by Pat Harrington for ACBL

You, West, are the opener, and the auction proceeds:

West North East South
1     Pass    1    Pass
With each hand shown below, select your best rebid in the above auction:

1. Q93 652 KQ106 AQ5
2 . K754 AK3 QJ62 65
3 . AQ2 A1064 Q7653 4
4. AJ4 AJ73 3A9854 10
5 . AQ7 K643 A752 64


1. Rebid 1NT to describe a balanced hand that was too weak to open 1NT.

2. Bid 2 A single raise of responder’s suit shows four-card support and a minimum opening hand exactly what you have.

3. Opener doesn’t always have the perfect rebid – especially with a minimum hand. Last month, we stressed that a minimun opener has to rebid at or below two of his original suit unless he can raise responder’s suit to the two level That guideline allows a minimum opener to choose any of the following rebids over 1: 1NT,2, 2 or 2. A 2 rebid is not an alternative because it is a reverse showing more than minimum opening strength. Rebidding 1NT tends to show balanced distribution. A 2 rebid is not recommended. Try to avoid rebidding a five card suit especially when it’s as weak as these diamonds are. The final 0ption, 2, tends to show four-card support. It looks like you will have to fib about something. When faced with an awkward bidding situation, never fib about your strrength. What little lie feels least uncomfortable to you? Try 2 ….Your lack of a trump is made up for by your ability to ruff clubs.

4. This one appears to be similar to No. 3. Will you raise spades again? I would.

5. Your hand is balanced, making 1NT a possible rebld. With only one unstopped suit, 1NT might work out fine. While we’d prefer having four-card support, some would raise to 2 because of the good spade cards and the unstopped doubleton.

These examples have shown you that raising a 1, or 1 response to the two level is not unthinkable. Go back to hand No. 2. What rebid would you make in this auction?

West   North   East   South
1       Pass      1     Pass
You still might have a 4-4 spade fit. Rebid 1 to try to locate that fit. If partner rebids 1NT, you are done. Don’t support responder’s one-level major suit bid with only three cards when you have a perfectly normal rebid.

Although many of the hands in this article were examples where opener might raise responder’s major suit response
with only three-card support, raising on three is the exception for many partnerships – especially in an uncontested auction. When the opponents intervene, you might have new rebid problems. Take this hand:

AQ5 Q94 652 KQ106,

and the following auction:

West   North   East   South
1      1          1     Pass

North’s 1 overcall should show at least live diamonds, making a 1NT rebid uncomfortable. With enough for game, partner might raise to a NT off at least the first five tricks. Partner’s 1, response is forcing, so you must bid. By the way, partner has not promised live hearts even if you use negative doubles. In this auction, responder needs four cards in both majors to make a negative double. A raise to 2, however, is still your best option.

Some players love playing in 4-3 fits. While you might not love them, try not to be so terrified that you don’t make your best plan when opener opts to support with only three cards. The good news is that you will sometimes have more than four cards in your major you bid, and you won’t be playing in a seven-card trump fit.