North south vulnerable

North south vulnerable

How to deal with a direct cuebid

Play Bridge: Trick and tips for bridge players, new to experienced.

The bidding: West, with 13 high card points and at least a five-card heart suit, opens one heart. North, with five spades and five clubs makes a top and other cuebid. The requirement is less than opening points and more than 16 points. The suits must be playable (touching honours, for example) opposite poor support from partner. This is a bid to take the auction away from the opponents if South likes the fit.

Michael’s cuebid: This is a direct seat cuebid with a five-five distribution or better. A cuebid of a minor shows both majors. As above, the cuebid of a major shows the other major and another unbid suit. Notrump by South asks which one.

Top and Other cuebid: This is a more versatile form of the Michael’s Cuebid. The two suits shown are the highest ranking unbid suit and another unspecified unbid suit. Notrump by South asks partner for the other suit. When combined with the unusual notrump bid, all five-five combinations can be shown.

The contract: Four spades by South.

The opening lead: A small diamond.

The choices of an opening lead are not good. They are all undesirable. A spade or a heart can be ruled out. The diamond lead is slightly better than cashing the ace of clubs. Cashing an unsupported ace may set up declarer’s side suit. This lead is more suitable against a slam. The ace of clubs will likely not disappear.

The play: Declarer loses a spade, a diamond and a club, making his contract. With an opening lead of the ace of clubs, declarer will make an overtrick.

The result: Four Spades making four for +620.