Rebid by One-Notrump Responder

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

1 Pass
1 NTPass2 Pass

The meanings of low-level rebids by a one-notrump responder are slightly different when his response is forcing from when it is not. For example, a simple preference to opener's major is freely given on a doubleton, even with three or four cards in opener's minor. A raise of what could be a three-card minor typically shows five-card support (four would be a mild exception), and does not necessarily show a hand that was originally in the invitational range, as a rebid of two notrump would.

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

(a) 7 6   Q 10 7 2   9 4 3   K J 8 4

(b) 7 6 3   J 10 7   K Q 10   8 7 4 2

(c) J 7   Q 10 7   K 10 8 7   K 6 4 3

(d) 7   Q 10 7 4 3   5 3   K J 8 4 2

(e) 7   Q 10 7 4   5 3   K J 8 6 4 2

(f) 9   A Q 10 7   5 3   K J 8 6 4 2


7 6   Q 10 7 2   9 4 3   K J 8 4

(a) Two spades. There is no guarantee that two spades will be as good as two diamonds. Opener might be five-five in his suits, or have four good diamonds but five weak spades. And bidding again gives opener the chance to get the partnership higher, perhaps fatally, when he has a good hand. As against that, it is in a way necessary to bid two spades to guarantee that the partnership plays in at least a seven-card trump fit. Responder could have bid two diamonds with 5=3=3=2 shape. This uncertainty is a weak spot in the forcing-notrump method.

7 6 3   J 10 7   K Q 10   8 7 4 2

(b) Two spades. Your hand is a lot better now than when you responded one notrump, but what else can you bid except a simple two spades? This time you hope partner will bid again, perhaps with 5=1=4=3 or 5=3=4=1 shape. If he doesn't, you needn't be too worried. Your diamond values may actually represent some amount of duplication (opposite, say, ace-jack-third).

J 7   Q 10 7   K 10 8 7   K 6 4 3

(c) Two spades. The choice is between two spades and three diamonds (you are too weak overall for two notrump). Two spades has the disadvantage of being wide range (compare with (a)), and not encouraging at all when, in fact, you have a pretty good hand. Three diamonds shows what may be a fit, and definitely indicates extra values. The trouble with three diamonds is that you may be up unnecessarily high in a four-three trump suit. We think it is sound strategy to keep the plus as firmly in view as possible when you have a minimum-range response. Also, at matchpoints, spades may score better than diamonds even if it is not the better strain for the contract.

7   Q 10 7 4 3   5 3   K J 8 4 2

(d) Two hearts. It could be right to pass, since the deal could be a gigantic misfit, in which case every step the partnership takes will cost it matchpoints. However, there is still a wide spectrum of distributions partner could have, and with most of them hearts will play better than diamonds. In close cases, it is worth trying to get to one of responder's suits--opener's high cards will often be useful at responder's trump suit when responder will tend to have little (or less, anyway) to help at opener's trump suit. And, in this case, if opener has a decent hand and a plus is possible in spite of the misfit, the major will score more.

7   Q 10 7 4   5 3   K J 8 6 4 2

(e) Three clubs. This is getting pretty close to the most disastrous hand for Bridge World Standard methods in this situation. Anything you do will look ridiculous opposite a particular opener's distribution, and his minor-suit rebids after a forcing notrump are relatively ill-defined. But you have to try something. Even though it raises the level, three clubs selects the strain in which you figure to have the most trumps.

9   A Q 10 7   5 3   K J 8 6 4 2

(f) Two notrump. This is another distinctly ugly action, but you have to do something. Three clubs has the advantage of more likely going plus, but if you bid three clubs on a hand this good the range for that rebid is too wide. Remember opener has no consulting room left before he decides whether or not to try for three notrump. Two notrump is likely to work out right (they may not lead diamonds) if partner is balanced, or nearly so, and may be the best you can do on a misfit, since you have tricks in all suits. It may also be a terrible contract.

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


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