Rebidding after a Negative Response

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

2 *Pass
2 **Pass2 Pass

*strong, artificial

In Bridge World Standard, when responder to two clubs answers two diamonds (negative), then rebids three clubs over opener's two of a major, that rebid is a "double negative." This three-club rebid distinguishes a really bad hand from one with a little something. The double-negative rebid allows the bidding to stop at three of opener's original major suit. Responder shows values by bidding anything else. With a natural club bid, the best he can do is stall with two notrump. With support for opener's major, he can raise directly (a double raise shows strong trumps, and little else) or jump in a short suit, a splinter raise.

As South, what call do you make with each of the following:

(a) 10 6 4    J 8 7 5    J 6 2    8 6 3

(b) 10 6 4 3    J 8 7    9 7 5 4 3    2

(c) 10 6 4    J 8 7 5    J 6 2    K 6 3

(d) K 10 6 4    J 8 7    9 7 5 4 3    2

(e) 10 6 4 3    2    J 8 7    K J 9 6 5

(f) 10 6 4    7 2    J 8 7    K J 9 6 5


10 6 4    J 8 7 5    J 6 2    8 6 3
(a) Three clubs. Even though you have decent support for opener's suit, your first obligation is to show that you have a terrible hand. Later, you can support hearts (even jump, under appropriate circumstances), secure that partner knows you have very little.

10 6 4 3    J 8 7    9 7 5 4 3    2
(b) Three clubs. Your basic obligations remain the same as in (a). Even though you do not plan to pass if partner rebids three hearts (since your junk has trick-taking potential in hearts), you should start by limiting your hand. Any heart raise would show more overall strength.

10 6 4    J 8 7 5    J 6 2    K 6 3
(c) Three hearts. Here your scattered strength makes you too strong for a double negative. Your natural move is to raise hearts. This shows support (it might be only three cards), at least a smattering of high-card values (you didn't double negative), and no side singleton or void (you didn't splinter).

K 10 6 4    J 8 7    9 7 5 4 3    2
(d) Four clubs. You have too much strength for the double negative, and your hand is good for hearts. You cannot afford to investigate other possible strains. No number of hearts is right (three denies side shortness; four says your stuff is in hearts), so a splinter jump, showing support with shortness in the bid suit, is the only sensible possibility.

10 6 4 3    2    J 8 7    K J 9 6 5
(e) Two notrump. Is this enough not to double negative? The high-card values are about right, and there is a good suit. However, the misfit for hearts is a minus. People will have different opinions; most will find it borderline. Then, two notrump should get the nod because a double negative may make it impossible to locate a club fit. A two-notrump rebid leaves opener room to show clubs with length there. This is more important than the half-point in valuation you might be lacking.

10 6 4    7 2    J 8 7    K J 9 6 5
(f) Two notrump. This is a better hand than (e); the contemplated strains for the partnership are hearts and notrump. With tolerance for hearts, high-card values for notrump, and a good suit, this is scarcely a double-negative candidate.

(Adapted from "Rate Your Own Game" in The Bridge World.)


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