Passed-Hand Responses to a Major

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

PassPass1 Pass

Passed-hand responses to major-suit openings are affected by two main methods of Bridge World Standard. First, a one-notrump response, while not forcing by a passed hand, can be a maximum pass--all the way up to a bad 12 points, balanced. Second, the two-club response is a form of Drury (often called "Drury-fit"), promising a hand too strong for a simple raise to two of the major--at least a three-card fit. To show a "real" two-club response, long clubs, you have to jump to three clubs.

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

(a) K 6    Q J 8 7    K 10 4 2    K 3 2

(b) K 3 2    Q J 8 7    K 10 4 2    K 6

(c) 6    Q 4 3    J 6 2    K 10 8 6 4 3

(d) 6    A Q 4    J 6 2    K 10 8 6 4 3

(e) K 10 8 6 4 3    A Q 4    J 6 2    6

(f) K 10 8 6 4    6 4    A Q 6 4 2    2


K 6    Q J 8 7    K 10 4 2    K 3 2

(a) One notrump. The system protects you when partner has opened a skimpy hand in third position. If his distribution is not extreme, he will pass one notrump--your side will stay at a safe level.

K 3 2    Q J 8 7    K 10 4 2    K 6

(b) Two clubs. You wish to show both your strength and your spade fit--you can't tell which one might be more important to partner. You can accomplish it all at once with the conventional two-club response. A one-notrump response might get you to the top contract, but two spades will often be better, and there is no way to get there if you respond one notrump.

6    Q 4 3    J 6 2    K 10 8 6 4 3

(c) One notrump. You can't bid two clubs (shows spades and a good hand), or three clubs (shows clubs and a good hand), and you are too strong to pass.

One notrump is all that is left. You must hope for something good to happen. If partner passes, you may be in a poor contract. And if partner rebids two diamonds, you will be forced into an awkward guess, whether to show your clubs.

6    A Q 4    J 6 2    K 10 8 6 4 3

(d) Three clubs. You have two choices here, three clubs and one notrump. Three clubs has two advantages. First, if partner is minimum, and would pass a one-notrump response, three clubs is likely to be a better contract. Second, one notrump followed by three clubs (should that situation arise) is an underbid, since this is a legitimate two-over-one response with a decent club suit. One notrump followed by three clubs suggests a hand closer to that of problem (c).

K 10 8 6 4 3    A Q 4    J 6 2    6

(e) Four clubs. You can't worry about the slight possibility that your side belongs in a part-score. Since you are going to drive to game, you should describe your hand as closely as possible, in case partner is interested in slam. A splinter raise of four clubs is appropriate. The direct raise to four spades, abandoning slam chances, might give your side a better chance for a favorable lead, but this comes under the heading of masterminding.

K 10 8 6 4    6 4    A Q 6 4 2    2

(f) Three diamonds. This jump shift maintains its traditional meaning: a maximum pass with both a fit for opener's suit and a good side suit. The jump shift is preferable to a splinter bid because partner's diamond holding is likely to be critical for slam purposes (the singleton club can be shown later, while the big diamond suit can't be).

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


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