PLAYinG Pairs, what do you bid on each of these hands after partner makes an ASTRO 2 ♣ overcall of the opponent’s weak 1nT opening? FiRsT the reminder that 2 ♣ is conventional, showing at least nine cards in hearts and a lower suit, but with no specified honour point range. The only forcing response to an Astro overcall is 2NT. it simply asks partner to show his other suit — in this case obviously one of the minors. You’d be expected to bid 2NT on each of the above hands — but for different reasons.
hand (a) will obviously play better in whichever minor partner holds, so with only a 9-count, pass partner’s 3 ♣ or 3 ♦ response. hand (b) and (c) each have 15hCPs so you’d hope to be in game unless partner is abysmally weak. On (b) you’d bid 3 ♥ , showing 3-card support for partner’s known anchor major and inviting him to bid 4 ♥ . The last hand might be a bit tricky; you want to play in 3NT but, if partner responds 3 ♣ , it’s likely that you’re wide open in diamonds and you may have to settle for 4 ♣ — unless you are a gambler! The Astro hand which we’ve had all week was: ♠ 108, ♥ A10975, ♦ KQ752, ♣ 4. Note also that you’d be declarer in heart or NT contracts, so you’ll have the added bonus of the lead coming to your concealed hand. We’ll look at the final situation tomorrow.