David Bakhshi suit, and though partnership styles may • With the values for game, the advancer
vary, it is a good idea to make sure that good can either jump to 4™/4´ or, alter-
suits are held. A useful guideline is for the natively, he can make a return cue-
Michaels overcaller to have at least two bid by bidding the opponents’ suit at
THIS convention was the brainchild of an honours in each suit (though many like to the three level. This sets up a game
American, Mike Michaels, and it lends be more aggressive when non-vulnerable). force, and asks the Michaels bidder to
itself to being played in a fairly simple way. When the opening bid is 1™ or 1´, a describe his hand further. (A jump to
Michaels cue-bid is used to show the most 4™/4´ can also be made on a pre-
Why is it useful to make important suit (the other major), and one emptive hand with five trumps –
two-suited overcalls? of the minors. Again, at least five cards opponents are left to guess which
should be held in each suit, and each suit type of hand advancer holds!)
When the opponents open the bidding, it is should be of reasonable quality.
a winning strategy to try to make their lives Next, what do you bid when the over-
as difficult as possible, either pushing them How strong does one need to be caller’s second suit is unknown?
higher than they would prefer to be, or just to make a Michaels cue-bid? The principles are very similar to those
stopping them from declaring. While this detailed above, but the advancer also
can be effective with one-suited hands, Many partnerships play that the overcaller needs a way of finding out which minor
there is even greater potential when holding will either have a weak hand or a strong the Michaels bidder holds. When the
a two-suited hand since there is now a much hand, but not one of intermediate strength. advancer holds a hand with game interest,
better chance of finding a fit in at least one Since it is so useful to show a two-suited this can be achieved by sacrificing a 2NT
of the long suits. It is also helpful to show hand as soon as possible, I would recom- response as a natural bid, and replacing it
the two-suited nature of the hand as quickly mend not worrying too much about a with a forcing enquiry. The overcaller is
and efficiently as possible. point range, but consider overcalling on expected to bid his minor at the three level
weaker hands when non-vulnerable. As with a minimum hand. With extra values,
How can an overcaller show a with all competitive auctions, vulnerability he can bid 3™ to show clubs or 3´ to show
two-suited hand after an is a major factor. When non-vulnerable, diamonds.
opening bid of 1®/1t/1™/1´? one may have a relatively weak hand, but a In addition, a bid of 3® by advancer
vulnerable overcall suggests a better hand becomes a ‘pass or correct’ bid, and says:
When the opponents open the bidding (close to opening values is sensible). ‘Partner, pass if your second suit is clubs,
with one of a suit, an area that requires but correct to 3t if that is your second suit’.
partnership agreement is the meaning of a How does one respond to a Here is Michaels in action:
cue-bid (i.e. bidding the opponents’ suit). Michaels cue-bid?
When holding length in the opponents’
suit, it is usually best to pass, so a cue-bid Let us first consider the auctions where ´ AQJ74 ´ 63
can be given an artificial meaning. While it the overcaller has shown both majors. In ™ 6 W E
used to be popular to play a cue-bid as this case, the overcaller’s partner (called t AQ852 S t KJ93
showing a very strong hand, it has become ‘advancer’) is generally in charge of the ® 54 ® AK8
commonplace to show such hands by decision-making (unless the Michaels bid-
starting with a take-out double. This frees der has significant extra values).
up a cue-bid to show a two-suited hand. • With less than opening values, the West North East South
advancer should give preference at 1™
How does partner know in which the two level. 2™1 Pass 2NT2 Pass
suits the overcaller has length? • With a minimum opening hand, the 3´3 Pass
1 Spades and a minor
5t All Pass
advancer can make an invitational bid.
When the opening bid is 1® or 1t, a He can either bid 2NT (with no fit), or 2 Enquiry, with game interest
Michaels cue-bid is used to show the two jump to 3™/3´ with at least three cards 3 Non-minimum, with diamonds
most important (of the three remaining) in the suit. Unbalanced hands with
suits, i.e. hearts and spades. The Michaels four-card support can invite with In the next issue: how to defend against
bidder should have at least five cards in each fewer high cards. the Michaels cue-bid. r
44 English Bridge October 2010 www.ebu.co.uk