Ask Heather by Heather Dhondy
Switches, Signals and Raises
for something else.
SATISH PANCHAMIA, Middlesex, asks: In HANNA BROOMBERG, London, writes:
a no-trump contract, when would it Is it wrong to support partner’s open-
be right for a player not to return RD asks by email for an outline of ing bid of 1´ when holding four
partner's opening-lead suit and obvious suit-preference situations. spades to the queen (1´ – 2´), no
instead switch to another suit? other high-card points, but a single-
Suit-preference situations principally
An opening lead is the only card which is occur where partner is about to gain the
played with just one hand to view. We try lead and will need to know which suit to It is not wrong from a legal point of view,
to play the odds by listening to the bidding switch to. This assumes that continuing but it is not recommended to raise with
and using the evidence of our own hand the current suit is known to be either such a weak hand. Bidding to the level of
but, despite our best efforts, our opening impossible or undesirable, and that there the trump fit more commonly occurs
leads are sometimes pretty disastrous. is a choice of possible alternatives. The when the auction has become competi-
Instead of ruing what might have been, most common positions are: tive. It is best to use unassuming cue-
you may need to consider how to recover
from an unfortunate start. Sometimes this
· When giving partner a ruff, lead a
high card to indicate a switch to the
bids (see Neil Rosen’s article on click
pages 24-25 in the June 2012 issue)
will mean not returning partner’s suit in a higher ranked of the remaining two to show decent hands, and raise link
no-trump contract when the evidence tells suits (discounting trumps and the directly with pre-emptive hands.
us that something else is likely to be better. suit led), or a low one for the lower When the opponents are silent, you should
What evidence might there be? ranked suit. use constructive high-card raises, in other
· You have a very strong suit of your
own, say a solid suit, or a one-loser
· In a trump contract, partner leads an
ace and dummy has a singleton. Now
words 6-9 HCP to raise to the two level and
10-12 HCP to raise to the three level.
suit with an outside entry. a switch is likely to be desirable and The danger with raising partner with a
· There is a strong holding in partner’s
suit in dummy.
partner may want to know your
preference. Again we discount the
very weak hand is that he will not be able
to judge whether to bid game or make a
· Playing Smith Peters, your partner
suggests an alternative.
suit led and trumps, and give our
preference as above.
game try, and will go down because he
imag ined that you would hold more
· The Rule of 11 tells you that declarer
is either strong or long in the suit led.
Other situations where you may decide to
give a suit-preference signal include:
For example, partner leads a two and · As a secondary signal in a suit. You
both you and dummy hold a
doubleton. You do not want to
have already given your primary
message with your first card in a suit.
continue this suit since you will be The second card you play in the same
establishing declarer’s five card suit. suit may be high or low depending
Consider this situation: on your preference between the other
J83 suits (again, if it is a trump contract,
the trump suit is generally disre-
A4 garded for suit-preference purposes).
If it is a no-trump contract, it will
Partner’s lead of the 2 (fourth high- usually be fairly clear which of the
est) tells you that declarer holds four remaining three suits is not a logical
card in the suit. Also declarer has at switch, and your suit preference
least two of the king, queen, ten and signal will be based on the remaining
nine since partner would have led an two suits. TOP OF the women in the National
honour card with any combination
of three of these cards. Therefore you
· When declarer is drawing trumps,
you may agree with your partner to
Grading Scheme is Nevena Senior,
currently an ‘Ace of Spades’ with a
will only be helping declarer by use your spot cards in trumps to give mature grade of 67.89.
continuing this suit, and should look a suit-preference signal.
www.ebu.co.uk August 2013 English Bridge 9