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Bridge 8/30

What does bidding a new suit mean?

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Posted: August 29, 2007 2:59 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Your partner opens with a weak two-bid in a suit. What does it mean if you respond in a new suit at the minimum level?
    Next, look at the North-South hands and decide how you would play in six spades after West leads the club queen.
    Some pairs treat a new-suit response as natural and nonforcing. The opener is expected to pass. But most pairs play it as forcing. If so, the traditional guideline is six and 16: at least a six-card suit and 16-plus high-card points.
    In reply, the opener raises with support (even two low cards in a pinch). If he has no support, he rebids his own suit with a minimum, or shows a feature (a side-suit ace or king) with a maximum. (For experts, to jump in one of the two unbid suits shows a singleton in that suit and at least three-card support for responder's suit.)
    In this deal, after North opens two diamonds, South responds two spades, forcing. North has a magic hand: three-card spade support, the diamond ace opposite a likely singleton, and a ruffing value in his club singleton. An expert would send all of this information with a four-club splinter bid. But if you do not have that weapon in your arsenal, jump to four spades. Then South bids what he expects to make.
    In six spades, you can afford only one trump loser. The correct play is to cash the spade ace at trick two. Whatever happens (except West's discarding!), you ruff your low club on the board and lead a spade toward your hand. This avoids any guesswork.
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