Poll #17, 3 Notrump Promotion Play, Rule of 7, 12/22/2010

3 Notrump, Promotion Play, Rule of 7


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Also see hand diagram below for clarity:

Board 3
South Deals
E-W Vul

♠ 5 4 3 2
Q J 4
K 2
♣ K 5 4 3

♠ K





♠ A 6
A K 3 2
Q J 10 8 3
♣ Q J

Right away South has a difficult bidding decision. With 17 HCP and a 2=4=5=2 shape, should South open 1 Notrump or begin with 1 Diamond? The decision would be much easier if South held another stopper in Clubs, say the CK-CJ. Holding a Queen-Jack “tight” (doubleton), South should consider subtracting 1 HCP. But with the relatively nice Diamond 5 card suit, the South should consider adding 1 distribution point. For those who play reverses, beginning with 1 Diamond and rebidding 2 Hearts after partner’s expected 1 Spade response, breaking the barrier to a higher level in a higher ranking suit (Diamonds first, Hearts second at the 2 level) shows a good 16+ points. So if you and your partner have a good working knowledge of whether the reverse bid is forcing, the meaning of responder’s rebids, and the meaning of partner’s re-rebids, then fine – make a reverse. Yet suffice it to say, while many players have discussed reverses, they haven’t had many discussions on follow-up rebids!

So assuming South settles for a somewhat flawed 1 Notrump opening bid, West should definitely pass regardless of the vulnerability (adverse here). Next North bids 2C Stayman with 9 HCP, back to South who bids 2H “up the line” showing a 4 card major (may have 4 Spades). Next North rebids 2N showing invitational values. Okay South, what now? Well, we know North has 4 Spades and 3 Hearts or less so we didn’t miss that 4 Heart game had we reversed to Hearts earlier. So with about 6-7 cards in the majors, North has 6-7 cards in the minors. With some like honors as well as length in the minors, we should accept a 3 Notrump game and count our questionable Club Queen-Jack for full values. By the way, after bid 2 Clubs and rebid 2 Notrump after our 2 Heart call, if in fact we did have 4 Spades now is when we would rebid 4 Spades. Okay? Great – then it’s off to play the hands.

On lead without hesitation, West smartly plays the top of sequence Spade King with East playing the S10 to show count. Okay South, what is your plan? First we count our quick trick winners: Spades=1, Hearts=4. So just like West, we need to try promoting a long suit with no finesses available here. Once we knock out the Diamond Ace, we are home free cashing 4 Diamonds right? Oops, wrong this time. It is reasonable to expect West holds 5+ Spades since we have a 5 card Diamond suit, right? So if the opponents get 4 Spades and also win the Club Ace, they’ve won the race before we cash our 4 Diamond tricks. So what to do?

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