Partner Overcalls 1 and They Bid
(Page of 4)

In the given auction, how do you respond to partner’s overcall?

None Vulnerable, Matchpoints

LHO    Pard       RHO    You

1       1            Dbl       ??

(a) ♠KQ8 ♥T762 ♦T86 ♣954

(b) ♠8543 ♥K6 ♦K86 ♣5432

(c) ♠8543 ♥K6 ♦KQJ84 ♣32

(d) ♠8543 ♥K62 ♦KQ32 ♣T8

(e) ♠J543 ♥K62 ♦KT962 ♣8

(f) ♠Q43 ♥Q86 ♦T842 ♣542

(g) ♠8543 ♥6 ♦KQ984 ♣732            .

(h) ♠85432 ♥K6 ♦K8 ♣5432            .

General comments on responding to Partner’s 1 Overcall.

When responding to partner’s overcall of 1S, as in the following sequence, your RHO may make a Negative Double showing 6 or more points and at least four hearts. Your RHO may Pass. In either case, we want to consider how you might handle a weakish responding hand. It is important to consider whether the game is Matchpoints or IMPs and whether you are you vulnerable or not.

LHO    Pard       RHO     You

1C       1S        P or X     ??

Here is a schedule of typical bids, and a description (with variations) of standard responses.

1.  2S = 5 to 9 points, 3-4 trumps; you are not obligated to bid with 5-7 points and a blah hand; bidding with so few points usually means an additional distributional feature such as a singleton or side 5-card suit.

2.  3S = 0 to 6 points and 4/5 trumps - the pre-emptive jump raise; you must agree beforehand on this common treatment, and agreement is especially needed on minimum/maximum standards. We don’t recommend this bid if vulnerable against nonvulnerable unless the hand has remarkable distribution. Also, when minimal in points, have two doubletons or a singleton – partner needs all the help you can give.)

3.  3C =   the “mixed” raise; this jump cue bid shows four trumps and 7-9 points, just below a shapely limit raise. Usually shows a singleton or two doubletons. Justin Lall gives this hand:   “♠KJxx ♥x ♦Kxxx ♣xxxx - bid 3♣ - the  hand is a common hand type that is very difficult to show. I see people bid a mixed raise with hands strong enough for a limit raise, or with hands that are more balanced and defensive (which should just bid 2). So often it takes away from the value of having a mixed raise to begin with. You can get to a lot of light games by using these correctly.”  Thus Lall might say 6-8 points with shape, too strong for the preemptive raise. I like this: the mixed raise is a queen or king short of being a limit raise, and having a singleton is often the critical factor in deciding to make the bid.

4. 1NT – usually two spades and 9-11 points; and sensible holding in clubs. With 7/8 points and two or fewer spades just pass 1S. It is rare to bid 1NT after the negative double, but an example hand might be ♠765 ♥KJT4 ♦KQ5 ♣QT8

5.  2NT  - same but with 12-13 points, maybe ♠765 ♥QJT4 ♦KQ5 ♣AJ8

6.  2D, 2H – your minimum bid in a new suit is usually taken as a one-round force (partner is asked not to pass); you either have values to insist on game somewhere, or you intend to pass Pard’s minimum rebid (2S or 2NT or 3 of your suit).  Maybe it is wise to remember that if you are in 4th seat, and if everyone else is already bidding, somebody has poor values, and maybe it is partner.

7.  3D, 3H – a jump in a new suit is very useful when played as a “Fit Jump” showing a limit raise or better in Pard’s spades but with a decent suit of your own. This is game invitational in spades: two good examples – bid  3♦ with ♠Q754 ♥6 ♦AQJ765 ♣T6 or ♠T975 ♥8 ♦KQJ765 ♣A7. The hope is this: if they bid to 4♥ or 5♥, partner will know what to do.

The alternative is to use the jump as a pre-empt in your own suit. Both bids are rare.

Note: you can make this supportive jump shift, and if partner declines the game invitation, you can bid game anyway [there is no upper limit]. These example hands just above are very good but there is no maximum for the bid. With the second example above, I would bid 3D first and then carry on to 4S if partner signed off. Minimums for the Fit Jump: ♠Qxxx ♥xx ♦KQxxxx ♣x   or  ♠Kxxx ♥xx ♦KQTxx ♣xx. If you play Fit Jumps as originally described in the Bridge World, the jump to 4D is not a splinter, it is a limited hand like either of the first two examples - worth a jump to four of opener's major but limited in HCPs.

