By Bill Treble
Platinum Life Master and author of Two Over One: A First Course
There are two different situations for us to address here. The first is when the three-level rebid is a jump, an example being:
Since a game force has been established, you don’t need this jump to be natural and showing extra values. It would defeat one of the purposes of 2/1, which is to conserve the maximum amount of bidding space. There are two sensible alternatives for opener’s jump to 3:
- It would be a raise of partner’s diamonds with shortness in the bid suit. Since he is drawing a roadmap for the opponents to defend if the final contract is 3NT, opener should have a better than minimum hand. The partnership should decide upon how much better.
- Less common but also viable is for opener to be showing 5-5 in the majors, but specifically a minimum hand in the 12-14 range. With more points, he would bid 2 and then 3.
Of course, if the partnership doesn’t feel all that comfortable with either of these treatments, it can choose to play the jump as strong and natural.
Another scenario to consider is when opener’s three-level rebid is not
a jump, with an auction such as:
In Standard American, where 2
was not an absolute game force, a new suit bid at the three-level by opener was assumed to be extra values, with 16+ HCP or the equivalent in playing strength. Even in 2/1, some partnerships have similar requirements for a 3
rebid on this auction.
If that is the agreement, then opener might have to sometimes rebid 2
without extra length, and this would be especially true if the auction had gone 1
There are other people, however, who feel that a rebid of 2 must
guarantee at least six of them and that he can rebid naturally, even if it means going to the three-level on bare opening values.
Nowadays, I’d venture to say that opener would mention a new suit at the three-level anytime he has extra values and/or shape. If he has 5-4 distribution without extra values, it will be a matter of deciding which of the flawed choices is the most acceptable rebid. We can now move on to some example hands:
A K J 8 6
K 7 3
A Q 6 3
This is an NTR (no thought required) 3
rebid by opener. He has unbalanced distribution and at least a king better than minimum values.
A K 10 8 6
A J 9 6 3
Again, opener can rebid 3.
He isn’t brimming over with high cards, but he has 5-5 shape with decent suits. Old-school adherents would has us rebid 2
on this minimum hand, but that makes it very difficult to show the club length subsequently without going past 3NT.
A 10 8 6 5
Q 7 3
A K 6 3
Now things are getting dicier for opener. 2NT is not really an option with a singleton in responder’s suit and a less than robust heart stopper. That leaves 2
It’s my belief that the vote between the two would be fairly close, and perhaps a slight majority of players might show the clubs instead of repeating the spades.
A K 10 8 6
J 7 3
A 9 6 3
How we have unbalanced shape and no heart stopper at all. With the same choice between the black suits for opener’s rebid, there would be some players in the 2
camp while others would still rebid 3.
A 10 8 6 5
J 9 6 3
are terribly appealing on this hand. The “smallest lie” would be 2NT, as you do have a certain heart stopper.
A K J 6 5
K 7 3
J 9 6 3
With this hand, it isn’t advisable to rebid 2NT because you have unbalanced distribution, or 3
because the suit is so poor. Once again, it’s a case of picking the rebid that’s in the ballpark of what you hold, and that would be 2.