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Answer 36

Three possible hands are given for South, but only one is consistent with their bids. Which one? What would the others hands have bid differently? Neither side is vulnerable.

North   East   South   West



Hand a)
♠ K Q 9 8 4 2
A J 9 5
Q 9
Hand b)
♠ A Q 8 3 2
A Q J 2
3 2
Hand c)
♠ A K 5 3 2
A K 4 2
9 5 2

  • (a) is correct. The key here is to realise that North’s 2 bid is a preference bid, typically with a doubleton, not a support bid – it’s always preference when you go back to partner’s first suit. Therefore to bid 4, you should have six cards.
  • Hand (a) is perfect for 4 - a robust six-card spade suit in a hand which has gone up in value (partner having bid and rebid diamonds, Q9 & 2 is so much more powerful than 2 & Q9 would be). 
  • With Hand (b), the best bid now is 3. By going via 2 to bid diamonds, the auction is forcing to game [more on this “Third Suit Forcing” concept in my new book Bidding Big Hands]
  • With hand (c) your correct move is 3, a variety of Fourth Suit Forcing. Although not the fourth bid of the auction, the message is the same: showing a good (game-forcing) hand with no clear direction, asking for more information. Of special interest to you here is whether partner has a stopper in the fourth suit for Three Notrumps.

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