More than 40% of hands fall into the category of Minor suit Openings. The Range is 11 - 21 HCPS. The criteria No 5+card major and unbalanced within the 15 - 17 Range. Some rigid rules are put in place to maximize the information conveyed with each bid so that after Opener's rebid, Responder has a clear idea of HCPs and Distribution.
The BETTER MINOR PRINCIPLE is one set of such rules. Often mis-interpreted to mean Stronger Minor the word BETTER literally means the better of two choices given the relative length of the minors and the overall strenght of the hand.
In Contrast to the 1NT Opener where responder immediately knows the final level and strains for which to aim, the Opener has to make two bids to set the limits of the hand. Also since the Range goes up to 21HCPS, Reponder should bid with 5+ HCPS so that it is also more difficult for Responder to limit/specify range within two bids. Responder's bids either have to show a limit or force Opener to bid again.
NO. OF TRICKS REQUIRED: 9
NO. OF WINNERS: 3, 1, 1 = 5; Need To Develop 4 Tricks; Losing a Maximum of 4
POSSIBLE SOURCE OF TRICKS: Hearts: Up to 3 more if E has K and they break 3/3; up to 3 more if East has AQ to 3 or less. Need to restrict losers.
PLAY: Duck K of Diamonds lead. East must switch to prevent giving up 2 D tricks. Plan to play A of H, then H to the Q. On club lead play T from dummy. As the cards lie Defense can take 2, 1 & 1 while North goes about winning 9 tricks.
If you know that your Partner has 11hcps, 3, 5, 2 & 3 What Contract would you want to Play?
The New Minor Force, NMF, Convention allows Responder's 2nd bid to define the limit of his Hand or Force another bid from Opener. After the Sequence: 1C/D - 1H/S - 1NT, Reponder bids:
OPEN PARTNER'S HAND AND BID. WHAT IS YOUR FINAL CONTRACT?
1C: Better Minor Principle
1H: 4+ Hs 5+hcps Forcing
1NT: 11-14hcps (15 if 2 worthless doubletons) balanced/semi-balanced may have 5Cs)
2D: 9+hcps 5Hs Forcing
2NT: 14-15hcp 2Card Support
3NT: 11-12hcps 5Hs Final Contract
After a Major Response, Opener with 11-14 HCPS rebids as follows:
This hand is a sample of a 1NT rebid with 9cards in the minor suits. There will be rare occassions when the hands have up to a nine card fit in a minor plays in 1NT for a bad score but no system is perfect. In this hand Responder may regret choosing to make 8tricks in Spades when Opener may have had an easy time making 1NT. However the odds are that 2 or more of Responder's Spade tricks would not be available to Opener in 1NT contract if the A was missing.
North Leads 4 of Spades. PLAN to make 8 TRICKS in SPADES before looking at OPPONENTS hands.
NO, OF TRICKS REQUIRED: 8
NO. OF WINNERS: 5, 1, Possible = 61/2
NO. OF LOSERS: 2, 2+, 2
Possibilities: With Trump lead the option of ruffing H in Dummy removed; If Declarer tackles Diamonds he risks losing 2+ tricks in addition to 2 H an 2 C tricks. Need to try to establish a Club winner(s), keeping entry in Dummy.
In the 1NT Opening Lessons the Opener was almost always the Declarer by design. In very sophisticated tranfer and relay systems the stategy is to strive for the stronger hand to be the Declarer. With Stardard Systems using the Better Minor Principle, Opener and Responder share the job of Declarer more evenly.
Partner has 5, 3. 3 & 2 8hcps. What should be the Final Contract?
OPEN WEST'S HAND AND BID.
1C - Longer Minor in 9 Cards, no singleton major
1S - 4+S , 5+hcps Forcing
1NT - Semi Balanced: Using NMF it is best to Rebid 1NT as often as possible using the same rules of distribution as for Opening 1NT. Lesson 14B expands.
2S - 5+ Spades 5-8hcps to Play. Responder selects S suit partial knowing Opener has at least 2Ss
South's Rebid of 1NT in this Hand shows a balanced 12 - 14 and North's reverse into a major is a Game Force with 13+HCPs. The jump straight to 4 shows that South is at the lower end of his range. With a better Diamond Fit and point count Opener would raise to 3 and North would take appropiate action. Specifying when to Respond 1 to 1 as described in 15 A allows the partnership to pin-point the joint holding after 4 bids with few to no ambiguities.
