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Jun/JulArticle by Steve RobinsonJun/Jul 14
ArticlesWhen do you rebid a 5-card spade suit after one-of-a-minor by partner, 1 by you, 1NT by partner?"

It goes one-of-a-minor (by Partner) – 1 (by you) – 1NT (by partner). I assume that if you held KQJ10xxxxxxxxx (hand #1), you would bid 2. If you held 65432KxxKxxxx (hand #2), you would pass 1NT (or would you?). Assuming that you don't make the hand an invitational hand, or add an extra spade, what changes would you make to hand #2 so that you would bid 2?

When partner opens 1NT, he could have four-card spade support, and he’s not supposed to have a singleton spade. Therefore it makes sense to always transfer with a five-card spade suit. I always do. However, when he rebids 1NT, he can’t have four spades. Some experts raise on three so the 1NT-rebidder doesn’t figure to have three-card support with outside shortness. There are lots of experts who even rebid 1NT with a singleton spade. What do you rebid after 1 – 1 holding KAQ10xKxxJxxxx? So if your partner could have a singleton spade or can’t have three spades and a ruffing value, then you pass more often than bid. However, if your partner always had at least two spades and could easily have three spades, then you rebid weak five-card suits more often than you pass them.

Eric Greco---The primary question is a partnership one. How often do you raise with three with balanced hands? If the answer is never, then I would tend to rebid 2 on a five-card suit on say 95% of hands. If you raise with only three spades on lots of hands that are flawed notrump bids, then I would probably be rebidding 2 with a five-card suit on 40% of the hands.

There are some experts who never rebid 1NT with a singleton. This makes it easy to rebid 2 with all five-card suits no matter how weak they are.

Larry Cohen---This all depends on the partnership style. These days, there are players who rebid 1NT with a singleton spade, for example: JAQxxKJxxxQ10x. If playing that style, I would be reluctant to bid 2 unless I had a very good suit. My preferred style is NEVER to rebid 1NT with a singleton spade. I find some other lie. Accordingly, I would rebid 2 on most hands with five spades.

Kit Woolsey—In my partnership with Fred Stewart, we NEVER rebid 1NT with a singleton, and we NEVER raise on three-card support. Therefore, I would bid 2 "almost always" with a five-card spade suit. With 5-2-4-2 I would bid 2 regardless of anything else. With 5-3-3-2, it depends on strength of my hand, strength of the 1NT rebid, which is vulnerability dependent, and quality of the spade suit. The weaker the strength, the more inclined I am to rebid 2. The better the spade suit in intermediates, the more likely I am to rebid 2. On your hand #2, I would bid 2 if I expected partner could have 11-12 HCP, but pass if partner must have more than 12.

Then there are some experts who raise on three quite often. That means that their 1NT-rebid will have 2.2 spades.

Barry Rigal---Two points need to be made:
1) Are you looking at spades versus hearts, because there is a big difference since there are far fewer awkward hands over 1 than 1.
2) How often do you raise with three? I raise 90% of the time, so my partners expect 2.2 spades for my 1NT bid, whereas in standard bidding it’s 2.5. That said QJ10xxKxxKxxxx is a 2-call. J1098xKxxKxxxx is a conceivable 2-call. That’s about the weakest spades I might have to bid it.

Joe Kivel---Unless partner has 4-3-3-3 distribution, I expect partner to support spades with three of them. So I expect to be playing a 5-2 fit more often than not if I rebid 2. I generally would not rebid 2 unless I had decent spot cards.

Larry Mori---Without adding a spade to hand #2, I would not bid 2. There are also many hands that Opener would raise with three holding a small doubleton or singleton in a suit, e.g. 3=2=3=5 or 3=4=1=5 hands. If I had a small doubleton in the other minor, there is a small case to gamble on 2 with this hand because 3=4=2=4 is very possible in Opener’s hand. Even with this hand pattern, some of them are better bid with raises with the three-card suit.

There are some experts who routinely rebid 1NT with a singleton.

Alan Sontag---As I routinely rebid 1NT with a singleton spade, I would not consider rebidding 2 with a poor five-card suit.

David Berkowitz---I think it depends on your system. With 1=4=5=3 would you rebid your minor? How about 2, which I would? What about1=4=4=4? But if you regularly rebid 1NT with a singleton spade, I need no less than KQ10xx to bid 2 with a flat hand.

Drew Casen---With my partnership with Jim, we would never pull 1NT with only five spades, except of course the example hand that you presented--KQJ10x and out. We routinely rebid 1NT with a singleton spade, and we often raise with three-card support. If we open 1 and rebid 2, we promise 5-5, 6-4 or extras. Therefore we have to rebid 1NT with all minimums, even all 2=2=5=4 hands, 1=4=3=5 and 1=4=4=4 hands, etc.

Frank Stewart---I would bid 2 only with compelling hands. After 1-1, my style would be to rebid 1NT as opener with QQ1076K964AK93 or even with 4A1076KJ76AQ104.

