Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Card Showing Doubles

This is a neat gadget to solve an uncomfortable problem.

The bidding:

Partner        Opp.        You         Opp.
1               Pass         1♠            2
Pass            Pass         ?

Your hand:
♠ A J 9 6 3     4 2     Q 8    ♣ K 8 4 2

What a dilemma! Your choice of a rebid are all bad:

1. Rebid your mediocre 5-card spade suit (only perverts repeat 5-card suits!)
2. Bid 3♣, an anemic 4-card minor suit
3. Bid 2 NT with no heart stopper

But if you and partner play "card showing doubles", you would double in this sequence, showing a decent hand (10+ points) with no convenient bid. Partner will know it is a takeout double, not a penalty double.

© 2013 Roberta Salob

Monday, May 20, 2013

Balancing Jump Overcalls

West             North             East             South
1                 Pass               Pass             ?

South is in the balancing position....a pass would end the bidding. Should South ever make a "weak jump overcall?" No, because there is no need to jam up their bidding. With a very weak hand, just pass and leave them in their partscore; don't give them a chance to reconsider and perhaps bid a game. Therefore, jumping in the balancing position is not weak - it shows a good 6-card suit (or longer) and around an opening bid. If South's hand was:

♠ A Q J 9 7 5
 9 3
8 5
♣ K Q 6

South would jump to 2. North would know South has a decent hand, not a junky hand that is just balancing, and this bid makes it harder for the opponents to bid again on a low level. (With a weaker hand, South would bid 1; with a stronger hand, South would first make a takeout double and then bid spades.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Responding in a New Suit After a Takeout Double

Responding on the one-level:

Partner has opened one-in-a-suit and your RHO bids Double. Bidding has changed since the glory days of Charles Goren (he's dead, you know…..) Mr. Goren said that a new suit always shows under 10 points because with ALL 10+ point hands, you would redouble. Not so anymore (sorry, Charlie…..) Here's a better way to play new suits bids by the responder after a takeout double:

Partner        RHO          You
1               Double       1*

* Most experts agree that bidding one-in-a-suit after a takeout double is a forcing bid showing 6+ points. It has the same meaning as if RHO passed. Your hand could look like this:

♠  9 8    K Q J 10 8 7    J 7 4   ♣ K 9

Yes, you have the strength to redouble, but then it may be difficult to show your suit next time, especially if the opponents find a spade fit. Bid 1 now, and the next round jump in hearts to show a 6-card heart suit with invitational points, a perfect description.

Responding on the two-level:

This is not at all like responding without RHO bidding double! In Standard bridge, when the responder bids a new suit on the 2-level, it shows a good hand with at least 10 or 11+ points. But if you play that way, you would have to pass this hand:

Partner        RHO          You 
1              Double        ?

♠  9 5 3    3    K Q J 9 8 6   ♣ J 4 3

It's now or never - since 2 would not be forcing after a takeout double (responder would redouble with 10+ points or bid one-in-a-suit, both forcing bids), you can bid 2 and partner will know you have a good 5 or 6+ card suit and under 10 points. 

Takeout doubles change everything!

© 2013 Roberta Salob

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Agonizing Bids

When partner opens 1 NT and you have a three-suited hand with a singleton or void, depending on your point count, you need to make a decision:

♠ 8   K 8 6 4   K J 9 7   ♣ J 10 8 7

You have enough to invite a game, but if your Stayman 2♣ bid does not reveal a heart fit with partner, you must go back to 2 NT - this is not too savory, but you have no other good choice. Just hope partner can cover you singleton, or the opponents won't lead a spade, or if they do, they may block their own suit…….be brave!

But what if you are very weak?

♠  8 6 4 3   9   Q J 6 5   ♣ J 10 8 3

Pass. This is an awful hand to put on the table, but you have no safe place to run. If you bid 2♣ and partner bids 2, you are stuck.

But there is an exception to passing with a weak hand and no long suit:

♠ 8 5 4 3   8 6 2   J 10 9 6 5   ♣ 4

With this assortment of junk, still bid 2♣! You will PASS any bid by partner, even 2. This is the only distribution (very short in clubs, long in everything else) that you can use Stayman. It's known as "Garbage Stayman".

© 2013 Roberta Salob