Welcome to the June reader’s bidding forum. Thanks to
Michael for filling in for me in the March forum; I'm back
now, so you can expect a return to kinder and gentler
comments, even if your bid is a hopeless monstrosity.
(Except the guy who bid 4
on this question, and said he was
worried about missing slam -- I couldn't think of anything
nice to say about that.)
He wasn't totally alone; most of
the readers were heading for game, although the majority did
offer partner one chance to get out at the 3-level.
Wayne Somerville: 3. 19-21 support points, pretty much everything rates to be working other than a possible spade finesse. Partner should raise on any semi-respectable hand.
Mick McAuliffe: 3. Forced bid by partner, and not a lot of points left between West
and South. If he has anything to show, now will be his chance. 3 will still have prospects to make.
Duncan Roe: 3. If East has his bid, then partner can't have much. But if he has decent shape, he may see fit to raise to a making game.
Emil Battista: 3. Just got up and full of vim. A couple of finesses should not fail. Sure partner could be a bust, but how much more do we need for 4?
Phil Hocking: 3. Let's hope North has some points.
Barbara Hunter: 3. Partner may have very little.
Nigel Guthrie: 3. Kxxxx-xxx-xx-xxx. At IMPs, 4 might be makeable if partner has the right king; although 3NT may be better.
Bridge Baron: 3. Shows a monster, as partner could have a Yarborough.
Toby Weinstein: 3. Tempted to bid 2NT.
3 did receive two panel votes:
Mike Lawrence, who wrote "We are probably too high,"
and Tim Bourke, who wrote "Opposite myself I might
only bid 2".
The big problem with 3: there's
simply no excuse for bidding that high, with the significant
chance of going negative, when we have the ability to
describe our hand perfectly accurately at the one-level.
Nigel Kearney: 1NT. May be the best spot if passed out, otherwise I can support spades next time.
Kees Schaafsma: 1NT. Should partner pass even 3 is practically illusive.
Robert Black: 1NT. Shows 19 plus, as I did not overcall 1NT. Partner only promises four spades, and may have zero points.
Alex Kemeny: 1NT. Square shape, treating the hand as 19 HCP. Partner may sometimes have just
three spades, eg 3-3-3-4 shape and weak.
Many people suggested the
possibility of partner having three spades. I don't think we
should concern ourselves too much with that; with 3-3-3-4, 1 would be the more normal
In any case, partner will never rebid a 4-card suit, so
we'll never find out; it's
simpler to just assume he has four.
Niklas Andrén: 1NT. I think 3NT is a more likely game even if partner has
Gary Hyett: 1NT. Pard probably has 4+ spades, but everything else - 4333, secondary cards, says
notrumps. 2 second choice.
James Coutts: 1NT. This hand really isn't that nice and NT could easily play better than spades. Good 18 to a bad 20 sounds about right.
Michael Smart: 1NT. 19-20, no shape in support of spades and a triple stop in the opponent's suit. Clarify my strength and shape, jump in spades if partner moves over 1NT. Is this a trick question...?
We don't do trick questions
here, we just try to shine a light on situations that some
people may not have previously considered. Concealing the
spades isn't intuitive if you haven't seen the situation
Fraser Rew: 1NT. I know that if we're going to bid, we should always raise partner's major with 4-card support. But he might not have four,
notrump is right-sided but spades are not, 4333 is NT oriented, and I can't show this much strength without possibly getting overboard.
Dan Baker: 1NT. Balanced hand too big for a 1NT overcall. With this shape, 3NT may play better than 4 anyway if partner has a few points, and when it doesn't partner's further bids will probably make that clear.
Alan Boyce: 1NT. I want the lead coming up to me. If partner is drop dead empty for his bid 1NT might be plenty, in spite of the spade fit. However, if partner sneezes after my
1NT I'll bid game in spades and take our chances.
Ian McCance: 1NT. I'm very wary of boxes.
I'm very wary of boxers -- did
you see what happened to Zach Galifianakis in The
Given that 1NT shows our actual
strength, I'm not sure what this next group is trying to
John Newman: 2NT. A selfish and descriptive 2NT; put a spade in the clubs if necessary. Partner could have a weak hand with longer diamonds that'll play better in NT. The hand I'm nervous about is one with long clubs and three spades.
