Last week we looked at how Opener bids when he has a balanced hand. This week we looked at bidding with an unbalanced hand.
Firstly, when you opened the bidding you will have opened with your longest suit! With two 5-card suits, you will always open the higher ranking suit, regardless of suit quality or overall strength.
1. If partner likes your suit, he will make a 'limit raise' - he will bid your suit, and the level that he bids will show you his point count - this is what we learned on 15th January.
It's now up to you to do the arithmetic - if you have enough points for games, bid the game! If you know that you haven't, you can pass. If you're still not sure, and you have an 'inbetween' bid available, bid that.
2. If partner bids a new suit (showing at least four cards in that suit), and you also have four cards in the suit, then you should show support for your partner by bidding his suit too! If you are weak (up to about 15 HCP), just raise the bidding by one level. If you have a stronger hand, make a jump raise. If you have 19 HCP, you have enough for game, and you should bid accordingly.
Of course, the most likely thing to happen is that partner bids a new suit (or No Trumps) that you don't like! Now it's up to you to describe your hand further:
3. If you only have one long suit (generally at least six cards), then you have to bid that suit again. If you are weak (again, up to about 15 HCP), just bid 2 of the suit. With a stronger hand (16-18), make a jump bid, 3 of the suit.
4. If you have another 4-card suit, it is helpful to give partner a choice of suit. By bidding your second suit, you are telling partner that you hold at least 5 cards in your first suit, and at least 4 cards in your second. Now he can make an informed decision, usually just making a choice between your two suits.
However, there are some restrictions...