07/19/11 Regular Game

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
♠ J
Q 10 8
J 10 7 4 2
♣ K 9 8 2
♠ Q 6 4
K J 9 7 6
A 9 8
♣ 5 3
♠ K 10 9 8 3
A 3
K 5
♣ A Q 10 7
♠ A 7 5 2
5 4 2
Q 6 3
♣ J 6 4

EW 6♠; EW 5; EW 4N; EW 3♣; EW 2

PassPass1 ♠Pass

While East has the strength for a 1NT opening, that would be a mistake on this fine, suit-oriented hand. West has ten high card points, a useful doubleton, and a decent five card suit - clearly worth a game try. If West were not a passed hand, playing standard methods, he would respond 2 (forcing, 10+ HCP, 5+) and follow with a raise of spades. 2/1 players would respond 1NT (forcing) and bid 3♠ over opener's 2♣ rebid (opener is not strong enough to force to game with 3♣). This is how 2/1 bidders make a 3-card limit raise, sometimes called a 2-1/2 raise. Note that the standard auction is more descriptive than the forcing-NT auction. After either approach, East will declare 4♠, an excellent game. (The double-dummy top contract of 6♠ is horribly lucky.) Using either system, a direct limit raise of 3♠ over 1♠ absolutely guarantees at least four card support.

As a passed hand, neither 2 nor 1NT by West is a forcing response. Many partnerships use some form of the Drury Convention (2♣ and/or 2) to show game interest with a fit, which assures that you will play 2♠, 3♠, or 4♠, and not 2 or 1NT. I prefer to use 2 as my only Drury bid, leaving 2♣ as natural: responder might have opened a weak 2 with a strong diamond suit, but could well have a strong club suit he would like to bid now. Before agreeing to play Drury, be sure to discuss the continuations with your partner - the web has lots of info.

The best response might be a fit showing jump shift to 3. This invitational bid, standard by a passed hand, promises both a spade fit and a decent heart suit, preferably with secondary honors (KQJ). Opener should up-value hearts, but down-value secondary honors in side suits. (This is roughly the message sent by a standard responder in two bids.) You would do this with only QJ976, holding a fourth trump. Here is a summary of the major options in jump shifts:

Strong Jump Shift: the standard use of a jump shift is to show a hand in the slam zone. Because it chews up so much bidding room, these can be tricky - don't use this just because you can. After all, any new suit response is forcing by an unpassed hand. For standard bidders, I recommend the Soloway jump shift, which shows a slam-interest hand with (1) a single strong suit that you propose to make trump, (2) a good suit with all side suits stopped, planning to rebid notrump, or (3) a good suit with good support for opener - responder's new suit rebid is a cue bid promising this hand.

Weak Jump Shift: shows 3-6 HCP, mostly in the bid six card or longer suit. These are easy, but be sure to agree with your partner before using one.

Intermediate Jump Shift: this non-forcing bid shows a strong suit in a game-invitational hand, without support for opener's suit. Some 2/1 partnerships like this, especially on the auction 1 - 3♣.

Fit-showing Jump Shift: this use, illustrated above, is standard for a passed hand, since a strong jump shift is not possible. If playing this way all the time, the bid should show either an invitational or slammish hand - not simply a game-going hand. Robson and Segal tout these, in great detail, in Partnership Bidding in Bridge.

- Pete Matthews