John R Mayne: 2NT. 10 and onside J make notrump more attractive. We probably won't get to spades from here unless partner has five, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
David Matthews: 2NT. A 1NT overcall would show 15-17 and a rebid of 1NT would show 18-19 so this must be 20-22. 3NT is likely to play better than 4 with the flat hand and jacks. If partner is shapely and makes an enquiry then I can bid 4 on the next round.
For what it's worth, I do not agree with 20-22, no
matter what system you play. It can't be correct to assign a 2-point range to
1NT (which has invitational responses) while giving a 3-point range to 2NT. In
your methods, 1NT should be 18-20, with 2NT as 21-22.
Sam Arber: 2NT. Flat hand partner must be minimal can
rebid spades if has five.
Richard Morse: 2NT. I feel more inclined to show my strength and general shape than to support spades at this juncture. I can handle any response from partner.
Larry Brose: 2NT. Partner has at most 10 HCPs, so we aren't going past game. I want to send a message that I have
clubs covered. Bid spades next.
Tim Trahair: 2NT. Showing a strong balanced hand and looking for game if North has the bulk of the outstanding HCP.
Michael Burt: 3NT. With the most finesses likely to be working and entries to partner's hand in spades, if partner has a 4-card spade suit and K (or even just five spades to the 10), 3NT has reasonable chances of making. At IMPs worth a go. In 3NT, we only have to make 9 tricks whereas in 4 we need to make 10 tricks and South's hand is flat.
Several of those are planning to
bid spades on the next round, which basically means they
want to play in either 2NT or 4, and have given up on 3NT. Others, like John Mayne, recognise that
this route is more consistent with a 3NT goal, and accept
the loss of the spade suit.
do choose to support the spades, it's unclear how high
we should bid; in fact, we received votes for every level.
Unlike the more common auction 1-1-2, a raise to 2
is a free bid, so it promises extra values. Or does it?
Opinions are mixed, although I side very strongly with
Rainer Herrmann: 1NT. I think a raise here should not show significant extras strength, simply confirm
four cards in spades and some distribution.
Bob Jones: 2. I may have an extra jack or two for this bid, but the square shape negates that. This hand 'looks' like a notrump hand, but with four-card support, I'm gonna raise.
Manuel Paulo: 2. I'm afraid of a
Passing 1 with a minimum hand,
and then coming back in with 2 after opponents bid 2,
doesn't seem like bridge to me. I was taught 2 the way
Rainer describes it (and even if I hadn't been taught that
way, I would switch to it now). If partner has a Yarborough,
all the more reason to get to 2 quickly with a 13-count.
Finally we have the people who felt
they needed to support the spades, but didn't want to hang
partner at the 3-level. This is how to do it:
JC Clement: 2. 1NT, 2, or 2NT? I really don't know. But I think 2 is wrong, for partner can have only three of them.
Stephen Bartos: 2.
Forcing for another round to find out more about partner's hand (they will rebid spades if absolutely minimum, show another suit with some values).
Jack Lai: 2. Forcing, try to get more information from partner in order to test whether game/slam is better.
Bjarne Andersen: 2. I have to force partner to bid again. Since I do not know if 2 NT is forcing in our system I bid 2 which is forcing in every natural system I know.
Damo Nair: 2. Keeping all options open. Over 2 I'll make one more try with 3.
Chris Woolley: 2. Normally shows a hand that would jump to game opposite a minimum response. If partner bids anything other than 2 I'll now bid 4.
Tony Treloar: 2. Not good enough to go to game after partner's 1. If partner bids 2 I will raise to 3 and we should get to game across from
an ace or king.
Zbych Bednarek: 2.
Opps suit, forcing on way to 3NT or 4.
Roger Yandle: 2.
Pard hasn't got much but I'm sitting over opener so it looks like all my points are working. NT might still be the right strain so I'll make a cue-bid showing my strength and see what pard has to offer.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2. Partner tell me, are you absolutely minimal? In that case even 4 might be too high. If not, 3NT may be a good alternative.
Jacco Hop: 2. Too strong for 1NT, based on partner's response my next bid is 3 or 2NT. Direct 3 is okay on value however 4333 and good stops look too much NT like.
Ron Lel: 2. Wait to see if partner can bid 2, in which case I will raise to three.
So some people are planning to
bid on over 2, while others bid on over
anything but 2. Oh well.
Once again I have failed to
collect the full deal before it disappeared (I forget that
many clubs only leave their hand records online for a short
time). Once again I will undertake to be more diligent in