These are very awkward shapes to handle. Bidding has developed such that one-suited hands (six-card suits) and two-suited hands (five-fours) are easy to describe. You bid and repeat the six-card suit; you bid the five then the four. The 4441 shape cannot be described in two bids. A small lie has to be told.
First, the opening bid. There is no perfect solution, but best, on grounds of economy and simplicity, is “TAPS” where you open 1♥ with a black-suit singleton and 1♣ with a red-suit singleton. “H” and “C” – the taps.
Your problems are only just beginning! Say your partner responds in your singleton (they always do!). Best is this:
|12||Pass – don’t open the bidding at all – then you won’t have to worry about your rebid.|
|13-14||Rebid your cheapest four-card suit. Lying about your (lack of) fifth card in your first suit is the lesser of evils.|
|15+||Rebid Notrumps at the appropriate level (15-16: at lowest level; 17-18: with a jump; 19: 3NT)|
Exercise: Which suit would you open with these hands? What is your planned rebid if partner responds in your singleton?
|Hand a)||Hand b)||Hand c)|
♥ K J 4 3
♦ A K J 3
♣ K J 9 6
♠ J 9 4 2
♦ A Q 8 3
♣ K 7 5 2
♠ Q 8 5 2
♥ A Q 7 4
♣ A Q 5 2
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