Dan Romm’s Bridge Quiz


Dan Romm


How do you play the following hand at MP’s? At IMP’s? (Answers below)


? K8652
? 432
? AK106
? 5
                                              ? 3
                                              ? AKQJ109
                                              ? 9
                                              ? AK642

Contract: 6?
Lead ?Q.
No adverse bidding.


This hand illustrates two points:

    1. There are different strategies for MP’s and Imp’s.
    2. It is frequently better to count winners than losers.

Solution at MP’s: Throw a spade on the king of diamonds and hope clubs are no worse than 4-3 (about 50-50) in which case you can ruff two clubs and make 7.

Solution at IMP’s: Lead a club to your hand at trick 2 and lead a spade! If clubs split 4-3 you will always make 6, but if they split 5-2 you need the king of spades for your 12th trick.

Originally posted: November 17, 2008

Weak 2 Bid (Part 1)


by Eddie Kantar
Originally Published on www.kantarbridge.com February 2, 2007

The Weak Two Bid is an opening bid of 2?, 2?, or 2? (not 2?) describing a hand with a strongish six-card suit along with 7-9 HCP (6 or 10 HCP are exceptions, particularly 10).

It can be compared to an opening three bid, the difference is that a three bid normally shows a seven-card suit.

The distribution of the weak two bidder’s hand rates to be 6-3-2-2, 6-3-3-1 or 6-4-2-1.
Notice: no five-card side suits, no voids.

Suit strength can vary with the vulnerability and seat. Ideally three or four of the top five honors will head the suit. Practically, two of the top five honors along with the 98 or 97 attached will do just fine, thank you. Suits that look like: AK10765, AK9732, KQ9732, AJ9843, QJ10432, KJ9765 are fine. In addition, at favorable vulnerability liberties are allowed, particularly in third seat.

Third seat weak twos (after partner has passed) are often made with a strong five-card suit as a lead director. Partner is supposed to have four card support plus a side suit singleton or two side suit doubletons to raise a third seat weak two. Discipline!

Opening the following hand-type with 2? in third seat eliminates the necessity for many light third hand openings
? KQJ105
? K8
? J76
? 765

The advantages of opening a weak two are:

  1. limiting the hand immediately;
  2. directing the opening lead;
  3. taking away bidding space from the opponents.

Assume you deal and hold:
? 98
? AKJ986
? 98
? 1076

Not playing weak twos, you pass and hope to bid hearts later. However “later” may not happen!

East (you) South West North
Pass 1NT Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass

You can hardly expect your partner to lead a heart unless you beat on your chest. How much easier (and safer) to open 2?, limit the hand, and get the lead you want.


Before considering your response, keep in mind that your partner’s has about 7/8 HCP along with a reasonable six-card suit.

Your response depends to a large extent on how well you fit partner’s suit — unless you are blessed with an independent suit (can play opposite a singleton without trauma) of your own.

With a singleton in partner’s suit and no strong suit of your own, do not even think of bidding on unless you have 16+ HCP.

With a small doubleton in partner’s suit, you need about 15 HCP to bid on. However, with a doubleton honor in partner’s suit (Ax, Kx, Qx), and an interesting looking hand (no wasted jacks or queens) 14 HCP will suffice.

Hands with three or four card support normally do something. Frequently you “further the preempt” by raising partner to the three or four level. All you need is a little distribution plus a bunch of courage! Keep in mind the opponents figure to have a game, possibly a slam, so if they nail you with a penalty double and beat you a few tricks it may still be a good result.




Your advantage is that you know where your fit lies; the opponents have yet to find theirs. By raising partner’s suit, you make it that much harder for your opponents to uncover their fit.

Assume for the moment that your partner opens 2? and your right hand opponent passes. What are your options?

North (partner)    East      South (you)    West
2?                        Pass      ?


    1. Pass. Don’t even think of bidding on with the example beneath.?AJxx     ?2     ?J54    ?K943


    1. Bidding a new suit: A new suit in response to a weak two bid is forcing for one round. Responder must have at least a strong five card suit, more likely longer with opening bid values. With the example hand beneath, bid 2&spades, forcing for one round.Holding:   ?AKJ943     ?2     ?AQ10    ?109x


    1. Raising to 3?: This is strictly preemptive and opener is not allowed to bid on. Ever! Responder could even have less than the example hand.?87   ?K43    ?A9432    ?976Raise to 3?.


