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June_08_EB_p38-39 Kambites + Bramzel 12/5/08 2:08 pm Page 34





imagine that opponents might make 4♥ extra values; it just shows a desire to com-

while you can make 4♠. With spades as pete. By this time, North has described his

Andrew Kambites trumps your hand is likely to be worth six hand well: five spades and a tolerance for

tricks; if hearts are trumps your hand may the other unbid suits.

not contribute a single trick to the defen- In Auction 2, North’s 2♠ bid on the

IN this new series of articles I shall be sive cause. A 1♠ overcall is essential (or second round shows at least five good

examining competitive bidding: when to 2♠ if you play weak jump overcalls). This spades in a hand too good to bid 1♠ on

compete and how to compete. sort of hand explains why a one-level the first round (say, 17+ points).

In order to understand competitive overcall can be made on a hand that would Clearly with Hand C you must either

bidding it is important to understand that not open the bidding. bid spades straight away (via an overcall),

there are some hands where each side can Natural no-trump overcalls with or be prepared to suppress the fifth spade

make a lot of tricks if it can choose the balanced and semi-balanced hands have for ever.

trump suit, and there are others where already been dealt with in my article in With Hand D you are not so concerned

nobody can make much at all. If your side the December 2007 English Bridge, which about losing a 5-3 minor fit. It is best to

can make 4♠ while your opponents can was part of the series on no-trump bid- double 1♥ to bring your spades into the

make 4♥, clearly the side that sells out too ding. You can show a one-suited hand game.

quickly will regret it. On the other hand, if with an overcall. Three-suited hands with So what haven’t we covered? One area

nobody can make a contract above the two shortage in opener’s suit can be shown that needs careful consideration is really

level, it is silly to try to outbid your oppo- by a take-out double. Sometimes you have strong hands. There is no upper limit to a

nents at the four level. The key is an a choice between making an overcall or a take-out double but if the doubler likes his

understanding of the difference between take-out double. partner’s choice of suit, he must exercise a

offensive and defensive values. certain amount of restraint.

Hand C Hand D Auction 3

Hand A Hand B ♠Q9632 ♠ AJ2 West North East South

♠A32 ♠ K Q J 10 3 2 ♥8 ♥ 8 1♦ Dble Pass 1♠

♥AJ32 ♥6 ♦AQ54 ♦ AQ54 Pass ?

♦A64 ♦ J 10 9 8 ♣AJ2 ♣ Q9632

♣843 ♣64 In Auction 3 North must curb his enthu-

siasm and remember that South could

Your right-hand opponent opens 1 ♥ . have a Yarborough with only three spades.

Suppose your right-hand opponent opens With Hand C, overcall 1♠. Unless you A good rule of thumb is for North to

1♥. overcall 1♠ you are unlikely to find a 5-3 imagine that he opened the bidding with a

If you hold Hand A you have three and spade fit. Compare these two auctions: minor and South responded 1♠ (in that

a bit tricks, no matter who plays the case, showing 6 points) as in Auction 4.

contract. Your offensive and defensive Auction 1

strength are almost identical. There is no West North East South Auction 4

point in competing. Most balanced hands 1♥ 1♠ 2♥ Pass West North East South

are like this, which is why you can afford Pass Dble 1♣ Pass 1♠

to pass a 1♥ opening bid with a hand that Pass ?

you would have opened 1NT. It is also true Auction 2

that a 1NT overcall here would be very West North East South In Auction 3 North decides the level to

dangerous: if the third hand has 10 points 1♥ Dble 2♥ Pass which he would have supported South’s

it can double, which could leave you with Pass 2♠ spades in the hypothetical Auction 4 and

a hefty minus score. A 1NT overcall shows then bids one fewer. Thus in Auction 3 a

a good 15 to 18 points. In Auction 1, North’s double on the second raise to 2♠ shows 16-18 points (or six

If you hold Hand B, it is not hard to round of bidding does not show significant losers), 3♠ shows 19-20 points (or five

34 English Bridge June 2008


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