Thinking Bridge: Phoenix NABC 7th Day

1958 Marshall Miles, Ivan Erdos, Eddie Kantar, Ernie Rovere and Nat Cohen
1958 Marshall Miles, Ivan Erdos, Eddie Kantar, Ernie Rovere and Nat Cohen

Source: NABC Phoenix ACBL Bulletins

Dealer South, E/W Vul


Q 5 2
K 7 6
A K Q 10 8
J 6

A K J 6 4
8 3 2
Q 10 9 8 5


10 7
5 4
J 9 6 5 2
7 6 5


9 8 3
A Q J 10 9
7 4 3

West North East South
2 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 All Pass  




Opening lead: A

West’s 2 is the Michaels cuebid, showing at least five spades plus five or six cards in one of the minors. The range is 7-11 HCP or 16+ high-card points. With 12-15 HCP, bid both suits starting with the higher ranking. It should be noted that these two-suited hands can be upgraded with strong intermediate spot cards and  downgraded with few if any intermediates.

Some 7-point hands might be too weak to use Michaels and some 11 point hands might be too strong. Ditto with the other ranges. Intermediates matter. If East makes a minimum response to a Michaels cuebid, say 2 in this example, West
passes with the minimum range and bids on with 16+ HCP. East can ask for West’s minor by bidding 2NT. Here it is pretty obvious that the other minor is clubs.

West starts with the A and K, noticing East’s play of the 10 and the 7, a high-low showing a doubleton. Before rushing to judgment and leading just any old spade, the spade that West leads should be suit preference!

In this case, West is desperate to have a diamond returned, so he returns the J, his highest remaining spade. East ruffs and, though it may kill him, he had better return a diamond.

Incidentally those 12-15 point hands that don’t cuebid, but bid both suits, are called “’tweeners” because the range is in between the other two ranges.