I have a new most-asked question. It used to be: "Should I open 1NT with a 5-card major."
Now, because I seem to have been asked 1,000 times, the new "hot topic" has become an issue with 2/1 GF and responding in a major or minor.
The basic question goes like this: "Larry, I have opening-bid strength with a 4-card major. Do I respond in the major, or with a 2/1 GF response?"
For example, what is the response to 1 holding:
Either 1 or 2 would be technically acceptable. I strongly prefer 2. You won't lose a 4-4 spade fit. Your side still has plenty of time to reach spades. Meanwhile, the auction is more comfortable. I will explain this a few paragraphs later.
BUT -- Don't invent bids. Don't respond in a "non-suit." With, say,
respond 1 (you don't have enough clubs to bid 2).
With a 5-card major, respond in the major. So, 1 is your response to 1 with:
(2 would be a jump-shift, and has nothing to do with 2/1 GF. 2 is a bid you shouldn't make unless you and your partnership know what it means--most play it as weak.)
Also, if you don't have enough points to force to game, you mustn't respond with a 2/1 GF bid! So, respond 1 to 1 with:
Here is why I like starting with a 2/1 GF response when possible. Say opener holds:
Responder holds the hand mentioned earlier ( K765 A2 K3 AJ1062).
You would belong in 5 (or 5). But, you'd belong in 3NT opposite, say:
Auctions go more smoothly if responder can start with a 2/1 GF. Look at two of the hands above and observe how the auctions begin:
||1 (not my recommendation)
||3 -- cramped auction
||2 (much better)
Notice how much more efficient the second auction is. Responder got to do "everything" without fear of being passed. In the first auction, where he responded 1, he never forced to game. His second bid gets the auction too high too fast.
- With GF strength and only 4 in the major, respond with a 2/1 GF in a minor (assuming you have 4+ cards in that minor). So, after 1 by partner, respond 2 with a 4=2=5=2 opening bid.
- With a 5+card major, always respond in the major.
- With less than GF strength, respond in the major (on the 1 level).
- All of the issues here involve a 1 or 1 opening. (If the opening is 1, there is no 2/1 GF bid available; if the opening is 1, there is no possible 1-level major-suit response.)
- Even with only a 4-card minor (if decent), I prefer to initiate a (natural) 2/1 GF auction by responding in 2-of-the-minor. The 4-4 major suit fit (if one exists) will always be located.
- With 6-5 (a 5-card major and a 6-card minor) and GF strength, it is okay to start with 2/1 in the minor and then try to bid the major twice.
- There is an expert trend to start with 2/1 GF (typically 2) even without clubs. Just about all GF hands are starting with the 2/1 (artificially). But, I don't recommend this for my readers/students.
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