Page 0022

THE DEBATE Don’t bid 4-card suits

up the line with a 4-4-3-2

Two top players debate a hot bridge topic. Tell us whose argument

has won you over by e-mailing the Editor at

Sandra Landy

Their bidding went 1® – 1´ – 3NT, which All these problems disappear when you

failed on a diamond lead. Their inquest open the major, which is where you want

VERY early in our bridge playing career, suggested that perhaps 1® – 1´ – 2™ to play if you have a fit. You may miss a

we learn that not all suits are equal. Why? showed 16-19 points and four hearts. 4-4 minor fit, but when is the last time you

Because majors need only ten tricks for True – but won’t responder have every played in five or six of a minor?

game but minors need eleven. And right to take partner for an unbalanced Maybe, if you open 1®, you have to play

because 3NT only needs nine tricks, we hand with more than four clubs? a forcing 2NT rebid by opener, thereby

often play in 3NT even when we have a Swap the spades and diamonds in making sure you describe both hands fully

minor-suit fit – unless of course, slam is on responder’s hand, so it is: and will find the major suit game when

the horizon. So it is vastly more important you have a 4-4 fit. This might work but in

to locate our eight-card major-suit fit and the process you will describe both hands

it’s usually a good thing at pairs if we miss ´ 73 far too fully to your opponents, who will

playing at the five level in our eight-card ™ A 10 8 5 no doubt find it much easier to make the

minor suit fit. t QJ975 best lead to any game you bid.

Playing an opening 1NT as 12-14, how ® 94 If you already prefer minor to major,

should we bid a balanced 15-19 points please keep playing that system against

that is too good for opening 1NT? Of me! It’s much easier to defend against and

course, we have to open a suit and rebid in Now responder replies 1t to 1®. If even easier to drive you into the wrong

no-trumps, unless a major suit fit is opener rebids 1™, is it 100% forcing? Is contract! But for those wishing to play my

found. So which suit should we open with opener really showing a balanced hand methods, here they are.

two four-card suits? With both majors, we with only four-card suits? Could it not be

open 1™ because partner will respond 1´ a weaker hand with more clubs than hearts? My recommended system of opening

holding four or more, making certain that A jump rebid of 2™ isn’t the answer, that bids with 4-4-3-2 hands

neither major-suit contract is missed. shows the strength, but surely denies a

But here’s the 100-dollar question:

what do you open with one major and

balanced hand. It must be best to open 1™

and unless responder can raise hearts, a

• 1NT shows 12-14 points. With hands

of 15+ points:

one minor suit? Call me simple minded,

and many do, but I think it’s a good idea

3NT rebid says it all.

Responder might raise 1™ to 2™ on an

• With four hearts and four spades,

open 1™. Unless partner responds

to open the major, the suit where I unbalanced hand, with only three hearts. 1´, rebid in no-trumps. If partner

actually want to play and where the But opener can jump to 3NT over 2™, has a long minor and four spades, he

strong hand will be declarer. I investigate asking responder to convert to 4™ with four can introduce spades on his second

the major first and if partner denies cards in hearts and to pass with only three. bid to emphasise the distributional

four-card support, I rebid in no-trumps. Furthermore, opponents are not bound nature of his hand.

That makes sure that the stronger hand

is declarer in either the major suit or the

to pass just because we open the bidding.

If responder bids 1t over the opening 1®,

• With one major and one minor, open

the major. Even if partner responds

no-trump game, offering the best chance fourth player can overcall 1´, or jump to 2´ in the minor suit where you have four

of success. or even 3´. Does opener double for take- cards, rebid in no-trumps. Except-

Recently I played against a pair who out? Or try an optimistic no-trump rebid? ionally, you may raise the minor if

opened the minor. This was the deal: Worse still, second in hand may bid spades opponents overcall and you don’t have

before partner has even had the oppor- a stopper in their suit.

´ A2 ´ QJ975

tunity to respond. Would you make a take-

out double on responder’s hand, with just

• With both minors, it matters less

what you choose. I open 1t as only if

™ KQ97 N ™ A 10 8 5 7 points? But if second hand overcalls in the auction becomes competitive will


t K93 S t 73 spades, you would be able to bid 2™ or 3™ we need to play in a minor and then

® A K 10 5 ® 94 if partner had opened 1™ – you might I can rebid in clubs without distort-

even stretch to 4™ if you had to. ing my shape. r

22 English Bridge August 2010


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