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The Intermediate Series


Lesson 2 – When Partner has Two Suits


There are many times that partner will show two suits. The two most common situations:


1.     Opening the bidding in one suit and rebidding in another

2.     Showing two suits after the opponents have opened the bidding.


I will look at each context in detail.



Opening the bidding in one suit and rebidding in another


Here is a common auction:


Partner          You

1                   1♠

2                   ?


Partner has shown five spades and four diamonds, 12-18 HCPs.  If he had more points he would jump to 3.



Responder’s Rebids


Responder has a double obligation:


·        Pick a denomination

·        Show their point count


Point count can be split up into three different levels:

a.     Game forcing


With a game forcing hand 9 times out of 10 you should bid the fourth suit. This is artificial and means the partnership cannot stop below game.



1                   1♠




     Two other possibilities are to jump to game in a suit or bid 4NT to ask for key cards.


b.     Game invitational

                                      i.            Rebid 2NT

                                    ii.            Raise one of partner’s suits to the three level

                                  iii.            Jump rebid in your suit


c.      Non-invitational

                                      i.            Pass

                                    ii.            Take a preference to partner’s first suit

                                  iii.            Make a minimum bid one of the other two suits (but it can’t be the fourth suit bid!)


Picking a denomination can be anywhere from simple to extremely tricky. Let’s look at examples in the context of the above rules:




1                   1♠

2                   ?


Game forcing hands:


1.      ♠AKxx xxx Qx ♣KQxx – Easy - bid 3♣ and then raise hearts at your next turn.


2.      ♠Axxx x KQxxx ♣AKx – Bid 3♣, and then show diamond support. You have a lively chance for slam.



3.      ♠Axxx xx KJxx ♣KQx – You could bid 3NT directly. But I would bid 3♣ and see what partner rebid. Over any rebid at the three level I would hide my diamond support and bid 3NT because I have a minimum game forcing hand.


Game invitational hands:


4.      ♠Qxxx xx KQxxx ♣Kx – Bid 3.



5.      ♠Axxx xx KJxx ♣Kx – Bid 2NT. This shows about 11-12 HCPs, and denies a fit for hearts and diamonds.


6.      ♠AKJxxx xx Kxx ♣xx – Bid 3♠.



Important note:When inviting with no fit with partner be conservative. Remember, he may have as little as 10-11 HCPs, if he used distributional points to have an opening bid. An example might bid ♠x KJxxxx AQxxx ♣x. So even though you may have 13 HCPs, be cautious with a singleton or void in partner’s first suit.


Non-invitational hands. These are the hardest:


7.      ♠KJxxx x Qxx ♣xxxx – Pass. You have a minimum response and no fit. Remember, the chance that partner has a fit when he has at most 4 black cards is unlikely.


8.      ♠KJ109x x xxx ♣Qxxx – Here it is close, but I would bid 2♠.



9.      ♠KJxxx x KQx ♣xxxx – Bid 2♠. Why here and not #7? The difference is the point count. Here you may have game if partner has 16-18 HCPs. You want to keep the bidding open just in case.




1♠             1NT

2♣            ?


Things change somewhat when your response to a major is a one-round force 1NT, the more frequent occurrence.

10.♠xx xx KQ10xxx ♣xxx – bid 2.


11. ♠xx AQ KQ10xxx ♣xxx – 3 is good, 2NT is better. 3NT is even acceptable, but only because of the 10.



12.                         ♠xx KQxxx Kxx ♣Axx – Even though you would open 1, this hand is not good enough to force to game. The reason is partner may have only 11HCPs if you used distributional points to get up enough to open. However change the hand slightly, ♠Axx KQxxx Kxx ♣xxx, I would have bid two hearts the first time.


13.                          ♠xx Qxx Qxxx ♣Qxxx – Bid 2♠. The reason is that partner might have 5-3-2-3 and be bidding a three card suit.


14.                          ♠xx Kx xxx ♣AJ10xxx - Bid 3♣.




Quiz time.


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