Responder is Declarer having an equal/better hand than Opener. Plan to make 10 tricks when East leads 2 of Spades.
NO. OF TRICKS REQUIRED: 10 MAXIMUM NO OF LOSERS 3
LOSERS: 2, 1+, 1 = 4+
PLAN: Need to limit Diamond losers and try to set up Diamond Winners. Win Spade in South and give up A of Diamonds. If West wins and plays a club through plan to let East get in for another lead. At this point Declarer expects to make 5, 3, 1 and has lost 2 tricks. A 4th Diamond, 2nd Club or the K of Hearts or a 6th Spade trick are all possibilities for a 10th trick.
Keeping in mind the Priority of finding a Major fit after opening the Better Minor, a 4+ card Suit is generally by-passed to bid a 4Card major. Also since a No Trump Contract is likely to produce more points at a lower contract level, 4-5 s are by-passed to bid NT at the appropiate level if there is NO 4 Card Major. So 1 is bid over 1with:
Note that 1 over 1 initially denies a 4Card Major so Opener with a Balanced hand in turn by-passes 4Card majors and bids NT. A Major rebid shows a singleton or Void in Opener's hand.
SOUTH OPENS 1 WHAT DO YOU RESPOND? OPEN PARTNER'S HAND AND COMPLETE THE BIDDING.
1C: Better Minor
1D: 4+ Diamonds 5+hcps Forcing
1NT: Balanced Minimum 12 - 14 Does NOT deny 4Card Major
2S: 4+ Spades 13+hcps
4S: 4 Spades Minimum no added features.FINAL CONTRACT
Not unusual after a Reverse; Declarer plays a suit contract at the 3 Level with a less than perfect fit. This Emphasizes that HCPs must be concentrated in the Long suits when Reversing with a minimum. Lebensoln balances the risk of missing a Game against possibly making a negative score with 22+ points in the partnership by NEVER playing below the 2NT.
If E had 5 Spades and rebid 2 this would be Forcing. Opener with a Singleton Spade might now bid 2NT. Responder may also pass 3 with 6. In any event Declarer usually has a challenging time after a Reverse.
Before opening Opponents Hands; Plan to make 9 tricks in Hearts when North leads 7 of Hearts.
NO. OF TRICKS REQUIRED: 9 MAXIMUM NO. OF LOSERS: 4
NO. OF LOSERS: 1, 2+, 1, 2+= 6+ from Declarer's Hand
NO. OF WINNERS: 2, 2+, 2, = 6+ after giving up A of Spades & K of Diamonds
PLAN: Maximize Trump winners making use of the singletons in each hand. Establish and cash WINNERS. Defenders will try to kill this by leading trumps at every opportunity. Keep South out of the lead if possible as trump leads through declarer could be disastrous.
Win trump lead and play a low Spade toward Dummy. Finesse the Diamond. If it loses and another trump lead is made win this, Ruff a low Diamond then play to Kof spades. In most situations this would produce 2 + 5+ 2 or a Club instead of a Spade if Spade/Diamond winners are trumped.
West Opens 1, East Responds 1 and Opener rebids 2. East now knows that Partner has 4+Diamonds, 4+Hearts, which are shorter or equal to Diamond length, 16 - 21HCPS with a Singleton, Void or no values in other 2 suits . If Opener is minimum with 16 - 18 there is no Game likely so with 5 -7 hcps and no fit Responder has to find a way to sign off below game. The Lebensoln Convention after a Reverse does this as follows:
What is Responder's Second bid with this hand? Look at Opener's hand and Complete the Bidding.
