Maritha Pottenger

When partner overcalls a minor and you have support (or tolerance—two or more cards) but you also have a decent 5-card major, you should MENTION your major rather than simply raising partner. Majors are cheaper games and partner can retreat to the minor if needed. So, 1 on your left; 2 by partner; 2 on your right and you have KJ10xx Qxx x Qxxx Go ahead and bid 2 rather than 3. Partner can retreat to clubs if she hates spades—knowing that you EITHER have club tolerance OR a good enough suit to rebid over 3. (You don't voluntarily come in on a misfit auction so you promise EITHER club support/tolerance OR a long, rebiddable suit of your own.)

The reverse does NOT hold. If partner overcalls a major, and you bid a minor, you are RUNNING as quickly as possible and often have NO tolerance—unless as mentioned in earlier post—your bid is at 4 level or higher. So, 1 on your left; 1 by partner; P; 2/2 by you—you have a 5 card or longer decent suit and a scattering of values. You may loath and detest spades—often a singleton or a void—and you are attempting to improve the contract. Partner should not rebid spades unless s/he has a GOOD six or more. A typical hand for you would be x Kxx KJ10xx QJx.

If your hand is weaker, do NOT bid immediately. Since the bid is at the one level, LHO will almost certainly either bid again or make a reopening double. If LHO makes a reopening double and (worst case) RHO passes (converting to penalties), THEN you trot out your long suit and hope. For example, with xxxx KJ10xxx Qxx, you wait for reopening double by LHO and pass by RHO, then you try 2 and hope.

Be careful not to confuse these situations with those when you have SHOWN support already. A new suit when you have already shown support is indicating WHERE YOUR VALUES ARE so partner can make a more informed decision about how high to compete. So, for example, 1 by partner, 2 by RHO; 2 by you; 3 by LHO; pass by partner; pass; if you now bid 3 or 3, you are showing a maximum raise to partner and values in the red suit which you bid. Then, partner can decide whether to bid only 3; go to game if you have uncovered a double fit; or double 4 if they opponents try that. Example hand might be: xxxx AKJ10 Qx xxx OR xxxx Qxx KQJ10 xx. Such bids also indicate safe suits for partner to lead if your side ends up defending.