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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

 

Saving Space – For Less Experienced Players.

Jumping the bidding to tell your partner you have a strong hand is often a good idea but it can come at a price, the price being too high before the proper exploration for the best contract can begin. Any auction which starts with an artificial Game Forcing 2small can fall into this category unless opener has one or two very strong suits. That is not the case when they are balanced and a very unfortunate sequence was about to unfold with today's hand after West showed they had a monster hand. A great hand but one about to incur a minus score.

West Deals
None Vul
   
A K Q 2
A K 10
K J 3 2
A J
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
2  Pass 2  Pass
?      

 

There's always a warm glow when you get to open 2small. A slam, maybe even 7NT beckons. Hold it! Partner produces the inevitable 2small negative. Sometimes, they have a few high card points. So, what's our next bid?

At the table, West bid 3NT showing 25-26 balanced because 2NT showed 23-24 and could be passed by the responder. With a none-too-inspiring 1-count, East decided to pass and the lead of the smallK was soon to spell disaster for East-West.

West Deals
None Vul
9 3
9 4 2
A 10 6
K Q 9 7 6
A K Q 2
A K 10
K J 3 2
A J
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 7 6 5
8 7 5 3
9 5 4
10 4
 
10 8 4
Q J 6
Q 8 7
8 5 3 2
West North East South
2  Pass 2  Pass
3 NT All pass    

 

West could duck the first club but had to win the club continuation. North could tell West had only two clubs because of small10 in dummy. Had they held more clubs, they could score a second club trick by winning the first trick. Declarer had only 7 top tricks and when they crossed for the only time to dummy, they played a diamond to the jack and North’s ace…four clubs and smallA for the defence..one down.

If only they could have reached 4small but most play 4small over 3NT for aces not asking for majors, while if West did not have a major suit, 3NT was certainly the place to be. Yet, if West had only bid 2NT, showing 23-24, East might have passed. There are solutions.

One is for those who play the Multi 2small, where one option is a strong balanced hand. Rather than say 2small followed by 2NT shows 20-22, you can split the ranges where you have three bids available as follows:

2NT opening                   20-21 balanced  1

2small with a 2NT rebid       22-23 balanced   1

2small with a 2NT rebid       24+    balanced

1 my preference is to switch these two bids around but the above lay-out is easier on the memory.

The advantage is that the third sequence, starting with 2small, is forcing to game, even opposite a complete Yarborough in partner’s hand. Very occasionally, you will play 3NT with 24 opposite 0 but it does enable you to explore for major fits with 3small (stayman or major enquiry, whichever you choose).

Opener, with a balanced 25, 27 or 31 count (I have seen one!), does not have to jump to 3NT first time round.

So, you do not play Multi 2small?

You do not have the luxury of three bids as 2NT opening is 20-22.There is a more complex way of bidding 2small over partner's 2small as either natural or a balanced 25+. Responder must bid 2small artificial and now opener's 2NT shows that point count.

                                                       North              South

                                                         2small                 2small

                                                         2small                 2small

                                                &nbs

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