You open One Diamond, and partner responds One Spade. What would you bid now with each of the following five hands?
1. Two spades. This is not the most accurate rebid in the world, but it is the best available. There is a natural aversion to raising partner’s response immediately with only three trumps, and there is also an aversion to not rebidding a good six-card suit.
However, an accurate rebid in diamonds is not possible. To leap to three diamonds would constitute an overexaggeration of your values, while two diamonds would understate the value of your hand. Faced with this dilemma, it is best to raise spades. This is the bid most likely to cause partner to view his values more favourably, and thus is more likely to get him to bid again.
2. Four spades. It would be wrong to bid only three spades, which partner can pass. The leap to four is not a closeout bid. On the contrary, it states in plain English that game is virtually certain even if partner has only six points. Four spades is therefore a form of slam try. If partner has sufficient extra values, he will presumably press on.
3. Two clubs. Two diamonds would be too weak and three diamonds too strong. Two notrump is out of the question because it would indicate 18 or 19 points and balanced distribution. Two clubs has the advantage of being ambiguous as it may be based on minimum values or a fairly strong hand of up to 18 points. If partner passes two clubs, game is very unlikely.
4. Three spades. Usually, the jump-raise of partner’s suit shows four trumps, but here, with no better bid available, it must be made with three. Your 18 high-card points and strong spades are adequate compensation for the missing fourth trump.
5. Three notrump. Here, you must make a bid that puts you in game or forces partner to bid again. With the unbid suits double-stopped and a minor your best suit, the best thing to do is to bid game in notrump. The leap to three notrump indicates 20 points or more, since the onespade response may have been based on as little as six points. Whether partner is satisfied with playing in notrump, or whether there might be a slam, becomes partner’s responsibility at this point.