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Bridge 1/20

A weak variety is no longer an option

The dealer on your right opens with one of a suit and you immediately overcall two of that suit. What are you showing?
    Assuming you play Michaels Cue-Bids, you are promising at least 5-5 in two unbid suits. If the dealer opened one of a minor, you are showing both majors. If he opened one of a major, you indicate length in the other major and either minor. But what strength do you have?
    The modern style is that your hand is either weak (say, 6-10 points) or strong (say, 16-plus points). With 11-15 points, you overcall in your higher-ranking suit, planning to show your other suit on the next round. I believe that it is better just to show your hand-type immediately and hope to find the right level later.
    But what if the dealer on your left opens one of a suit and there are two passes? Now a cue-bid guarantees a respectable hand. With a weak 5-5, either pass, or overcall in your higher-ranking suit.
    After South's strong Michaels, North asks for his partner's minor suit. Then, with three-card support, an ace and the wonderful spade queen, North invites game. (He might jump to five clubs, but gives South some leeway.)
    Against five clubs, West leads the heart king.
    South should assume that spades are 4-3 and cater to a 4-1 trump break. He wins with dummy's heart ace, cashes the spade queen, plays a trump to his hand, ruffs a spade on the board, draws the remaining trumps, and runs the spades. He loses only two diamonds.

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