by Neil H. Timm for Bridge News
In this article we show how the Sandwich NT/2NT, Hess Cue bids, Takeout Doubles and Overcalls may be used to show the size and shape of your hand.
The bid of 1NT is usually made in the fourth seat after your partner has passed and the opponents have bid two suits at the one level. It must be alerted and shows five-five or better in the unbid suits and less that a full opener. You are usually willing to play at the two level (eight losers nonvulnerable, seven losers vulnerable).
With the same distribution (five-five or better) and 16+ HCP, you bid a Sandwich 2NT (also called a Roman Jump
Overcall). Now you are willing to play at the three-level.
Example 1: 1/pass/1/1NT with (KJxxx/x/xx/QJxxx)
Suppose instead of the hand in the Example 1, you have the hand:
Example 2: (KQxxx/Kx/x/AKJxx). Now, one would bid 2NT.
When one is four-four in the two unbid suits or five-four in the unbid suits, the Sandwich NT bids are replaced by a
Takeout Double or a Hess Cue Bid.
The takeout double has more HCP and less shape. For Example 1, the distribution may be: (KQxx/xx/xxx/AKJx),
more than an opening hand when partner is forced to bid at the three-level. But, if forced to bid at only the two level, the doubler has 12+HCP, an opening hand.
Hess Cue Bids (sometimes called High/Lo bids)
When the opponents have bid two different suits, then a cue bid of the higher ranking suit shows five cards in the higher unbid suit and four cards in the lower unbid suit. A cue bid of the lower bid suit shows five cards in the lower bid suit and four cards in the higher unbid suit. Use this bid instead of the Sandwich 2NT bid to show shape and extra values, 16+ hcps.
The above bids are used to represent shape and values. In general, the shapelier the hand, the lighter the values can be. An overcall of an unbid suit at the two level will show length in the suit with little value. As in the case of the
sandwich NT bid, if the bid is made at the two-level one must again have about eight losers nonvulnerable and seven
losers vulnerable. A three level bid requires extra values.
1/pass/1/1NT shows Clubs and Spades with 5-5 shape, but not strength.
1/pass/1/double shows Clubs and Spades with 4-4 shape and opening values.
Pass/1/pass/1/1NT shows Diamonds and Hearts with 5-5 shape, but not strength.
1/pass/2/2NT shows Diamonds and Hearts with 5-5 shape and 16+hcps.
1/pass/2/2 shows Hearts and Diamonds with 5-4 shape and 16+HCP.
1/pass/2/3 shows Diamonds and Hearts with 5-4 shape and 16+HCP.
In the sequence 1, pass, 1, pass / pass/1NT, the 1NT bid is not Sandwich; it shows some values and you do not want the opponents to play at the one level.
Reference: Clarke Fairbrothers (2005), Partnership Agreements, Quiet Vision Publishing.