Jeff Lehman

Competitive Bidding

Recently, I engaged in a post mortem with partner about the meaning of various available calls to overcaller in the following auction (both sides vulnerable if you believe that makes a difference):

(1) three card heart support

My suggestion is that overcaller’s choices are based upon his answers to two questions: (1) does overcaller’s side have game potential?; and (2) what is the offense-to-defense orientation of overcaller’s hand, given the original overcall of 1?

If there is a potential for game, overcaller can choose to bid game or to bid a non-spade suit to draw partner into the decision.   A bid of 3 would show a second suit (two-suiter) and a bid of 3 or 3 would likely show a stopper in the bid suit and ask partner to consider 3NT or otherwise best describe his hand.  On some hands, overcaller might choose to bid a second suit even if later planning on bidding game, just in case partner needs to make a decision at the five level.

If there is not potential for game, overcaller can, within the context of a hand that had overcalled 1, double with a hand with a low offense-to-defense orientation, bid 3 with a hand with high offense-to-defense orientation, and Pass with a hand with a non-extraordinary offense-to-defense orientation.

FWIW, my hand was KQ9765, 3, Q987, 73, and I overcalled 1 and then bid 3 over the 2 cue bid.  (Our being vulnerable and the opponents not having a fit induced me to fail to jump to 2.)  Our side can make eight tricks at spades; the opponents can make eleven tricks at hearts.  That happens to be one or more fewer than Law of Total Tricks might suggest, because each side had a ten card fit in one major and an eight card fit in one minor.  (In a spade contract there was an easy-to-find ruff available to the defense in the minor suit of overcaller’s eight card minor suit secondary fit.)


1 Comment

Dave KreshJune 2nd, 2015 at 1:12 am

My experience has been that if you divide a hand’s offensive playing tricks by defensive tricks that a neutral hand has an O/D factor of 2. Higher values than 2suggest offense, lower values than 2 suggest defensive hands.

Offensive playing tricks:
HCP: A=1 1/4, K=1, Q=1/2, J=1/4
Combo upgrades (e.g. AQJ = 2 1/2, QJT9=2, KQTx = 2, etc.)
Length: 5th card or longer (any suit) = 1 each, 4th card in side suit = 1/2 each
Trump upgrade: 4th card = 1 if supported
Defensive playing tricks:
Quick tricks + trump length + ruffing values
trump length: 4th card in their trump suit = 1/2, 5th card and longer = 1 each
ruffing value: singleton=1, void=2 with adequate length in their trump suit

By this means of valuation this example hand has an O/D ratio of 4 (highly offensive)

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