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Overcalling in a suit

Bidding after an opponent opens shows a good five+ card suit. You don’t need opening points, however (although you may have them).

Exercise:Which of these hands should bid 1 after right hand opponent opens 1?

Hand a)   Hand b)   Hand c)  
♠ J 3
A K 9 7
Q 7 3 2
♣ Q J 4
  ♠ 10 9 2
K Q J 9 8
♣ Q 9 3 2
  ♠ J 4 3 
A 6 4 3 2
Q 7 2
♣ Q J

Answer:Only Hand (b) should bid 1, despite having fewer high card points than (a) or (c). Hand (a) should pass – because you should never bid a suit as an overcaller with fewer than five cards [and to bid 1NT as an overcall shows a big hand – 15-19 points]. Hand (c) should pass – because the suit is not good enough.
Try to think in terms of the trick-taking potential of your hand. (Hand (b) makes three-four tricks facing absolutely nothing; Hand (c) just one trick – those queens and jacks (“quacks”) look pretty useless.

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