3NT vs 5 of a minor

May 21, 2009 at 7:27 am 5 comments

Another deal from a match last weekend against the Cayne team.

As usual, comments will be temporarily suppressed.



where 3H shows 0/1 spade, 3 hearts exactly and the minors, about 8-12 HCP, ie only game interest unless opener has something highly appropriate. Over this 3S would show such a hand. 3NT is to play. 4C is forcing and 4 plus.

So what should you do? Is this a 3NT hand or a 5C hand?


Entry filed under: bidding.

To save or not to save, continued. 3NT vs 5 of a minor continued

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. david appleton  |  May 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    neither. too good. catch Axxxx AQxxx in minors and you are too low in 5C. make slam try in C


  • 2. Chris Mulley  |  May 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    This feels like a 5m hand to me. We are missing 9 hearts, so I think you can expect a heart lead against 3NTwhen it is right for them to do so. In any event, a spade lead can also set up a few defensive tricks against 3NT anyway, so I think any lead they find is going to cause problems unless we have 9 tricks ready to go.

    It’s all going to hinge on partner’s holding in hearts. I am swayed towards 5m because even if partner has a decent heart holding, we still might not be able to find 9 tricks in time.

    Of course, the downside is that we are missing Aces, so in 5m the possibility of being off 2 Aces and a deep trick in one of the minors is a very real one. However, I think the chances of them setting up 5 defensive tricks before we set up our 9 offensive tricks is the greater risk (3 spade tricks to go with their 2 aces, for example).

  • 3. khokan  |  May 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

    To me, this is clearly a club hand, as there isn’t a clear source of tricks, one or both majors could be exposed, and the controls point to suit play. Accordingly, I would bid 4C.

    However, the bigger issue is why you would want to open 1NT on this hand. Opening this hand with 1NT is clearly taking the idea of offshape notrumps too far IMO, as the hand has no rebid problems over any response from partner.

  • 4. phil markey  |  May 21, 2009 at 9:51 am

    its a 5 club hand

    appropriate is appropriate right ? – this looks appropriate to me so i bid 4 clubs – i dont like to make a slam going bid unless i can predict the auction to get to a good slam – i dont know what if any agreements i have but i think its reasonable to assume that pard should have 2 keycards to want to help a slam going move

  • 5. Ben Thompson  |  May 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I have several preliminary questions:
    * What’s wrong with opening 1S? Sure there are negative inferences available in other auctions if you open this 1NT, but how about the problems you have in this auction?
    * If “3S would show such a hand” …. then why wouldn’t we do it?

    Now that I’ve had my little dummy-spit, on to the problem at hand.

    My immediate reaction was that this was a 3NT style hand. That would suggest bidding 3S, which presumably lets partner bid 3NT with hearts well stopped.

    Then I started thinking about some hands. Always a useful approach.

    If partner has very good hearts (say AQx) then 3NT may be exposed on a spade lead. Partner’s best hand for 3NT would be something like A-fifth diamond, but 5 minor is still playable and may even make when 3NT is down. On a big pile of other hands, 5minor is superior (eg x AQx Jxxxx Qxxx – they have several chances to get spades going to shoot you in 3NT while 5minor is pretty good)

    Make that AJ10 of hearts, and 3NT will look obvious to partner, but 3NT can easily be down even on heart plays with 5minor cold.

    If partner has a “magic” QJx of hearts, that looks pretty good for 3NT but is it? It’s actually pretty unlikely you have 9 near-cashing tricks in 3NT and they have several chances to work on spades if necessary.

    So on reflection, I head for clubs. Slam is possible (eg x Axx Jxxx(x) AQxx(x)) so I bid 4C.


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