    1. Raising to 4?: A two-edged sword. You may have a good hand with hopes of making 4?, or you may be furthering the preempt, taking an advance sacrifice, so to speak. The opponents now have to find their fit at the four or five level never having had a chance to exchange any information.?AKJ3    ?Q5       ?4        ?A76432?4      ?KJ43     ?KJ743    ?1087Raise to 4? with either hand.


    1. Responding 2NT: A one round force asking partner to further describe his hand. At this point the opener has several options. Opener can:
        1. Return to the original suit, the weakest of all rebids.
        1. Raise to 3NT: This should only be done with a suit headed by the AK, AKJ, AKQ, or AQJ;
        1. Show a feature-perhaps an ace or a king.
        1. For example, having opened 2


        1. with:
        1. ?54


        1. AJ10xxx


        1. 54      ?K105
        In response to 2NT bid 3? to show side strength. If partner then returns to the three level of the agreed suit, you are allowed to pass, but the sequence is invitational. If responder bids 2NT and then bids a new suit, that is forcing.
    2. Responding 3NT: This response ENDS the bidding. Responder is not interested in hearing any more about your hand. Responder usually has a solid minor perhaps with a singleton or void in your suit. An example of a 3NT response to a 2? opening:?K4     ?2     ?AKQJ876     ?K76


  1. Responding 4NT: Simple Blackwood, perhaps Key Card Blackwood, to be determined by the partnership.

Stay tuned for Weak 2 Bids (Part II).



Negative Doubles Quiz

Barbara Seagram


This quiz is a continuation of Barbara Seagram’s article on Negative Doubles

Question 1:

1? You

You are sitting East and the auction has proceeded 1? by partner, 1? by RHO. What will you bid with the following hands?

a. ? 87
? AQ94
? 752
? K753
b. ? A8
? 10763
? K76
? Q874
c. ? AQ10873
? 84
? 8
? 9852
d. ? 92
? AQJ53
? KQ
? 10862
e. ? AJ10
? Q73
? 965
? Q842
f. ? 76
? K542
? 983
? QJ64


  1. Double
  2. Double
  3. Pass & hope that partner can re-open the bidding with a double
  4. 2?
  5. 1 NT
  6. Double

Question 2:

1? You

You are sitting East and the auction has proceeded 1? by partner, 1? by RHO. What will you bid with the following hands?

a. ? AQ62
? 954
? Q532
? 54
b. ? A763
? 108
? 32
? KQ764
c. ? KJ654
? K98
? 3
? K872


  1. Double
  2. Double (If the partner now bids 2 you now bid 3?)
  3. 1? (Just bid naturally with a 5 card major)

Question 3:

You are using negative doubles. What should you bid after the bidding has gone:

You Opponent Partner Opponent
1? 1? Double Pass

a. ? 87
? KJ74
?? A83
? AJ98
b. ? AJ10
? Q5
? K72
? KJ743
c. ? 4
? AJ6
? 943
? AQJ932
d. ? A7
? KQJ6
? 93
? AQ743
e. ? 9
? AQJ7
? KQ7
? AQ752
f. ? AQJ10
? 93
? KQ8
? AQJ4


  1. 2?
  2. 1NT
  3. 2?
  4. 3?
  5. 4?
  6. Pass (You will get lots of points for defeating them in 1? )

Bidding Quiz

Barbara Seagram                                                  

This article is really for novices and intermediates. Tell me what your bid should be? You hold the following hands. The bidding has proceeded:

1? – Pass – Pass to you

    1. ?Qx  ?AJ10  ?Kxxx  ?QJ109


    1. ?Qxx  ?AJ10  ?KQX  ?AJ9x


    1. ?Q5432  ?xx  ?AQxx  ?xx


    1. ?Axx  ?Axxx  ?Q10x  ?xxx


    1. ?KQ10xx  ?xx  ?AKQx  ?xx


    1. ?xx  ?AQx  ?xxx  ?AQJ98


And now tell me what your bid would have been if the bidding had proceeded 1? on your right.

Send your answers to bseagram@ca.inter.net.

Originally published on bridgeblogging.com December 27, 2007

Checkback Stayman

Posted on Sep 05, 2012 | Tags:


Checkback Stayman is a nifty convention which is used most commonly after an opening bid of one of a minor and then a one of a major response with the opening bidder then jumping to 2 NT.

? – 1?

2 NT – 3? by responder is now checkback stayman

Why are we doing this??

The opening bidder may also have a four card other major suit OR may have 3 card support for the responder’s 5 card major.

