Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 1st, 2017

I have been trying to learn New Minor Forcing and thought the bidding problem presented today (after I opened one club and heard one spade from my partner) was perfect for a two diamond bid to show three spades and game going values. How am I missing the point of the convention?

Bill and the Comets, Monterey, Calif.

A little learning can be a dangerous thing. New Minor is very useful but one must distinguish two sequences, after your side, for examples, bids unopposed: one club – one spade. If opener bids one no-trump and responder rebids two diamonds, this is New Minor to show values, and ask about spade support. By contrast, if opener rebids two diamonds, this is known as a reverse. It shows clubs and diamonds and real extras. I hope that helps — please write to me again if I can help in this complex area.

When I held ♠ A-Q-7-5-3,  Q-4,  K, ♣ Q-10-4-3-2, I opened one spade in third seat. The next hand overcalled two diamonds and my partner joined in with two hearts. Should I rebid two spades, introduce my clubs, gamble on no-trump or raise hearts?

Flimsy, Albany, Ga.

You set a tough problem here. Rebidding the spades without extra length seems unattractive, and three clubs shows real extras. What does that leave? The call of two no-trump, which at least protects your diamond king, seems too much of a gamble. Given that partner is a passed hand, I am sure I’d let well alone, and pass out two hearts.

How would you bid this hand ♠ Q-J-9-6-2,  2,  K-J-7-5-4, ♣ J-2 opposite a strong no-trump, assuming that Stayman, Jacoby and Texas Transfers are all in your toolbox?

Gabba Gabba, St. Louis, Mo.

There is no easy way to consult partner if you transfer to spades and hear your partner complete the transfer. You have to guess whether to pass, drive to game, or rebid two no-trump, which is correct on values but an unappetizing choice with 5-5 shape. I would prefer to use Stayman and rebid two spades, which for me suggests an unbalanced hand with invitational values and five spades.

With ♠ Q-J-8-2,  3,  A-Q-10, ♣ K-Q-9-4-2 I assume you would open one club here, planning to rebid one spade. If your partner responds one heart and the next hand overcalls one spade, would you pass, rebid one no-trump or rebid clubs?

Stolen Bid, Duluth, Minn.

You should not rebid one no-trump with an unbalanced hand – the last thing you want to do is to encourage partner to repeat his hearts – unless he wants to. So the choice is to rebid clubs or pass. Since I would rather that a two club rebid had a sixth club, or more in the way of extras in an unbalanced hand than I currently possess, I’m going to go low and pass.

I see mention from time to time in your columns of a convention called Lebensohl. I think I understand the basic rules when the opponents overcall one no-trump; but are there other sequences where Lebensohl applies?

System Geek, Galveston, Texas

If your RHO overcalls your partner’s one no-trump opening, pass with really bad hands. If you bid you can double for take-out, or use Lebensohl, which allows you either to play at the two- or three level or set up a game-force. You can also use this method after your partner doubles a weak-two bid; but here you focus on distinguishing weak and invitational hands. discusses the matter in some detail.

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