Today, I will touch on a topic that was covered in columns 37 on May 17, 2011 to column 41 on June 14, 2011. What do you do with an opening hand when partner opens in a minor?
The bidding: North has an opening with his 13 points. He does not have a five-card major so he opens his better or longer minor, clubs.
East passes, but had his diamond suit been better, he may have jumped to two diamonds in an effort to take the bidding room away from North and South. However, his diamond suit is not strong enough to draw trump readily.
South, if he had one or more four-card suits, he would bid them up the line. Up the line also means alphabetical or up the bidding ladder. However, South does not have a four-card suit and only has five clubs.
A raise to two clubs would show six to nine points and a raise to three clubs would show 10-12 points. Some play that three clubs shows an opening hand and would have no bidding problems here. However, they would have a bidding problem with a 10 to 12 point hand.
South knows that an opening hand opposite an opening hand makes 3NT or a major game. Therefore South jumps to 3NT.
The lead: Against notrump, the lead of the ace of hearts is made here.
The lead of the ace shows a five-card suit or longer that is missing one honour. It asks partner to unblock by dropping the honour if he had one. Otherwise, he is to give count. A high card shows an even number and a low card shows an odd number.
Here, East has no choice of cards and he plays his singleton under the ace. Had West played the queen, the top of an interior sequence, West would win the trick and would not be able to return the suit. He would switch to the other major and the defense will get their seven tricks.
The play: 3NT goes down three trick before South can get in. The result is typical because North and South were not able to show stoppers in the majors. The way to solve the problems associated with minor suit openings will be discussed next column.
Result: 3NT goes down three for -150.
Note: -All the bridge columns may be viewed at http://watsongallery.ca.