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Opening with 4-5 in the Minors


These hands address the problem that occurs when we have opening values with 4 Diamonds and 5 Clubs.  With a good hand (say 17+) we can open 1 and reverse into 2 if Partner responds one of a major.  But with weaker hands Opener may find himself without a suitable rebid if he opens 1.

                                     1st July, 2009                       E-W Vul 






West    North   East     South

          Pass    Pass    Pass


 The West hand does pass the Rule of 20, but it hardly looks like an opening bid, does it?  There is an alarming absence of Tens, and there are also those dubious doubleton Jacks, both of which would be more useful if accompanied by other honors.  And, if that is not enough to discourage West from opening, West also has that awkward 4-5 minor hand which can create rebid problems with weak hands.  His options would be:

         Open 1 and rebid 2: Surely not, with such a rotten suit.

      Open 1 and rebid 2: Some like this style, but it is mis-descriptive, better to avoid this except with certain 1-3-4-5 hands.

       Open 1 and rebid 1NT: The only excuse for opening the hand would be the 5-4 shape, and to rebid 1NT with such poor values (rather than showing both suits) would be inconsistent.

 So, with a marginal opener (at best), and no satisfactory plan for a rebid, surely West would be best advised to pass.

                                    3rd June, 2009                     N-S Vul 






South   West    North   East 



 Holding the South hand, what’s your general plan?  Clearly you will be opening one of a minor, and if Partner responds 1 you will raise to 2.  So far, so good, but the odds are that you will have to find a rebid after a 1 response.  Here are the options:

    Open 1 and rebid 2:  We are not crazy about this solution to the rebid problem, too often it gets the partnership to the wrong minor suit.

       Open 1 and rebid 1NT:  The down-side here is that Partner will not expect a singleton Heart and may well go back to 2 on a (good) 5-card suit.  Even so a reasonable plan.

       Open 1 and rebid 2:  6 Clubs are not promised but that’s what we usually have for this sequence.  Even so, that’s our preferred plan, at least the suit is good and it does not have the aforementioned defects.

                                    3rd September, 2008           E-W Vul 






North   East     South   West



North has an opening bid, of course, but what is the bid which best prepares her for the likely 1 response from South?

         Open 1, and rebid 2? No, that rotten suit is not worth rebidding.

         Open 1, and rebid 2? A little bit light for a reverse, don’t you think?

         Open 1, and rebid 1NT? No, too strong for that.

   Open 1, and rebid 2? That’s not perfect, either, as it distorts the relative lengths of the minor suits.  Nonetheless, it seems to be the least of evils.

                                           25th October, 2006           Board 1      None Vul





North   East     South   West



If the hand were about a King stronger there would be no problem here, we’d simply open our longest suit, planning to reverse to 2 next time around.  But, with less than reverse values, as here, we have these three choices (we are assuming that Partner will respond 1):Click here to continue reading


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