Paul Lavings

These days there are Laws and Rules for every situation. There is The Rule of Two, The Rule of Three, right up to The Rule of 26. There is the Losing Trick Count and The Law of Total Tricks, to name just the most popular two. Plus countless conventions. Nevertheless the «Do You Like Your Hand’ Convention predates all of these.

Say you hold. A4 AJ9652 KQ2 87

and your partner raises your 1 opening bid to 2. There is no suit in which you want to make a game try, but you’d like to say to partner that aces and kings and trump honours are all good. Try a «Do You Like Your Hand’ bid of 3.

K4  KQ4 10863 9632   Bid4, you like your hand with three important honour cards

QJ4 Q43 10863 QJ3    Pass. you don’t like your hand, your queens and jacks aren’t what partner wants

Now imagine at both vulnerable partner opens 4 in first seat, and you hold:

A63 A4 A9865 A104   Blackwood won’t help. With lots of controls this is the perfect time for the DYLYH Convention. Just bid 5. Opener just asks themselves that simple question:

84 KQJ109652 2 87      Pass, you don’t like your hand, too flat

8 KO107643 2 KJ87      Bid 6, you like your hand, two singletons and a nice side suit

In our last example you open 1NT on:

A108 K53 AQ6 A985

and the bidding proceeds:

1NT 2 (Transfer)
2 3 (Second Suit and Game Force)
3 4

3 was strong preference, but responder showed no slam interest by not cue bidding. You have the perfect maximum. All of your cards are jewels and partner needs very little extra for slam. Do you meekly pass. or make a try for slam. Keycard wont do you much good, you really want to know if partner has that litle extra? So you bid 5, lots of controls, and «Do you like your hand’. Holding:

QJ3 AQJ64 106432        Pass, your queens and jacks won’t fetch

3 AQ642 K732 Q103       Bid 6, you have that little extra.

In general when are not sure whether to pass or go the full distance, remember to ask yourself that defining question. «Do I like my hand»? It could even become your favourite convention.