June 2019 English Bridge
Hand 5 wants to show it's spade suit - and it can! A
bid of 2´ sums up the hand perfectly, a 6-card
suit that can play safely facing a singleton, and not
enough strength to double. The trouble with
passing and leading spades is that the opponents
are likely to be able to duck the ace and shut
partner out. I wouldn't be surprised if the
opponents could make an overtrick in 1NT and
we were cold for 2´, perhaps more if partner has
a fit. 2´ is non forcing, and there is no danger we
will get too high since partner can always pass if it
is a mis-fit.
Hand 6 should take this even further and bid 3t, a
natural bid but with pre-emptive overtones. The
trouble with bidding 2t is that you let the next
hand compete with a cheap bid of 2´ (the
opponents almost certainly have eight spades
between them and at least half the pack as well)
which means when you bid 3t later they have the
option of bidding 3´ over it. The advantage of
bidding 3t straightaway is to force an awkward
choice on the next player. If he bids 3´ his side
may end up too high, if he passes they might be
GENERAL RULES WHEN OPPONENTS
Dnew suits are natural and non forcing (5-9),
suggesting a good 6-card suit, and denying a big
fit with partner and suggesting your side plays
there unless partner has more to show.
Da jump bid is pre-emptive and basically to play.
Partner is welcome to raise you to game with a big
fit, but he must be prepared for you to have a
similar hand to a pre-emptive opening.
Da raise of partner' suit is natural and similar to the
sort you make after a double, a jump raise is weak
and shapely, good hands start with a double.
Ddouble is for penalties showing 10+ points (a
little less is permissible if you have a good lead to
make). It might be the first manoeuvre on a hand
looking to support partner or more likely it might
be an old fashioned hungry attempt to gain
points by taking a penalty.
One of the reasons you have to start with a double
is to let partner in on the act in case the 1NT bid is
lacking traditional values. It used to be very
common for people to overcall 1NT on a poor hand
with a long suit to try and keep the opponents out
of game. Don't fall for their dubious tactics. Smoke
out any such efforts with a penalty double and that
way you will be an opponent to be reckoned with.
What happens if the opponents run from 1NT
doubled to 2-of-a-suit? Then they are making a
normal weakness take out since they don't expect to
make 1NT and you should carry on pursuing them.
Double for penalties when you have some length in
their suit and a defensive hand, or bid a suit if you
have a playing strength hand. A pass should be
forcing at the two level, so if you double 1NT and
they run you can always pass it round to partner to
force a decision on him:
W N E S
1™ 1NT Dble 2t
W N E S
1™ 1NT Dble 2t
The Dos and Don'ts of coping with a
Do raise partner aggressively when you hold
support for his opening bid. The knowledge
of where the missing points are will aid him
in the play.
Do bid a new suit if you want to compete.
Such a call is non forcing. You can bid a
'weak two' strength hand without fear that
partner will take the bidding too high.
Don't forget that all good hands (10+ points)
start with a penalty double, even if you
have lofty ambitions you must start by
telling partner what you hold.
Don't give up the chase when they run after a
penalty double. Just because they have
found a safe haven in a suit contract you
can carry on doubling them when you
hold some tricks in their suit, you know
you have them outgunned on power
whatever happens. r
Have you got it?
Take the test - online, p70
The doubler is expected to take some action if 2t
comes round to him. He might double with some
length, bid 2™ or a new suit.
Note that it is not impossible to have an auction
where the opponents overcall 1NT - you double
them and when they run your side ends up in 3NT!
This would typically be when you held a long suit,
although it's perfectly feasible that the 1NT bidder
has the good 15 points required and your side has
the rest, and with it the necessary 25 points needed
to make game!