If you open 1 with 1=4=4=4 distribution, you have no choice but to rebid 1NT over partner’s 1-response. If you open 1 with that distribution, you could rebid 2. There are some that play 1 followed by 2 shows at least one five-card minor which means that you have to rebid 1NT with a singleton.

Eddie Kantar---Assuming the opening bid was 1, and I play 2 as an artificial checkback, I might try 2 with xxxxxxxxxAJxx.  It’s just my luck to find partner with a singleton spade honor.  

Most experts when facing a choice look at their spade spots.

Marty Bergen---Since I believe 1NT can include a singleton spade, I need a very chunky suit, such as QJ10xx.

Jill Meyers---I need at least QJ109x.

Mark Feldman---Yes, I would pass with hand number two. At IMPs I would consider it automatic to pass with hand number two, the chance of making 1NT is significantly greater than making 2. At matchpoints it would be a somewhat closer decision, since there is a significant possibility of one more trick in spades. At IMPs I would consider it very close with J9xxx and would bid 2 with J10xxx.

Allan Siebert---J10xxx with two small hearts or diamonds or J109xx with little or no help in the reds.

Bill Pollack---My key determining factor in whether to bid 2, in standard methods, is the texture of the spade suit. Minimum would be J108xx. Side singletons are also factors, so KxxxxxQJxxxxx is also a 2- rebid.

Jeff Rubens---I would bid 2 on hand number one but not on hand number two. I would not bid 2 on this hand-type unless it looked very much like hand number one--very strong spades and at most few honors elsewhere.

Steve Bloom---Too many partnership matters go into this. How often does opener raise on three-card support? Can opener open 1 and rebid 1NT over 1 with a 1-3-4-5 pattern? The answer to your question depends on answers to these other questions.

Dan Gerstman---This is an interesting question as I held that hand today. My partner opened 1 and I had the values to pass 1NT or bid 2, but I had a doubleton diamond. If he had opened 1 it wouldn’t have been as clear. If the doubleton is in an unbid suit, I think it's clear to bid 2. The key thing here is that I frequently raise on three-card support. If you play that you never raise on three-card support it is much harder to bid out. That's the answer. It's not the hand as much as it is the partnership style. I know standard isn't the same as Kit/Precision, but Kit Woolsey thinks it's a sin to raise on three regardless of distribution or holdings in unbid suits. I, on the other hand, think it's awful to grab the notrump when you have three good in partner's major and two little in an unbid suit. One thing is certain: The hand I held today with two little diamonds when partner opened that suit made it a lot easier to pass the notrump response.

Kerry Sanborn---I cannot imagine bidding 2 when I could be beaten in my own suit which I’m insisting on. Rebidding 2 is supposed to get us to a better contract than 1NT, not a worse one. The idea of rebidding a five-card suit is so that we can take more tricks when my suit will not be a source of tricks in notrump. That said why should I work on xxxxx facing Qx, when I could have six or seven tricks in the other suits? I think I would only pull 1NT with a suit which had some texture, such as JT98x or when I was unbalanced, say 5-4-3-1 or a 5-5 hand.

So in order to make hand two a 2-bid, I would need one of my kings in Spades and a singleton somewhere. I can see 2 if my spade texture was better as well, say KJ10xx. Remember there are hands where partner will rebid 1NT with a singleton spade. Rebidding a five-card suit becomes a potential disaster if it is a weak suit.

A doubleton in an unbid suit could sway you to rebid a poorish suit. Length in unbid suits could sway you to pass.

Mike Lawrence---I can’t come up with a hand in four minutes of thinking so offer that my answer is zero hands.

Marinesa Letizia---I would always bid 2 with hand number one and never bid 2 with hand two holding five small spades.

Nick Nickell---I’d bid 2 with QJxxx and a King or J109xx and two side cards.

Ralph Katz---It would take a stiff or 5-4-2-2 to bid on the second hand. These two hands are not about HCP. It is completely about getting to the best spot. With the KQJ10x, passing could be as much of a disaster as bidding 2 with xxxxx.

John Carruthers---I'd take a chance on 2 with a singleton in either red suit, otherwise still pass.

Chuck Berger---I would need at least J1098x.

Richie Schwartz---I’d bid 2 if I had QJ10xx or J1098x and fewer than six HCP and I was not vulnerable.

Ron Smith---Hand two I'd pass and would need bigger spades to take 1NT out with a five-card suit. Shortness could have me thinking.

If your partner never rebids 1NT with a singleton spade, then rebid 2 85% of the time. It’s one less thing for you to think about. Only pass with a very bad suit with honors in other suits. If your partner raises with three frequently, lower the percentage to about 40%. If your partner rebids 1NT with a singleton spade, and raises frequently with three, then only rebid 2 with a very good suit.
Don Berman, Web Master.