After Responder's Two-Notrump Rebid

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

1 Pass1 NTPass
2 Pass2 NTPass

In Bridge World Standard, to show a hand worth a game invitation in notrump in response to a major-suit opening bid responder first bids one notrump (forcing), then rebids two notrump. Opener is free to pass with a minimum, or to continue to game with significant extra strength (at least a queen's worth above a minimum opening bid). However, opener is not obliged to accept notrump as the final strain for the contract. Responder has really suggested notrump only once, even though he has said the word twice. The initial response was determined not so much by orientation as by the overall strength of responder's hand.

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

(a) A Q 9 6 2    3    K 8 6 4    K 7 3

(b) A Q 9 6 2    K 7 3    K Q 6 4    3

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

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

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

(f) A Q 9 6 4 2    3    K Q 6 4    A 2


A Q 9 6 2    3    K 8 6 4    K 7 3

(a) Pass. There is a good chance that a part-score in a suit is superior to two notrump. However, there is no way to find out for sure, and no way to arrive at such a contract safely. Three clubs here is a forward-going investigatory move. The more partner has in hearts, the more he will try to bid three notrump over three clubs, and the less he will like your dummy. You must pass and hope for the best.

A Q 9 6 2    K 7 3    K Q 6 4    3

(b) Three hearts. The first question is whether you have enough to bid again. The answer is that it is close: your intermediates are not so hot, but you have extra pointcount, and your two queens are combined with higher honors. Once you have decided to bid, you must decide what. Rather than rush into three notrump, you should suggest your actual distribution by showing the heart fragment. North may have five hearts, or four good hearts in a suit-oriented hand; or, he may have relatively weak clubs. Then, three notrump is probably not the best contract.

A Q 9 6 2    K 10 3    K Q 6    9 4

(c) Three notrump. Since partner could have five hearts, you would like to be able to bid three hearts on this hand, as well as on hand (b). Unfortunately, unless you have made special provision for this situation (some partnerships allow responder to bid three spades over three hearts, allowing opener to bid three notrump with the balanced hand), partner may be fatally misled when he doesn't have five hearts--he will expect you to have a singleton club.

A Q 9 6 2    10 3    K Q 10 7 4    2

(d) Three diamonds. Two notrump (or even, possibly, three notrump) might be made, but the chances are that three diamonds is a safer contract. You should complete showing your shape, simultaneously implying that your opening was partially based on distributional strength.

A Q 9 6 2    A 3    K Q 10 7 4    2

(e) Three notrump. You would like to bid "three diamonds forcing" since diamonds (even slam) could easily be superior to notrump. However, three diamonds has to be reserved for more frequent hands such as (d). With a strong hand you can always find some forcing action if need be. For example, you could bid four diamonds, or risk misdescribing your hand with three clubs, three hearts or three spades. However, at matchpoints you do not want to risk bypassing three notrump unless there is a very good chance that diamonds will turn out to be right. The simple way out is likely to be best in the long run.

A Q 9 6 4 2    3    K Q 6 4    A 2

(f) Three spades. Here you do not need to misdescribe your hand to investigate other strains. Three spades shows a better than minimum hand (and is therefore forcing). With six-four distribution and no extra strength you would have rebid two spades; Then, you could bid three diamonds (nonforcing) if partner persisted with two notrump.

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


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