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Good or Bad?

In that holistic vein, you pick up the following hands, all with ten points. Before the bidding commences, would you say they are good, medium or bad?

Hand a) Hand b) Hand c)
♠ J 4 2
A J 3 2
K J 2
8 6 2
♠ 6
A Q 10 9 3
K J 9 8 2
 10 8
♠ J 10
A 7 6 3 2
9 6 2
 K Q 10
  • (a). Bad. Yucky 4333 shape, no sequential honours, no tens or nines.
  • (b). Good, fabulous shape, all the honours in the long suits – and good intermediates to-boot.
  • (c). Medium. Fair shape – at least you have a five-card suit but nothing special.

You would open the bidding with Hand (b) but would not consider it with either of the others.

However, say your partner opened the bidding 1 and, over your 1 response (correct on all three), partner rebid 1, showing five clubs and four spades. The best hand of the three is now Hand (c) – with a good club fit, good bolstering spades and a side ace – you’d jump to 3. However, Hand (b) is now looking markedly less exciting, as the hallmarks of a misfit are present – indeed it may be sensible to slow things down by bidding 1NT. Hand (a) remains unexciting, although you do have a club fit. I guess a 2 preference is called for.

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