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♠ - ♥ AQJ972 ♦ 6

♣ A KQ 9 7 5

Your LHo (West) opens 1 ♦ and rHo (East) bids 1 ♠ . What action would you take now on this South hand?

This is an ideal hand on which to describe the ‘Unusual No Trump’ convention. All tournament players and most rubber players use it — but very few understand it properly. You bid 2NT here, which promises at least 5-5 in the unbid suits (i.e. hearts and clubs). The misunderst­anding arises from the belief that it must show 5-5, or that it may be a purely competitiv­e bid sometimes on quite weak hands. it applies to all two- suited hands which can be described better with a 2NT bid, rather than a competitiv­e double.

Partner is required to bid his better of the unbid suits; if they are equal, he bids the lower suit — he may only pass if he has both the opponents’ suits and has a stopper in each of them. The 2NT bidder will normally pass the simple takeout except, as here, he is strong and must bid on to game.

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