BRIDGE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

The Un­usual No Trump is a com­monly met con­ven­tion. When the bid­der can ac­tu­ally have the val­ues for a NT over­call, it is as­sumed to be nat­u­ral but, when they can­not have such val­ues, it is as­sumed to show a hand which is at least 5- 5 in the mi­nors. Be­cause it is in reg­u­lar use, you must know what you are do­ing over it. In to­day’s hand, West would over­call 1NT with 15- 18 flat and dou­ble then bid NT with a stronger hand. Be­cause of this, the jump to 2NT is not re­quired in a nat­u­ral sense and so it is “un­usual”. When the 2NT over­call oc­curs, North has a prob­lem. The North hand has only six losers and a bid of 3H shows eight losers and one of 4H shows seven losers and, typ­i­cally, less high cards than this. Clearly, North should not be bid­ding any num­ber of hearts here but what should be bid? There are a num­ber of con­ven­tions of vary­ing com­plex­ity which are on of­fer to han­dle this sit­u­a­tion.

The sim­plest is to note that West has, in ef­fect, bid both mi­nors and that there are two cue raises avail­able. One can dif­fer­en­ti­ate the two cue raises by strength or by length of trump sup­port. An­other al­ter­na­tive is to use the jumps to four of a mi­nor as splin­ter bids with heart sup­port and val­ues be­yond those needed for a di­rect heart bid. That would cer­tainly work well here as South would re­move the two di­a­mond losers from his as­sess­ment and see a four loser hand af­ter hear­ing the 4D splin­ter. Since the splin­ter bid promised more than a raise to 4H it shows less than seven losers. South will have no dif­fi­culty bid­ding 6H over the 5D bid or even a more ad­ven­tur­ous 6D, al­though dou­ble might be safer at teams. The most com­plex method is “un­usual over un­usual” where 3C would show a good heart raise and 3H a merely com­pet­i­tive one. Sim­i­larly, 3D would show a forc­ing spade bid while 3S would be a long, com­pet­i­tive spade hold­ing. If you play com­pet­i­tively, you need to adopt some of the meth­ods dis­cussed to avoid un­usual prob­lems.

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