The HHI Bridge blog is dedicated to a better understanding of the game of bridge. Each mini-lesson (#0001-0016) focuses on one deal, one topic, one explanation (bidding, play of the hand, etc.).
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0006 – Best Hand at the Table

When to Pass #001 – Passing with the best hand at the table is really, really, really hard. But remember, bidding is about describing your hand to your partner or as Al Roth says bidding is "the art of painting a bridge hand."  After West opens 1, how can North best describe this hand?


After West open's 1 , what call can North make that is NOT, at best, a misrepresentation ? The choices seem to be 1 NT, Double, 1 , 2 , PASS ... any others?

1 NT – While North has a perfect 1 NT opening bid, as an overcall, North does not have a diamond stopper. This is a really bad choice, the contract could end up in 3 NT not making (as E/W run off 7-diamond tricks) when game otherwise in a suit contract is assured.

Double – While some partnerships might make takeout doubles to show opening values regardless of shape, a Minimum Offshape Takeout Double (Savannah double), in modern bridge this is just WRONG! What would North do after a takeout double, if partner jumps to 4 ? So what about doubling with the plan on rebidding ... first, North only has 15 hcp and second, what would North rebid?

1S or 2C – North doesn't have a 5-card suit in either spades or clubs. Sure North would like partner to lead one of these suits if on opening lead, but partner will expect a different hand thinking if not saying out loud WWYT (what were you thinking).

PASS – Passing with the best hand at the table seems to be the best option. The bidding should come back around, and if partner does not have enough values to balance over 1 , then PASS was the right option all along.

Here is the complete deal and auction.

When South has enough values to enter an open auction with 1 , North is happy to press the auction to game. 


Remember a cuebid is a contextual bid the meaning of which is based on the point in the auction the cuebid is made. In this deal the cuebid of 3  (bidding the opponent's suit) is a forcing raise in spades showing limit raise (good 10 hcp) or better values. After South rebids spades North should have no problems getting to game in spades.

This deal was played by Don Buchanan with Fred Ferguson Aug 20, 2014 / Hilton Head BC. To obtain a printable PDF file of this post click here " 20140820 0006

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