Gerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Below, Gerry shares his expert insight on the game.
FIVE MYTHS ABOUT MINOR SUITS
- Majors are more important than minors. This is absolutely true in selecting a final contract; that is, during the captaincy phase of the auction. But, it is patently false when describing what your hand looks like. During description, all four suits are equal.
- When answering 1C, it is better to skip over the diamonds to bid a major suit first. Not only does this violate descriptive integrity, it prevents the opener from drawing proper inferences. It is a short-cut to majors with no concern for showing the correct hand pattern. Moreover, it creates rebid problems for the opener that are easily avoided by bidding one-over-one. For example, suppose you hold xx KQJx xx AQxxx; if you open 1C, consider the situation when your partner responds either 1D, when it’s so easy to rebid 1H, or alternatively 1S, when it is hard to bid the hearts, since 2H would promise extra strength.
- The 1C opener might have only a 3-card suit. True enough, but only in about 35% of all cases; 65% of time, the opener will hold four or more club cards. Why assume the worst, when the normal is more likely?
- If you have to open a 3–card minor, choose the better one. Unfortunately, this creates as many problems for the diamond suit as now exist for the clubs. Most experts today agree that the only time to open a 3-card diamond suit is with two 4-card majors and just two clubs. This occurs on fewer than 4% of all diamond openers.
- If you respond in a minor, you might “lose” a major–suit fit. This is just nonsense. We have so many conventional bids and balancing bids to cover these situations that you lose the suit only when the hand truly belongs to the opponents.
Stay tuned for more bridge tips on our blog and join Oceania Cruises on a bridge cruise in 2016!