# BBO Discussion Forums: Bidding a minor suit game - BBO Discussion Forums

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## Bidding a minor suit game

### #1briannz556

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Posted 2018-October-11, 15:34

Hi
I handled this hand poorly at the table last night and wondered if someone could help me with a sensible bidding sequence to a minor suit game?

South Opened 1S which was followed by 2 passes. My choices seemed to be 2, X or U2NT. I chose X and partially regretted it. Thoughts appreciated.
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### #2helene_t

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Posted 2018-October-11, 16:05

Kia ora from the far North

2NT shows 19-21 balanced in balancing seat. You may have the specific partnership agreement that 2NT is unusual, but then your NT ladder would have to be something like:
Pass: up to 14
1NT:15-18
dbl then 2NT: 19-21
Most people don't want to pass in balancing seat with as much as 14, hence the ladder is something like
Pass: up to 11
1NT: 12-15
dbl then 2NT: 16-18
2NT: 19-21

2 is probably Michael's although you may have different agreements. In any case, it probably doesn't show 46.

3 is right on values but the hand is not 1-suited enough for that.

Double is normal although 2 isn't bad either.

- X
1NT-2
3-3
3NT*-pass

*This one I am not sure about. What would 3 and 3 mean here? But with the double stopper, 3NT seems reasonable and is at least not confusing.

Maybe East will insist on a minor suit game.

5 has chances but could go down on a 4-1 diamond split or a club ruff or a heart lead.

3NT has good chances. If they lead a spade and take A you have 2+2+5 tricks. If they lead a spade and South ducks and then switches to heart after winning A, you have time to establish both minors. If they lead a heart and keep attacking hearts, you can give them one heart trick and hope that North has the heart length without entries, which is quite likely on the bidding.

5 needs a miracle.
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### #3Cyberyeti

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Posted 2018-October-11, 17:25

helene_t, on 2018-October-11, 16:05, said:

Kia ora from the far North

2NT shows 19-21 balanced in balancing seat. You may have the specific partnership agreement that 2NT is unusual, but then your NT ladder would have to be something like:
Pass: up to 14
1NT:15-18
dbl then 2NT: 19-21
Most people don't want to pass in balancing seat with as much as 14, hence the ladder is something like
Pass: up to 11
1NT: 12-15
dbl then 2NT: 16-18
2NT: 19-21

2 is probably Michael's although you may have different agreements. In any case, it probably doesn't show 46.

3 is right on values but the hand is not 1-suited enough for that.

Double is normal although 2 isn't bad either.

- X
1NT-2
3-3
3NT*-pass

*This one I am not sure about. What would 3 and 3 mean here? But with the double stopper, 3NT seems reasonable and is at least not confusing.

Maybe East will insist on a minor suit game.

5 has chances but could go down on a 4-1 diamond split or a club ruff or a heart lead.

3NT has good chances. If they lead a spade and take A you have 2+2+5 tricks. If they lead a spade and South ducks and then switches to heart after winning A, you have time to establish both minors. If they lead a heart and keep attacking hearts, you can give them one heart trick and hope that North has the heart length without entries, which is quite likely on the bidding.

5 needs a miracle.

5 basically needs A lead or N to have it
5(W) can't survive a spade lead with opener having the A, you have to get to 5(E) which is tricky.
3N has definite chances as if you get 2 spade tricks you're basically home if clubs aren't 4-0 and heart leads are unlikely to beat you if you duck once, would require N to have 5 hearts and a non club ace, which given that he also holds almost certainly 3-4 spades might not be passing 1. *edit* this last bit is rubbish, I misread the hand slightly, you have 6 hearts not 5, a heart lead will only beat you if SOUTH has 5 hearts, and I guess you'd hear about that in the auction.

