June 2019 English Bridge
North deals at Game All. South's hand is
below. What should South bid next in the
´ A 10 9 7 6 5 3
™ J 5
t 4 3
® J 9
South's hand is below. What should South bid
next in the following auction?
´ K 4
™ 10 4
t A K J 9 7
® Q 10 5 4
B. 2™ - 8 points, 2´ - 2 points. This hand, because
of the 6-card suit, is richer in playing tricks than A,
and the suit which causes it to be so should not
therefore be suppressed. The weak high card
strength, however, does give some justification for a
simple raise in spades.
I think that B is more difficult: my inclination
would be to bid a simple 2´, with the possibility of
competing in hearts should the opponents bid. It
seems to me that a 2™ response is a bit of a trap bid.
If partner makes the likely rebid of 2´, South has
the choice of either passing having suppressed his
spade support or raising to 3´, which seems
somewhat of an overbid.
C. 2™ - 8 points, 2´ - 4 points. This hand also
contains better playing values than A, but they are
less dependent on the heart suit than in B. 2´ is
perhaps just a shade too weak as a response, and the
hearts should be shown as a means of marking
I disagree also with the suggested 2™ response
with hand C. This hand should make up its mind
what it is worth in support of spades and raise to the
appropriate level, my choice being 3´.
Pass - 12 points. It must be clear by this time to
South that North has no support for spades and
may even have a void in the suit. 3NT, with the aid
of the evidently powerful clubs may well be the only
makeable game for the hand.
A clear pass in my view. The 3´ rebid was nonforcing
at the time whereas most would now regard
it as forcing. If you haven't agreed with your regular
partner whether it is forcing or not, you should do:
on one occasion well over thirty years ago, an
international pair under my captaincy achieved a
ridiculous result when one thought that 3´ was
forcing while the other did not share her partner's
3´ - 12 points, 5®/6® - 4 points. It will be
noticed that East's bid has made no difference to the
level at which North and South have had to bid. It
can be assumed therefore that North would have
bid 3®, a one round force, even if East had
remained silent, and he must accordingly be
credited with a powerful hand. South is not justified
in bidding the small slam immediately, as North's
power may be largely distributional. The least he
can bid, however, is 5®, but this may close the
bidding, if North holds no spade control. He should
therefore signal his own control at once, even
though it is only a secondary one. As he has told a
white lie about his spade holding, he must proceed
thereafter with circumspection and leave final
decisions to partner.
Marx doesn't mention the possibility of 3NT as a
final contract which slightly surprises me. It may
not be terribly likely, but it is surely possible that
partner has a hand such as:
´Q6 ™KJ975 tQ3 ®AKJ8.
In my view, the best course is to bid 4®, which
would have been impossible in 1947 since it was
non-forcing. This leaves open the option to partner
of supporting diamonds or suggesting 4™ as a
contract. Another option is false preference to 3™,
again not a possibility for Marx since it could be
Marx makes an interesting comment about 3´,
describing it as a white lie. This is because a 3´ bid
would have been expected to deliver first-round
spade control: it was a couple of years later that
Norman Squire wrote an article about the
'Directional Asking Bid' and alerted bridge players
at large to the idea of bidding the opposing suit
simply as a method of extracting further
information from partner.
Cont/. . .
N/S Game. Dealer North.
W N E S
1™ 1´ 2t
Pass 3® Pass ?