What type of hand do you believe your 2C bid shows in this auction?
1C Pass 1S Pass
1NT DBL Pass 2C
In the previous issue, we looked at methods for competing after your opponents have bid two suits. In some of these auctions, you’ll want to bid one of the opponent’s suits. One approach is to define all of these “cuebids” as artificial. This offers the advantage of simplicity and may be the safest interpretation if you haven’t discussed these situations. When in doubt, “If it could be forcing, it is.”
A popular and more flexible idea is to treat bids of your RHO’s suit as natural and bids of LHO’s suit as artificial and forcing. This allows you to compete when responder is on your right and you have length and strength in his 4-card suit.
If you apply either guideline to the above auction, you may decide that your 2C has to be artificial. It is, after all, a “cuebid”, and it’s LHO’s suit. The more important question, though, is will partner come to the same conclusion?
Even if you’ve discussed similar auctions, you have to be alert to the exceptions. To decode an ambiguous bid, a thoughtful partner will always rely on his bridge logic first, then your default agreements. Here, that logic will tell him that your 2C bid is natural and weak.
One way to tune in to partner’s
thought process is to construct a few of his possible hands. He’s freely
entering a non-fitting auction, so he shouldn’t have just a light takeout. You
can also conclude that he doesn’t hold a 5-card suit (no overcall). That tells
you he must have “real” takeout-double strength, but couldn’t act at his first
turn because he has spade shortness. His hand may be
♠84 ♥AQ43 ♦KQ52 ♣K92
Partner will assume that you know
he has this general strength and distribution. His bidding suggests moderate
club length, so he won’t be surprised if you want to make that suit trumps. He
won’t read 2C – or even 2S – as a strong “cuebid” because if you had enough to
force, you would have passed 1NT doubled. The hand he’ll expect for your 2C bid
♠J765 ♥J6 ♦73 ♣Q10743
Here’s another situation where you and partner will have to think alike:
Pass DBL 1S 2C
If your default is that a bid of RHO’s suit is natural, will partner think it applies when two suits are bid by the same opponent? The answer comes from visualizing opener’s hand, which should be at least 4-5 in the black suits for this auction. If you trust partner to take the same inference, you can be confident that he knows you wouldn’t willingly choose to play in opener’s 5-card suit. Both 2C and 2S must be artificial and forcing here.
Freak hands can also create unfamiliar auctions that test partner’s judgment. Should you expect him to field your 4C bid here?
RHO You |
1C Pass 1D 1H
1S Pass 3S 4C
Partner’s first reaction might be “This is an impossible auction” or “I can’t pass a cuebid at the 4-level!”. Eventually, though, he’ll think through the whole auction and realize that this must be an exception to your agreements about bids of your LHO’s suit being artificial. A hand that started with a simple 1H overcall couldn’t possibly be strong enough to force now, so 4C has to be lots of clubs. How else would you bid ♠2 ♥AKJ53 ♦Void ♣KQ108654 ?
© 2011 Karen Walker