While you are still counting your points, your partner opens 1♠!
You have learned to stay calm when big hands occur, so you bid 2♥. No problem, it
is forcing. Partner responds 3♣, conventional, a brilliant
treatment from Eric Kokish, the premier bridge coach and bidding wizard
in the world. Here are all the responses possible when opener
has a heart fit.
4♥ = 5-4 in majors,
2-2 in minors, no Ace no King in minors, so you know right away
if you have 2 losers somewhere. Quick, informative,
4♣/4♦ = splinter
with 4 card heart fit
3♥ = fit, not the 4♥, nor the 4♣/4♦ hand
3♣ = can be natural, 5 cards, good hand or 3 card heart fit with a
singleton in a minor.
After 3♣, responder bids 3♦
to enquire. Responses :
3♥ = heart fit,
3♠ = heart fit, singleton ♦
3N = 5 card club suit, no heart fit, good hand
Here is the sequence we had.
As responder, your hand is getting better and better. This ♣
singleton is good news.
Now you know enough as responder, so you go for RKCB. Opener
shows 2 without the queen, heart is trumps obviously. Time to
stop and count.
Opener has Ace of hearts, Ace of diamonds and singleton club.
That is only 8 points. She could have Jack of spades, Jack of hearts,
points. Thus she needs Queen of diamonds to get to 12
points. If she doesnt have one of the Jacks in majors, she
should have the Jack of diamonds. Or she could have the
useless Jack of clubs.
With the double fit and all the aces, you are able to count to 13
tricks: 5 spades, 5 hearts, AK of diamonds and Ace of clubs, 13
tricks. But… one of the majors could break 4-1 and you don’t
have 13 tricks anymore. So you should play in one major in
order to be able to establish the other major if it breaks
4-1. Which major will you choose?
With AKQ in spades, partner is a favorite to hold Jxxxx in spades.
You know she has Axx in hearts, but does she have AJx?
You are still there, thinking, counting, trying to take the optimal
Are there other factors you should consider?
Well yes, extraneous factors in fact, but of paramount
Who is your partner?
As a matter of fact, you are playing with your wife. Not
important, you say? Think again!
I had a partner once who, in a slam forcing sequence, saw his wife
passed 4nt. Considerate as he was, he managed to make only 10
tricks, so she would not feel bad. When he told me that
story, he added: I would not be able to do that today, I would get
blasted by her after that for treating her as inferior.
So you are playing with your wife and, well, I must add another twist:
today is her birthday!
Still not important, you say? Very, very, very important, I
So what do you do? Do you adopt your usual manly attitude and
bid 7♥, on the
principle that you are a better player than she is?
What if you go down???
Or you'll let her play 7♠, as a gift for her birthday and a mark of
I bid 7♠. She was understandably startled, as from her first
bid, she never knew I had a spade fit.
Did they live happily ever after, you wonder? Yes. All majors behaved
and she scored 2210. Happy Birthday!