A Modern Approach
Here is another auction that came up last nite in a team game.1H-2C;2D-2H;2S- ??Responder is:KJx Jxx Ax AJTxxa) Would 2NT here be the denial cue bid showing bad trumps? Or should Responder just bid 3D showing a diamond card?On this kind of auction Responder will usually have 3 card support and requiring him to bid 2NT unless he has AQx, KQx, or AKx seems like a wasted bid, since it will probably happen 75% of the time. After e.g. 3D, if Opener does not bid 3H the lack of trump honors will become obviousOn the other hand if Responder is required to bid 2NT without two of the top three, then any further cue bid by Opener would confirm 2 of the top 3, so I can see the benefit either way.
Yes, the cuebid would have to be 2NT (poor trumps); otherwise Opener will be expecting two top trumps. This is not so bad. Often, Opener will have the King or Queen of clubs (so that he can cuebid 3C) and THEN you can cuebid 3D. Same end point, but you have clarified the honor holding in trumps and have allowed Opener an extra cue in clubs.The idea is that you do not bypass 2NT, and in this case take away a cuebid of 3C for Opener, except on that hand where you also have two top trump honors.You can also notice another neat inference. A direct 3D would deny two top clubs. A delayed 3D, after 3C from Opener, would not resolve the club issue so much, but this is fine, because you have space to do this and partner can now double cue clubs (later cue 4C) to show KQ. Bidding 3D blocks Opener's ability to show the second top club.This all fits together well. If you assume a minimal number of "cards" to be shown, you use 2NT to save space when the cards tend to be scattered, whereas the double inference of the bypass of 2NT limits those auctions to when the cards are grouped together.One last note. Opener's cuebids above 2NT do not "confirm two of the top three" trumps. Only a cuebid of 3H would confirm this. A slam on, say, Qxxxx(x) opposite KJx(x) is not ruled out.
Question re Cue Bidding after Drury.This is unusual because you have trump agreement BELOW the two level.For example:P-1S2C Reverse Drury. Limit Raise -2D Real Opener. Looking for ??2S what is this? Denial? 2/3?2NT Is THIS the denial?3x 2/3 plus a control?3S ?Probably 2NT should stay the trump quality denial for consistency, besides it is guaranteed to always be available.(If the auction had gone 1H-2C;2S now the only denial bid available is 2NT.)So what use can we make of the 2M bid in this sequence 1M-2C;2x-2M and how would it differ from 1M-2C;2x-3M ?
In a Drury auction the way I play it, P-1M-2C-2D-2M shows a weak game invite and is passable. If 2H is available below 2S, this clarifies holdings for the game try. Thus, cuebidding would start at the classic level. However, once we are past 2M, all cues are unambiguously slam cues.If you play that P-1M-2C-2D establishes a GF, then there are interesting options. I just am not sure they make sense.P-1M-2C-2D-3M is a strange auction, IMO. Even with two top honors in trumps without any diamond card, no club control, and no control in the other major, something like AQxx support with both side queens and almost flat (probably not 4333), or maybe some jacks if KQxx, I would opt for a simple 2M myself. 3M seems unduly rich, but a possibility.A more plausible idea for me would be the same hand, with a stiff in diamonds (or hearts if Opener bid 2H after opening 1S). E.g., P-1S-2C-2D-3S on AQxx-Qxxx-x-Qxxx?
This new style of cue bidding has many subtleties, which is what makes it fun of course. A question that came up last nite, is which takes priority, clarifying that you hold a first round control, or making the next cue bid.Say you hold: KQJxx AQxx Qx Hx, or KQJxx AQxxx Qx x, and the auction goes 1S-2D;2H-2S;3C-3D;3H-3S;Now you know pard has spade Ace, and two top diamonds. You have shown two top spades, two top hearts, and a club control. At this point you can bid 4D to show a diamond card, or 4C to confirm that you have first round club control? (if you have it.) Both of these pieces of information are crucial to pard who is looking for a grand.He holds:Axx x AKTxxxx Qx.If you hold the c-A you make 7S easily. If you don't 6 is enough. How should the auction go from here?pgmer6809
This apparent problem is actually easy to resolve in this specific auction. With two cuebids that are back-to-back (4C and 4D), bidding clubs disables ability to bid diamonds, whereas bidding diamonds implies inability to cue clubs again.The solution is to use a Serious 3NT call, implying two adjoining cuebid possibilities (either first-round club control plus a diamond honor, or a diamond honor plus solid hearts). This Serious 3NT, remember, does not just show extra strength -- it is sometimes tactical.An interesting negative inference from this concept would be that a 4C cuebid would carry a "negative aura" perhaps about the likelihood of a diamond honor, and a diamond cue would suggest that heart were unlikely to be solid.As for Responder's next act. Having heard 3NT, he will know that Opener has a hand that cannot be easily summed up without bidding 3NT, meaning a likelihood of touching cue options. In either of these, a diamond card is expected. In any event, the information gleaned so far should enable him to bid 5D as RKCB, diamond K and Q being the keys instead of spades (the A-K-Q question in spades is already resolved anyway).If Opener has two with the queen (6C), Responder bids the grand.It may seem that Opener could have a club void, and 5D would not clarify this. However, Opener is fairly unlikely to bid 3NT with a void. He might start asking immediately after your 3S call, or he might bid 4C, checking whether you can cue hearts (if he also has the diamond Queen).
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