Bidrush #28

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Bidrush #28

Bidrush #28

What's your bid (IMPs Scoring)?

2 :clubs: 10 7
1NT 8 4
2 :spades: 8 2
3 :diamonds: 8 1
2NT 6 4
3 :spades: 5 1
3NT 0 0
2 :diamonds: 0 0
Pass 0 0
3 :hearts: 0 0

No majority from the panel, but still a clear preference on a hand with a whole host of flawed options. Whilst 7/19 panelists chose to force to game with a fourth-suit 2, a similar number opted for minimum actions (1NT/2). What is clear from the comments, though, is that members of both groups were united in their dislike of 2NT, which is why the choice of close to 50% of competition entrants has been marked down marginally. I’ll leave you to listen to the debate.

COHEN: 1NT. A slight underbid, but have you seen the hands people open these days?
McCALLUM: 1NT. I hate it with no stopper, but it's right on values and I see nothing else even remotely sensible.
WANG: 1NT. I want to bid 2NT, but positionally it does not look good with only four small cards in the unbid suit.
KLUKOWSKI: 1NT. No idea! I'd probably bid 1NT, although I’d prefer 2♣ as a fourth suit bid if it was not game forcing.

That was how we played fourth suit when I started in the 1980s, to cater for exactly this sort of hand. However, it has now become almost universally-played as game-forcing, which simplifies numerous other auctions.

BIRD: 2♠. 2♣ is forcing to game. On a hand with no fit and no stopper in the unbid suit, there is no reason to overbid. I will subtract a point or two and choose between the lower bids.
CHAGAS: 2♠. An underbid, but it feels like the suit to play. Maybe 3♠…?

Although a few mentioned it, only Sjoert was adventurous enough to take that action…

BRINK: 3♠. If 1 is unbalanced, my hand looks like 3♠. If it can be 4243 as well, though, then 2♠ is enough. 

Yes, we rebid notrumps on balanced hands if not raising partner, and systemically open 1§ with 4-1-4-4 shape, so 1-1 -1♠ promises at least 4-5 in the two suits. Perhaps, therefore, more might have taken the same route as Brian had they thought of it…

SENIOR: 3. There is no good answer to this and there never has been since everyone started to play fourth suit as game forcing. I assume that partner has shown an unbalanced hand so will usually have 5+. Having an invitational-range hand, I make the least bad invitational bid available to me.

Let’s hear from the largest faction on the panel…

DE WIJS: 2♣. Ok, I bite. My value bid is 2NT, but I hate doing that with these clubs, so I go big and force to game, hoping partner will be able to bid notrumps. If not, then partner will have to show his declaring skills in the 4-3 spade fit.
ZIA: 2♣. This would be normal with the ♣J more. Second choice 3♠. Does this auction show an unbalanced hand? (Yes. MS)
BROCK: 2♣. I know it’s an overbid but I like my spade/diamond holdings and it should get us to the best denomination (even if too high).
SONTAG: 2♣. An overbid but perhaps partner’s rebid will enlighten me. I am not a fan of jumping to 3♠ with only three-card support. 
KOKISH: 2♣. As I understand the method, partner’s 1♠ promises at least 4-5. In a system where 1♠ could still be 4-2-4-3, 2NT would be slightly more attractive, but it still runs the risk of wrong-siding 3NT. Raising to 3♠ risks a silly contract when East passes. 2♣ is GF, so it’s a slight overbid, even opposite a sound opener, and where do they grow those these days? Even so, it still seems the best bet since all of the alternatives also have flaws.
LAVEE: 2♣. I don't know if XYZ is in the system. (Only after a 1NT rebid. MS) I would like to rebid 2NT showing 11-12 points and a stopper in the unbid suit, but this club holding is a problem. It's way too unilateral to potentially wrong-side the notrump contract. I’d prefer to invite with this hand, but to what? Vulnerable and IMPs, I think it’s best to just force to game and probe for more information from the opener.

Norberto sums up for the plurality…

Norberto BOCCHI: 2. If we are going to get to 3NT, I want to play from the right side.

So, what did the readers’ supporters on the panel have to say?

LARSSON: 2NT. 1NT is the alternative, so naturally I bid too much.
KRISTENSEN: 2NT. Inviting to game with an equal distribution
ROBSON: 2NT. The ♠10 swings it (and I wouldn’t even countenance it without the ♣9). Hoping to hear partner shape out to 3, which I’ll happily raise. 

Not that convincing, are they? On this occasion, partner held AKQx/Qx/J109xxx/J so you would make a partscore in diamonds or spades, but the opponents cash the first seven against notrumps. Partner would correct to 2 over 1NT, so only those who made minimum bids (and Brian) would go plus on this occasion.

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