02/08/11 Jr. Fund

Board 1
North Deals
None Vul
♠ A 6
Q J 9 8
J 10 8 6
♣ 10 8 6
♠ K 9 8
A 6 5 2
9 7 3
♣ A 5 2
♠ Q 10
7 4 3
5 4 2
♣ K Q 7 4 3
♠ J 7 5 4 3 2
K 10
♣ J 9

NS 2♠; NS 2; NS 3; EW 1♣

PassPass1 ♠
Pass1 NTPass2 ♠
All pass
2 ♠ by South

A bidding discussion follows this summary of the principles involved...

If South held ♠J7532 K104 AKQ ♣J9, in standard bidding, passing the 1NT response would be automatic. However, those who play a two over one response as forcing play a 1NT response as forcing as well. This system is anchored by the known 5-card major, with a likely haven in a 5-2 fit. Responder may (or may not) hold values beyond a standard 1NT response: invitational to game, or for some partnerships, a flat hand with game-going values. Still, with ♠J7532 K104 AKQ ♣J9, and North having passed originally, a pass by South would be reasonable. If North were not a passed hand, then South would have to rebid 2 over a forcing 1NT response.

If South held ♠KJ7532 K10 AQ4 ♣J9, South would have an automatic rebid of 2♠ over either a standard or forcing 1NT response, promising a minimum opening with six or more spades.

On the actual hand, ♠J75432 K10 AKQ ♣J9, if South had rebid 2♠, nobody would have remarked upon it - even if the bid is not actually best. But Steve McDevitt tried 2. The post mortem was brutal, and Steve posted this topic to mitdlbc-discuss@mit.edu.

For many pairs, the passed hand 1NT response will not contain three spades: North will usually either raise immediately or invite game in spades with a Drury 2♣. A key factor: what does responder need to raise opener's rebid of 2 or 2♠? Also, I told GIB to bid this hand, and it rebid 2♣!

An opener who bids a second suit and then rebids his major is showing a stronger hand than one who rebids the major and belatedly offers a second suit. The latter auction screams weakness. Nobody offered the opinion that this opening hand was good enough for the former auction, so the 2 bidders are not planning to bid spades again. In my opinion, all auctions on this deal should lead to a 2♠ contract, but those who aggressively raise diamonds on the North hand will have to play there.

- Pete Matthews

Steve McDevitt: I rebid 2D (rather than 2S). No one at the post mortem or at the club thought I should have. Perhaps stubbornly, I think it still is the most flexible call.

*Here partner is passed so the odds of a six bagger in diamonds or hearts are reduced either a little or a lot depending on your preemptive style, but you might face the same problem in first or second chair.

The spades are so bad that you would expect on average to lose 4 trump tricks opposite a singleton (unless you catch a singleton ace). I think the normal thing to do with most 6-2-3-2 openers is to rebid spades but this suit is especially anemic, and partner can have so many hand types for a forcing NT over 1S.

Am I that far out of the mainstream here (wouldn’t be the first time)?

Pete Matthews: I like 2D for the reasons you give. This also avoids a stretch raise to 3S on Kx or Qx. 2S is OK. Passing 1NT is not OK, since much of the time, exactly 2S will be the desirable contract.

Pam Miller: Well, if you raise 2S to 3 after bidding 2D I think you have 4 diamonds and 6 spades. And a good hand. None of which you have.

Your bid was fine so far as I'm concerned. You've basically decided that your anemic 6 card suit is actually a five card suit. Not sure I would have thought of it as I'd rather play a 6-1 spade fit than a 3-3 diamond fit.

If you play Drury you already know that partner doesn't have 3 spades. It's certainly reasonable that pard with 1 spade, 3 dia and 5 hearts will bid 2 hearts which you can pass. You may not make any of those contracts.

Rishabh Singh: Bidding 2D with that hand will keep the bidding open (12-17) and partner would feel obliged to respond with a 8+ count. Bidding 2S restricts the hand (12-14) which I feel is a better description of the hand. Playing in a 6-1 fit at 2 level I would prefer than playing in a 4-3 fit at 3 level.

Pete Matthews: "Keeping the bidding open", to my way of thinking, is either (1) taking a preference to 2S on a doubleton, which is the most likely and desirable occurrence, or (2) raising diamonds. The latter should be 5+ cards if less than 10 HCP. If pard does raise diamonds, you must bite the bullet & play there - 3S would show extras. Not that likely, though. As I say, I would have no complaint against a partner who rebid either 2D or 2S, but I prefer 2D.

My position on this hand is that I want to accept a game invitation only if partner makes one that promises THREE spades [not even possible, playing Drury]. Rebidding 2D is the best way to know about that. If you rebid 2S, you will be guessing if pard raises to 3S - unless you play Hardy-style, where a 3-card limit raise jumps to 4 (yuk). I am not interested in 3NT. I am highly interested in playing exactly 2S if pard has two. Except for the sixth spade, this hand is dogmeat.

Paul Wendt: I am one of the Southrons who did rebid 2S in the same situation, as I would if the spade suit were "765432". I may try to recognize more quality categories than anyone else at the club but the given one is minimum for me. If we knew that all of our invitations would be spade invitations, there would be scads of minimum opening hands with six spades that would rebid a minor suit. (Almost all would have fewer raw 4321 HCP than this one does, but almost all would have better quality points.) Many a 6-4 that we deem too strong for a Weak Two would make a good 1M opener with 2m rebid.

One interesting thing about the third-seat setting is that none of partner's invitations will be spade invitations with three cards.

One interesting thing about the actual third seat auction is that [Steve's] partner did not make [one of their] 10-13 mini-notrump opening bid, so our invitations will tend to be club invitations (2C opening is strong), diamond invitations, and notrump invitations with a misfit. Indeed most of the diamond invitations will be unbalanced spade misfits, because hands such as this one and its cousin with four clubs would open 1NT. xx AQxx xxxxx Ax

This theme wasn't part of the postmortem. I don't even recall being aware of the passed hand setting. Evidently the mini-notrump has a lot of implications for third and fourth-seat auctions and it should be possible to take great advantage of some of them.

Gary Schwartz: Yes, 2D. And over 3D I'd venture 3NT. Pard could have

x  Axx  xxxxxx  Axx 

Wouldn't pard pass originally and bid 3D now? 3NT has 9 top tricks. Perfect cards you say? Maybe. Pard made a forward going bid with long diamonds but no strength in diamonds or spades. For 3NT, the fact that you have 6 bad spades is great — that's where the opponents strength is but they can't take a lot of tricks there, even if they can figure out to lead the suit.

And of course if pard bids 2S over 2D, you are just where you want to be.