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The “Strength” of Weak Jumps.

We are not talking about Weak Jump Overcalls, though they can be quite useful, too. We are talking about Weak Jumps when your partner opens the bidding. You can play Weak Jumps after 1 of a major opening if you have no other use for 2Spade-small (after 1Heart-small opening), 3Club-small and 3Diamond-small bids though bidding to the 3 level with next to nothing may not be wise even with an opening bid from your partner. However, jumps to the 2 level really come into their own after your partner opens 1 of a minor. Take a look:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

     
East Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 2
9 8 7 5 4 3
10 9
7 3
West North East South
    Pass Pass
1  Pass ?  

 

So, can your methods cope with this type of hand? Please do not tell me you would have opened a Weak 2 first of all, at this vulnerability? Please.

If 1Club-small always promises at least 4 cards in the suit, then what follows is less significant. When the opening bid guarantees only 2 or 3 clubs, it becomes a lot more critical. The opposition are not always there to bail you out if you adopt the philosophy that you have less than 6 hcps and therefore should pass.

On the other hand, if you do not play Weak Jumps (and by Weak, I mean 0-5 hcp, even perhaps a bad 6 hcp. I cannot understand why some insist on 2-5 hcp since what follows applies equally to a 0 count, a 5 count or anything in-between), and you do not want to hang around in 1Club-small, then look what would have happened had you called 1Heart-small:

 
East Deals
E-W Vul
10 7 6 4 3
A 10
K Q 3
9 5 2
A 8 5
K Q J 6
J 7 4
A K 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 2
9 8 7 5 4 3
10 9
7 3
 
K 9
2
A 8 6 5 2
Q J 10 8 6
West North East South
    Pass Pass
1  Pass 1  Pass
?      

Who could blame West for bidding 4Heart-small? There are not too many chances for making 10 tricks in hearts though this game contract has more to be said for it than the contract of 1Club-small. Even if 1Club-small promised at least a 4-card suit and West had one less heart instead, you would much rather be in hearts than  clubs at even the 1Club-small.

South was, of course, very happy to pass 1Club-small above whenever East failed to bid. Steering the contract to a playable heart contract would be difficult if you responded 1Heart-small and partner bid 2NT or even reversed to 2Diamond-small. Some days, you may get lucky but the above was not to be one of them.

At the tables where East passed, so did South and this ugly contract went 2 or 3 down vulnerable depending on the defence. 4Heart-small should be one down. Had East bid 2Heart-small weak (please alert your opponents to this bid even though it is natural since they may not appreciate the meaning), West may well have invited game though East should pass with poor trumps, no singleton or void and only average values for their 2Heart-small bid.

However, you do not always find such a good fit when you make such a Weak Jump. You can, though, still create difficulties for the opposition:

West Deals
E-W Vul
   
3
K J 4 2
J 4 3 2
A 10 7 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
Pass 1  Dbl 2 
?      

This board, this decision, occurred in the same recent Teams match as the first board above. Weak Jumps occur relatively frequently, more so than stronger jump shifts.

What should West do? Their best bid is a negative double though is that a game try in hearts or simply searching for a playable contract or is it for penalties? Do you know which? Could West be blamed for bidding 3Heart-small? As you will see, that is not a winning action:

West Deals
E-W Vul
K 5
9 8 6 3
A K 10 8 7
Q 4
3
K J 4 2
J 4 3 2
A 10 7 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
A J 6 4
A Q 10
6 5
K 9 8 6
 
Q 10 9 8 7 2
7 5
Q 9
J 5 3
West North East South
Pass 1  Dbl 2 
?      

 

3Heart-small is not a nice contract though two top diamonds from North would improve its chances considerably.

We will leave a detailed discussion on what the double might mean (let’s say that penalties is not the best option) for another day. However, if double did say “partner, please make a sensible bid”, then the club fit would be found and 10 tricks, 2 more than can be made in 3Heart-small, would be made quite comfortably.

Of course, East might pass 2Spade-smallx for penalties, a little nerve-wracking as this contract can just be beaten by a trick on sound defence (two tricks in each suit except diamonds). Tricky decisions caused by the immediate jump to 2Spade-small.

make it tough!up the ante.png

So, if you do not play Weak (very Weak) Jumps after your partner has opened the bidding, then think of doing so, especially after 1 of a minor opening. They can avoid you playing in a silly 1 level contract and also stop your partner from getting too excited in the bidding if you had responded at the 1-level.

 Little Divulged

South Deals
E-W Vul
   
K 6 4
10
10 9 7 2
10 9 6 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 2  Pass 3 
Pass 4  All pass  

The opposition conduct one of those "give away" not much auctions as they drag themselves to game. 1Club-small was 3+ clubs and the rest unrevealingly natural. So, it's your lead?
Richard Solomon

 

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