After a couple of weeks of basic bidding, here are some new ideas to sharpen your wits on over Christmas!
Defence to 1NT
When the opponent on your right opens 1NT it can be fairly annoying. Especially if you have a hand that, while not containing masses of points, nevertheless still has a demure yet shapely attractiveness.
Of course, if you do have 15 or more points, 95% of the time you’ll just Double to alert partner to the fact you’ve got a decent point count. It’s right to try to attack the 1NT opening, especially if you’re not Vulnerable. If you’ve got a decentish suit and about 8 - 14 HCP you’ll just bid the suit and hope to steal the auction or at the very least disrupt opponents’ communications. But what if you have a shapely 2 suiter? Something like:
Either of the two major suits might present a place to play, depending on partner’s holding. But you don’t want to dive in with the spade suit only to discover when dummy goes down that partner has a singleton spade but four hearts, do you?
So what can be done? Luckily there are a host of different conventions to deal with exactly this situation. They centre round the useful concept of using one bid to show two suits at the same time. Probably the simplest of these conventions is called LANDY. (You must agree with your partner before the game starts that you are playing this convention!) It goes like this in simple form:
With at least 5/4 in the majors and enough to overcall, bid 2C! The better the shape the fewer the points needed, say 8 - 15 HCP. 2C is forcing so with a limited hand responder shows his better major or, with equal length, bids 2D, inviting the overcaller to choose between the majors. With a good fit - 4 card support and 11+ points responder can start jumping around to 3H, 3S, or even 4H or 4S with a bit more and some extra shape.
Using Landy like this does mean you can no longer bid 2C naturally but hey! you win some you lose some. It’s always better to get major suits into the auction whenever you can.
Now for a bonus tip on …
When you have a sequence (KQJ etc) and you are on lead, you play the TOP card (K) This promises the card(s) below.
When you are following suit to either your partner or declarer and you are going to play a c ard from the same sequence you play the LOWEST card in the sequence. This denies the card below, and partner should be able to work out by noticing what declarer plays whether you have the card(s) above.
Simply put: Lead top, follow bottom …
(This is not how to behave at parties …)