Playing in the Minors (Suits, Not Leagues)

Playing in the Minors (Suits, Not Leagues)

Posted by Marti Ronemus on Aug 30th 2021

Are any of my Faithful Readers out there old enough to remember the Perry Como show on TV when he would sing, “We get letters...” Well, I get lots of letters too, and it’s time to share them with the world.

Here’s one with TWO questions, from a delightful Faithful Reader who we’ll call Kitty (we preserve the illusion of innocence here!):

Hey Marti! I am pleading for help to settle an argument. Partner opens 1. Naturally, I have no Clubs but here’s my hand. AQx Qxx AJxxxxx What is best response? How do we get to 3NT? How do I know that’s where we belong?

Hey back atcha, Kitty! This is an easy one, hardly worth my thinking cap. You have game-going values. All you need to do is bid 1♦. It is forcing. What happens next depends on Pard’s bid. He MUST bid again. Neither of you will have limited your hand. Pard’s second bid will limit his and you’ll then be in a position to probably place the contract. There is no need for you to jump or anything else. And don’t worry about being psychic. You don’t need to anticipate the contract until you have more info. You want to make the lowest forcing bid you can. You are in charge of placing the contract, but you will need more info. You’ll get it on his rebid. Does this make sense? Maybe you belong in NT. Maybe in a Diamond slam. Who knows? The better your hand the more important it is to tiptoe up the bidding ladder.

Apparently, Kitty was having a rough day dealing with those minor suits, because she had a second question.

I am dealer with ♠x ♥Qx ♦x ♣Axxxxxxxx I opened a club. Partner bid a heart. I jumped to 3 clubs. Partner bid 5 clubs and I made 7. Was this correct?

I’m not sure I agree with your opening bid of 1♣. I would open 3♣, maybe even 5♣ depending on vulnerability, my hormone level that day, etc. BUT let’s work with what we have. When you jumped to 3♣ you were promising 16-18 pts. I have no idea what Pard’s hand is, but he was working at a disadvantage because your bids didn’t accurately describe your hand.

Kittie, it’s important to understand that MAKING 7 doesn’t mean you should have BEEN in 7. Not knowing Pard’s hand, I can’t say if you should have been there or not. Please don’t be a “results” player. Maybe you had terrible defense. Maybe there was an advantageous lead.

Now, while I don’t agree with your bids, keep in mind that in bridge, there’s nothing five people agree on.

If all this isn’t clear, feel free to continue to reach out. I need Faithful Readers’ conundrums to fill my columns!

And now, a crass commercial message. To learn more about handling minor suits and deciding whether to be in a minor or Notrump, you might enjoy my BridgeBee set, “Playing in the Minors.” You’ll have a better understanding on how to get to the right place at the right time after practicing those hands.