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12: Revision and Play

Seminar Twelve: Revision

We practiced interpretation of partner’s bid. 

What hand do we visualise when partner opens “1S”? Most offered 12-19 but I think the range is wider as hands with fewer points but interesting shape will be opened (rule of 20) and some stronger hands, say with 8 playing tricks, can only be opened with a 1-bid. The spades will be longer than the Hearts, probably five cards.

What hand do we visualise when partner responds “2D”. A hand probably not well suited to spades in particular not 3-to-an-honour with a ruffing value and certainly not 4. It promises at least 4 D and, having bypassed them, not 4 Clubs. Several recalled earlier teaching that to respond 2H would always promise 5 cards since otherwise some cheaper bid would have been available.

Next we examined some bidding problems (made up with real cards) from the current issue of Mr Bridge Magazine.

S: Q x

H: x x x x x

D: K x x x x

C x

In an auction that went













The first pass is obvious with little support, pass; but the second bid requires some thought. Visualise, what can partner hold. Both opponents have something but are limited and he is bidding strongly which suggests serious shape. You have a fair smattering of HCP but more importantly a super fit in his second suit which he bid when you had promised nothing. Now the QS becomes gold dust. A mere raise to 3D does not properly represent these riches, a jump to 4 is a better description. In the magazine, partner with 3 clubs and a singleton H presses on to an easy game. If you hold length in a suit the opponents have bid and supported, partner must be short; in this hand it sounds as if N has 5 clubs and S 3 leaving just one for W. Without the singleton heart and 3 clubs this final bid would be wrong: two+ small hearts and two clubs in each hand is 4 quick losers. Moral, try and revalue your hand in the light of partner’s bidding and trust them to reach the right conclusions; the more reliable your bidding, the easier they will find that task the better your combined results will be and the more fun you will both have. When you have good news, share it!

S: K Q x

H: A Q x x

D: x x

C: K Q x x











Again, the first bid is obvious. Yes it would be nice to have the fourth spade but your can’t let the opponents preempt you out of rightful contract, whatever it may be and you hold the strength, so alert your partner. Who says H. Now what? Partner was forced to bid; pass would have shown diamond strength and little outside, improbable when he should hold at most 4 in the suit. So he must bid something and 3H leaves your options open. With no points and 3-3 in the majors, 5 clubs and 2 diamonds, what would you bid? So curb your enthusiasm you’ve asked partner to bid your hand for you; he has; don’t do it again yourself. 

Can you ever bid on? Yes, but only if you have more to say; more strength, more shape. And responder must show enthusiasm if he isn’t minimum. The article suggests assume 15+ for the double and jump with 10+ but I don’t think it’s that easy. Partner has promised a fit for anything you say; how about assuming partner has 6 losers and bidding with a jump if the LTC so indicates? With strength, but no special suit, consider a cue bid, transferring the choice of denomination back to the doubler.

The article suggests bidding conservatively as suits are less likely to break evenly after a preempt. Maybe. If someone holds a 7-card suit, the breaks with no singleton (7321, 7222, 7411) and twice as likely as any break with a singleton. And the existence of one long suit has only a modest impact on distribution in another suit. And play may be easier when you know half the cards in one opponents hand.

Moral, when you’ve forced partner to bid, don’t restate the same values.

S: x x

H: K Q x x

D: J 3 2

C: A Q x x







2C (Stayman)





Again the first bid is obvious, there is a chance of a game with a major suit fit. Surprise, partner has the right suit. Now all we need to decide is the right level. In between the cowards–any plus score is good–and the bashers–24+ HCP should be enough for a game–come the partners who politely invite by bidding 3H. Partner doubtless has his 12+ HCP and surely has 4H but may not have any extras, such as a ruffing value, which would warrant a push to game. Moral, when there is a decision, consult partner.

S: x

H: A Q x x x

D: A K 3 2

C: A X X

Partner opens 1S, what do you bid? Yes, it’s a wonderful hand; yes, game is most likely; but in what strain? We have no fit so the fit showing bids such as splinter, pudding raise (3NT) or Jacoby 2NT as not in scope. The natural bid is H, the longest suit. The point of the hand is a reminder that we only jump-shift when we know the strain either because our suit is so good we know it will be trumps or our support is so good we know ours will be the side-suit with partners as trumps. This fits neither. 1H if forcing, and after that, assuming partner’s bid is unhelpful, 3D will be forcing too. And so would a subsequent 4C, but we’ll cover fourth suit forcing later. In the magazine hand, partner turns up with a minimum hand with 5 Spades but a fit for D and the diamond slam is easy. 

Next we tried a couple of hands from Chislehurst on the previous Tuesday.


S: K Q T 9

H: J 4

D: J 7 3

C: T 5 3 2

East (note this completely balanced hand when everyone else holds a freak)

S: J 7 6

H: Q 9 7 3

D: A Q 9

C: A K J


S: A 8 5 4 3 2

H: 2

D: K T 6 5 4

C: 6


S: -

H: A K T 8 6 5

D: 8 2

C: Q 9 8 7 4

Hand 4 featured a spirited auction. West might open 2H but this is a rule of 20 1H with 9HCP and 11 cards in the 2 longest suits. Third in hand, there would be no contest, but first in hand risks preempting partner. There are 4 likely auctions. W can open 1H (cases 1 & 3) or 2H (cases 2 & 4), S can show his two-suiter (cases 1& 2) or not (cases 3 & 4).

