have to sort out how to force in some sequences.

1 Comment

MichaelFebruary 27th, 2011 at 6:26 am

On the first hand many people play that 1nt-4S is a quantitative invite with the minors (often 4-4, sometimes 5-4) which solves that hand (and then 4nt is the quantitative bid for the other hands).

On the second, over 3C playing MP lots of people don’t want to bid past 3nt so if both people are feeling frisky I could see an auction of:





Of course W could just raise 3C to 4C, but playing MP you’d feel bad if the E DA were the DK and 5C= but 3nt+1 beats it.

Also, SAYC treats 1X-2Y-3Y as forcing, although it is true a number of players don’t. A 2/1 in SAYC promises a rebid after opener takes a second call below game.

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