HomeLibraryConventionsCan The Michaels Cuebid be Improved? By Marilyn Hemenway

Can The Michaels Cuebid be Improved? By Marilyn Hemenway

Most of you are probably familiar with the convention known as a Michaels cuebid. Â  It was invented by Mike Michaels many years ago and allows you to show a two-suited hand (usually with 5-5 distribution) after an opponent opens the bidding.Â  The concept is to use a cuebid of the opponent’s suit to show two other suits, and thus describe your hand with one bid.Â  The hand often doesn’t qualify as a takeout double, and the point count range can be on the weak side.Â  In the past, the range of the Michaels cuebid was limited to about 7-10 high-card points.Â  Over the years, however, it has become acceptable to have almost any range for this bid.

The convention works like this.

Over an opponent’s 1Â or 1Â opener, a direct cuebid shows both major suits, normally 5-5.Â  Over a a major-suit opening the direct cuebid shows the other major and one unknown minor, again usually with at least 5-5 distribution.Â  At favorable vulnerability, some partnerships have relaxed the suit length requirement so that the Michaels cuebid can be used with 5-4 or 6-4 hands with the longer suit being a minor.Â  But at unfavorable vulnerability, most stick to the minimum distribution of 5-5 with reasonable strength.

It is this ambiguity that makes necessary a better way of responding to partner’s Michael’s cuebid.Â  If you prefer to play that your Michael’s cuebid can have a wide range, it is necessary to have a method for your partner to find out how weak or strong you are.Â  Here’s how you can do that.

MAJOR SUIT CUEBID – SHOWING A MAJOR/MINOR

 South West North East 1 2 Pass ?

After a Michael’s cuebid over a major, an auction such as this example, the responder would use this scheme:

2Â is to play and is non-invitational;

3Â asks the Michaels bidder to pass if his suit is clubs or to correct to diamonds if that is his second suit

3,4Â or 5Â shows diamonds and are not correctable;

4Â or 5Â show clubs and are not correctable;

3NT Â Â Â  is to play;

2NT Â Â Â  asks whether the Michaels bidder is minimum or maximum;

Let’s use this sample auction.

 South West North East 1 2 Pass 2NT Pass ?

You bid 2, a Michael’s cuebid showing hearts and a minor, and partner inquires with 2NT.

3Â shows clubs (and hearts) and a minimum;

3Â shows diamonds (and hearts) and a minimum;

3Â shows clubs (and hearts) and a maximum;

3Â show diamonds (and hearts) and a maximum.

MINOR SUIT CUEBID – SHOWING BOTH MAJORS

In response to Michael’s over a minor, for example:

 South West North East 1 2 Pass ?

These are the responses:

2Â is to play and is not invitational;

2Â is to play and is not invitational;

2NT asks for major suit length and strength.

In this case, rebids to 2NT by the Michaels bidder are as follows:

3Â  shows minimum values with longer hearts;

3Â  shows minimum values with longer spades;

3 shows minimun values with 5-5 in the majors;

3Â  shows maximum values with longer hearts;

3NT Â  shows maximum values with longer spades;

4Â shows maximum strength with equal length and club shortness;

4Â shows maximum strength with equal length and diamond shortness.

There’s some memory work involved but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

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