This exercise is adapted from a book by French internationalist Michel Lebel. Let us know whether you enjoy this format.
Consider West’s second action with each of the following hands in the sequence depicted above. Rate the possible actions: 10 for the best bid, (say) 5 or 6 for a reasonable consideration, 1 for the bid made by your last partner (bless him).
Your last partner (bless him).
a) K J 8 Q J 7 A Q 10 8 6 3 Q
b) Q 9 5 K 9 A K J 9 7 5 A Q
c) A Q J 8 J 7 A Q J 9 6 K 8
d) A Q 9 4 K 4 K Q 10 9 A J 10
e) A 8 J 3 A Q 10 8 5 A K J 7
f) A 3 K Q J 8 4 3 A K J 9 7
a) Pass: 10; 2: 5.
The diamond suit is decent but not its “gaps” are worrisome. The outside cards are all soft and the hand is rather defensive in nature. When you undertake the two level facing a partner who could not respond, you are not trying to steal opposite a few useful values. Partner won’t have them. If North doubles, you will know that you have sinned.
b) 1NT: 10; 3: 5; 2NT: 3; 2: 2.
In this position, 1NT shows a hand that is better than a one notrump opening bid. We like to have a source of tricks but that is not considered a necessity by the majority of players. Very aggressive players might risk 2NT, hoping to reach game opposite the Q and the some spade length.
c) 1: 10; Double: 6; 2: 1.
One spade shows a two-suiter with diamonds and spades and an excellent hand. Double is takeout with extra values. If West doubles and then corrects East’s club bid to diamonds, he would show a very strong hand with a longer diamond suit. It is not necessary to jump shift to show extra values. The jump shift is best reserved for hands with at least six-five distribution.
d) Double: 10; 1NT: 6; 1: 1.
Double is perfect: extra values and support for the unbid suits. Some would try 1NT, which is right on high cards but is better reserved for the hand type in problem b).
e) 2: 10; Double: 2.
When West bids in this situation he is showing a very good hand. It is not necessary to jump to show an extra point or two. It is safer to bid twice with good suits and extra shape than it is to bid with a pile of high cards and imperfect pattern or a relatively balanced hand. Players who will bid freely with a bit of shape might feel it necessary to double with this hand and correct spades to clubs if necessary. We don’t recommend this approach.
f) 3: 10; 5: 7; 2: 3; Double: 1.
We could argue the merits of 3versus 5, but that argument would lead nowhere. You need very little for game and 5 will get you there while 3 might not. If North has a bit of fit, any action should work; if he doesn’t, the gentler action will be better. 5 “sounds” like six-six.
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