8.  4S – classically a two-way bid; it shows a pre-emptive raise with 5 or more spades and not promising any high card points. Or, you may have some surprise value, but you don’t promise it. If you don't want your bid to be taken as weak by partner, don't preempt to game. Bid 2C first, then jump to game.

9.  2C – the immediate cue bid of opener’s suit shows either a limit raise in spades (3 or 4 spades with 10-11 points) or another strong hand (in which case 2C is game forcing). If it goes 1C-1S-X-2C, P-2S-P-4S  you show a hand too good to avoid game even if partner has a minimum overcall.

10. 3NT – two types of hands: (1) fairly balanced with points, at least 14, or (2) slightly gambling with a long suit of your own (xx, Kx, AQJTxx, KTx or better), This is a rare bid when RHO finds a bid over partner's overcall.

11.  We emphasize that with the necessary points and spades to force to game in spades, don’t just jump there. Bid 2C, the cue bid first; then jump to 4S after partner’s response. Now partner will know it is “your hand” and can judge what to do if the opponents go to the 5-level. If partner thinks you might be sacrificing (with a jump directly to 4S), he might take a “phantom sacrifice” when you should be doubling them.

12. Consider playing a simple version of the Rosenkrantz Double and Rozenkrantz Redouble. The bid is made when your RHO cue bids 2♠ or makes a negative double. Your double of the cue bid 2♠, or redouble of the negative double, shows that you hold a high card in spades (the A, K, or Q), often just a doubleton honor. The implication is that you may not have enough to raise to 2S (or to bid 3S after their cue bid of 2S). But partner may lead his suit knowing you have a high card there - Partner knows it is safe (or safer) to lead away from his possibly poorish spade suit, even if opener now bids 2NT or 3NT.

13.  Consider playing that if the 3rd seat player, in the previous auction, now raises his opening partner to 2♣, instead of making a negative double, then a double (also alertable) by you is takeout (“responsive”) showing at least 6-10 points and 4+ cards in both unbid suits:

x, KJTx, KQxxx, Jxx  or  x, QJxxx, KT9xx, xx

These are typical holdings; if 5-5 or longer you may have minimum points but otherwise have nearer maximum points. You usually deny more than a doubleton in partner’s spades (frequently you have a spade singleton). Partner is never encouraged to pass even with a trump stack.

If you make a responsive double, and Partner bids one of your suits, be careful – partner may have had to bid a 3-card suit.

14.  When in doubt, give the overcaller some leeway. If you make one of these descriptive bids and partner signs off, let it go.

Solutions to Bidding problems: My answers are classified!

Ask your partner and try to agree with each other!

I had you for a minute, admit it. Here are suggested answers. Please pose ideas for different treatments.

LHO    Pard       RHO    You

1♣       1♠          Dbl       ??

(a) ♠KQ8 ♥T762 ♦T86 ♣954      Redouble if Rosenkranz, otherwise pass.

(b) ♠8543 ♥K6 ♦K86 ♣5432        Bid 2♠. With two outside kings, the hand is too strong to bid a preemptive 3♠.  A Mixed Raise of 3♣ is a close second choice, but I prefer a meatier xxxx, Ax, Kxx, xxxx for 3C.

(c) ♠8543 ♥K6 ♦KQJ84 ♣32       Bid 3♦ if you play Fit Jumps, otherwise bid 2♦ now (if forcing 1 round) and raise partner's 2♠ to 3♠. A direct limit raise is possible, but why not bid diamonds on the way? The hand is too strong for a Mixed Raise of 3♣.

(d) ♠8543 ♥K62 ♦KQ32 ♣T8       Bid 3♣, the Mixed raise. You would be willing, with a 4th spade, to compete to 3♠ over, say, 3♣ by opener. Bid 3♣ yourself now and give partner a better view of your hand.

(e) ♠J543 ♥K62 ♦KT962 ♣8        Bid 3♣, another Mixed Raise. 2♠ is a distant 2nd choice.

(f) ♠Q43 ♥Q86 ♦T842 ♣542        Pass  (redouble if Rosenkranz)

(g) ♠8543 ♥6 ♦KQ984 ♣732        Bid 3♠, preemptive.

(h) ♠85432 ♥K6 ♦K8 ♣5432        Well, I am sure 2♠, 3♠, 4♠ and 3♣ all have their adherents. As for hand (b), your holding of two side suit kings do not suggest a weak 3♠ bid. Two spades seems distinctly odd call holding 5 trump. I don't like to jump to 4♠ without a singleton or void (maybe with xxxxx, Kxx, Kxxx, x). Of course, if I bid only 2♠ now with hand (h), I would be willing to compete to 3♠ anyway. Almost by elimination, I am led to 3♣, the Mixed Raise.