1D: 3+ Diamonds 11 - 21 hcps
1S: 4+Spades 5+hcps Forcing
2H: 4+Diamonds & 4+Hearts 16 - 21 hcps. Unbalanced probably with singleton/Void
2NT: 4 Spades; 5 - 7 Hcps
3C: Range now reduced to 16 - 18 hcps
3H: Best Fit selected by partner knowing that Opener probably has either a singleton/void in Clubs or Spades. FINAL CONTRACT
The Deep Finesse Analysis of this hand indicates that NS can make either 3 or 3 and for duplicate pair games the Major suit score of 140 is better than 110 for making 3 or even 130 for making 4 of the minor. Consider the difference in hands which make either 4 of a major or a minor; the difference between game and a Partscore. Similarly a lot of hands with minor suit fits a NT contract yields more points at a lower level. The Priorities set after opening a Minor suit are certainly justified.
BEFORE OPENING OPPONENTS HAND PLAN TO MAKE CHECK HOW MANY TRICKS YOU'D MAKE IN HEARTS IF THE LEAD IS a lead to the A Spades Back a Spade.
TRICKS REQUIRED: 8
NO. OF LOSERS: 1, 1, 1, 2+
NO. OF WINNERS: 4, 1, 3. After giving up the As of Spades & Hearts and possibly losing K of Diamonds and assuming a normal 3-2 trump break
PLAN: The Opponents are minimizing the trump tricks available to Declarer. However North is secure in making 8 tricks since the Spades break. Finessing the Diamond may gain an extra trick as well as a ruffing finesse in Spades. The former works but the latter loses to nett 9tricks.
1D: 3+ Diamonds 11- 21 hcps (The only time Opener has 3Ds is with 2 x 4 Card Majors)
1H: 4+ Hearts 5+hcps Forcing
1S: 4+ Diamonds 4 Spades 11 - 17 hcps (With 18 - 21 the bid would be 2S if unbalanced)
2S: 4+ Hearts 4 Spades 6 - 10 Total Points. Knowing of the fit in 2 Suits Responder should raise to 2 Spades with as few as 6 points to stop Opponents entering the bidding in the other two suits.
Pass: With a Minimum Hand Opener accepts 2S as Final Contract
In the Range 16-17 a Minor Opening generally has a singelton or void. Third possibility is 2 doubletons with 0 hcps. Beside the Reverse, a jump in the same minor would show this range and a six card suit. The bids available to show the 18 - 21 range are the Reverse; Jump Reverse and Jump Shift only available in the case of a 3 rebid after a 1 Opening.
Before Opening Opponents Hands PLAN to make 9 Tricks in NT when South leads 3 of Hearts.
TRICKS REQUIRED: 9
NO. OF WINNERS: 1, 1, 2, 4 Giving up the K of Clubs.
PLAN: The 3 of Heart lead suggests that the Hearts are breaking 4 - 4 but South may simply be leading to Declarer's known weakness, Singleton Heart. Having 8 tricks without a Club finesse allow the Heart lead to come up to the Queen. If it wins it becomes the 9th Trick. If not PLAN to duck one more Heart before taking the A and finessing the Club. If the Club finesse loses and South has one Heart, try the Spade finesse for the 9th trick before leaving Dummy to run club tricks.
Another way to state the tittle of this Lesson is: "Never" Rebid NT with a Singleton or Void. A jump rebid of 2NT would promise Responder at least two Hearts; A Jump Reverse, which like the modern Jump-Shift Rebid, is pratically Game Forcing and shows 18 - 21 hcps Always signifies a Singleton/Void, else the relevant NT bid would have been made.
Your Partner Responds 1 to your 1 Opening bid. What is your Rebid. Open West's hand and complete the bidding.
1C: 3+Clubs 11 - 21 hcps
1H: 4+Hearts 5+hcps Forcing
2S: 4+Spades 4+ Clubs18 - 21hcps Forcing usually to Game.
3C: 4 Hearts, 3+ Clubs, 3-Spades 5-7 hcps. With 8 hcps responder would bid the 4th suit or jump to game with stopper(s) in the 4th suit.
3NT: 4Spades, 4+Clubs, 3+Diamond with Stopper(s) 1-Hearts 18 - 21 hcps FINAL CONTRACT
If South had a weak/short Diamond holding he'd bid 4 after the 3 Asking Bid and Responder may well be interested in investigating Slam "on the way" to 5. RKC Redwood Asking in 4 would insure that the Answer would be below the game level bid if Slam is not attainable.
