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   Nov.  14/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


The subject of reverses has been confounding developing players for decades. Here are some examples: (a) 1-1; 2 (b) 1-1; 2 (c) 1-2; 3. Opener's 3 in (c) is known as a "high reverse" because it raises the bidding to an even higher level. In all these auctions opener's second bid forces his partner to go to the three-level if he prefers opener's first suit. As responder may hold a weak hand, opener must have a good one to risk committing to those heights.

 In the auction below - call it (d) - South's 2
bid is a reverse. Unlike a jump shift, a reverse is not forcing to game but it could be every bit as strong as a jump shift; responder is expected to bid again. Another key feature of opener's reverse is its guarantee of greater length (at least five cards) in his first suit. Opener promises a third bid unless responder makes a bid known to be weak in a playable strain. In mainstream North American bidding, responder's same-suit rebid promises a five-card or longer suit but is not defined as weak (he would, however, jump to 3 with a one-loser suit of at least six cards. It is common to treat responder's raise or simple preferences as forcing (also) and to use 2NT as a conventional signal of weakness, denying as many as five spades. Over responder's neutral 2, opener tries to limit his hand when he can.


West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass ?

As South, what call do you make with each of the following hands?

K2 A AJ32 AJ9863

A K106 KQJ6 KQ1098

AQ3 76 AK6 AK1098

AK 76 KQJ6 KQ1082

AQ 85 AQJ5 AKJ98

a) Three clubs. South shows a near minimum in high cards and a sixth club.

b) Two notrump. Natural, about 17-19 points. South may be 2-2-4-5 but this sequence does not imply a balanced hand.

c) Four spades. Some would open two notrump or rebid two notrump over 1
. For those who avoid such actions with a weak doubleton, 1, then 2 (ostensibly natural) will be just right. When North repeats spades, South's jump raise can be defined as three-card support but no singleton heart. Change the 7 to the 7 so that South is 3-1-4-5, and he would jump to 4 over 2, a "splinter" raise showing heart shortage and true spade support.

d) Three spades. Take away a queen and the South hand would not be worth a reverse (you might open 1NT). As 2
is forcing, South cannot pass. 3 shows exactly a doubleton spade (with at least one honour) and denies a heart guard (else 2NT). 3 sounds nonforcing and so it is.

e) Three hearts. South is not showing a suit of hearts (else 2
over 1). His bid in the fourth suit after reversing shows a hand too strong to limit but with no clear direction. South is too good for a nonforcing 3, as in (d).