Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bidding Problem

Here’s an interesting hand to bid from the Spingold. I had a promising collection in 1st seat white/red, AKQxxx Kxxxx x x, which got better when partner responded with Jacoby 2nt. What is your plan? Assume standard Jacoby where 4x=5-card suit and at least a sound opener. I don’t think any of the popular modifications exactly solve this hand either.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,

In real life, I'd overbid with RKCB. Yes, we might end up in 7Sx off three aces :) It is just too unpredictable what partner with JTxx Ax Axx QJxx will do over 3C or 4H.

I have a sneaking admiration for people who bid 3S. It completely misdescribes the hand and is apt to cause partner's wrath if things go badly. On the other hand, if partner can do no more than rebid 4S over 3S, you can respect his sign off.

What do you think?


Jonathan Weinstein said...


My first thought was blackwood, since the main thing we're missing is aces, and how the heck can you find out about the 3rd round of hearts, anyway? Then I thought of all the things that can go wrong, including down in 5 opposite one ace and no HQ.

My second thought was to bid 4H...partner will know that aces and/or doubleton H are assets. But we have a big hand, will he know if he has enough? This would be a *much* better bid if your suit were diamonds, so partner had a last train bid. Then respecting his signoff would be fairly safe. As it was, I decided to gamble by bidding 4H and respecting his signoff, and ended up cursing myself for not blackwooding. (but there were no guarantees there.)

I'll add that in real life we needed a swing here, and I thought if one was available it would be by staying low. I was probably right about that much. Alan, if you are reading, do you remember how Michael and Chris bid this one?

My current thought is that, playing standard Jacoby, the best plan is to go slow with 3C. I think with Alex's sample hand, partner won't love it and would never commit to a high level himself, but should be willing to Q-bid. A diamond Q-bid would be ambiguous (A or K) but C or H Qs or lack thereof will be very helpful. Eventually you'll make an informed decision whether to blackwood.

This 3rd plan was slightly less appealing in our system since I had to make a 2-step sequence to show extras and club shortness (often great but not when I need to be captain anyway.) I think it's still the best plan, though.

If there is a grand moral: when you have a very good, unusual-shaped hand, you have to be in charge. This doesn't mean just guess, or just bid blackwood; you can try to get something useful out of partner by a slower auction, but don't expect him to know what's going on.

(BTW, the disadvantage of 3S vs. 3C is that partner's club Q is then ambiguous, A or K. But Alex's general thought, that misleading partner is acceptable when you plan to take charge, is right.)

applecor said...

Sorry, I don't recall this hand.

If 3C showed shortness I would bid that and if not, and 3D showed shortness, I would bid that, whether it showed extras or not.

I agree that 4H showing a heart suit is not wise because it eats too much space and essentially forces responder to make a unilateral decision since he will have to bypass Blackwood to move forward. Partner also might think a minor-suit K is good, or that Qxx or Axx are good heart holdings.

Becker said...

Blasting with Blackwood looks obvious but there are plenty of hands where you could be missing two aces and suffer a heart ruff (or even two). Since I wouldn't know which shortness to show and the hearts aren't strong enough for a classic 4h bid, what about showing extras with extra trump length--like 3d*-3h*-3s*. Even though this kind of denies shortness, at least partner knows you have a good hand. Now if partner makes a serious slam try you can first cue hearts and then blackwood, bidding 5nt with all the keys--maybe partner will be able to evaluate his A-x of hearts or A-Q-x at that point. If he makes a non-serious (3nt) slam try you can cue 4c and see if you get a return cuebid. If he makes no slam try over 3s, you can be done.

Roy Hughes said...

Please excuse me for putting in a plug for a pet treatment. I like to play that a jump in a new suit shows an empty suit, missing 3rd round control, like Axxxx/Kxxxx or even xxxxx. Partner can then evaluate his holding: e.g. Ax is wonderful, Axx is bad. When opener has instead a good side suit, like KQxxx, cuebidding or Blackwood may solve the problem.

Jonathan Weinstein said...


That sounds like a pretty good idea (case in point.)

Memphis MOJO said...

What happens if you bid 3C showing shortness? (caveman Jacoby 2NT)