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Bid to the “Level of the fit”

When your partner overcalls – guaranteeing at least a five-card suit but saying little about points – you should be bold with a fit. The level to which you should bid in support, combining disruption with sanity, is best determined by adding up the number of trumps held by the partnership. Simply bid to the trick level equalling that number. Thus if you have four trumps in the response to partner’s overcall (therefore nine total trumps), you should bid to the nine trick level. Do it immediately, then shut up!

East Deals
None Vul
J 9 5 3 2
9 7 4 2
Q 7 4
K J 8
K Q 8 5
A 10 9 6 2
W   E
A 7
A Q 9 6 4 3
A J 6
8 5
K Q 10 8 4
10 7 2
10 3
K J 3
West North East South
    1  1 ♠
2 ♣ 4 ♠ Dbl Pass
Pass Pass

North bid 4 ♠ - the 10 trick level - in support of his partner’s overcall because he knew the partnership held 10 trumps. With no assurance of finding a fit, East doubled and West led  8. East won  A and switched to ♣ 8. West won ♣ A and returned ♣ 2. Declarer won ♣ J and led ♠ K. East won ♠ A, cashed  A, and, because West signalled encouragement for s by playing  8 on  A, followed with  6 to West’s  Q. West correctly next led ♣ 6 and East trumped with ♠ 7. Declarer trumped East’s  J continuation and was able to make the remainder by trumping his two losers in dummy. Three down (500 points to East-West).

Was this a disaster for North-South? Absolutely not – East-West could have made a Grand Slam in hearts (worth 1510 points to East-West). It was a brilliant sacrifice!

ANDREW’S TIP: Bid to the “total trump level” in support of partner’s overcall.

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