Main     Lesson 3F by Richard Pavlicek    

Bidding After a Raise

When partner raises your suit, the search for the best contract is greatly facilitated — a trump fit is known to exist. In many cases, particularly after a major-suit raise, the only question that remains is how high to bid. This is determined by adding your points to partner’s to see if the combined total is enough for game or slam.

Revalue Your Hand

After you find a trump fit (eight combined trumps), the declarer — not the dummy — may revalue his hand. The method I recommend is very accurate in calculating the true value to a hand. It works like this:

Start with your original point count, which includes distributional points for shortness.

After a raise you may count shortness even in a suit bid by partner.

Add 1 point for a fifth trump if you did not promise five.
Add 2 points for each trump card over five.
Add 1 point for each side-suit card over three if you have at least five trumps.

1.
S K J 10 8 4
H A K J 5
D Q 8 3
C 3
TableS A 9 5
H 7 3
D 5 4 2
C Q 9 7 6 2

West
1 S
3 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 S
Pass
South
Pass

West counts 14 HCP, 2 for the singleton and 1 for the fourth heart = 17 points. The fifth spade was promised and so does not count. 3 S invites game and East rejects. Some players would rebid 3 H, but experience has shown that this helps the enemy more often than it improves the contract.

2.
S A 3
H K 9 7 6 5 4
D A 9 7 4 2
C
TableS J 8 4
H Q 10 2
D 8 3
C K J 7 6 4

West
1 H
4 H
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 H
Pass
South
Pass

The power of distribution! West counts 11 HCP, 3 for the void, 1 for the doubleton, 2 for the sixth heart and 1 each for the fourth and fifth diamond = 19 points. East does not have an ideal dummy so West will need a little luck to make 4 H.

3.
S A Q 9 4
H K J 3
D A 8 7 4
C 4 3
TableS K J 7 6
H Q 9 5
D 10 6 2
C A 9 2

West
1 D
2 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
Pass

East has 10 HCP and nothing else. He knows that West’s range is 13-15 points so it is impossible to reach 26 points.

4.
S 9 8 3
H K 9 7 3
D A K 9 4
C A 3
TableS A K 6 2
H Q J 10 6
D 6 2
C 7 6 2

West
1 D
2 H
4 H
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
3 H
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

East has 10 HCP and 1 for the doubleton (after the raise) = 11 points. The fourth spade is not counted because East has only four trumps. East invites game and West accepts with 15 points.

5.
S A 8 6 4
H A K 9 7 4
D 8 2
C 4 3
TableS K Q 9 5 3
H 2
D A 7 6 3
C 9 7 5

West
1 H
2 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
4 S
South
Pass

East counts 9 HCP, 2 for the singleton heart (after the raise), 1 for the fifth spade and 1 for the fourth diamond = 13 points. Note the excellent chance to make 4 S even though West has a bare minimum.

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After a Minor Suit Raise

If partner raises your minor suit, you should revalue your hand in the same manner. Minor-suit games require 29 points (instead of 26) because of the extra trick needed, and they are less rewarding at duplicate bridge because of the lower score. In most cases you will want to explore for an alternate contract in a major suit or notrump, or for the possibility of slam.

Rebidding the raised minor indicates no interest in an alternate contract and no interest in slam.

Why did you rebid your minor after I bid 3 NT?
Because I had no interest in seeing you butcher another hand!

6.
S A 8 4
H 2
D K Q J 8 2
C K Q 8 4
TableS 9 2
H Q J 4
D A 9 7 4 3
C 7 6 2

West
1 D
3 D
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 D
Pass
South
Pass

West counts 15 HCP, 2 for the singleton, 1 for the unpromised fifth diamond and 1 for the fourth club = 19 points. 3 D invites game in diamonds (not in notrump). East with 8 points is in the middle of his 6-10 range and uses good judgment to pass.

7.
S A K 8 7 2
H A 3
D 9 2
C Q 9 7 2
TableS Q 3
H 9 7 4
D 4 3
C A K J 10 8 6

West
1 S
3 C
5 C
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 C
4 C
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

East counts 10 HCP, 1 for the doubleton diamond, 1 for the fifth and 2 for the sixth club = 14 points. 4 C invites game in clubs and West accepts with his excellent 15-point dummy. Note that East cannot pass 3 C after a two-over-one response.

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Natural Bidding

After a minor-suit raise you will often want to explore for notrump or a major-suit contract. This is usually done by natural bidding:

After a minor-suit raise, a bid of 2 NT, 3 NT or a suit previously bid by your side is a natural bid to suggest an alternate contract.

