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Both sides vulnerable at matchpoints, South opened one spade. West, my partner, overcalled with two clubs. North passed, and I was sitting East with ♠ J854 ♡ AT97 ♢ A843 ♣ 4.

I had no obvious bid, so I passed and so did South.

Partner was unhappy because we made five clubs (and could have made 3NT). But I was entitled to assume only a six card club suit and 12 HCPs in his hand. Had I bid one of my four card suits, we would have had (at best) a "Moysian" 4-3 fit in hearts, versus a 6-1 seven card fit in clubs. And I felt 2NT would have been a stretch.

partner had substantially more strength than expected: 15 HCPs, a singleton diamond, and a semi-solid club sequence. He also had KQJ in hearts, which might be worth more in sequence than their nominal six points. With that, would he have done better to double and then overcall clubs even though his 3-3-1-6 distribution was "wrong"?

Put another way, did I underbid over the call he actually made (rather than the one he might have made)?

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Nothing wrong with your Pass. Although you're maximum in HCP, with both your red aces working even opposite possible singletons in Partner's hand, your black cards strongly suggest a misfit for both sides.

The main argument against a Pass is that you know from your own Club holding that LHO is almost certainly not reopening. Balancing that: RHO could be a maximum pass due to an absence of available Spades. Partner's (presumed) major suit K and Q could easily be in RHO's hand instead, and you will be glad to have stayed out of this auction.

Partner however had clearly underbid. The traditional maximum for a simple overcall of a 1-level bid is 15 HCP. Partner has that, plus a solid six card Club suit. The correct sequence is to Double and then rebid Clubs.

This treatment is pretty much independent of system agreements, with the possible exception of pairs playing strong jump overcalls - but that is a very unusual treatment today, to the point of being virtually obsolete.

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  • Partner had KQJ of hearts plus six clubs to the KQJT, as well as the K of spades. Both KQJ sequences were worth 7-8 points rather than six. Plus he had a singleton diamond.
    – Tom Au
    Mar 17, 2023 at 15:24
  • Be precise Tom. A suit headed by KQJT is semi-solid (missing only one top honour) and not solid. You confuse matters immensely when you are loose with well- and long-recognized terminology. Also, don't put opinion on point count evaluation in comments where it can't be down-voted if regarded as inaccurate. Mar 17, 2023 at 16:26
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    OK, changed reference O "semi-" solid club sequence in question. I also added "He also had KQJ in hearts, which might be worth more in sequence than their nominal six points." Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    Mar 17, 2023 at 18:29

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