by Kitty and Steve Cooper, Fort Collins, CO

Several people have asked us to explain Soloway jump shifts, which we had mentioned in a previous column.

Coopers:  In old fashioned bridge, all 17+ hands were described by starting with a strong jump shift. This took up too much bidding room without giving partner accurate information as to hand type. The late, great Paul Soloway devised a better method of jump shifts. You make a strong jump shift with one of the following three hand types:

  1. A one loser six card or good seven card or longer suit with either 15+ HCP or five losers.
  2. A balanced hand with 18+ HCP.
  3. A good five card or longer suit plus good support for opener. In a minor good support is defined as decent four card or longer support (so that opener with Hxxx knows that his minor is playable), while in a major it is at least honor third or any four card or longer holding.

Over the strong jump shift opener almost always bids the next step, which is an artificial bid asking responder to clarify his hand - e.g., bidding 2S over 2H. Responder’s rebids are as follows:

  1. With the good suit hand type of jump shift responder rebids the jump shift suit.
  2. With the balanced 18+ responder rebids the cheapest notrump. When 3NT is not a jump it shows 18-19, 4NT is 20-21, and so on up the line.
  3. With support for partner and a good suit responder either bids opener’s suit to show a balanced hand (usually 5422) or bids a new suit to show shortness there with a raise. Note that this shortness bid is not a jump.

How do the auctions continue from here?

  1. When responder shows a one suiter that suit is trump for purposes of RKC and all other suits are cuebids.
  2. When responder shows a strong balanced hand, new suits are searching for a fit, Baron-style. Otherwise opener raises to the appropriate number of notrump (usually six) based on adding his points to responder’s points. The use of Gerber to ask for aces is advisable.
  3. When responder shows support opener’s suit is trump for purposes of RKC and all other suits are cuebids.

There are three times when opener does not use the next step to ask responder for a description:

  1. When holding honor third or better in support of responder’s suit, in which case opener may raise responder or splinter with shortness.
  2. When holding a big two suiter, in which case opener bids the second suit. Notrump stands for the suit that would be used to ask responder to clarify. Thus the auction 1D - 2H - 2NT shows spades and diamonds since 2S would be the artificial ask.
  3. When holding a long semi-solid or solid suit of his own, in which case opener may rebid it.

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