Gordon Bower

My partner opened 1 or 1. Does he really have a suit?

The vast majority of the time, 1 and 1 openings show hands with a real club or diamond suit. Normally we open with one of our longest suit (or 1NT with the appropriate strength and distribution). The only time a problem occurs is when our longest suit is a 4-card major, and we have the wrong strength to open 1NT.

That means there are only four possible problem distributions:

1) 4-3-3-3,  such as KQ87 987    AQ8 QT4

 2) 3-4-3-3,  such as J85    AQJ6  KJ2  AK9

 3) 4-4-2-3,  such as A964  JT65  K4    KQ4

 4) 4-4-3-2,  such as Q985  KQJ4 QJ3   K8

In Standard American, hands 1, 2, and 3 are opened 1, and hand 4 is opened 1. (Always open 1 with 3-3 in the minors.) This style is often called «convenient minor.» Some partnerships agree instead to open «better minor» and open hand 1 with 1. Others agree to play a «short club» open all four of these hands with 1.

Outside of North America, bidding a 3-card suit is commonly called a prepared minor opening, because this bid is made in preparation for a easy rebid:

  • If partner bids your 4-card major, raise.
  • If partner responds 1 to 1 (or 1H to 1 and you have Hand 1), bid your 4-card major.
  • Otherwise, bid 1NT (13-15) or 2NT (19-20).
  • Only if the bidding goes 1-2 or 1-2 and you have a weak hand are you forced to pass and run a slight risk of having only a 7-card fit.

Now, let’s go across to the other side of the table, and see whether we need to worry about partner having his suit or not:

Auctions where partner promises a real suit: [button link=»http://taigabridge.net/articles/shortclub.htm» size=»small» window=»yes»]Click Here[/button] to continue reading