District 13 - ACBL
Short Lessons from Harriette Buckman

Short articles for newcomers: Harriette Buckman; Lincolnwood, Illinois
ACBL President for 2006

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Actions by Previously Passed Hands

revised April 18, 2004

  1. What kinds of bids are available to me when I have passed originally and partner opens the bidding? Let's talk about auctions that will involve only you and your partner, then we'll worry about the other guys.
    1. Single Raises
      1. minor-suit raises show 6—10 HCP, 4+ pieces, no four-card major, and unbalanced (non-notrump) hands
      2. major-suit raises are normal—6-10 HCP, 3+ pieces
    2. Jump Raises
      1. in minor suits, they are limit raises showing 5+ pieces, 10—12 HCP, no major
      2. in major suits, they are limit raises showing 3+ pieces, 10—12 HCP. If the partnership is playing Drury, here it is! Two clubs shows a limit raise of partner's major.
        If you are playing two-way Drury, 2C shows three pieces, 2 diamonds shows four.
    3. Changes of Suit
      1. over minor suits, we are still looking for a major-suit fit, but these new suits are not forcing...how can a passed hand presume to force?
      2. over major suits, new suits deny support, show length and are not forcing.
    4. Notrump Bids
      1. 1NT shows 6—10 HCP and the usual requirements
      2. 2NT is natural, 10—12 HCP, is not forcing, and is a real notrump-looking hand
  2. What do we do when the opponents interfere? Let's be prepared.
    1. When the Opponent Overcalls
      1. new suits are not forcing
      2. jump raises are preemptive
      3. cuebids of the opponent's suit are used for limit raises (10—12 HCP, 3+ pieces)
      4. notrumps are natural
      5. negative doubles are applicable
    2. When the Opponent Doubles
      1. redouble shows 10+ HCP (does or doesn't deny fit as the partnership deems)
      2. jump raises are preemptive
      3. notrumps are natural
      4. new suits are not forcing
      5. jumps in new suits should be preemptive in competition; these should show six-card suits and six or fewer points
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Garbage Stayman

The first convention that bridge players learn is Stayman. It is the two-club response to 1NT that asks partner if he has a four-card major. Maybe this hand would play better in a suit if we could find a 4-4 fit.

Sometimes, when partner opens 1NT, your hand is too bad to let him play there. Enter GARBAGE STAYMAN!

Consider the following hands:
Hand 1Hand 2Hand 3
  • 10 x x x x
  • J x x x
  • x x
  • x x
  • Q x x x
  • x x x x
  • x x x x
  • x
  • x x x
  • x x x x
  • J x x x x
  • x

Hand 1. You could make a Jacoby transfer to spades, but partner might have four hearts and two spades, and you'd really rather be in hearts. Stayman will get you to the better contract. If partner were to bid spades or hearts, you would be delighted to pass...you've found a home. If partner bids the dreaded two diamonds, bid two spades and hope partner recoginzes your two-level bid as non-forcing. In this way, your hand, which might not yield one trick in notrump, could be useful in a suit contract.

Hands 2 and 3 both have shortages in clubs. Your Stayman bid will get partner to bid a suit that you can pass.

In any case, you are not bidding because you think partner can make the contract; you are bidding because the opponents have more value between than than you and your partner have, so you are trying to minimize your losses. It may also act as a deterrent to a penalty double.

This is a good tool to discuss between you and your favorite partners. It is a simple extension of something you are probably already doing.

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Raising with 3

Sometimes it is expedient to raise partner’s major suit response with only three pieces.

Consider these examples:
Hand 1 Hand 2
Auction: 1D—1H—2H Auction: 1D—1S—2S
  • x x
  • A x x
  • K Q J x
  • K J x x
  • x x x
  • x x
  • A K x x
  • A Q x x

Though each of the above hands has no-trump squareness, the poor doubleton in the "other" major (this idea extends to a poor minor doubleton as well) seems to be a deterrent to bidding one no-trump. The suggestion here that raising partner’s suit is the best alternative does not mean it is the perfect bid; there is no unflawed action. Rebidding 2C seems to suggest a hand which needs to be playing in a minor suit. It shows a hand of at least nine minor-suit cards or the presence of a singleton.

When the responder has a five-card suit, the number of trumps you hold is immaterial. When the responder has only a four-card suit, there are several ways the bidding may proceed after the raise.

1. New suits are forcing for one round and are game tries.
2H—2S or 3C
Choices: 3H shows four hearts, no game interest 12—13
3D shows three hearts and five diamonds
4H shows four hearts and 14—15 pts.
2NT or 3NT shows three hearts and a stop in the fourth suit
2. Two no-trump is invitational showing four hearts and 11—12 pts.
Choices: P shows three hearts, no game interest
3H shows four hearts, no game interest
3NT shows three hearts, game
4H shows four hearts, game
3. Three no-trump says, "Pick your game."

Whew!! I guess there are ways not to have to play the 4—3 fit after all!

HHB.11/99 rev 10/01

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