After hearing Opener's Rebid, Responder may want to check Slam possibilities and having RKC Redwood as a Tool in addition to Cue bidding is a great advantage. In team games where the focus is not just the marginal difference in points between making 4-5NT as against 5 of a minor it is practically a must. Remember 4NT is available as a Shut Out bid even after Asking.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO MAKE 9+ TRICKS IN NT WHEN W leads K(orQ*) of Hearts
NO. Of WINNERS: 1+, 1, 3, 1+
PLAN: If West had 5 Hearts to KQ, KQJ or KQT it w/should have been Overcalled. Plan to Duct the H once and make C finesses toward East. 4 Club tricks are established to make the contract as long as West hold one of the honors.
* From KQT9 against NT; Q DEMANDS J : If the Lead of a Q promises the J and the J is in Partner's Hand Partner is REQUIRED to Drop the J.
Partner Opens your Longest Suit, a minor. With no 4 Card Major the options are to jump Preemptively to show length (5+, 4+) and 5 to 9 hcps or a Single Raise which shows 10+ hcps. The reason for INVERTING the value of the Raises is to block Opponents finding a fit in a higher ranking suit when Weak and to leave room to investigate a NT/Slam Contract when Strong.
After the Inverted 1 2 or 1 2 Raise, Opener shows Stoppers and Strenght as follows:
Partner Responds 2 to your 1 Opening; What is your Rebid?. OPEN PARTNER'S HAND AND COMPLETE THE AUCTION.
1C: 3+ Clubs 11+ hcps
2C: 5+Clubs 10+hcps, No 4 card major
2NT: 13+ - 14 hcps Stoppers in 2 Other suits
3D: 11+hcps No Diamond Stopper.
3NT: Diamonds Stopper(s); FINAL CONTRACT
In this hand once you arrive at 6, you can make 13 tricks if the Opponents don't take the A of Hearts. Let's have a look again at the bidding and see if:
With RKC Redwood an "agreed" minor suit is required. In this case what else could the 4 bid be? A Q-bid? also with slam in mind? If so the follow-up is not as effective. The principle here is inferred suit agreement once a suit has been rebid.
What if the reverse suit was Hearts, then 3 would have been available to show more than 4 Hearts and still forcing; A Jump to the 4 level should be recognized as "strange" if partner is paying ATTENTION.
The reason for selecting the suit above the agreed (implied agreed) minor suit to ASK is to "ALERT" partner that we are going at least to the 5 Level so let me know your Key Card holding ON THE WAY!!
1C: 11 - 21 hcps 3+ Clubs
1D: 5+ hcps 2nd bid would clarify holding
2S: 18 21 hcps; 4+Clubs 4+ Spades Club lenght>/= to Spades
3D: 5+Diamonds 7 - 11 hcps unbalanced
4H: RKC Redwood. 4+Clubs 4 Spades 3 Diamonds 19+HCPS
5D: 2 Keycards and the Q of Diamonds
6D: Final Contract
It is essential to be able to distiguish between Sign Off, Invitational and Forcing bids by Responder at the same time giving maximum information about distribution. NMF eliminates the ambiguity of a jump rebid by Responder in the same suit, for example. Is it Invitational or Forcing? 5 or 6 card suit? If Responder bids NMF then rebids the suit when Opener shows no support he now shows 6+ cards.
In this hand Responder getting 3 card support goes to game with 13 Total Points. BEFORE OPENING OPPONENTS HANDS PLAN TO MAKE 10 TRICKS IN SPADES when West leads 6 of Spades.
NO.OF TRICKS REQUIRED: 10
NO: OF WINNERS: 5, 1, 2, 1 = 9; Provided Trumps Break normally or J is in E.
NO. OF LOSERS: 3 , 1 = 4
PLAN: Create a 6th trick by ruffing a Heart in Dummy the "SHORT" hand. This eliminates one of the Heart lowers to cut no. of Losers to 3. Ruffing Clubs/Diamonds in Declarer's hand does not create extra tricks unless you can ruff 3 times and still pull trumps. Win in Hand play A of Hearts and another. If the Oppponents play another trump you can get to hand with K of Diamonds to ruff a Heart then use the ruff of a Diamond to get back to hand to pull last trump.
