Intended audience: Intermediate and up


Neither vul, matchpoints, as south you hold: ♠A7 A108 AQJ1074 ♣KQ

























What do you bid?



First let’s find out what partner expects you to have for your 3NT call. Since the bidding is at the three level 3NT covers a fairly wide range of hands. Most of the time it is balanced, and can be made on as little as 15 HCPs (I have bid it on 14). The reason is that partner can easily have a balanced hand, with as many as 14 HCPs. The other important issue when electing to bid 3NT with less high cards is your stopper, especially length. Axx is the best as you can exhaust east of clubs, and often the preempter will not have a side entry. On the other side Kx (or Qxx) is the worse as you cannot hold up at all. Interestingly Jxxx is better than either of these as east will usually have 0-1 club.


Back to the original problem, with a balanced or unbalanced hand you may have as much as 20 HCPs. With more double and then bid no-trump or a suit, depending on your hand.


Here it is close, but matchpoints 3NT seems right. But what about 4♣? Does partner have:


  1.      - 4-4 in majors and bidding Stayman?
  2.      - 5-5 in the majors?
  3.      - A three suited hand with 0-1 clubs?


Once you decide on this question what do you bid? Does north have a good hand or a bad hand?


The correct answer is number 2. He can’t have #1 as you may have a hand with 2-2 in the majors and a long running diamond suit. #3 is possible but not as likely with your diamond length.


Should you cue bid or make a move towards slam with your 20 HCPs and a good suit? No. Partner could be very weak with both majors. It is not close. Just bid 4. Partner held ♠K432 976532 3 ♣94. Despite East holding Kx I even went down in four as I couldn’t handle the 4-0 trump split, even onside.




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