Mike’s Bidding Quiz


How about some more examples of what to do when one opponent opens and the other bids 1NT?

What should I be aware of when opener starts with 1 and his partner responds 1NT?

Again, we are concentrating on an opening bid by your left-hand opponent and a 1NT response by RHO. Here are three hands to consider. The bidding:

West North East South
1♣ Pass 1NT ?

What do you do with the following three hands?

1. ♠ Q J 8 7 3   A J 8 7 6   A J   ♣ 7

See Mike's Advice

The takeout double handles many hands, but now and then you run into one like this. It is clear to bid. What to bid is the question. If you have heard of the Michaels cuebid, you will have a hint as to the winning call: 2♣. A cuebid of opener’s suit over a 1NT response says you have the same hand that would have bid 2♣ if you were over the opening bidder. 2♣ says that you have 5–5 in the majors and enough strength to enter the auction.

The important thing about this hand is that if you guess to bid a major, you will often end in the wrong major. And if you double, you will not be pleased if partner bids diamonds. One rule of takeout doubles is that if you double and later bid a suit, you promise extra values. You cannot double with this hand and then bid one of the majors over partner’s 2 bid. That would promise a much stronger hand.

Cuebidding opener’s club suit shows both of your suits at once and gets you to the right contract immediately. If you are not familiar with the Michaels cuebid, I encourage you to learn it. It is a fine convention when properly used.

2. ♠ J 10 7   A Q 7 3   K Q J 4   ♣ 9 4

See Mike's Advice

Double for takeout. The issue on this hand is whether it is okay to double when you do not have four cards in each suit. The answer is that you will reach a lot of good contracts by doubling with this hand, and only a few poor ones. The gains far outweigh the losses, so doubling is recommended. Note that your partner may bid a red suit. Even if he bids spades, he may have five of them. The opponents may buy the contract, and you will not have to worry about your spades. Only if he has four lousy spades and only if he plays in 2♠ will you be in a poor contract. The odds are that this will not be the case.

Learning when to pass is just as important as learning when to bid. This hand has points, but it does not have safety, as did the first example.

3. ♠ A 10 7 3   7 3   A K J 8 7   ♣ 7 6

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2. Do not double. Doubling with only two cards in one of the majors is a really bad idea. Bid 2 now. Perhaps the bidding will permit you to show your spades later. If you double and your partner bids hearts, you will hate it. If you bid 2 and your partner bids 2, you will be happy since you did not promise heart support.

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

West North East South
1 Pass 1NT ?

Say you hold:

♠ A Q   Q 6 3 2  8 3   ♣ K Q 8 7 5

See Mike's Advice

You have an opening hand, so bidding something is tempting. Doubling is wrong because of the doubleton spade. Even though the two spades you have are nice, they won’t be enough support for a spade contract. What about bidding 2♣?

The facts: East bid 1NT. He denied having four spades. He denied having four hearts. He may or may not have diamonds. How many clubs does that leave him?

Let me tell you a secret: when someone responds with 1NT, he does not have a biddable suit, and that implies that he has his length in the lower ranking suit (or suits). When someone responds with 1NT after a 1 opener, he usually has four or five clubs. If you bid 2♣ with this hand, you are probably walking into East’s best suit.

How about this hand?

♠ A J 3   10 9 8 3  4 3   ♣ A Q J 6

See Mike's Advice

Double. If you would have doubled 1 by RHO, you should almost always double when their side bids 1 and responds with 1NT.