My auction would be very close to what you give.
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### #4briannz556

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Posted 2018-October-11, 19:19

helene_t, on 2018-October-11, 16:05, said:

Kia ora from the far North

2NT shows 19-21 balanced in balancing seat. You may have the specific partnership agreement that 2NT is unusual, but then your NT ladder would have to be something like:
Pass: up to 14
1NT:15-18
dbl then 2NT: 19-21
Most people don't want to pass in balancing seat with as much as 14, hence the ladder is something like
Pass: up to 11
1NT: 12-15
dbl then 2NT: 16-18
2NT: 19-21

2 is probably Michael's although you may have different agreements. In any case, it probably doesn't show 46.

3 is right on values but the hand is not 1-suited enough for that.

Double is normal although 2 isn't bad either.

- X
1NT-2
3-3
3NT*-pass

*This one I am not sure about. What would 3 and 3 mean here? But with the double stopper, 3NT seems reasonable and is at least not confusing.

Maybe East will insist on a minor suit game.

5 has chances but could go down on a 4-1 diamond split or a club ruff or a heart lead.

3NT has good chances. If they lead a spade and take A you have 2+2+5 tricks. If they lead a spade and South ducks and then switches to heart after winning A, you have time to establish both minors. If they lead a heart and keep attacking hearts, you can give them one heart trick and hope that North has the heart length without entries, which is quite likely on the bidding.

5 needs a miracle.

Hi
Thanks for the response.
Agree with your view of 2NT. As to a 2 MQB, it is supposed to show the other major and a minor so ruled that out.

It would have been nice if I'd got that 1N reply from my P but I got a 2 response instead. I felt that a minor game was on but that would depend on what my P had in so I bid 3 thinking this was a new suit at the 3 level and would be forcing [ for one round at least ]. Sadly, I was left in it and made 5. Was I right to assume 3 was a forcing bid?
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### #5ggwhiz

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Posted 2018-October-11, 19:24

I would double and partner would bid 1nt next which we play as 8-10, not bupkas.

After that perhaps 3 but we are landing in 3nt not 5 of a minor
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### #6rmnka447

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Posted 2018-October-11, 20:48

I would think of your original choices Double stands out.

Here in the US, most people play a balancing 1 NT as 11-14 with stoppers and a balancing 2 NT as Unusual. So with a stronger NT hand, you have to double and rebid in NT.

Double normally shows about an opening bid, but can be shaded with shapely distribution. But just because you've got a void in the opponents suit, doesn't mean you can double to reopen with rubbish.

Partner with a stopper and a lot of junk otherwise, should just bid a suit. So, 1 NT should show a stopper and about the 8-10 you're normally playing partner for when you reopen. With good stoppers and more values, advancer may jump in NT. After the 1 NT advance, I think you sit with the 9-10 shapely double and hope partner can make it. If they double, then you can redouble and scramble from there. Likewise, with a non-descript minimum opener, you do the same.

So any further bid by reopener should be forward going.

So, I would endorse an auction pretty close to the one helene_t proffered.

--- - Double
1 NT- 2

3 - 3 NT*

* - If partner has a fit in and 8-10, 3 NT should have some play with stoppers in the remaining suits. If a further suit bid is made, partner may bypass 3 NT without a stopper in the remaining suit.
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### #7smerriman

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Posted 2018-October-11, 20:57

rmnka447, on 2018-October-11, 20:48, said:

Here in the US, most people play a balancing 1 NT as 11-14 with stoppers and a balancing 2 NT as Unusual.

We just had a thread on this.. that's definitely not the case.
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### #8helene_t

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Posted 2018-October-11, 21:16

briannz556, on 2018-October-11, 19:19, said:

Sadly, I was left in it and made 5. Was I right to assume 3 was a forcing bid?

No, partner could have zero points for his 2 bid so you really don't want to force opposite this. If you had some 22+ points and want to force, you would have to bid 2 or maybe 4 (although I am not even sure if that is forcing). I think the best you can do is to raise 2 to 3. This is not forcing either but encourages.

