Useful Agreements 5

In recent issues we have been discussing how to advance after an opponent has interfered with a two-suited overcall, and we have come up with a fairly comprehensive structure.

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2NT*?

*clubs and diamonds

DoubleDefensive – showing the ability to double at least one of the enemy suits OR to bid a natural 3NT with extra values (17+ HCP)
3C(lower cuebid) – Invitational or better with at least five hearts
3D(higher cuebid) – primary spade support and at least invitational values
3HCompetitive only with at least a decent 6-card suit
3SDefensive raise – a hand that would normally raise to 2S
3NTNatural but limited to less than 17 HCP
4C/4DSplinter raise – spade support, game values and a shortage
4SPreemptive
4NTBlackwood agreeing spades

So far we have examined only that situation in which both of the enemy suits are known. The classic case in which this is not true follows a Michaels Cuebid.

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2S*?

*hearts and a minor

Many of the principles already established remain unaffected – the defensive nature of a raise to 3S, for example. In the structure above, we had a choice of cuebids, but now there is only one (3H).

Hand A
S A 10 7 2
H 5 3
D A J 10
C 8 7 5 2
Hand B
S A 10 7 2
H A 3
D A J 10 5
C 8 7 2
Hand C
S A Q 7 2
H A 3
D A Q 9 2
C K 8 2

 

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2S?

All constructive (or better) spade raises start with a 3H cuebid. Hand A is just a limit raise. If opener is minimum, he will rebid 3S and you will pass. You are going to game on Hand B, but bidding 4S at your first turn would show a preemptive hand. This may tempt partner to do the wrong thing if the opponents compete further. Start with a 3H cuebid and raise a minimum-showing 3S rebid to game.

With Hand C you plan to investigate slam, even opposite a minimum opening bid (although bear in mind that suits will almost certainly break badly). Again, start with a 3H cuebid. If opener rebids 3S, you can show your slam interest below game with a 4C cuebid. If partner shows extra values, via either a jump to 4S or a cuebid, you can move toward slam with confidence.

Hand D
S K 7 2
H A 3
D A K 10 9 2
C 6 5 2
Hand E
S K 2
H A Q 3
D 9 2
C A K 8 6 5 2
Hand F
S A Q 7 2
H 9 7 5 3
D A Q 9 2
C 2

 

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2S?

As it is not known which minor RHO holds, you need to be able to make a forcing bid in either suit. You can do that at the 3-level just as you would if RHO had overcalled in his known suit (i.e. 1S-2H-?). On Hand D, bid 3D, natural and forcing, and bid 3C with Hand E.

This should also give you a clue as to how to approach Hand F. Essentially, ignore RHO’s overcall – jump to 4C, which is a splinter agreeing spades.

A double of RHO’s Michaels Cuebid is also best used in similar fashion to a double of an Unusual Notrump overcall – essentially a defensive hand. Note, though, that it does not promise anything specific defensively (since you do not yet know which is RHO’s second suit). This basically says to partner,”This is our hand, so please feel free to double for penalties if they bid a suit where you hold trump length.”

You would start with one of these value-showing doubles on any of the following:

Hand G
S 7 2
H A J 5 3
D A Q 9 4 2
C 8 2
Hand H
S 10 2
H 3 2
D A J 10 5
C A Q 8 7 2
Hand I
S 2
H A J 9 3
D A Q 9 2
C K J 8 2

 

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2S?

Hand G has the values for a natural 2NT bid, but there is an obvious risk that partner will raise to 3NT and the defenders will promptly cash the first five tricks in clubs. Not only that, but defensive prospects are excellent – if you double 2S and hear LHO bid 3C (a pass-or-correct bid to play in RHO’s minor) and partner doubles, are you not happy? Perhaps even better news is yet to come and RHO will correct to diamonds!

Similarly on Hand H, to bid a natural 2NT may well result in game being played from the wrong side, with the lead coming through partner’s HK-x-x. Or partner may have no heart stopper, or he may have HK-J-10-9, in which case where are the opponents going to find a cheap spot to play at the 3-level?

With Hand I, you have all of the opponents’ suits doubly stopped, so playing 3NT and watching them cash the contract off in top tricks is not the worry. Even so, with everything bound to break poorly, it is still possible that you simply do not have nine tricks in a notrump contract.

More to the point, your defensive prospects are excellent. RHO looks to have chosen the wrong time to come into the auction, and you should punish him for doing so. This time you want to start with a double and continue doubling whichever suit the opponents choose. What you do not want is partner bidding again in front of you, and your double of 2Sstrongly warns him off.

That leaves one bid available – 2NT. We’ve already seen that it is not useful as a natural bid for various reasons. My suggestion is to utilize 2NT as a sort of Lebensohl, showing a competitive hand in one of the minors. Something like:

Hand J
S 2
H 9 5 3
D Q J 10 8 6 5 2
C A 2
Hand K
S 7 2
H 3 2
D K Q 5
C K J 10 9 8 2

 

RHOYouLHOPartner
1S
2S?

You will not always get these situations right, but if you had to bet, wouldn’t you guess that you wanted to play in 3D on Hand J and 3C withHand K? Of course, you will sometimes be able to make 3NT or game in a minor, but partner will need fairly specific cards. Bidding to the right game is likely to be a complete shot in the dark.

Essentially 2NT says, “I have a hand that wants to compete in one of the minors.” Partner will bid 3C most of the time, which you will either pass or correct to diamonds. Of course partner can bid something else with significant extra values or a good fit for one or both minors. (Bidding 3Dwould show a good club fit; i.e. he wants to investigate game oppositeHand K but is happy to play in 3D facing Hand J.)

Suppose LHO competes to 3H over your 2NT – partner can contest the part score by bidding 4C (pass or correct) or drive to game in your minor.

Next month we will look at other situations that arise when the opponents have made a conventional bid to show two suits.

2017-12-17T16:45:52-08:00By |Categories: Bidding Systems and Theories|Tags: |0 Comments

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