Source: May, 2006: In his column of  the  ACBL bulletin Eric Kokish answered this question:

Dear Eric, I held as West

Spade Suit A K 10 5Heart Suit A Q 6 4 Diamond Suit 8 5  7 54  and opened 1NT (11-14 PH).

The auction continued (opponents silent):

West    East
1NT 2Diamond Suit1
2Heart Suit 3Diamond Suit
3Spade Suit

1 transfer

Now what would 5club suit by responder show? I think that as 4club suit would have been a cuebid, 5club suit must be a singleton. Am I crazy?

Partner’s had: Spade Suit J 6 2 Heart Suit K J 9 8 3 Diamond Suit A K Q 2 club suit 9

Partner didn’t actually bid 5club suitbut 4Heart Suit and we missed the slam. Is there any other way to get there from here?

For starters, you still needed the spade finesse, even with the perfect fit so it’s not big deal either way. Look at it the other way: if you had reached 6Heart Suit with your combined 27 HCP and the spade finesse had lost, you would have achieved a very
poor result.

A few things:

1. Over 3Diamond Suityour 3Spade Suit in tradition al usage shows values in spades, perhaps with a diamond fit, looking first for the best game. To set heart as trumps, bid 3Heart Suit. (3Diamond Suit was game forcing).

2. In your methods, your idea about 5club suit is eminently sensible, although many would treat 5club suit as a void rather than a singleton and some would define it as Exclusion Blackwood (assuming partnership agreement about which suit was trump).

Over 3Heart Suit you could adopt something I call the shortness rule: when a player shows nine or more cards in two suits and a fit of eight or more cards is confirmed in a gameforcing auction, that players next bid in a new suit shows shortnes. With no shortness, bid 3NT/4NT/old suit to show a 5-4-2- 2 pattern. Here, using the shortness rule, the bidding might go:

West    East
1NT   2Diamond Suit1
2Heart Suit   3Diamond Suit
3Heart Suit   4club suit
4Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit
5Heart Suit/6Heart Suit

With the final bid being a matter of judgment by opener. The shortness rule has many applications:

• Notrump auction. involving transfers and second suits after a fit is located, e.g., 2NT -3Diamond Suit; 3Heart Suit-4club suit; 4Heart Suit -5Diamond Suitshows diamond shortness. Similarly, 4Spade Suit would show spade shortness.
• Smolen sequence. after a fit is located e.g •. 1NT-2club suit; 2Diamond Suit-3Heart Suit; 3Spade Suit-4club suitor 4Diamond Suit shows shortness in the minor bid.
• Fit-showing jumps, where the jumper’s next bid in a new suit shows shortness. For example, Pass-1Spade Suit; 3Diamond Suit– 3Heart Suit; 4club suitor 4Heart Suit would show shortness.
• After a game-forcing 2/1 response, a new suit rebid and two-level support, e.g., 1Spade Suit-2club suit; 2Diamond Suit– 2Spade Suit; 3club suitand 3Heart Suit both show shortness.
• After immediate two suit agreement, e.g., 1Spade Suit-2Diamond Suit; 3Diamond Suit-3Spade Suit; 4club suitand 4Heart Suit both show shortness.

This agreement applies only when a genuine fit is assured. With no fit or if another strain might be better (as in reverse and jump shift auctions) or if the auction is not game forcing, opener shows length (fragment) instead.

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