by Kitty and Steve Cooper, Fort Collins, CO

A friend sent us this hand: She held x AQJ AQJxxx KQ10 and the bidding, with the enemy silent, went 1D-1H-3D-all Pass; since partner held Axxx 10xxxx xx xx 4H  was cold. What went wrong? Think about it before reading further.

This one is easy–with 19 HCP and a singleton opener was way too strong to make a nonforcing bid of 3D. She had an easy jump shift to 3C.  But suppose her hand was weaker–suppose she had x AQJ AQxxxx QJ10. Now she has about the right values for a bid of 3D–16 HCP, five losers, and decent Diamonds. So is 3D a good bid here?

Once again, no–you should never jump rebid your suit, especially a minor, with really good three card support for responder’s major. If you do so you may well end up playing in the wrong strain, as happened here. Partner’s Pass was completely normal, yet you should be playing in hearts (whether three or four is a separate issue). So what should you bid–are you strong enough to jump shift? (Think about both questions before reading on.)

No to the jump shift; again, it’s not even close. To force to game opposite a one level response you need at least a stunning 18 (and most people would say need more than that). So, since you shouldn’t jump shift or jump rebid you are stuck rebidding 2C, even though you only have three of them. Partner knows that you might be stuck rebidding a three card suit, so he will stretch to avoid passing; only if he is very short in diamonds with five or more clubs will he do so. On the actual hand partner will bid 2D and you can now support his hearts (whether you should bid 2H or 3H is a tough question; on balance, 2H seems like enough since partner may have four small and a bad hand–but we have sympathy for 3H).

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