Gnarly Hand

Author: LC and Dianne M.
Date of publish: 07/16/2018
Level: Intermediate

Hi Larry,
It's me again!  Sorry to be a pest, but I'm on a weekend outing with three friends from Williamsburg in Wintergreen.  (Lovely, sunny and cool--at least 15 degrees cooler than the 'Burg.)
All three of them are Ruby Life Masters so not beginners.  However, the below hand came up, and I'd really appreciate your thoughts:
N (dealer)
North opened the bidding 1♠ and South bid 2♠ establishing a 2/1 game force.  Then N bid 2♠ and S bid 3♠.  North rebid her spades and South bid 3NT which did not of course make.
However, we had a huge discussion on the bidding.  If you have a minute, could you please just let us know your thoughts and suggestions?
Thanks so much for your help (as always).  Looking forward to seeing you in October.

Hi Dianne and Ruby LM's...

South's plan to start with 2♠ (2/1 response) and then bid hearts twice does risk the auction getting too high too fast, but I am OK with it.  By planning to bid 2♠ then hearts, hearts, South does get to show 6-5 with an opening bid.

So, let's agree to live with 2♠.

It is the 2♠ bid that is the BIG problem.  North should rebid 2♠. I (like most teachers/writers) are big proponents of bidding 2♠ with 5+♠ when the auction starts 1♠-2♠.  It not only shows the 5th diamond, but keeps the auction lower. There is still plenty of time to find a 4-4 major suit fit.  Also, by playing this way, anything other than 2♠ denies 5+ diamonds. See:

So, let's get that space-consuming 2♠ bid out of the auction and we have a much smoother:


Now, North knows she is facing 6 clubs and 5 hearts.  I still think she would say 3NT and South, having shown her hand, would Pass.

So, all roads lead to 3NT -- and that is probably as good a contract as any (whether it makes or not).  South is going to force to game, and no game contract is great.
Whenever you have 2 opening bids facing each other and no 8-card major-suit fit, you are likely to reach 3NT - -for better or worse.

See you in October -- hope you can get a big crowd!