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Ask Jerry & Denny

Can I open a weak two bid with a side 4 card major?

This is a common problem and many people have asked us this question. This is how we think about it. If your suit is very good go ahead and open the weak two.

1) JXXX AK109XX XX X open 2 Hearts

2) KQJXXX QJXX X XX open 2 Spades

If your suit is not so good it's better to pass.

1) KXXX Q10XXXX KX X pass

2) J9XXXX AJXX X XX

Having a side 4 card suit is a flaw to be sure. So if your suit is also poor that is a second flaw and should suggest it is better to pass. We first saw this idea in the book "Matchpoints" by Kit Woolsey.

Does a Jacoby 2NT raise guarantee 4-card support?

We get asked this question quite often. The short answer is yes. When you have a game Forcing hand 12+ HCP and support for partner you should do as follows:   With 4-card or more support, bid Jacoby 2NT. When you have exactly 3-card support, bid a new suit at the two level (this forces game) and then support partner at the cheapest level.

Partner opens 1 Spade

1) KQXX XX AQXX KXX bid 2NT

2) AJX AKXX AXXX XX bid 2 Diamonds then support Spades.

 

Partner opens three clubs, what should I bit? My hands is:  AQxx KQxx AJxx x

You should pass even though you have a great hand - partner has long clubs and nothing else! Three clubs should be a nice contract. Three no trump will have no play since partner's hand is most likely something like this: xx xx xx KQJxxxx

I was playing at a regional when the bidding went as follows:

1 c (1s) P P 

X (XX)

My partner passed. What does it mean??? I was afraid to sit for the redouble

Partner wanted to play 1 spade, either doubled or redoubled. It turns out we were cold for 4 spades! When partner reopens with a double, you must bid over that if you don't want to play the contract doubled. The redouble doesn't change anything. It's up to partner to bid, not the opening bidder. So when partner passes, they want to play it there.

My partner and I are having a disagreement about how to continue after bidding over partner's 1NT and our mini-maxi bids where 3D shows a game forcing hand with both minors.  I like hearing aces Q bid up the line and she prefers playing 3 hearts to show a preference for clubs and 3 spades to show a preference for diamonds, setting trumps first.  What do you guys do? -Jeanni Blume

We play 3 hearts asks for your singleton (3 spades is a singleton heart, 3NT is a singleton spade.)  If you have 2 singletons just bid either 4c or 4d showing a six card suit. Bidding 3 spades over partners mini-maxi bid says you're interested in slam and now partner bids their better minor. Bidding 4 clubs or 4 diamonds over partners mini-maxi bid sets trump. This bid never comes up so keep it fairly simple. Responders shape most likely to determine outcome.

We are often asked is it OK to open a weak two with a side 4 card major?

The short answer is yes, but there are some restrictions. If your suit is very good (AQJXXX) then, by all means, open a weak two even if you have a 4Card major on the side. If your suit is weak (Q10XXXX) and the side suit is stronger, we would advise against opening the weak two. Also, if you are three suited 6-4-3 with a void we would generally not open a weak two with that shape as you have great playability in three suits. With all things bridge, every hand is a little different so you just use your best judgment.

"Is a NT overcall in the balance the same as in the direct seat?"

No, the ranges in the balancing seat are a bit different. With 11-14 and openers suit stopped, you can balance with 1NT. With 15-17, you should double and bid 1NT. With 18-19, you should double and jump to 2NT. Finally, the little known range, with 20-21, jump to 2NT directly in the balancing seat. This is not the unusual no trump as that is a preemptive bid and we don’t preempt in 4th seat when the bid is passed to us.

"Should I learn Drury?"

One of the oldest conventions and one of the best. We all open a little light from time to time in third or even fourth set. The last thing we want to hear from a partner is a jump raise (limit raise) when we do. Drury allows Responder to bid 2C to show a limit raise, this bid is artificial. Opener has the option of rebidding their suit to say they are very weak. They can instead bid 2D to say they have a full opener, but not quite enough to bid the game -- anything else and we are in the game. Again, rebid your suit to say no, 2D to say maybe a game, and anything else guarantees we get to game in our suit. Drury is simple and works very well.

"What is a semi-forcing response to a major suit opening and is it better?"

A semi-forcing response to one of a major suit opening is just like the forcing response, except it can be passed. The difference is the Responder must limit their hand to 11 points or invitational values. The weakness of the Forcing No Trump response is you can't play 1NT. If you switch to Semi-Forcing you can occasionally play 1NT as opener can pass all balanced minimums. As long as the Responder has, at most, an invitational hand, opener can feel free to pass... and yes, it is better.

"Do you ever make a Michaels Cue Bid with 5-4 in the two suits?"

The Michaels Cue Bid is a very useful bid. It can be made with as few as 4 or 5 high card points, or as many as 17-18 high card points. The partner never passes, so we can make this bid with very good hands. You need to have only 1 agreement, you are ALWAYS 5-5, at least in your two suits. Keep that in mind and you won't get in trouble. 

"My partner opened one no trump and I have 4 spades and 5 hearts. What is my bid?"

The simple solution is to start with Stayman. If you have a 5-card major without 4 of the other major, you'd just use a transfer sequence. 

"I have five spades and five hearts and my partner has opened one club... what should I bid?"

If we're 4/4, we bid a heart so your partner can bid a spade because we're looking for our 8 card fit. But when we're 5/5 we bid a spade first and then hearts so your partner will know we have 5 spades and at least 4 hearts. The idea is to find that 8 card fit. 

"Judi Besner asked: With a minimum opening hand and 1-4-4-4 distribution; you open one diamond... pard responds one spade... rebid??"

Great question, Judi! Bid 2 clubs with that. The only exception with the 1-4-4-4 hand is if you have a stiff ace, king or queen of spades, then you can bid 1 no trump.