22 English Bridge August 2018 www.ebu.co.uk
significant reason for five-card majors being
as widespread as they are is that the
problems of intervention are reduced. That
applies as much to the weak no trump base
considered here as for strong no trumps or indeed,
strong club systems. Establishing the presence - or
absence - of a major-suit fit is top priority and
much of bidding directly addresses that.
Simple (non-jump) intervention does not
inconvenience a single raise. When a simple raise is
right on values, it is invariably best in an
uncontested auction and especially in competition.
As your left-hand opponent might raise the
overcaller's suit, it is essential that any fit in opener's
major be confirmed - or denied. Even with slender
values or in dangerous situations, responder should
announce a fit if one exists. When responder passes,
opener almost mentally deletes the possibility of 3card
With support and values in excess of a single raise
responder will want to jump. That's undoubtedly
right holding four-card support (or more) but what
about three? While knowing the size of fit is
important in constructive auctions, it is crucial in
competition; unless you distinguish between 3-card
and longer support, partner will misjudge the
combined offensive/defensive orientation. Fewer
trumps between you and partner mean fewer
ruffing tricks when you declare but top cards are
more likely to take tricks when you defend.
Over non-jump intervention we are typically
considering eight-loser hands, say 9-11 (poor 12)
HCP, no shortage and a 4-4-3-2 shape. Had righthand
opponent respectfully passed, responder
would have bid a new suit and subsequently raised
opener to three-major. That is a fragile approach
after intervention; either right-hand opponent stole
the bidding space or left-hand is about to.
The answer is to enlist the cue-bid - bidding
overcaller's suit - to distinguish trump-support in
limit raises. This is a ripe area for conventional help
and serious partnerships devote many sequences to
expressions of raises using 2NT and jumps in unbid
suits in addition to cue-bids (leaving only 1NT and
non-jump new suits to deny support!). For the time
being keep jump raises as with no intervention, 4+
support and values, and use the simple cue-bid for
3-card raises and mark for development.
A few examples should make it clear - have a go
at these. In each case, you must respond to your
partner's major opening, after your right-hand
opponent's action (shown in parenthesis).
Partner opens one-major, they intervene
by Chris Chambers
Hand 1 Hand 2 Hand 3
1´-(2™)-? 1´-(2™)-? 1´-(2®)-?
´ Q 5 4 ´ Q 5 4 ´ Q 5 4
™ 10 8 3 ™ 10 8 3 ™ 10 8 3
t A 10 7 6 4 t A Q 8 6 4 t A Q 8 6 4
® 8 6 ® K 6 ® K 6
Hand 4 Hand 5 Hand 6
1´-(1NT)-? 1´-(3®)-? 1´-(3t)?
´ Q 5 4 ´ Q 5 4 ´ K J 5 4
™ 3 2 ™ J 10 8 3 2 ™ A J 8 3
t K 8 6 4 t K 6 4 t 6 4
® 10 9 8 6 ® K 6 ® K Q 9
1.2´. The same bid as without the intervention -
there should be no temptation to do anything
else. Indeed, 2´ would be indicated even had 1´
only promised four.
2.3™A. A cue-bid raise. With a fourth spade there
would be little wrong with 3´, except perhaps
with ´Q854 ™1083 tAQ64 ®K6, some would say
with 7½ losers, it is a slight underbid. An eightcard
fit plays much less well and 'raising to the
three-level with three trumps' via bidding the
opponent's suit fits the hand nicely.
A 3™ is an artificial bid and should be alerted. If
opponents ask its meaning explain, 'shows 3-card
support and values for the 3-level at least'. Notice
it doesn't promise any particular holding in the