I get a lot of questions about handling complex situations and I do the best I can. I still, however, get questions about very basic bidding. I have tried to present in Lesson 2 what I believe to be an exquisite system to open one of a suit and bid back and forth to reach the best contract. I have not done my best, apparently, to explain and sell it. Let's look at several examples.
ª A 10 8 6
© Q 10 6 5
¨ A J 3 2
South opens 1 Spade and North is excited. Even after downgrading the singleton Club King, he counts 14 points and has great Spade support. He wants to show his Spade support and extra values, so responds 3 Spades. He is disappointed when partner passes. What went wrong?
His response was a limit raise promising 4-card Spade support and 10-12 points. South has a minimum hand and must pass. North could clearly see game, so must not bid anything that partner can pass short of that. North could jump to 4 Spades, but that would be a close-out. He doesn't know enough about South's hand to discourage slam.
North must respond 2 Diamonds, a new suit at the 2-level promising 10 or more points and forcing partner to describe his hand. Whatever South rebids, North will know whether to just bid 4 Spades or to pursue slam. Exquisite!
ª 10 9 ª A K 7 4 3
© A K Q 8 7 3 © 8 5
¨ A 5 2 ¨ Q J 10 9
§ K 9 § A 7
East opens 1 Spade, West responds 2 Hearts and East rebids 2 No Trump. West rebids 3 No Trump and they take all the tricks. What went wrong?
East's rebid promised 13-16 points and stoppers in the unbid suits. That's not wrong, but it's certainly discouraging. It says a lot about what he doesn't have and not much about what he does have. It says that he doesn't have 6 Spades, he doesn't have 3 Hearts, he doesn't have enough to jump to 3 No Trump and he can't bid another suit, either because he doesn't have one or he doesn't have enough points to reverse over partner's 10 or more points. West has a lovely hand, but with his 16 HCPs opposite a probable minimum, he bids a safe 3 No Trump.
Look at how this all changes if East rebids 3 Diamonds. He now shows two suits, 15-18 points and forces for at least one round. North is now definitely thinking slam. He has several paths to get there, but it's hard to see how he fails to get to 6 Hearts or 6 No Trump. Again Exquisite!