Let’s have a look at above auction again:

? – 1?

2 NT – 3?

Responses to 3 ? are as follows:

3?  says: I do not have 3 card support for your major suit (?) nor do I have 4 cards in          the other major (?).

3? says:  I have 3 card support for your ? heart suit but I do NOT have 4 spades.

3? says:  I have a 4 card ? suit but do not have 3 card support for your ? suit.

3 NT says: I have both 3 card support for ?’s and also a four card ? suit.

Now let’s check out the other major suit situation:

? – 1?

2 NT – 3?

Responses to 3? are as follows:

3?  says: I do not have 3 card support for your major suit nor do I have 4 cards in  the other major.

3? says:  I have 3 card support for your ? heart suit but I do NOT have 4 hearts.

3? says:  I have a 4 card ? suit but do not have 3 card support for your ? suit.

3 NT says: I have both 3 card support for ?’s and also a four card ? suit.

The only time you would ever use this convention is if you have 4-4 in the majors or you have 4-5 in the majors or you have one five card major.

The responder now places the contract, equipped with more information about opener’s hand.

Let’s look at two situations in which it would be useful to be playing Checkback Stayman:

? K543
? KQ87
? Q76
? 42

? AQ76
? J106
? AK83
? A5

South opens

South North
1? 1?
2NT 3?* (Checkback Stayman)
3NT 4?


Note that if NS was not playing Checkback Stayman, North would have now bid 3NT after South’s jump to 2 NT. If the opening lead was a ?, then South would never be able to make 3NT. He would have to drive out the ?A and then EW would be able to cash 4 cx tricks quickly. 4? is an easy contract.

Let’s look at one more example:

? AQ742
? 765
? Q43

? K65
? AQ7
? Q32
? AKJ2

South North
1? 1?
2NT 3?* (Checkback Stayman)
3? 4?

North can easily make 4? but 3NT by South is doomed on a ? opening lead by West.

Checkback Stayman is alertable as are all the responses. You need to have enough points to be in game in order to use this convention.

We never want to miss an 8 card major suit fit. Remember that it is always much safer to play the hand in a major suit contract than in No trumps. 

Photo credit: by Christian Haugen


Look Before You Leap: Forcing Bids

Posted on Sep 05, 2012 | Tags:

Less experienced players are frequently distraught when their partner passes what they thought was a forcing bid. The reverse can also be true…they make an invitational bid and partner bids again without the values to do so. Newer players always feel obligated to bid again in these situations – after all, partner jumped and no one wants to be a poor sport!

Think about each of the following auctions and decide if the last bid shown is forcing or not:

a)         1?      –         1?


b)        1?       –         1?


c)      1?      –         1?


d)     1?      –         1?
1?      –         3?

e)       1?       –         1?

1NT    –         3?

f)        1?      –         1?


g)        1?       –         1?


h)       1?      –         2?

We all agree that a jump sounds forcing. However, when you examine most auctions that involve jumps, you will find that the exact opposite is more often true. To differentiate between which jumps are forcing and which are not, the easiest way is to look at whether the suit has been bid before:

  • A jump in a new suit is always forcing.
  • If partner jumps in a suit that has been bid before by your side, you know exactly how many points she has: partner has made a limited bid stating her exact point range.
  • You also always know partner’s exact point range any time that she bids notrump – notrump bids are always limited bids. The partner of the person who has made the notrump bid is the captain of the bidding and must now do the math. She must add her points to the notrump bidder’s points and decide if there is game or slam in the hand. If there is no chance of game, she must now pass.


With these things in mind, let’s go back to the auctions that we started with:
(NF = Non-Forcing F = Forcing)

