Superior Stopper Showing

by Denis Lesage

A problem area in Bridge World Standard (BWS) is when opener shows a minimum-range hand and a long minor, as in these partnership sequences:
(a) one club -- one diamond-- two clubs
(b1) one club -- one heart -- two clubs
(b2) one club -- one spade -- two clubs
(b3) one diamond -- one heart -- two diamonds
(b4) one diamond -- one spade -- two diamonds

Much of the trouble stems from making it difficult for responder to show a stopper with only invitational strength, as in Master Solvers' Club May 2017 Problem A where, in sequence (b3), responder holds:

A J 9   A Q 3 2   10 9 7   5 3 2

and cannot bid two spades without forcing to game. To increase both functionality and uniformity, I suggest treating any simple new-suit bid invitational-plus, forcing to three of opener's minor. (Except for some natural bids of three of responder's original major when opener has shown a three-card fit, a bid above that by either partner shows extra values, forcing to game--or, in some partnerships, to game or four of opener's minor.) Then, responder's two-notrump rebid will indicate something in each unbid suit, and a raise of opener's minor to three will deny unbalanced stoppers in the unbid suits.

To make it possible to pursue either three notrump or a fit in responder's major (or both), some complexity is required: In the (b) sequences, when responder rebids in the cheaper-to-bid unbid suit on only invitational strength, he may hold either five-plus cards in the major or a stopper in that unbid suit but not the other (or both).

Here are the meanings that change from BWS:

All simple new-suit bids are forcing to three of opener's minor.

In (a), two hearts or two spades shows a stopper.

In the (b) sequences, the italicized description above applies to two diamonds after a one-club opening or two of the unbid major after a one-diamond opening [i.e., cheaper unbid]. Two of the unbid major after one club or three clubs after one diamond may be only invitational strength with a stopper in the bid suit (but none in the other unbid suit) and only four cards in responder's major.

When responder bids the cheaper-to-show unbid suit, opener continues as follows:
With fewer than three cards in responder's major, with a minimum opener bids two notrump (with both previously-unbid suits stopped) or three of his minor; or, to accept a game-invitation, opener bids three notrump (with both previously-unbid suits stopped, three of the major other than responder's with that suit stopped, or three of responder's major with the minor other than opener's stopped.
With three cards in opener's major:
(1) In (b1) or (b2), with a minimum opener bids two of responder's major [Then, if responder has only four cards in his major, he can bid two notrump (nonforcing) or three notrump with a stopper in the unbid major or, with only invitational strength, three clubs lacking that stopper.]; with a maximum opener bids three diamonds [Then, if responder has only four cards in his major,he bids three notrump with a stopper in the unbid major, three of that suit with half a stopper there, or three of his major with a weaker holding. With five-plus cards in his major, responder bids four of the major.] This scheme keeps the sequence one club -- one spade -- two clubs -- two diamonds -- two hearts available for opener to show a four-card heart suit, in case responder has game-forcing strength and four hearts.
(2) In (b3), opener bids three clubs with either a minimum or a maximum, and responder, with five-plus cards in the suit bids three hearts (invitational) or four hearts; with only four hearts and a spade stopper, responder bids three notrump with clubs stopped, three spades with half a club stopper, or three diamonds with a weaker club holding.
(3) In (b4), with a minimum opener bids two spades [then, responder, with only four spades and a heart stopper, can bid two notrump with clubs stopped or three diamonds with clubs not stopped]; with game-going strength, opener bids three clubs [then responder, with five-plus spades, bids four spades; otherwise, with a heart stopper, he bids three notrump with clubs stopped, three hearts with half a club stopper, or three diamonds with a weaker club holding.

ESOTERICA

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