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How's cuebidding different in the fourth seat?







Ala natural, when opener begins with a possible short suit minor

However, it's a different story when opener holds a 5 card major

With only 2 bidders, 2N should show strength





Sandwich bidders promise a filling spread unlike opponents' suits

But sandwich suit bids show a real suit

When using Michaels and the Unusual No Trump bids, what do these bids mean in the balance seat? For some reason, all Iíve read only discusses these two-suited bids in the direct seat.

Sigh, this is one of those "it depends" (on partnership agreement) grey areas.  But let's take a look at some basics.  Which of these bids might be useful as natural bids?

A. (1C) - P - (P) - 2C;

B. (1S) - P - (P) - 2S;

C. (1C) - P - (P) - 2N;

D. (1S) - P - (P) - 2N;

A. (1C) - P - (P) - 2C;
Using 2C as a natural bid makes a lot of sense Ė balancer can freely bid the higher of two long suits, so most players agree over LHO's 1 minor (short suit), bidding that suit should be natural.  Note the bid is alertable since bidding opponents' suit is normally considered conventional

B. (1S) - P - (P) - 2S;
It makes no sense to play 2S as natural when the LHO would be finessing the balancer.  So this must be Michaels or some other form of cuebid, depending on partnership agreement.

 C. (1C) - P - (P) - 2N;

While I suppose some would bid 2N as Unusual, most players would prefer to bid 2H and then rebid 3D to show a two suited hand.  Instead play 2 Notrump as a natural balanced hand with values approximating a strong 1 Notrump opening hand.  See Bidding 2 Notrump in passout seat

Finally, you should also have partnership agreements on auctions as: 

E. (1C) - P - (1H) - 1N;

F. (1C) - P -  (1H) - 2C/H

E.  (1C) - P - (1H) - 1N;
Many Duplicate player like to use "Sandwich Notrump" (long in the other suits) for this bid.  In fact, the advancer could overcall 2 Notrump with an even more distributional hand and good vulnerability.  Note - this bid is an alertable convention.

F. (1C) - P -  (1H) - 2C/H
A nice treatment is the "Sandwich Overcalls" here, playing advancerís bids as purely natural.  After all, the opener may be short bidding a convenient minor and responder certainly may hold a 4 card major.  Interestingly, this natural bid is also alertable since by definition cuebids of opponentís suit are considered some sort of conventional treatment.

Incidentally, Mike Lawrence did write a fine book dealing with these problems - see "The Complete Book on Balancing in Contract Bridge". 



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