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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


West North East South
1 1 Pass ?



  What call would you make with each of the following South hands, both sides vulnerable, playing Matchpoints (comparison scoring)


1)  J8742 62 K10843 9
2) 5 KJ10952 K63 842
3) AQ3 AJ4 87542 104
4) Q104 52 KQ102 8643
5) 2 Q102 AKJ1082 A74
6) K2 AQ8 J1072 KJ82
7) Q10 Q10 Q104 9763


 (1) 4. You might bid only 3 if you treat the jump raise as a weak obstructive bid, but with at least ten combined trumps (yes, North might overcall with a strong four-card suit on occasion), the odds favour contracting for ten tricks. If 4 is defeated (doubled or not), it will often prove to be a good sacrifice against a game that East/West would have reached if you left them more bidding room.

 (2) 2. Some pairs prefer to treat a new suit response to an overcall as a one-round force. You will rarely have a hand strong enough to justify such a treatment, however, and much more often you will hold a hand like this one, a good suit with moderate values. You would prefer to play in 2, but you would think twice about bidding 2 if your system would not allow you partner to pass it. North may raise freely, but should pass with a minimum overcall, even with no fit for your suit. That is the message sent by 2.

 (3) 2. Too strong to pass, not strong enough to commit to game, unwilling to go as high as 3 opposite a moderate overcall. The cue-bid does not promise a control in the enemy suit. You will usually have some support for partner, but if you don't, you will have a strong hand unsuitable for a different action.

 (4) 2. Always support when you have support. This gentle raise does not show game-invitational strength. By raising, you steal bidding room for the opponents and make it easier for partner to compete further with extra strength or distribution.

 (5) 3. 2 would not be forcing. You could cue-bid 2, then bid diamonds, a sequence that oblige North to bid again. Opposite some minimum overcalls, however, you'd like to stop at 3. A jump response sends the right message: "I have a good suit and a sound opening bid; pass or bid, as you prefer."

 (6) 2NT. Not forcing. You have strong interest in game, but North may have a shapely overcall, perhaps a moderate two-suiter, or simply a minimum. By describing your strength and stoppers, you allow North to choose a contract or suggest another strain.

 (7) 1NT. Some would pass. Others would raise spades with the strong doubleton. We strongly advocate advancing with 1NT, despite the lack of a true club stopper. North can rebid a six-card suit, introduce a second suit (perhaps hearts), pass, or raise. If the opponents run clubs, you might have the balance of the tricks when they're done. Game is not out of the question.