8.
S A K Q 2
H K 3
D Q 10 2
C K Q 8 5
TableS 4 3
H Q 8 2
D K J 4
C J 10 9 7 3

West
1 C
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 C
Pass
South
Pass

With a balanced hand (too strong to open 1 NT) West opts for game in notrump. It would be pointless for West to bid spades because East denied a four-card major.

9.
S K Q 8 4
H J 5 2
D 4 3
C A Q 8 7
TableS 2
H A 10 9 7 4
D A 8 6
C K J 9 4

West
1 C
1 S
3 H
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
3 C
4 H
South
Pass
Pass

After the 3 C raise (forcing) West raises his partner’s heart suit. This shows exactly three cards (with four West would have raised previously) and it does not commit East to play in hearts — it is a suggestion. East happens to have a five-card heart suit so he carries on to game.

10.
S K Q J 8 2
H 4 3
D A K J 4
C 8 2
TableS 10 4
H 9 7
D Q 10 9 3
C A K J 7 5

West
1 S
2 D
3 S
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 C
3 D
4 S
South
Pass
Pass

East’s raise to 3 D is invitational. West’s bid of 3 S suggests a strong five-card suit or a poor six cards (with six good spades West would rebid 2 S over 2 C). East has tolerance for spades, so he raises to reach an excellent contract.

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Showing a Stopper

Reaching 3 NT is a main concern after a minor-suit raise. This is easy when one player has all the stoppers (as Example 8), but the stoppers are often divided. One player must tell the other which suit he can stop.

If there are at least two unbid suits after a minor-suit raise, a bid in an unbid suit below 3 NT shows a stopper. It is forcing.

11.
S A K 2
H 4 3
D A Q J 8 4
C A 10 8
TableS 4 3
H K 8
D K 10 6 2
C J 7 5 4 3

West
1 D
2 S
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 D
2 NT
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

West is worried about hearts so he shows his spade stopper. East has a stopper in the remaining unbid suits so he bids 2 NT, and West raises to game. Note the advantage of East being declarer.

12.
S 4 2
H A Q 8 6 5
D K J 4
C K 10 4
TableS Q J 9
H 4 3
D 8 2
C A Q J 9 8 2

West
1 H
3 C
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 C
3 S
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

Over 3 C East lacks a diamond stopper so he shows his own stopper in spades. This is just what West needed to know, and the best contract is reached.

13.
S 4 3
H K Q 8
D A 5 4
C K J 10 7 5
TableS 5 2
H A J 9
D K J 10
C A 9 8 3 2

West
1 C
3 H
5 C
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
3 C
4 H
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

West shows a heart stopper. East cannot bid 3 NT without a spade stopper. The raise to 4 H is a suggestion showing three good trumps (he denied four). West might pass 4 H if he held four, but not this time.

If your hand pattern is 4-3-3-3, do not search for stoppers. Just take your chances in notrump.

14.
S 8 4 2
H A Q 2
D Q J 5 2
C A 4 3
TableS 7 3
H K J 3
D A K 10 8 3
C Q 8 2

West
1 D
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
East
3 D
Pass
South
Pass

West’s shape is so flat that he bids 3 NT without a spade stopper. This will succeed if the spades divide 4-4 or without a spade lead. Observe that 5 D has no chance.

If there is only one unbid suit, a bid in that suit shows the ace and no desire to declare notrump, or shortness (singleton or void).

15.
S A Q 6 3 2
H A 5 2
D 2
C Q 8 6 4
TableS 10
H 7 6 4
D K 8 4
C A K J 9 3 2

West
1 S
3 C
3 H
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 C
3 D
3 NT
South
Pass
Pass

After East indicates a diamond stopper West might bid 3 NT, but this is unwise with a singleton. Instead he bids 3 H to show the ace and East bids 3 NT.

16.
S 2
H K 8 4
D K Q 8 4
C A K 10 9 5
TableS 9 7 3
H A Q 7
D A J 10 9 6
C 4 2

West
1 C
3 D
3 S
4 C
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 D
3 H
3 NT
6 D
South
Pass
Pass
Pass

H shows a stopper and 3 S shows the ace or shortness. East assumes the ace and bids 3 NT, but West does not pass because 3 S was based on shortness. 4 C indicates club control, and East bids slam knowing that West also has spades controlled.

What is a Stopper?
For practical purposes a holding of at least the Ace, K-x, Q-x-x or J-x-x-x is considered a stopper at notrump.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek