Your partner opens the bidding with 2NT (20-21 HCP, balanced) and right hand opponent passes. What do you bid with the following hands?
- Bid 3♣. If partner shows a major you plan to raise. If partner bids ♦, you will bid 3♥ showing 5 hearts and 4 spades. Note: Some play “Smolen”. Playing Smolen instead of bidding your five card major, you bid your four card major showing five cards in the other major. This allows the stronger hand to play the contact holding a three card fit in your five card major. It is a very popular convention for obvious reasons.
- Bid 3NT and hope the clubs come in.
- 4NT. Natural, not Blackwood. See next answer.
- 4♣. Gerber, asking for aces. If partner has three aces, bid 7NT forcing the opening lead to come up to the strong hand. If partner has two aces, bid 6NT to protect a possible ♥K in the opener’s hand. Of course if partner has the ♠QJ(x)(x) you are better off in 6♦.
- 5NT. Forcing to slam asking partner to bid four card suits in ascending order. If partner bids 6♣ or 6♦, pass. A 4-4 fit usually produces an extra trick (or two) in the play and that might be the difference between going down in 6NT and making 6♣ or 6♦.
- 3♦ A transfer to hearts which you plan to follow up by bidding 4♣, forcing. There could well be a slam if partner has a fit for one of your suits along with aces in your short suits.