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Answer #54

Three possible hands are given for South but only one is consistent with bidding. Which one? What should the other iands have bid? Neither side is vulnerable

North   East   South   West
    1   2    

Hand a)
♠ Q 2
Q J 5
A Q 6 3 2
J 8 3
Hand b)
♠ Q 6 2
K J 7
A K J 6 2
 K 8
Hand c)
♠  2
A 8 3 2
K J 9 8 7 2
4 2

(c) is correct.
  • Hand (a) is shapeless and trickless. If you’re left to play in 2 (doubled?), it will be the metaphorical bloodbath. You can imagine the defence beginning AK, heart trumped. When deciding whether or not to overcall, think tricks not points. You should pass. Just because you would have opened the bidding doesn’t mean you bid after the opponents open.
  • With Hand (b), you could bid 2 – your suit is good enough (it satisfies the Suit Quality Overcall Test (SQOT): the number of cards in the suit added to the number of honours in the suit gets to the number of tricks bid for – note this is just a guide not a rule). But your hand is far better described by bidding 1NT as an overcall – which shows 15-19 balanced with hearts stopped: perfect.
  • Hand (c) is correct. Note you do not have to have opening points to bid, once the bidding has been opened. This is toward the lower end of strength for a two-level overcall, but your suit is good enough (even 987 are important, not factored into SQOT) and you like your shape. Holding length in the suit bid on your right enhances the chances of partner being short and therefore having a diamond fit. It’s also quite preemptive as you have blocked out three responses (1, 1NT, 2).


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