Thursday, May 23, 2019

We’ve Only Just Begun... by Jim Kaplan

Former Northampton Bridge Club ace Paul Laliberte and I, with expert consultation from Bridge Bulletin columnist August Boehm, have produced a useful pamphlet called "We’ve Only Just Begun: Auctions That Begin — and Don’t End — With 1NT."

Hearing partner’s 1NT and wishing to continue, many bridge players will transfer, bid Stayman or invite/bid 3NT or 6NT. We go much further with 26 different auctions.

Here’s one sequence:

North   South
1NT     2C
2D      2S

Responder has invitational values (8-9 HCP) along with exactly five spades and four hearts. With a clear picture of responder’s hand, North can place the contract where it belongs. A sample hand for South:

S  K Q 6 5 4
H  A 9 4 2
D  5 3
C  6 3

It would be foolish for South to transfer to spades and then bid 2NT. A 4-4 fit in hearts may be missed. What if you are 5-4 in the majors with game-support values?

North   South
1NT     2C
2D      3S??

South has made a game-forcing Smolen inquiry showing five hearts and four spades. Opener will now have a choice of games: 3NT or 4H. The purpose of Smolen is to ensure that partner (generally with the stronger hand) will be declarer in either contract. A sample South hand:

S  A 8 5 4 
H  K Q J 5 2
D  Q 7
C  Q 6

There’s lots more. Tell you what. Buy the pamphlet and if you aren’t satisfied, you get your $4.95 back.


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