Regardless of whether you bid 3 or 3, partner now has to bid 3NT. He has shown something like 0-9 points so he has an absolute maximum. When you make a positive bid after that, he should not stop below game.
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Posted 2018-October-11, 22:08

briannz556, on 2018-October-11, 19:19, said:

It would have been nice if I'd got that 1N reply from my P but I got a 2 response instead. I felt that a minor game was on but that would depend on what my P had in so I bid 3 thinking this was a new suit at the 3 level and would be forcing [ for one round at least ]. Sadly, I was left in it and made 5. Was I right to assume 3 was a forcing bid?

2 was an awful bid by partner. I would take 3 by partner after 1NT as forcing, although bidding it on such a poor suit is nearly as awful. A new suit (2 by opener) here as helene_t rightly says should be a forward move and forcing (searching for game in fact). Raising with 4443 doesn't look right. With a double stopper I'm re-assuring partner over his shortage (and with good cards in his suit bid) that 3NT looks the most likely contract by bidding 3NT. (And sometimes five of a minor can be a better contract but 3NT is where the majority of players will head to given the choice of 3NT and 5m. C'est la vie)
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### #10briannz556

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Posted 2018-October-12, 02:36

2 was an awful bid by partner. I would take 3 by partner after 1NT as forcing, although bidding it on such a poor suit is nearly as awful. A new suit (2 by opener) here as helene_t rightly says should be a forward move and forcing (searching for game in fact). Raising with 4443 doesn't look right. With a double stopper I'm re-assuring partner over his shortage (and with good cards in his suit bid) that 3NT looks the most likely contract by bidding 3NT. (And sometimes five of a minor can be a better contract but 3NT is where the majority of players will head to given the choice of 3NT and 5m. C'est la vie)

Thanks for the feedback. I feel more comfortable about the whole proceeding now.
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### #11Tramticket

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Posted 2018-October-12, 03:13

briannz556, on 2018-October-11, 15:34, said:

My choices seemed to be 2, X or U2NT.

No, your only choices are double or 2 - other bids mis-describe the hand. Of these two bids, I would strongly favour a double, despite the six-card club suit, as your hand is very playable in any one of three suits. In response to the double your partner has a clear and easy 1NT response.

From here it gets more murky. East needs extra strength to bid double and bid 2, even in the protective seat - and this hand is marginal for this action, but the spade void would persuade me to do this. West now has some good fitting cards in clubs and a double stop in spades and I would simply bid 3NT now with the west cards. My auction:

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### #12P_Marlowe

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Posted 2018-October-12, 05:26

Hi,

You have only 15HCP, your main suit is lousy, but it is a 6 carder.
Overcalling in bal. seat can be streched, but even in bal. seat, a 2 level overcall
looks close to a 2 level overcall in direct seat, thats what you have, having more

Partner will raise, he has a fit, he has honors in the suit you overcall, you will
ask for a spade stopper (or pass, this is close, but if he does not have a stopper,
you will be able to make 4C, ..., or invite 4C), he will bid 3NT (accept or pass the
invite).
Does it make? No idea.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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### #13rhm

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Posted 2018-October-12, 09:00

helene_t, on 2018-October-11, 21:16, said:

No, partner could have zero points for his 2 bid so you really don't want to force opposite this. If you had some 22+ points and want to force, you would have to bid 2 or maybe 4 (although I am not even sure if that is forcing). I think the best you can do is to raise 2 to 3. This is not forcing either but encourages.
Regardless of whether you bid 3 or 3, partner now has to bid 3NT. He has shown something like 0-9 points so he has an absolute maximum. When you make a positive bid after that, he should not stop below game.

I do not mind your raise, but never (and when I say never I mean hardly ever in Bridge) play your partner for zero points, when the bidding starts one of a suit pass pass to you ....
It will take a lifetime of Bridge for 2 yarboroughs (or nearly so) to happen on the same deal. Partner is almost never broke.
Also since your balancing doubles start weaker than in second seat your partner needs more to show strength in response. I would jump with an opening bid (obviously unsuitable to take immediate action) opposite a balancing double.

Rainer Herrmann
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### #14P_Marlowe

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Posted 2018-October-12, 09:10

smerriman, on 2018-October-11, 20:57, said:

We just had a thread on this.. that's definitely not the case.

