Take this hand I played online in a matchpoints tournament. I picked up, vulnerable against not with partner (East) the dealer:
Partner opens 1S and South overcalls 2C. What's your bid? In competition, we play pretty much Robson-Segal's system (Partnership Bidding at Bridge). These are your choices:
- 2S is a minimum raise
- 3C is a limit-raise or better
- 3S is preemptive with 4 spades.
It's a close call between 2S and 3C. I do have a 4th trump, but the quacks are not pulling their weight. So, I go the low road, and bid 2S. It gets passed to South who competes with 3D. Now, do you bid 3S, to show the 4th spade? I decided to pass, reasoning that the 3D bid has just made my hand worse (agree?). If South has 5 clubs and 4 diamonds, then partner probably is 5-3-3-2.
Obviously, he has 4 hearts, but is 3H a game-try? Of course, not. He passed the previous turn. He wants to be on the 3-level, so he has no defense against 3D, but wants to suggest where his points lie. So, what's his hand? He must be 5-4-1-3 to wish to compete (5-4-2-2 and he'd probably pass). The bid is more about what to do if the opponents compete to the next level.
I bid 3S, of course and now, North bids 4D. Back to me. What's my bid now?
At the table, I failed to take the inference offered by partner's heart bid. The opponents have a 10-card fit in diamonds. They are going to be cross-ruffing clubs and hearts. I need to pass, but instead, I doubled to "protect our equity". Disaster ensued, of course.
This was the complete deal.