Main     Lesson 5C by Richard Pavlicek    

Coping with Interference

When your side opens the bidding, it would be delightful if the opponents would always pass throughout as you search for the best contract. Dream on! In real life they will interfere quite often, so it is important to know how to contend.

This lesson explains how to cope with an enemy suit overcall, a takeout double or a 1 NT overcall after your side opens the bidding with one of a suit.

After a Suit Overcall

If your partner opens with one of a suit and the next player overcalls in a suit, many responses are virtually the same: You may bid a new suit at the one level with 6+ points, bid 1 NT with 7-10 HCP (although you must have a stopper in the enemy suit) or raise to two of opener’s suit with 6-10 points.

The negative double also applies here. I thoroughly recommend it and cover it completely in another lesson.

The following responses are different after a suit overcall:

A two-over-one response shows 9+ points and is forcing. Then if opener rebids 2 NT, his original suit or raises, he shows a minimum hand (13-15 points) and responder may pass.

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

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

The 2 H response is forcing one round, and responder passes when opener shows a minimum opening with 6+ spades. Note that without the 2 D bid East would be too weak for 2 H and should respond 1 NT.

A response of 2 NT shows 10 to 12 HCP (11-12 if a jump) with a stopper in the enemy suit. This is invitational but nonforcing.

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

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

East’s response invites game in notrump, and West passes with his bare minimum opening. West needs at least 14 HCP to continue to 3 NT.

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

West
1 D
Pass
North
1 H
East
2 NT
South
Pass

Here East shows 11-12 HCP (with 10 he would bid 1 NT) but the response is still nonforcing.

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

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

With 14 HCP East is too strong for 2 NT so he bids 3 NT. East also could have bid a new suit (forcing) if he had doubts about playing in notrump.

A jump raise shows 11 or 12 points. This is invitational but nonforcing.

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

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

East shows a hand slightly too good for a raise to two, and West passes with his bare minimum opening.

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

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

East makes a “limit raise” in diamonds. With a heart stopper and a sound opening bid West takes a chance on 3 NT.

Do you really understand all this about coping with interference?
Of course! Last night my TV dish worked right thru a thunderstorm.

To show a forcing raise (13-16 points) it is necessary to bid a new suit first and then jump raise at your next turn.

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

West
1 H
2 NT
North
2 C
Pass
East
2 D
4 H
South
Pass

East’s 2 D bid is forcing then he indicates the values for a forcing raise at his second turn. If East jumped directly to 4 H over 2 C, it would be a weak bid.

A direct cue-bid response shows 17+ points, support for opener’s suit, and first- or second-round control in the enemy suit.

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

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

East’s 2 S bid shows a strong club raise with spades controlled. West bids his heart suit then East indicates diamond control. West bids the excellent slam trusting East to control the enemy suit.

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After a Takeout Double

If your partner opens with one of a suit and the next player doubles, the responding strategy is very different. There is only one way to show a good hand:

After a takeout double you should redouble with any hand of 10+ HCP or 11+ points. This creates a force either to double or outbid the opponents.

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

West
1 S
Pass
North
Dbl
Pass
East
Rdbl
Dbl
South
2 D
None Vul

The opponents are often in trouble after a redouble, as they must bid something (else play 1 S redoubled). Note that West does not bid over 2 D but passes it around to East, who doubles for penalty.

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

West
1 H
Pass
4 H
North
Dbl
Pass
Pass
East
Rdbl
2 H
Pass
South
2 C
Pass

This time East’s redouble is based on an 11-point heart raise, which he shows at his second turn. West has enough points to go right to game.

11.
S K 9 2
H J 8 3
D A K 8 6 3
C Q 4
TableS 7 6
H A Q 4
D 9 7 2
C A J 10 9 6

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

After a redouble a new suit bid by either player is forcing. Over 2 C West shows his spade stopper and East takes a chance on game expecting the club suit to set up easily with the doubler on his right.

Any bid after a takeout double is limited in strength by the failure to redouble. Thus, all responses are nonforcing.

Exception
The modern treatment is to play a new suit at the one level forcing (by an unpassed hand), as if the double did not occur. I agree, however, this should be discussed with your partner.

12.
S A Q 9 7 3
H A 8 2
D 4 3
C K 9 5
TableS 6 5
H J 6 5
D Q 10 9 7 5 2
C A 3

West
1 S
Pass
North
Dbl
East
2 D
South
Pass

East indicates a weak hand with a 6 card suit or a strong 5 card suit. West does not bid 2 NT because game is out of reach — East denies as much as 10 HCP.

13.
S A J 8
H K Q 9 4
D 9 7 2
C A 9 3
TableS 7 6
H 10 2
D A 8 6 4
C Q J 8 7 6

West
1 C
Pass
North
Dbl
East
3 C
South
Pass

East shows about 8-10 points with excellent trump support. Note that this is not the same as after an overcall — if East had 11+ points he would redouble.

14.
S 6
H A Q 8 4
D K Q 8 4
C K 9 4 3
TableS A Q 10 8 7 4
H 2
D 9 7 2
C 8 7 2

West
1 D
Pass
North
Dbl
East
2 S
South
Pass

Even a jump shift response denies the ability to redouble. East shows a good 6 card spade suit but little else. West is not happy with spades but wisely passes.

No Rescue Bids
A response made over a takeout double still shows a minimum of 6 points. Do not bid with a weaker hand just because you do not like partner’s suit; the best strategy is to pass since your left-hand opponent will almost always bid.

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After a 1 NT Overcall

If your partner opens with one of a suit and the next player overcalls 1 NT, the situation is similar to that after a takeout double. There is only one way to show a good hand:

After a 1 NT overcall you should double for penalty with 10+ HCP or 11+ points.

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

West
1 H
Pass
North
1 NT
East
Dbl
South
Pass

The double is automatic with a good hand. Your opponent will not make 1 NT when you have the majority of HCP. Your opening lead should be the H 8.

Any bid after a 1 NT overcall is limited in strength by the failure to double. All suit responses are nonforcing.

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

West
1 D
Pass
North
1 NT
East
2 H
South
Pass

East’s response is competitive and nonforcing. West is not delighted but he uses good judgment to pass knowing his left-hand opponent has a strong hand.

17.
S K J 9 8 4
H 4 3
D A K 10 5
C J 2
TableS Q 7 6 2
H A 9 7 5 2
D 2
C 9 7 6

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

East’s jump raise shows 8-10 points with excellent trump support. Observe that with 11+ points East should double 1 NT for penalty; an opponent will wisely run to a suit, then East would raise spades.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek