What is your first reaction when you read this bidding sequence? South opens 1C; West overcalls 2H; North responds 1S!!
Rightly, it should be “Director, please!” North has made an insufficient bid. No one at the table should move any bidding cards. East should not bid. Everyone wants to properly correct this irregularity; each partnership seeks to protect its rights…the very reason the ninety-two Laws of Duplicate Bridge exist.
Director asks the person who summoned her to explain the situation. Then, turning to North with an air of easing any embarrassment, Director says, “I bet you just didn’t see that 2H bid by West, did you? Was your 1S overcall simply a slip of the fingers—an accident—and you meant to pull out 2S or was it intended as your definite bid?” “Intended”, comes the reply.
“OK then”, continues Director. “East, you are next in rotation to bid. You can either accept or reject North’s 1S bid. If you accept and if you were to bid, you will be able to do so at the one level in NT, a lower level than if you ask North to make the bid sufficient—which would be at least at the two level. Do you accept the 1S bid or do you want it made sufficient?” “I want it made sufficient”, replies East.
Director to North (the offender); “Should you make your bid sufficient by substituting a bid in spades, the suit of your overcall, bidding will continue with no further rectification. If, however, you make it sufficient with a Pass, a Double or any legal bid of a suit other than spades or any manner of NT, your partner-- should your partnership become the defenders and should he gain the lead—will have lead restrictions. How do you wish to make your bid sufficient?”
North makes an interesting decision: by withdrawing the insufficient 1S bid and substituting a sufficient 3C bid, the suit partner bid—but not spades. East bids 3NT followed by three passes. North/South are defenders. East is Declarer. South, North’s (the offender’s) partner, has the opening lead.
Director to Declarer (East), “South is under lead restrictions on his first turn to lead, which is the opening lead, and the restriction continues for as long as he retains that lead. You may either require the lead of a spade, the withdrawn suit, or you may prohibit the lead of a spade.”
By choosing a different suit through which to correct the insufficient bid, the defense gave control of at least the opening lead to the Declarer.
East is trying to make a 3NT contract and knows North has power in spades. East does not want South to lead to that power and therefore prohibits the lead of a spade. South may lead a club, the suit he bid and the suit North corrected to. If North wins that trick she may lead a spade. However, if South wins the trick, Declarer can once again prohibit South from leading of a spade. All is not lost for the defenders in their attempt to defeat the contract, but there is that momentary hiccup for them on the opening lead and maybe beyond. For a moment though, Declarer has control over the defense.