  1. (NF – Invitational)  Opener is showing 16-18 points in support of spades, with at least four spades.
  2. (NF)  Opener is showing 19 or more points in support of spades, with at least four spades. However, although your side has arrived in game, this is not necessarily the end of the auction. All too often, responder passes hurriedly when he hears partner jump to game. He thinks that any jump to game is a “shut out” bid. Not so. The responder must now do the math. If responder has 13 or more points, then slam is in the air! Responder must now bid again. If responder has a weaker hand, he passes 4?.
  3. (NF – Invitational) Opener is showing 16-18 points with a six-card heart suit.
  4. (NF – Invitational) Responder is showing 10-12 points with at least four hearts and four spades.
  5. (NF – Invitational) Responder is showing 10-12 points, at least four spades, probably five diamonds and a hand that is unsuitable for notrump i.e. unbalanced.
  6. Opener has promised 18 or more points, at least five hearts and at least four clubs. She does not have four-card support for spades.
  7. (NF) Opener has promised 18-19 H.C.P. and a balanced hand. Opener has at least four diamonds and does not have four hearts. (Note that the only time that opener will open 1 ? with only three ? is when she has exactly 4-4-3-2 shape. She has not raised ?’s, thus she has denied having four ?’s. She therefore guarantees to have four or more ?‘s. ) Opener does have stoppers in all the unbid suits. (i.e. spades and clubs)If she had a balanced 15-17 H.C.P.   hand, she would have opened 1 NT; if she had 20-21 H.C.P, she would have opened  2NT.
  8. (F)  Responder has a hand with slam interest opposite an opening bid: 19+ points.  She also has at least five spades. This bid is forcing at least to game. Photo credit: by redwood 1

The Cuebid of Opponent’s Suit as a Limit Raise or Better

Posted on Sep 05, 2012 | Tags:


You are south and you hold:

Kxx       xx          AQxx       xxxx

The bidding proceeds:

West         North         East         South
1H             1S                Pass         2S

As beginners, we are taught to raise partner’s overcall one level with 8-11 pts and to jump raise with 12-14 pts. including distribution.
Now that you are all grown up, we strongly recommend a change in strategy.

Let’s look at what happens when you bid this the old-fashioned way:


West holds:       S AKxxx            East            S QJxx
H xxx                H xxx
D xxx                D AKQ
C xx                  C xx

South         West          North        East
1C               1S               P                 3S
P                 P                P


The opponents quickly take the first 5 tricks. Down one. East had a limit raise and jumped. West had a dog’s breakfast and the bidding simply got too high.

Now have a look at the recommended alternative: East, holding a limit raise or better, should cue-bid the suit the opponents have bid. This will show 10 or more points and support for partner’s suit.
With the above hand, here is how the bidding would go:

South    West     North    East
1C           1S          P            2C
P            2S*

* shows a minimum hand. East will pass at his next opportunity and the bidding will stay happily at the 2 level.

From now on, with 6-9 points, raise partner’s overcall one level only. With 10 OR MORE points (called heretofore a limit raise) cue bid the opponents’ suit if you have adequate trump support i.e. at least xxx. From now on, this will show a limit raise or better. i.e. With the hand above, you will bid 2C. This way, if your partner (who overcalled 1 S) has a lousy hand, he may now bid simply 2S and you will pass. In the past, if you had responded 3S with 12-14 pts, you may have found yourselves too high if the overcaller only had 8 points.

With junk (very weak hand) and favourable or equal vulnerability, you have one extra bid at your disposal now…jump raise your partner’s overcall to the 3 level. This is strictly pre-emptive showing a crummy hand and 4 card or longer support. Approximately 2-6 points (including distribution)  with FOUR of partner’s suit.

West     North    East      South
1C          1H         Pass      3H

Your hand south might look something like:


A similar concept applies in the following situation:

South holds:    KQxx               xx                    AKJ                 Jxxx

North opens bidding

North               East                 South              West
1 S                     2H                   3H

If you had bid 3S, this would now be pre-emptive (see above response to partner’s overcall as it is similar in concept) so the only way for you to show alimit raise or better would be to cue bid the opponents’ suit.

If North has a minimum opening bid, he will now bid 3S and with the above hand, you will raise to 4S.

If however you had this hand: KQxx                   xx         AJx       xxxx

North                East                  South               West
1S                       2H                     3H

If North now bids only 3S, you will pass as you had only a bare limit raise and your bid invited the opening bidder to bid game with extras. If opener has 15 or more points, he will accept your invitation (3H) and now bid 4S.


TRY IT!!! Don’t wait till you are ready to master this. Just do it! Get it wrong a few times. This is a game of mistakes, the more you make, the faster you’ll learn! GO GET ‘EM!!

Photo credit: Bidding Box from Wikipedia



Why We Should Transfer

Understanding the Importance of Showing Strength and Shape Why We Should Transfer  Eddie Kantar  Eddie Kantar 

Applebasket Entry, 2014

Submitted by: Brian Richardson–tied 3-6


There are 3 reasons why bridge players should make a transfer bid when partner opens either 1NT (15-17, or 16-18 points) or 2NT.

