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Clubs and diamonds, the two minor suits, score at just 20 points per trick. You need to bid 5 ♣ or 5 ♦ to win game – that’s 11 tricks: better, normally, to play game in Notrumps (3NT – two fewer tricks) unless you are very, very shapely with a big, big fit.
However whereas you should avoid minor suit games, it is a mistake to withhold minor-suit support in the part-score zone. Practically, there is precious little difference between, say a 40 part-score (eg 2 ♦) and a 60 part-score (eg 2 ♠): if you have better cards than your opponents on the following deal, you will be able to convert both 40 and 60 into 100.
|1 ♦||Pass||1 ♠|
|Hand (a)||Hand (b)||Hand (c)|
♠ K J 3 2
♥ Q 8 5
♦ 4 2
♣ A J 8 2
♠ A 9 6 3 2
♥ 9 7 3 2
♣Q 9 7
♠ K Q 9 7
♥ K 10 8
♦ J 9
♣ A 7 4 2
With Hand (a), you should prefer to raise 2 ♣ to 3 ♣ than bid 2NT. If it is a game deal – partner holding extra values, the partnership has time to bid to 3NT not 5 ♣. But if partner has a minimumish opener, 3 ♣ will be better than 2NT. Avoid minor-suit games but not minor suits.
With Hand (b), you should pass. Stop before the partnership gets too high. Do not bid 2 ♥ (or 2 ♠). Be happy in clubs.
With Hand (c) you should bid 3NT. Unlike Hands (a) and (b), you have game values. Here, with the unbid hearts well stopped and a balanced notrumpy hand, you should prefer 3NT to 5 ♣.