Mike's Bidding Quiz


1. If partner makes a takeout double and I have an opening hand myself, what’s wrong with just jumping to game?

2. Does it make a difference if I have a good hand and two suits?

When your partner makes a takeout double of an opening bid at the one level and you have an opening hand, you will want to be in game. If you have two suits, it is best not to jump to game in one of them, especially if your two suits are majors.

You should start with a cuebid and then try to sort out the best game. Your cuebid lets partner in on the secret that you have a good hand. Here are a few hands showing your approach.

West North East South
1 Dbl Pass ?

1. ♠ A K 7 3   Q J 8 2   8 7 6   ♣ Q 10

See Mike's Advice

You have an opening bid of sorts, and you have excellent support for both majors. Bid 2 and raise partner’s major to game. If he bids 2NT, you know he does not have a major, which is surprising, but you still have values to go to game. Raise 2NT to 3NT.

If you cuebid 2 and partner bids 3♣, an unexpected bid, you have another problem that, fortunately, is rare. My suggestion would be to bid 3, another cuebid, asking partner if he can bid notrump. If he cannot, you will have a story to tell. You might guess to bid a major, hoping that you can survive in a 4–3 fit. That is not something that new players like to do.

2. ♠ A J 6 3   7 3   9 3   ♣ A K J 10 6

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2. Your partner will bid a major. If he bids hearts, bid 2♠ to let him know you have a game-forcing hand with four or more spades. He will assume you have four of them until you rebid them. If he bids 2♠, just raise to 4♠. If he bids 2NT, denying a four-card major suit, forget the clubs and raise to game. Your clubs may be worth five notrump tricks, an excellent contribution.

Do not concern yourself with clubs. Clubs and diamonds are afterthoughts for the most part. Partner said he had the majors and you should try to find a major-suit contract.

If partner does not have four spades, your hope should be to reach 3NT. 5♣ is the game of last resort. Remember that nine tricks are usually easier than 11.

3. ♠ 8 7 6 3   Q 7   A K Q   ♣ K J 8 3

See Mike's Advice

Bid 3NT. This is a practical bid. You have three diamond stoppers, and your spade suit is moldy. Even if partner has four fair spades, you might have three or four spade losers in a spade contract and nine winners in a notrump contract. This is a rare hand, and I show it only to remind you that finding an eight-card major suit fit is your first priority but not your only priority. You must learn to use your judgment, and this hand illustrates that principle.