X-Clubs 46

Board 9 from Monday 30/1/23 online with Real Bridge
Dealer North EW Vul


When North opens 1C, many Easts would overcall with 1S, despite the adverse vulnerability. This can create quite a problem for NS. How would YOUR partnership bid when that happens?

And even more difficult if West raises to 2S following my dictum that ‘if partner can overcall, I can raise with minimum support’. But at our table West did not do that, yet the problem was still not solved easily.

When East overcalled 1S I made a ‘free’ bid of 2D. When West passed, North could have bid 2H, which is NOT a reverse because South has taken the bidding to this level and North’s 2H bid is the cheapest available. However, North took an optimistic view of things and bid 2S (I don’t agree with that bid, by the way). This led to an interesting sequence. I did not have a spade stop but did have great club support. But was 5C perhaps too high, and how could we reach a possibly better spot in 3NT?

The answer is there, and a method that many partnerships have used for many years: a return cue bid of 3S which in this sequence specifically says: “if you have a partial stopper bid 3NT.” North duly did bid 3NT and there was no way for the defence to prevent an overtrick. Three top losers in 5C. How might things have gone if West had raised to 2S? I suggest double from North and 3S from South should also send the same message, though that is a moot point. I’m not sure that I totally agree with a 1S overcall at that vulnerability but even such low level interference can make life very difficult for opponents, especially if they have no real understanding of cue bids and ‘directional asking bids’ as we used to know them years ago. But if East passes, is the road to 3NT any easier? You be the judge.