After a Two-Over-One Response

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

1 Pass2 Pass

In Bridge World Standard 1984, a two-over-one response promises a rebid. This sometimes creates awkward positions for a responder with an invitational-strength hand, but it adds a great deal of flexibility in game-going situations. Not only does responder have the freedom to describe his hand slowly, without having to jump to ensure reaching game, but opener can stall with a low-level rebid if he has no accurate descriptive bid available at his second turn. This delaying move does not make it any easier for opener to describe his hand later, so he should use it only in emergency.

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

(a) K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    10 7    K 10 8

(b) K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    K 10    8 7 3

(c) K Q 9 6 4 2    A K 9    K 10    7 3

(d) K Q J 9 6 4    A Q 9    K 10    7 3

(e) K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    K 10 7    8 3

(f) K Q 9 6 4 2    A J 9 6    7    Q 4


K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    10 7    K 10 8

(a) Two notrump. In old-fashioned methods, where the one-spade opening did not promise a five-card suit, a two-notrump rebid here was strength-showing. In the modern "forcing" style, though, two notrump suggests a balanced hand weaker than a strong notrump. This gives a good description, while two spades, the old-fashioned rebid, does not.

K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    K 10    8 7 3

(b) Two spades. The pattern says two notrump, but this would be deceptive without a club honor. And it might lead to notrump's being played from the wrong side. This is a good spot for a stalling two spades, which at least does not directly misdescribe anything. Two hearts might survive, but you don't really have a plan in mind if partner raises.

K Q 9 6 4 2    A K 9    K 10    7 3

(c) Two spades. This hand would be a bit strong for a nonforcing two spades in traditional methods, and would be a possible problem for discussion in the Master Solvers' Club. However, with two spades forcing for one round opener need not misdescribe (two hearts on a three-card suit, or three spades without a really strong suit) merely to avoid limiting his hand.

K Q J 9 6 4    A Q 9    K 10    7 3

(d) Three spades. These spades are good enough for the jump rebid, and there is enough extra strength (counting the diamond fit) to justify a jump. It will be easier to show all this now, in one compact message, than to try to catch up later.

K Q 9 6 4    A J 9    K 10 7    8 3

(e) Three diamonds. This was a two-spade rebid for many years in standard methods. Current style calls for a direct raise, with a minimum hand plus a fit. Some players allow a minimum for a raise from two of a minor to three, but require four-card support. However, a majority think the raise is most natural with this hand-type.

K Q 9 6 4 2    A J 9 6    7    Q 4

(f) Two hearts. This is the most economical way to show the suits. If there is a heart fit, it will be convenient to find it as early as possible. You can bid distributional hands according to your shape, not your overall hand strength, because most of the time responder's rebid will be a game force. However, no strong standard has been established in this area. Many players would bid spades-spades-hearts with a minimum, and spades-hearts-spades with extra strength, just as they had to do in older methods.

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


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