  1. By transferring we will ensure that the stronger hand will be Declarer, and thus that hand will not be visible to the defenders. If the defenders can see Declarer’s hand then it can often be easier for them to defend.
  2. As the stronger hand is now Declarer the opening lead has to come up to his strength, rather than through his strength, which would occur if he was Dummy.
  3. The use of a transfer bidding structure can enable the partnership to bid more accurately to the optimum contract.

While, as teachers, we emphasize the first two reasons, many of us pay scant attention to the 3rd. That 3rd reason is at least as important as the first two. Consider the following hand which you have after partner has opened 1NT:

  1. ♠987, T9832, T843, ♣8. You should bid 2 with this hand and pass partner’s 2response. With a slight change to the hand:
  2. ♠A98, J9832, K84, ♣83, you should re-bid 2NT after partner’s 2 re-bid. With another slight change to the hand:
  3. ♠AK8, J9832, Q843, ♣8, you should re-bid either 3♦ or 3NT.

If you were not using transfer bids I doubt that you would bid 2 on (a), you may possibly bid 2 on (b), and you should bid either 2 or 3 on (c). Whether any of those contracts would make, with the opening lead going through the strong Dummy, is unclear.

The biggest problem that “non-transfer” players face is that they can end up passing their partner’s 1NT opening with a hand like (a), when a transfer bid can put them in the best contract, with 2 making and 1NT being defeated.

My tips for teachers – explain all 3 reasons for using transfer bids and teach students to transfer whenever they have 5 or more cards in a major suit and between 0 and 25 points!

When to Pull Trumps

Applebasket Entry, 2012

Submitted by: Patty Tucker

One of the re-occurring questions in my beginning suit play of the hand classes is “When should I pull trumps?”  When introducing play of the hand in a suit contract to my students I give them a list in priority of how to approach the hand.  Very early in the list is to count your winners and losers.

Count your losers, being very conservative.   If it might be a loser… it is.  Count your winners, being very conservative.  If it might be a winner..it’s not.

If you add your winners to your losers and the number is less than 13, then in this hand there is an opportunity to create winners by trumping; so you probably don’t want to pull your trumps right away.   Look for your opportunity to trump losers, remembering that trumping in the hand with long trumps does not create extra tricks.

If the number adds to 13 or more, there is not an opportunity to create winners by trumping; so it is probably right to pull your trumps.  If you need more tricks look for them by finessing or setting up a long suit.

An Example:  Your contract is 4♠ .

North                                                                                               South

♠AK765  ♥A43  ♦K32  ♣76                             ♠987  ♥KJ52  ♦Q4  ♣AJ52


  • 4 spades (since we expect the suit to break 3/2 in the opponents hand 67% of the time  the AK♠   are winners, we will lose to the Q♠  and then the 76♠ will be the only spades left and will be winners.).
  • 2 hearts the Ace and the King (the Jack is not a winner since we don’t know who has the Queen.).
  • 1 diamond (we will need one of our high cards to make our opponent play the Ace and then the one left will be high.).
  • 1 club, the Ace.

TOTAL: 8, I need two additional tricks to make my contract.


  • 1 spade, the Queen
  • 1 heart, the Queen.  (the fourth heart is not loser as North will have no more hearts after three rounds have been played and will be able to trump if hearts are played again.  You can never have more losers in a suit than the hand with the shortest number of cards in that suit)
  • 1 diamond, the Ace.  (the third diamond is not loser as South will have no more diamonds after two rounds have been played and will be able to trump if diamonds are played again.  You can never have more losers in a suit than the hand with the shortest number of cards in that suit)
  • 1 club, the King.  (the third and fourth clubs are not losers as North will have no more clubs after two rounds have been played and will be able to trump if clubs are played again.  You can never have more losers in a suit than the hand with the shortest number of cards in that suit)

TOTAL:  4.  I have too many losers to make my contract.


8 + 4 = 12.  I can create one of the tricks I need by trumping. I will not pull trumps immediately.   When I counted my spade winners, I counted all four of the spades in the North hand.  If I trump with one of the spades in North that is not an extra trick.  In the South hand I can lead diamonds twice and then play a third diamond from the North hand, trump it in South and that will give me the trump trick I was looking for.  I have created the trump trick I needed; I will pull trumps.  My other trick will have to come from setting up a long suit and/or finessing.  Hearts and clubs both offer opportunities to finesse and create an extra trick.  I will lead a low club from North to finesse for the King.  I must lead hearts from the South hand to finesse for the Queen.