Question of the Week - 15

 Hi All,

Another question about basic bidding on the board shown below.



                     ª K 8 5 2

                     © K 10 5 3

                     ¨ K 5 3

                     § 7 3

West                                  East

ª                                       ª A Q J 9 7

© Q J 9 6 4                         © 8

¨ 9 8 7                               ¨ J 10

§ Q 10 9 5 2                       § A K J 8 6


                     ª 10 6 4 3

                     © A 7 2

                     ¨ A Q 6 4 2

                     § 4


West dealt and passed, North passed, East opened 1 Spade and all passed. East made 1 Spade for 80 points, but other E/Ws bid part scores in Clubs for 90-130 points. East had two questions:

1. Should he instead have opened 1 Club?

2. Should West have responded 2 Clubs over his 1 Spade?

1. No. Our Lesson 2 prescribes opening the higher ranking of two 5-card suits regardless of relative strength. To do otherwise makes it impossible for opener to properly describe his hand. Stick with that!

2. No. A response of 2 Clubs would be a gross overbid, promising 10 or more points. West can't take points for his void in partner's suit; Partner may just rebid it. If he does respond 2 Clubs anyway, East will see a good Club fit and 10 or more points opposite his 18-20 points. Any red-blooded East would describe his hand by jumping to game and would go down for an even worse score. 

Assuming that they wouldn't do either of those things, how did some pairs get to 2 Clubs? I can see only one somewhat reasonable sequence. West's pass is justified, but, if he is uncomfortable with his void in partner's suit, he may keep the bidding open with 1 No Trump. The rules most of us follow say that you must respond with 6 points, but they don't say that you can't respond with a reasonable 5 points.

This is risky and they will go down at 1 No Trump, but in this case East will surely rebid 2 Clubs. As long as they don't get carried away to game, they should make par.

Good luck and stay well, Dave