1

Here, for reference, is the entire hand that inspired the question. With only us vulnerable, left hand opponent bid one spade, partner doubled for takeout, right hand opponent passed, and I have (s)943 (h) A52 (d) AQJ (c)8732.

Normally, a bid of 1NT opposite an opening bid (and partner's takeout double suggests this range) would mean a balanced hand, 6-9 points. If the opponents have bid meanwhile, it would also suggest a stopper in opponents' suit.

The columnist (Frank Stewart) suggested a "craven" bid of 2 clubs. I disagree because that could mean (c)8732 with no honors, and seriously mislead partner into thinking that the hand belongs to the opponents when my 11 points means that the balance is in our favor.

My preference is to bid 1NT to alert partner to the fact that I have "real" strength. I assume that since I'm not making a "forced" suit bid, that it suggests the usual 6-9 points, not a bust. I don't have a stopper in the opponents' suit, but I do have a balanced "threesome," and two points over the presumed nine.

Is my 1NT response better than the columnist's suggested response? (With the queen of spades, I'd go to 2NT, but I don't have that.) Is there an even better response? I might cue bid two spades with a singleton or void in spades, but I don't have that either.

2 Answers 2

3

In light of this hand, and thus also this answer, being revisited under a different question: I rescind the above as substantially too pessimistic. It's certain both that aces are undervalued in suit contracts by Worth Point Count, and that the only card in the hand not worth it's par value is the diamond jack. The hand is ugly, but it's worth only drops from a maximum jump response to a minimum jump response. Bid 3 clubs and give partner a chance at making the right follow-up call.


The following conclusion is rescinded, though some of the points made remain valid:

Absolutely not - just bid 2C (in tempo so as to not present partner with an ethical problem).

The hand you are attempting to protect against, a balanced 12-14 count, is explicitly denied by partner's take-out double. If partner has that range then a singleton small Spade is almost guaranteed; a doubleton at most absolutely guaranteed.

Likewise partner does not have a 15-18 point hand with a spade stopper, as that hand has been denied by the failure to overcall 1NT.

Further, the 4333 distribution with an empty 4-card suit is deadly. This hand could easily play a two or more full points weaker than its alleged 11 HCP if partner does not have at least 4 diamonds.

Since there is no right call to make with this hand, as all possibilities and the hand itself have significant flaws, follow the Golden Rule: Never overbid a bad hand. Just bid a craven 2C as recommended. Don't make partner guess more than absolutely necessary. Just bid a quiet 3 clubs and decline any future invitations.


In light of this hand, and thus also this answer, being revisited under a different question: I rescind the above as substantially too pessimistic. It's certain both that aces are undervalued in suit contracts by Worth Point Count, and that the only card in the hand not worth it's par value is the diamond jack. The hand is ugly, but it's worth only drops from a maximum jump responne to a minimum jump response. Bid 3 clubs and give partner a chance at making the right follow-up call.

7
  • 1
    If you switched my spade and diamond holdings so that I have AQJ of spades, would it then be OK to bid 1NT? Because I would have the suit double-stopped opposite partner's presumed singleton.
    – Tom Au
    Sep 24, 2018 at 17:50
  • 2
    @TomAu: Either that or 2NT - the hand is right on the cusp. A double stopper is a real plus, the 4333 distribution a minus. Here's a case of bidding the opponents: Bid 2NT against decidedly weak opponents or vulnerable playing IMPS; otherwise bid 1NT. Sep 24, 2018 at 18:05
  • 2
    @TomAu: No, because you both lack the required 8 HCP and have a distinct minus value in the 4333 distribution. Just bid 2C in tempo again. In competition, all (natural) Notrump bids should be pure, expressing an accurate and precise description of the hand. Sep 24, 2018 at 18:11
  • 1
    I think I understand now. First, 8 HCPs (not 6-7) is the normal threshold for a "free" bid opposite a takeout double. Second, my earlier hand with 11 hcps wasn't worth "eight" with the 4-3-3-3 distribution and no stopper in the opponent's suit. So treat it like "seven" and "cravenly" bid 2 clubs.
    – Tom Au
    Sep 24, 2018 at 18:15
  • 1
    @TomAu: Don't pass! That shows a hand of at least 8 HCP with a long strong holding in opponents' suit that intends to draw trumps and use those entries to lead through Declarer to partner's hand. Sep 24, 2018 at 18:19
0

Your proposed solution of bidding 1NT was wrong. That would have been descriptive of your shape, but would have misled partner into thinking that you have a stopper in spades when you don't, and when partner clearly doesn't, by virtue of his takeout double.

But you are right to worry about a 2 club bid being "craven." Partner will usually have at least 12-13 high card points. You have a nominal 11 that is worth more like nine (not seven). Even so, you and partner have the majority of points.

With a two club bid, partner will put you on 5-6 high card points and fear "zero,;" and in any case wrongly believe that the opponents have the balance of power. You know better and need to advertise this fact.

Therefore you should jump to three clubs. If one partnership belongs at the three level, it is probably yours and not the other one. If the other side gets to three spades, partner may have the wherewithal (a good hand with one or two spades) to double them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .