Maybe you should take the quiz with all of them separately and see if you are.
Your partner has opened with one spade. There are no intervening bids from the pesky opponents at this time.
You are holding the following hands:
a. (S) K 3 2
(H) 9 7 6 5
(D) K Q 10
(C) Q 8 7 4
a. This is a hand that is probably troubling for the older-style players. With one point less, they would bid two spades. With three points more, they would jump in spades to show an opening hand.
What happened to that 10-12-point hand? If there were a five-card suit available in any of the others, you could bid it just to show 10 or more points, and then support spades. But you don’t have one. Truthfully, I have no idea what I did back then.
b. (S) A K Q
(H) K Q 10 9
(D) 3 2
(C) 7 6 5 4
b. Old timers would most likely jump in spades to show support and opening hand.
New comers would do either one or two things.
The rule for the Jacoby two no-trump bid is that over a major, holding four of partner’s major and at least 13 points, is that you bid two no-trump and partner should know how to respond.
What if you only hold three of his major? Sometimes I fudge on this if my holding is something like ace, king and jack or king, queen and jack, and, so far, partner has never complained. But if I hold only three small in his suit, I bid one no-trump – forcing and not showing six to nine points – and then going to game in his suit.
c. (S) 10 9 8 7 6
(D) K Q 9 3
(C) 8 6 5
c. This is the easiest of all. The rule is, and has ever been as far as I know, when you hold five of partner’s major opening and less than 10 high points, plus a void or a singleton in another suit, you bid four of his suit. He will know not to go further.
d. (S) 7 6 5 4
(H) A Q 6 4
(D) A K J 5 4
d. Two no-trump at first, hoping all of you use this wonderful convention. It is one of my favorites, because it allows you to find out so much about partner’s opening hand). With your 16 points – 13 high and three for a void – you may be thinking slam.
If he immediately goes to game in spades, you know he has the 12-14 opening hand. If he says three spades, which is stronger, he has about 15-17. If he bids four clubs, which is the only time this is not Gerber after a no-trump bid by partner, he has five clubs. If he bids four clubs, he has a singleton or void in clubs. It’s the same system for the other suits.
If he bids three spades, I am sniffing a slam. I go to four no-trump, asking for aces – or if you play, as I do, Roman Key Card Blackwood, it also asks for the king of trumps and one answer is five hearts or five spades, meaning five hearts is two keycards without the queen of trumps, and five spades is two keycards with the queen of trumps.
If he shows only one key card, I do not know if it’s the ace or king of his suit or even the ace of clubs. If I go on, he might be holding the queen, jack, 10, three and two of spades, the jack and nine of hearts, the queen, 10, nine and eight of diamonds and the ace, king, queen and jack of clubs. If I bid slam, that is usually what happens…going off two-spade honors from the top.
If I pass, he will probably be holding the ace, queen, six, four and three of spades, king and 10 of hearts, queen and 10 of diamonds and king, queen and jack of clubs, and the finesse will work.
They say bridge is a thinking man’s game, but sometimes, being a woman, you can think and think and it’s just where opponents’ cards are placed.
Anyway, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.