Partner has responded 1NT, which denies a four-card major. The opponents have at
least nine spades. Unless partner has two spade stoppers, we probably do not belong
in notrump. Notice that not one expert passed 1NT. We should we get out of Dodge.
What road do we take? Is this a minimum hand or could we make a game opposite a
1NT-response. A 1NT-response to 1 shows 6-10, usually on the top end. With a real
bad hand, responder can always bid 1. Even if we find partner with no wasted spade
values, xxxKxxQxxxKxx for example, we are still far from game. There are a few
hands, however, that partner could have, where game is reasonable.
Six experts join me in taking the low road.
Cappelletti:”2---Notrump will probably get a spade lead and partner will usually
have three or more clubs.”
Landen:”2---2 rates to be safer than 1NT when we might be wide open in spades.
Also, it keeps the bidding open. To have a shot at bidding and making game I need
partner to take a strong action, two-of-a-major, for instance. The hand is not strong
enough for a reverse.”
Taking the low road doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get to game. If partner
has a maximum such as xxxAKxxxxQxxx for his 1NT-response, he can continue with
2. Since 1NT denies four hearts, 2 is a club cue bid showing club support and
Schwartz:”2---If partner bids 2, I can follow with 3 to allow us to get to 5.
I have enough so I don't have to fear competition in spades. Partner should not
respond 1NT with five diamonds and two clubs.”
Hopkins:”2---This is tough. Partner could have anything from AQ10Kxx10xxxxxx
where 3NT is a reasonable contract to QxxKxxQxxxQxx where 2 is best/safest.
All the examples I could think of had reasonable play at 2 and I am well placed
to move if the auction continues, by either partner or the opponents, so I am settling.”
Henry Bethe:”2---I play this (new method) as a one-round force. Partner bids 2
with diamonds, shows a major concentration or bids 2NT with a max, and bids 3 on
other minimums. With a somewhat better hand, say the heart King instead of the Jack,
I can self splinter at the two-level.” So you can’t play in exactly 2? This convention
might make sense since there is a good chance that the opponents who have at least
nine spades, will not let you play in 2.
Pollack:”2---Tough problem. Not good enough for a descriptive 2 or 3 splinter.
I don't like passing, since the round suits are so soft, so 2.”
Four experts try for game. I hope they have to tools to end up in 3 if their partner
doesn’t have a super-fitting no-spade-wastage maximum. At least 2 points to where
you need help.
King:”2---A slight overbid, but I want to try to keep them from finding their Spade
fit. Also we might find a minor suit fit that could make ten or eleven tricks.”
Roman:”2---I'm light for this, for a change, but there are plenty of hands partner
can have that make game worthwhile KxxxxQxxxKxxx or AQxxxxQxxJ9x to name
a couple, and others where we will go plus in a club partscore, but down in 1NT
QxxxxxxxxKQxx for example.”
Adams:”2---Seems right on values. Partner rates to have a bit of a club fit, and
we’ve lots of room to see if partner has a good fitting hand such as xxxKxxxxxKQxx.
Opposite that, 5 is practically lay down, and with a slightly worse hand, it has
play. My style is to respond 1 with five diamonds so I know partner has at least
The following expert will end up in notrump with partner holding Qxx
of spades or worse. Not the way to have a constructive auction.
Parker: ”2NT---Right on values, not good enough to reverse. Any suit bid will lead
to a convoluted auction and not show the good suits I have. With a minimum partner
can always bid 3.”
David Berkowitz ”2---Too much potential to take the low road. If partner makes an
encouraging noise I will try 3 next.”
You don’t usually want to play in notrump when you have a singleton in an unbid