North south vulnerable

Play Bridge: Getting the most from cuebid

"...when you have length in opponent’s suit, you have great reluctance to declare the contract."

Most bidding systems are equipped with enough tools to get to the correct contract almost every time if the opponents are silent. However, that is often not the case. Competition is a fact of bridge. It takes away bidding room, pushes you too high and may make you uncertain of sufficient stoppers. Here competition helps. It gives three bids not available in an uncontested auction, the pass, the double and the cuebid.

I have mentioned this before, but when you have length in opponent’s suit, you have great reluctance to declare the contract. You also hardly want to warn the opponents of a bad split or take them off of the hook in a bad contract.

That is exactly what happens when you have length in an opponent’s suit and you decide to enter the auction. The opponents, maybe only temporarily, are off the hook, and yourself or your partner now have to determine how to declare this mess of a contract with a pile of opponent’s suit.

That is the long winded version of saying when you bid opponent’s suit, you do not have it.

A common use of the cuebid is called the invitational cuebid which shows support of partner’s suit and at least 10 points. When the cuebid is available, the double raise of partner’s suit is always weak, and, as usual, the simple raise is six to nine points.

Another use of the cuebid is to show first round control of the suit and slam interest.

The bidding: South, with 13 points, opens One Spade with the intention of rebidding Two Hearts. West throws a spanner into the works by taking away bidding room with a Club pre-empt.

North knows they have a game in Spades and could simply bid Four Spades but his hand is too strong for that weak bid. He makes a Four Club cuebid telling partner, he has 13 or more HCP’s.

East removes the ace-asking bid with a Five Club bid. South then cuebids the Diamond suit showing first round control. North cuebids Clubs showing first round Club control and South cuebids Diamonds again, showing second round control as well. North bids Six Spades. Seven is cold but hard to get to with the opponents’ competition.

The Play: West leads trump. South draws trump, cashes the Heart Ace and ruffs two Clubs making his hand good and claims.

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