Don’t Under-bid Small Hands by David Gold

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Sometimes you pick up a hand that looks small but, as the auction proceeds, it can grow.

By Ana Roth
On 28 October, 2015 At 11:59

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David Gold
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Source: Mr Bridge

Sometimes you pick up a hand that looks small but, as the auction proceeds, it can grow. In a money game as dealer at game all, you pick up:

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The hand is weak but you bid 4 last time as your prospects seem to have improved. It is your turn again after 5 from LHO and two passes. Well, you have only a queen but partner has bid twice vulnerable and is favourite to be 5-6 in the blacks. You try 5 bravely, which RHO doubles on the way out. This is the full deal:
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5 makes easily and 5 will make too if you miss your club ruff. Your hand grew in value once you knew that partner had a black two-suiter, so do not underbid just because it is small!

Still in a money game, you pick up:
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This is typical, another small hand! Your gloom is short-lived when your partner deals and opens 2 (your big bid). You respond 2 (negative/waiting) dutifully and partner surprises you again by re-bidding 2. Now it is time to re-evaluate. Partner has announced a game-forcing hand with hearts as its primary suit. In that context, your hand has become very powerful as you have four-card trump support and a singleton. Do not underestimate the power of this hand. Best is 3, a ‘splinter bid’ showing a spade shortage and good heart support. Partner next bids 4 as a cuebid; now you have nothing more to say so should sign off in 4. To your surprise, partner leaps to 6! Fear not, the full deal:

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South was in fact looking for a grand slam with his 4 cue-bid. Once he heard you show your spade shortage, he knew that the small slam was a virtual certainty. Now that you are getting the idea:
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Partner opens 1 and RHO overcalls 1. You pass and LHO passes too. Partner bids 3 and RHO passes. It looks natural to give preference to three hearts, but think! Re-evaluate your hand. You have three-card support when you might not have and you have a useful card in partner’s second suit so you should take the pressure off partner and bid 4. The full deal:

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As you can see, partner really does not have anything special for his actions and 4 is a great contract, making easily with the even heart break. So remember; be prepared to re-evaluate your hand as the auction progresses and ‘don’t underbid small hands’.

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