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Invisible Cue-Bids

In a Nutshell

In the late 1970s a concept known as “unusual over unusual” was developed (not sure by whom) to cope with an opponent’s unusual 2 NT overcall. While reasonable, its specific application to one type of two-suited overcall was shortsighted. Therefore, I generalized it for all two-suited overcalls and added some additional agreements. Basically, the cheapest bid in an enemy shown suit is a raise of opener’s suit (see details for more).

The name also had to be changed (e.g., “unusual over unusual” sounds stupid if the enemy bid is Michaels) so invisible cue-bids were born. (This was introduced in 1981 in “Modern Bridge Conventions,” a book I co-authored with Bill Root.) Alas, the name didn’t catch on.

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Details

After a Michaels cue-bid, unusual 2 NT, Roman jump overcall, or any other bid that shows a two-suited hand, the following structure called “invisible cue-bids” applies:

West
1 X
North
Bid*
East
?
South

*2-suited hand












Call
Double
New suit
Single raise
2 NT
3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
Jump shift
Jump raise
Cheapest cue*
Higher cue*
Any jump cue*
Meaning
10+; creates forcing auction
6-9; 6+ (good 5) cards; NF
6-9; NF
9-11; natural with fit; I
12-14; natural with fit; NF
9-14; natural with fit; NF
weak
weak
10+; raise of suit opened
10+ HCP; 5+ cards in the 4th suit; F
13+; splinter raise; GF

*A bid is a cue-bid only if the suit was specifically shown. The “higher cue” is available only when two specific suits were shown.

Subsequent bidding:

1. After the “higher cue,” if opener rebids in notrump or his original suit, this confirms a minimum and is nonforcing. A “raise” of responder’s indicated suit is forcing below game.

2. After doubling, if responder next bids a new suit or a suit implied by the enemy, it is natural and forcing below game.

3. If responder passes over the two-suited overcall and later bids a suit implied by the enemy, it is natural and nonforcing.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek