Mr Bridge
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First response with strong hand


I am hoping you can advise on the following.


S K 10 8
H A Q 10 6 5
D J 9 8
C K 8


S A Q 9
H K J 7 4
D A K 10
C J 9 2

North opened the bidding with 1H and East passed. South, with 17 HCP knows that with a 4-card major fit a game in 4H is certain but if North is strong (16 HCP or better) a slam may be on. What is South's best first response in order to find out more abouth North's hand? A jump shift in a new suit would seem best, (say 3D), showing 16+ points and when North rebids 3H to show 5H and a weak opening hand (12-15 HCP) South would realise a slam is not on and close out with 4H.

My question is, can you use a jump shift with only 3 cards in a suit or would it be better to respond 3NT, showing 17-18 points and a balanced hand (albeit with no spade stoppers)? I can see that responding 3NT would probably cause North to pass as he would think that South has only 2 hearts, and therefore no major fit, which would be incorrect!

Your thoughts and explanation would be well appreciated.


  • edited 6:04AM
    I would also bid 2NT* (Jacoby).

    I think the bidding should go 1H - 2NT* (Jacoby) - 4H* (showing a minimum opening hand with no shortage) - 4NT* (RKCB) - 5C* (1 or 4 key cards) - 5H (shut out as south knows they only have 4 key cards. Depending on whether the key card is the ace of hearts or the ace of clubs, there are either two possible fast club losers or a trump loser and a possible slow club loser. With a balanced hand and partner's 4H showing no shortages, it may be tricky to get rid of this club loser. As it happens the slam is unlikely and even 5H may go off unless you receive the gift of a diamond lead at trick one).
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