Case 1 W opens 1H, E should bid 2NT, Jacoby showing the power and fit. Now S makes a Michaels cue bid “3H” to show a very shapely hand, at least 5-5 in Spades and a minor. Now W probably bids 3S to show the void: the W hand is no weaker than it was when he chose to open so keep your courage. Now N, with a primary fit in in Spades and a secondary fit in whichever minor S holds, bids as high as he dares in Spades. With both sides vulnerable, two off doubled is cheap against a game so, as the cards lie, 6S would be a good save with just one loser in each of the 3 side side suits. But short of that E may use RKCB, if there is room or just bid 6H. 7H is makeable but hard to find without knowing about the QC.

Case 2 W opens 2H. E makes the forcing enquiry of 2NT and S bids Michaels 3S. W could show his side feature of clubs or the void spades )which is better?) and N bids as many spades as he dares, as before. If ignorant of the S void, E dare not use RKCB? There can be few Spades left for partner but still just room for a loser or two. If W has bid clubs and N only bids 4S, W can then compete to 5. Even 6H is hard to find though.

Case 3 This auction starts 1H, pass, 2NT, pass. The Jacoby responses include a splinter by bidding a new suit, here 3S obviously. Now 6H is easy, via RKCB but I still don’t see how to find 7.

Case 4 This auction starts 2H, pass, 2NT, pass. Again the problem is which feature to show. Assume 3C then E may bid the 3D control and now W shows the S control—still promising no extras below the level of game in a hand already shown to be non-minimum. But even now RKCB showing 2 controls seems to leave one loser. Maybe W should raise 6H to 7?

The play in S (winning 6 S and 4D) or H making (once trumps are drawn in 2 rounds) 6H, 5C AD and a D ruff.

When played at Chislehurst, most were in 4 or 5 H making 12 or 13 tricks. One was in 3NT, making!

A couple played 4SX making! One was allowed to play 3S and failed! Only a handful bid a slam one made the grand. Roy was unlucky enough to be on of the pairs who doubled 4S (lets see if he’s reading these notes). I didn’t play this hand.


S: J T 9 4

H: J T

D: K 4

C: A K 6 3 2


S: A K Q 8 5 2

H: A 6 3

D: A 7 3

C: J

The uncontested auction goes 

1S Not strong enough for 2C and 2S would be weak.

3C Not balanced for a pudding raise, not strong enough for Jacoby, not the shape for a splinter, too good for an immediate 4S so the choice is between 2C, intending to jump in Spades next, or jump-shift in clubs now, intending to play at least game in Spades and showing a decent side suit. Now, I think 3C is a better description.

3S Whichever bid partner made, this is either a jump over 2C to show the 6-card suit and a good hand or constructive over the jump-shift.

4S Finishing the description of spade support and a decent side suit; South knows about 9 cards in the N hand.

4NT Now the value of the jump-shift becomes apparent, although game is reached it is easy for South to continue seeing the chance to chuck losers on the clubs. By bidding 4NT, here S becomes the senior hand and determines the final contract.

5D As expected showing just the Club Ace.

5NT As next suit up (5H) would be asking for for the Q of trumps, 5S would be sign-off, 5NT by the senior hand promises all key cards and asks for Kings to be cue bid, starting with the cheapest (ignoring the KT which would have already been shown in some other hand). 

6C I have the KC

6D Now S can ask for the holding in a side suit. Since South’s D and H are identical and he can only ask about one, it seems to be a guess which to ask about but on this hand the cheaper suit allows room for a useful response which asking after Hearts might not.

7C 6S would deny any control in the target suit. One step (6H) would show third round control. Two steps 6NT would show second round control—K or singleton but here couldn’t be a singleton for lack of a splinter earlier. 3 Steps (7C) shows K and at most one supporting card, because of the lack of splinter, here exactly one supporting card. 4 steps (7D) would show King and Queen and in a different hand might lead to a 7NT contract.

7S Sign off, at last.

These extended RKCB responses are courtesy of and we will look at them next week. I don’t actually play these with anybody! Note that while it is easy to stop in any number of the agreed suit, there is no sure way to get off the treadmill to end in 5 NT if the junior partner thought it was Spades; but asking for the Q (5H) and then bidding 5NT when partner denies it (5S) should do the trick. Moral, make sure you know the spell to stop the broom before you start it.

Deep finesse, the analysis program, says 7S is makeable on deal 22 from either hand (remember the interpretation of the box in the bottom right hand corner). On the night, the stronger section mostly bid 6S making six or seven; in the weaker section, most stayed at 4 making 6 a few (including Tom and John) bid 6, one making 7. Just one pair bid the grand—against Roy, nor really his night. On Wednesday, under time pressure as if at the table we couldn’t see how to make 7 but it is as easy as I first thought assuming clubs break 4-3: 

1, win the opening lead with an Ace (it doesn’t matter which, though obviously the exact card to a later trick will vary, I’ve assumed H); 

2, draw one trump (seeing the even break but it doesn’t matter), 

3 cash AC; 

4 ruff a club; 

5 cross to N with a trump (drawing the last); 

6 ruff another club (pleased to see both follow, one defender has a club, you have K and small in clubs; 

7 KD; 

8 AD; 

9 ruff a D; 

10 cash KC throwing H; 

11 cash small club throwing H; 

12, 13 claim with your 2 remaining trumps. 

Homework: I’m going to bring this board again: I expect you all to get it right. The principle of establishing the long card in a 5-card side suit is one of the most basic yet most people (me included this time it seems) failed to plan carefully: I admit I was too excited about being in a slam at all.