Source: Mike’s Advice by ACBL 

You will find that your opponents don’t often sit still when your partner uses Michaels. Because your part-ner is 5-5 in the majors, it hints that there is going to be extra distribution around the table, and that gives some impetus to more bidding. What do your bids mean when right-hand opponent acts over your partner’s Michaels cuebid?

First, some generalities. When RHO passes, a jump to three of a major is invitational. Some partnerships play that a jump to three of a major is preemptive, so you will need to confirm which agreement you are using. I like the invitational treatment because it makes it easier for my side to bid when we have useful values.

When RHO makes a call, however, you have new issues to contend with.

Let’s start with double, and look at other actions by RHO in later columns.


The first thing you should do is find out what East’s double means. Some double because it is their turn to bid, but many pairs give double a real meaning, the most popular of which is that RHO has some points and is interested in doubling you if you get to a bad contract. Whatever the double means, you can do the following:

Pass: Willing to play in 2diamond suit doubled. This can happen if West has opened with three or four diamonds and you have six pretty good ones with no preference for either major, e.g.: 3 52 diamond suitQ J10764 J1064.

From your perspective, 2diamond suit doubled is probably your best contract. It won’t make, but it may be set less than a heart or spade contract. Also, there is a small chance that West will bid something, thus saving partner from having to play the contract.

Redouble: This asks (begs) partner to pick the major. Most of the time, partner has five of each, but if he happens to have a 6-5 hand, it is important to play in his long suit. You should have equal length in the majors when you redouble, e.g.,  J3  93 diamond suit J97653  A105.

2 or 2: If you bid a major, you are showing a clear preference for the one you are bidding. Also, you are asking partner not to raise you. He can, of course, but he should expect you to have a bad hand.

You could hold:  962  K diamond suit 8653  Q10986.

Bid 2. This happens to be a pretty good hand given you have the K, an important helping card for partner’s other suit. You would bid 2, however, without either of your high cards, so partner should consider raising with only a very good hand.

2NT: You are not likely to have a hand good enough to bid 2NT, but I suppose that once in a year or two it will come up. 2NT shows an invitational hand with a three- or four-card major. You can’t tell partner which major it is (yet) for the reason that you no longer have the invitational jump to three of a major available. (See one of the following paragraphs.)

Examples:   KQ7  AJ diamond suit 75432  Q53
 975  AQ63 diamond suit 63  KJ65

Bid 2NT with either of these hands, intending to bid three of your ma-jor next. This would be invitational. You really don’t expect partner to have much of a hand given that East doubled, but if East made a «noise» double (one without meaning or merit), your side might have a game.

3: Bidding the other minor is an escape bid.

Usually you go down, but you really hate bidding a major: 8 4 diamond suit Q876 K J87653. Bid 3 with this and hope your partner can produce a couple of clubs and a useful honor somewhere. At least you haven’t been doubled (yet). Try, by the way, to look happy when you bid 3.

3diamond suit: It’s unlikely you would want to choose this action, but I can imagine this agreement: Without a call from RHO, 3diamond suit would show a good hand with clubs. Given East is showing values, and that 3 would be a clear signoff, 3diamond suit should be a hand with clubs that is willing to take a save.

3 or 3: These two bids are among the most important bids you have. Once East shows values, either by doubling or by making a bid, 3 or 3 is preemptive. The reason for this is that you assume the hand be-longs to the opponents and you want to make life hard on them.

 Q875 43 diamond suit83 108764

Bid 3. This is preemptive, and your partner better remember this. From your perspective, they can make a grand slam and if you bid just 2, they may be able to use the bidding room effectively. Another reason for bidding 3 instead of 2 is that your partner will occasionally have a hand that allows him to bid again once he knows that you have a fit for him. Note that these preemptive jump responses promise four or more trumps.

Vulnerability, which I have not really touched on in this series, is important when you make bids like this. At favorable vulnerability, this is a fine 3. At unfavorable, 2 is enough.

4 or 4: Weak with a big fit in the major, for example: 863 J10763 diamond suit5 9832 Bid 4. Let them do the guessing. Vulnerable vs. not, I would respect bidding just 3. My experience is that many players are too conservative in this situation.