Which is better, a king or a queen? It seems obvious
that kings are better than queens, but if your partner
When partner opens
The ace of trumps is the best card in the game, so most
would guess (b), but the answer is (a). If you hold Hand
(a), you are pretty sure the
The general rule is that aces are usually useful no matter what partner holds. Kings are probably useful. Queens and jacks could be great, but could easily be worthless.
Side shortness also changes. If you have three cards in
partner's suit, the 1-2-3 count still applies. A void
is usually worth about a full trick if we have three
trumps, so that makes sense. If you have two cards in
partner's suit, subtract one from each shortness value;
so count 0-1-2 instead. If you have fewer than two
cards in partner's suit, your side shortness is worth
nothing until you find a fit. For example, let's say
If you have four or more cards in partner's suit, not
only has finding a fit been accomplished, your side
shortness goes up in value. Instead of 1-2-3, count
1-3-5 points for side shortness. A void and four
trumps is hugely valuable, usually worth a couple of
tricks, even if they lead trump. For example, if
Lower honors are also affected substantially. The queen in partner's major is usually worth most of a trick. Add one point for holding it. Queens and jacks outside of partner's suit may or may not be worth anything. Consider their value dubious. We can't discount them entirely, but we need to find out if they are useful. Aces and kings are still likely to be good.
Is three small a good help suit? No. Partner will think Qxx is useful. It's not very. Even QJx is not necessarily a trick, since the opponents could maneuver a ruff, or it might be too slow.
When should you accept a help suit try? Assume partner has Axx or Kxx. A singleton is pretty good even opposite Kxx; partner was worried about two or three losers in the suit, and that's not going to happen. Yes, his king is not pulling its full weight, but it's hard to distinguish between those two holdings. Qx is goodyour dubious value is now known to be working.
Remember that partner is still just inviting game. Even
if you have all your cards in trumps and his help suit,
if you have a really bad hand, don't accept. For example,
In summary: After
2NT is also a game try. It's forcing and natural and shows 16+ high card points and usually 5332 shape. Note that it is unlimited; you could have 19 points and be interested in 3NT. In response, if you have junk, sign off in three of our major. Otherwise, bid where your stoppers are. Maybe that will allow partner to bid 3NT. If you open all these hands 1NT or 2NT, then you won't have much opportunity to use this. I'll suggest sort of repurposing it anyway.
Norman Kay's Rule: at matchpoints (or board-a-match), with 5332 and 16 HCP, generally pass when partner raises your major to two. It is more likely that you'll go minus than find a making game.
More: I have enough to accept your game try, wherever it is.
3NT: I have spread out values and a balanced hand. How about 3NT?
4x: I have an ace or king here and a great hand
If responder bids a suit below your intended help suit
try, if that works anyway, then you can bid game. But
if you really need help, you just bid your real help
You'll note that this has used up 2NT (the bid to suggest getting to 3NT). But we can try 2NT anyway with those hands. If partner shows stuff where we don't have great stoppers, we can try 3NT. He'll bid 4 of our major with four trumps (or maybe not with 4333) or shortness somewhere, and he'll pass 3NT with a balanced hand.
On the other hand, it frees up three help suit tries.
In the original version of this convention, these show
shortness. Partner is supposed to accept this try only
with no wastage in the short suit. They tend to be lighter
tries than 2NT, something like
Some theorists have noticed that these short-suit tries
don't come up very often and much of the time when they
do, we can just use the asking bid anyway. If partner
shows stuff in our shortness, we stop; otherwise we go
or re-ask in a higher suit. One improvement is to use
the other major not as shortness, but as a check for a
4-4 fit in that suit. Usually, a 4-4 fit plays about a
trick better than a 5-3, so if we are going to bid game
anyway, finding the 4-4 is worth doing, and if we find
a 4-4 fit, our game try succeeds automatically. So using
Marshall Miles thinks so little of short suit tries that he plays that all the bids which may have been short suit tries are four-card suits and slam tries. Usually, finding a 4-4 fit will make a slam try into a slam accept, because the 4-4 fit is worth an extra trick, so this makes some sense.