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Should I respond 2 Clubs or 1 Spade?
Should I respond 2 or 1?
 
What would you bid with this hand after partner opens 1?
South
KQ83
Q43
A8
A843
 
You should bid 2. Let's look at how awkward the auction gets if we bid 1. Partner responds 2. Now we're forced into bidding 3. Partner might respond 3 or 3NT.  Now we have no idea what the right contract is, and have no room to explore. It could be 3NT, 4, or 6. We can either guess to hide our hearts or more likely bid 4.
 
Or suppose partner raises 1 to 2, this is what we were hoping for when we bid 1 right?  But maybe partner has something like:
North
A104
AJ1085
K843
7
If you play spiral, you can hopefully uncover if partner has 3 or 4 card support. If not, we are left guessing again. We can probably survive by bidding 4, but it will be tough to explore for slam without risking getting too high.
 
Now let us compare how easy the auction becomes if we start with 2.
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
Now we have forced to game, and shown our heart support while at the 2 level. Even if partner bids 2NT we can still show our heart support at the 3 level, and we have all of our other tools available, such as serious/non-serious 3NT (especially at Matchpoints, a partnership needs to weigh the value of 3NT being an offer to play vs. distinguishing between serious and non-serious slam tries), cue bids, and Roman Key Card.
 
We do not risk losing the spade suit as partner will always bid 2 with 4, and we can raise to 3.  Again we have set trumps and established the game force at the 3 level and still have our slam tools available.
 
While I may be in the minority, I believe it is even right to bid 2 on 4333, 42(43) and even 4342 (if you play 2 promises 5). 2 in essence, becomes either clubs or any balanced game force.  If you are a fan of system, there are certainly ways to improve over the standard framework after 1M-2, such as Gazilli which is popular with many of the Italian pairs, but that is another articleWhat would you bid with this hand after partner opens 1?

What would you bid in response to your partner's 1 opening bid?

South
KQ83
Q43
A8
A843

You should bid 2.

Let's look at how awkward the auction gets if we bid 1 partner may respond 2. At that point conveying both our game forcing (mild slam try) strength and our heart fit becomes difficult.  First we must set the game force with 3 (4th suit forcing).  Partner might respond 3 or 3NT, leaving us with no option but to bid 4.

Or suppose partner raises 1 to 2, this is what we were hoping for when we bid 1 right? But maybe partner has something like:

North
A104
AJ1085
K843
7

If you play some convention, you can hopefully uncover if partner has 3 or 4 card support. If not, we are left with a guess. We can probably survive by bidding 4, but it will be tough to explore for slam without risking getting too high.

Now let us compare how easy the auction becomes if we start with 2.

W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
2

Now we have forced to game, and shown our heart support while at the 2 level. Even if partner bids 2NT over 2 we can still show our heart support at the 3 level, and we have all of our other tools available, such as serious/non-serious 3NT, cue bids, and Roman Key Card.

We do not risk losing the spade suit as partner will always bid 2 with 4, and we can raise to 3. Again we have set trumps and established the game force at the 3 level, and still have our slam tools available.

While I may be in the minority, I believe it is even right to bid 2 on 4333, 42(43) and even 4342 (if you play 2 promises 5). 2 in essence, becomes either clubs or any balanced game force. If you are a fan of system, there are certainly ways to improve over the standard framework after 1-1, such as Gazilli which is popular with many of the Italian pairs, but that is another article.

 
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