Mike's Bidding Quiz


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What about when the opening bid is one of a major and opener’s partner bids 1NT?

Is that different from a one of a minor opening?

Let’s consider what you (South) should do when West opens with a major and East bids 1NT.

Sooner or later you are going to hear someone bid 1NT, and their partner will say “forcing.” That will seem odd at first, but it is part of a system that is quite popular in North America. You may know of the 2/1 game force system. In this method, a 1NT bid in response to one of a major is forcing for one round. In normal methods this bid shows 6–10 points. Opener can pass if he wishes. In 2/1, a 1NT response has a wider range. It is possible that responder has as few as four or five points and as many as 11 or 12. Obviously, if responder has one of the weak hands, it is relatively safe for you to enter the auction, but if he has one of the bigger hands, bidding might be dangerous.

The question is what you should do when LHO bids a major and RHO bids a forcing 1NT.

The answer is that you should tend to ignore the dangers and should come into the bidding if your hand calls for it. The reason is that your RHO will have a hand in the range of 4–9 high-card points about 90% of the time.

Here are some examples of hands you might have after your RHO’s 1NT bid.

West North East South
1 Pass 1NT ?

What do you do with the following three hands?

1. ♠ A 7 6 3   9 3   K J 7   ♣ K J 8 3

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Double. One test you should apply is this. If your RHO opened the bidding with 1, would you double? If you answer yes, then it is almost always
right to double when your LHO bids a suit and your RHO bids 1NT. Even if the 1NT bid is forcing, you should double. More often than not, East won’t have anything special, and if the hand belongs to your side, you have to get in there right away.

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2. ♠ 7 6 3  A Q 2   A K J 8   ♣ Q J 5

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Pass. If RHO had opened 1, you would bid 1NT. You would not double. With LHO bidding 1, you know some of your values are questionable. And you have bad distribution. Learn to give up on hands like this one. There is no crime in giving up with some of your good hands. A takeout double implies distribution, and you do not have it.

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3. ♠ Q J 8 7 3   3   Q 7  ♣ A K 10 8 5

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Bid 2 if the Michaels cuebid is part of your system. If your LHO had bid 1♣ or 1 and RHO bid
1NT, a cuebid by you would show 5–5 in the majors. When your LHO bids one of a major and your RHO bids 1NT, a cuebid shows five cards in the unbid major and five cards in one of the other minors. If you already use this convention, you will know how to continue the bidding. If not, you should consider learning the bid and then applying it to this situation.

Important note — If your LHO opened with 1♠ and RHO bid 1NT, a 2♠ bid by you will push your partnership to the three level. You need a sounder hand in this situation.

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Now, on to what you should know about the following auction:

West North East South
1♠ Pass 1NT ?

4. ♠ 6 4   A K Q J 8 6   5 2   ♣ A 4 2
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Just bid 2. Do not double in hopes that you can defend against 1NT. Double is takeout and your partner will bid something. If the opponents bid 2♠ in the meantime, you won’t be able to show your hearts safely.

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5. ♠ 2   A 7 6 3   A 8 7 2   ♣ Q J 4 2
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A final reminder hand. This is what a takeout double should look like. It is safer to double 1NT than to wait and decide whether to bid something later. Good shape makes up for a lot of other defects. As long as your partner has a four-card suit to bid other than spades, your side will have an eight-card fit. You rate to be safe even if he has a poor hand.

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