In Lesson 13 the New Minor Force Convention was described. Responder's second bid should always be recognized as either Sign-off , Limit or Forcing. To Recap:
After the Sequence: 1C/D - 1H/S - 1NT, Reponder bids:
In this hand partner opens 1C you respond 1S and Opener rebids 1NT. What is Your 2nd bid? Open partner's hand and complete the bidding.
1S: 4+Spades 5+ hcps
1NT: 3+C 3+D, Ds = or < Cs 2+Hs, 2-3Ss 12 - 14 hcps
2D: NMF: 5+Spades 9+hcps Forcing. NOTE: 2H would be a weak bid asking Opener to select a 2 Level major Contract.
2S: 3Card Spade support 12 - 13 hcp. NOTE: Opener with 14 hcps would jump to 3S
4S: 12+ Total points. Final Contract
To Review NMF, after the sequence 1m - 1M - 1NT:
What is the best MP score available to EW? Open Opponents hands and see what contract would reduce this score. Is it likely for them to find it?
Possible Contracts EW:
Possible Contracts NS:
What if Responder has a 4Card Major and 5+ card in the Other Minor. What bids are available and how are they used? In Lesson 21 A. the bids missing for Responder's 2nd bid below 3NT are Pass, 3 and 3 (Same)/Other Minor. With:
Partner Opened 1 you Responded 1 and East rebid INT. What is your 2nd Bid?
1 C: 3+ Clubs 11 - 21 hcps
1S: 4+ Spades 5+ hcps
1NT: 3+ Clubs 2+Diamonds 2-4 Hearts 2-3 Spades 12 - 14 hcps
3D: 4 Spades 6+Diamonds 5 - 9 hcps Final Contract.
East leads Q of hearts, West wins the A and returns the J of clubs. Declarer's Q is covered and he wins the A in Dummy.
Before looking at the Opponents hands Plan to make 9 more tricks.
Tricks Required 9 to add to A of clubs: Tricks available 5S + 1H +1D
Possible Losers to Add to A of Hearts: 1H+ 1D+ 2C
Need to reduce losers by 2. Plan to ruff 1H and establish a 2nd Diamond. Declarer MUST discard one club loser on K of Hearts before finessing the Diamond.
When Opener rebids 2 of the Original Minor Responder should immediately be alerted that Opener's hand is unbalanced and contains either a 6card+ suit and/or a singleton/void. In the sequence 1 - 1M - 2 Responder uses 2 as NMF and the same bidding sequences apply. When Diamonds is the Original Minor it is advantageous to maintain 2/ (same or LOWER Major) as a Weak 6-9 rebid signalling a long major/misfit in the minor.
Partner rebids 2 when you responded 1 to the Opening 1 bid. What do you rebid. Open South's hand and complete the bidding.
1D: 3+ Diamonds 11-21hcps
1S: 4+ Spades 5+hcps
2D: Either 6+D or 5D with singleton/Void 11-15hcps
3C: 4+Spades 14+hcp
3S: 6+D, 3S 4cards max in Cs &Hs
4S: Final Contract
In this hand replace K of Clubs by T of Clubs. What would East respond to 1D if 2C /1D was Game Force? 2NT is a possibility but certainly not descriptive. Another issue is should West open? A nine loser 12 hcp hand in 2nd position?
This issue becomes very important when playing 2/1 G F since it sets the criteria for Reponder making a game force bid. In this hand East needed to have all of the 16 Total points to make a five level game. Two important agreements need to be established when playing this version of Standard:
In this hand East bids game having the strenght opposite a minimum opening to go to the 5 Level.
Playing 2C over 1D as Game Force has the disadvantage of not having "Forcing NT" available to show limit raise values 11-12 points. This course treats 2C/1D as 11+hcps and follows the principles of the inverted minor with respect to rebids; finding major stoppers and strenght to determine whether 3NT is viable. What does West rebid over East 2C? Open partner's hand and complete the bidding.
BIDDING:1D: 11-21 hcps 3+ Diamonds
2C: 11+hcps 5+Cs 3-Ds, 3-Hs, 3-Ss
3C: 12-13hcps 4Ds 3+Cs No Major stoppers
5C: 15+Total points To play. No point asking for Key Cards since partner has already denied having the A of Hs or A of Ss having shown no stoppers in either of these suits.