Source: English Bridge December 2007 Issue 214

A K J 8 6 5 2
A K J 5 2
K Q 10 9 8 5

A K Q 7 5 3 2

Dear Mr O’Driscoll: The hands that you have enquired about are tricky and are a typical example of why misfiting hands often lead to disappointing results. Since both players have strong distributional holdings whose value is lessened by the lack of a good trump fit.

I tend to avoid opening 2on two-suited hands, so in my view West should start by opening 1and East will respond 2after which West can bid 2. While East( might be tempted to jump to 3he does better to conserve space, especially given that East’s ability to respond at the two Intl should mean that the rustiest will not come to rest in 2.

East now has a tricky call. If East bids 2. West would likely bid 3, and East would want to hid 3. If so, should West interpret it as a natural bid. or a further probe? Many partnerships would expect a repeat of the fourth suit to be looking for further information, because of a doubt about strain or level.

So, we need to consider what happens if responder wants to bid the fourth suit naturally. This leads us to the question of the choices open to the responder other than using fourth suit forcing.

Most of the bids that responder can make at his second turn are considered to be “limit bids”. These include:

1. A return to opener’s first suit;

2. A raise of opener’s second suit;

3. No Trump bids;

4. A repeat of responder’s suit.

Thus, the only other option open to responder is a jump in the fourth suit. There are two typical interpretations of a jump in the fourth suit. Firstly, jumps to the four level are usually played as Splinter Bids, given that it is unlikely that responder would want to bid beyond 3NT without the knowledge of a fit. (A Splinter is typically a double jump in a new suit, guaranteeing the values for game, a fit, and shortage — singleton or void — in the bid suit.)

Secondly, jumps below 3NT are thus employed as natural bids showing at least five cards in both of responder’s suits, thereby allowing for the description of these very awkward hand types. A jump in the fourth suit below the level of 3NT would thus show a hand which is forcing to game with at least five cards in each of responder’s suits.

Accordingly, on the hand you have provided, East would bid 3 after West’s 2 rebid. While this jump would typically only promise at least five cards in each suit, West can deduce that here East will actually have at least six dubs, as he can assume that East would have responded 1 with two five card suits.

West would face another tough call, and would likely stress his extra length in hearts by bidding 4, after which East will find it hard to resist the temptation to bid 4. Though it may seem unlikely, West can now interpret East’s bidding as showing a complete two suiter, with seven clubs and six spades. At this point West will be guessing a little as to the quality of East’s high card holdings in his two suits, but would do well to follow the principle of staying low on a misfit. As Marty Bergen, one of America’s leading players and teachers, says: No Fit — Time to Quit


After the partnership have bid that different suits in their first three bids. Responder has several options:

• He can make a limit bid in either of opener’s suits, no trumps or his on suit

• He can bid the fourth suit to elicit more information about opener’s hand

• He can bid the fourth suit with a jump:

A jump to the four level is a Splinter bid;

A jump below 3NT is a natural bid, showing at least five cards in each of responder’s bid suits.

Source: https://www.davidbakhshi.com/about David is one of the leading bridge professionals in the UK, with numerous successes in domestic and international tournaments.  Over the last 25 years, he has represented England and Britain at both Junior and Open levels of competition.

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