Unusual over Michaels and Unusual over Unusual

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Many partnerships that play 2/1 use the artificial Michaels Cue bid and the Unusual Two Notrump. What do you bid over…

Neil Timm
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Source: Bridge News

Many partnerships that play 2/1 use the artificial Michaels Cue bid and the Unusual Two Notrump bid in the direct seat
and the balancing seat to show hands with two long suits.

Michaels Cuebid

This is a direct cuebid of the opponent’s opened suit (one club by RHO, two clubs by you) to show five+-card length in two other suits. One of your suits is always a major, but the exact two you promise depend upon the opening bid.

• Over a minor-suit opening, a Michaels Cuebid (1-2 or 1-2) shows both majors.
• Over a major-suit opening, a Michaels Cuebid (1-2 or 1-2) shows the OTHER major and an unspecified minor.

The Michaels Cuebid replaces the Goren Strong Cuebid. If you have a very strong hand, you must bid after your partner
responds, raise or bid a suit. Do not double and bid!

Unusual 2NT

This convention is a direct jump to 2NT over an opponent’s opening bid (1 by RHO, 2NT by you) to show the two lower-ranking unbid suits. You should have at least 5 cards in each suit for this bid. One of your suits is always a minor, but the exact two you promise depends on the opening bid.

• Over a 1 opening, 2NT shows diamonds and hearts.
• Over a 1 opening, 2NT shows clubs and hearts.
• Over a 1 or 1 opening, 2NT shows both minors.

The bids are commonly made with either a weak hand (sixnine HCP) or a strong hand sixteen+ HCP). With 10-15 HCP, overcalls are usually used. See the February Bridge News on when to double and pass or double and bid. The primary goal of the bid is to interfere with the bids of the opponents. For example, after a 1-2 bid; is the bid of two hearts a heart suit, a diamond raise, or just a strong hand?

Unusual over Unusual 2NT

Because we know the two suits when the opponents use an Unusual 2NT bid, we can use this information to our advantage. One uses the suits of the opponents (the cheapest suit and their second suit, as cue bids) and the two natural
available bids to describe the hand of the responder:

Cheapest cue Bid: A limit raise or better in the bid suit.

Second Cue Bid: Game forcing hand in the fourth unbid suit.

Raise in the fourth suit; Natural and non-forcing.

Raise in the bid suit: Competitive raise (weak).

EXAMPLE:

West     North                                          East     South
1        2NT(Clubs & Diamonds)        ?

3, the Cheapest Cue Bid, is a Limit raise or better in Hearts.
3, the Second Cue Bid, is a game forcing bid in Spades.
3 is a competitive raise and weak.
3 is natural and non-forcing.

NOTE: Some play the second cue bid as invitational only, not forcing; it depends on your partnership agreement.
Check with your partner!

What about bids above the three level? Discuss these with your partner.

3NT is usually natural with stoppers in the two suits.
4/4 is splinter raise in hearts (for our example).
4 is natural.

When should the double be used? It usually shows ten+ HCP (with or without a fit) and is usually used as if the bid of two notrump was a double (for our example, 1-Dbl).

Thus, a double after the bid of two notrump is like a redouble. Because the opponents bid of two notrump is forcing, the opener can now either double the opponents’ bid with good trumps, make a descriptive bid with an offensive hand, or make a forcing pass.

Unusual over Michaels

When using Michaels and the two suits of the opponents are known, the bids by responder are identical to those used in
Unusual over Unusual. To illustrate, after the bids of 1-2, (the majors, hearts and spades), we have that

2 is natural and non-forcing
2, the Cheapest Cue Bid, is a limit raise or better in clubs.
2, the Second Cue Bid, is a game forcing bid in diamonds.
2NT is natural and invitational.
3 is a competitive club raise and weak.
3 is natural and non-forcing.
3/3 is splinter raises in clubs.
3NT is natural with stoppers in the two suits.
4/4 is splinter raise in clubs.
5 is natural.

A double shows ten + points with or without a fit. What about when the second suit of the Michaels bid is ambiguous (see footnote * below). Then only one suit is known; for example, with the bids 1-2, and 1-2. Now we can no longer do everything since we have only one known cue bid. For example, for the bid 1-2 (shows hearts and a minor), we have the following bids.

2NT is natural and invitational.
3 is a non-forcing club raise.
3 is a not forcing diamond raise.
3, the only Cue bid, shows a limit raise in spades.
3 is competitive and weak.
4 is splinter raise for spades.

If the opener doubles the opponent’s three level bid after Michaels or Unusual 2NT, it is usually for penalty not takeout.
*Some play that the opponents’ cue bid shows the upper two unbid suits; then one heart followed by two hearts would
show spades and diamonds; and one spade followed by two spades would show hearts and diamonds! Discuss this
alternative approach with your partner. The advantage to this modification, called Modified Michaels, is that all suits
are now known. Hence, the responses may be patterned after the one club-two club bid discussed above.

This article is based upon Marty Bergen (1986), Better Bidding with Bergen, Volume Two, Competitive Bidding Fit Bids, & More, Devyn Press

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

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