Well, the majority was for strong natural, but there was a minority share unusual NT.
Even your poll at BW, if you scanned through the comments, showed, that unusual is not common,
but is an option, i.e. in undiscussed partnership making the bid, is asking for it.
The argument in favor for strong natural, was precision of the NT ladder, if I am in an
undiscussed partnership, this is the last of my concerns ... I would avoid making the bid.
Similar the direct cue,if you dont play unusual, than the cue cant be Michaels.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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### #15mikeh

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Posted 2018-October-12, 10:10

One point that was barely referenced in the discussion is the meaning of x then 2 over partner's (obvious) 1N bid.

There is a school of thought, to which I happen to belong, that after (1M) x (P) 1N (P) 2m is weak, as in a shaded 4441 (if we rebid 2) or a weak 5431 with 5 diamonds, if we rebid 2.

The point is that advancer may well have only one stop in the major, and 8-10 hcp, and is known not to hold 4 in the other major, so rates to hold a fit or at least tolerance for one of the minors, and 2m will usually play as well as or better than 1N, and (critically) often fail by less when it is failing. On a bad day advancer was bidding on Jxxx and the defence to 1N is low to the Q and back to the AK10xxx , squeezing dummy

If this is a viable approach to bidding after a 1N advance to a direct double, should it not be similar when the double is in balance seat? Bear in mind that the lower limit for a balancing double is probably a little lower than for a direct double. Otoh, positionally the 1N is better placed after the balancing double than the direct, and indeed, the upper range for 1N is a little higher for the balancing double situation, because the double can be a little weaker.

Now, had my partner bid 2D, after my double, I'd be very, very puzzled. As it is, I am a bit puzzled. The opps have 10 spades between them and the only action they took was a 1S opening. If dealer had 7, he should bid 2S (at least, possibly 3, but that depends on his hand), and if responder had 4, he should raise spades, either immediately or at the very least after the 2D response.

If I were doubler, I'd mentally place partner with spade length...not definitively, since one gets used to the opps mis-describing their hands....could partner be, for example, xxxx xx Axxxx xx? For sure he could. But he could be xxxx xx Axxxx Ax as well: that isn't enough to bid 3D imo. So I think one has to raise. The hand isn't good enough for 2S, and there is (usually) no point in misdescribing our hand via 3C....we have found a fit, and KQJx should be adequate support.

Over 3D, partner would either pass (anyone bad enough to bid 2D is bad enough to be completely unpredictable here) or bid 3N. However, if he bid 3N, I'd be wondering what to do, since I have to assume that he did not misbid the first time....if he couldn't bid 1N, what does he have? A hand too weak to bid a (constructive) 1N advance, or a hand too shapely?

Anyway, back in the real world of a 1N advance, I think responder can bid 2S to force, although it is borderline. If partner owns to a 3 call, I will commit to the minor game. All other advances fetch 3N. On a high-level, bidding 2S then 3N suggests doubt about 3N. Hands that want to play in 3N opposite all 1N advances bid 3N, not 2S.
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Posted 2018-October-12, 10:55

mikeh, on 2018-October-12, 10:10, said:

One point that was barely referenced in the discussion is the meaning of x then 2 over partner's (obvious) 1N bid...etc.

Some very valid points in your post, Mike +1
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### #17dokoko

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Posted 2018-October-20, 05:44

briannz556, on 2018-October-11, 15:34, said:

Hi
I handled this hand poorly at the table last night and wondered if someone could help me with a sensible bidding sequence to a minor suit game?

South Opened 1S which was followed by 2 passes. My choices seemed to be 2, X or U2NT. I chose X and partially regretted it. Thoughts appreciated.

As helene_t pointed out 2NT here is best played as natural. I think the best way to play the cuebid is to show any strong two-suiter (not just hearts+minor), the kind of hand which is difficult to describe starting with dbl and fears to be dropped after a simple overcall. This would show 5+5+, however, so no option here.
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