A Bidding Problem for a Weak Hand 

This hand caused bidding problems for some of the players who held it in a recent club game. On a hand that seems to have a lot of tricks on offense, they defended some number of hearts. In one case, they doubled 3 hearts and let it make for a bad score east west, made worse by the fact that you can't get to the dummy if you are playing 4 spades and are forced to drop the spade queen. Thus you only have three losers and will make 4 spades. When asked my opinion, I suggested the auction shown in the diagram. I have omitted east's final bid because I don't know what that player would do, but I think that if my partner bid to the 3 level on his own I might make the game bid of 4 spades holding the east hand.

Your first duty when entering an auction started by the other side is to try to show partner the reason you are competing in the first place, and a double in this case would suggest less playing strength and would ask partner's opinion about where to play the hand. It seems obvious that we want to play the hand in a black suit with this hand, so we should start by bidding the long suit first. By rebidding the spades we show that we have at least five of them, so partner knows our distribution has to be something like 6-5 or even 7-5. That kind of holding is not usually good on defense because you are sure the opponents will be short in your suit and will trump your winners while running their own long suit. When your hand has long suits headed by honors you should convey that fact to partner.

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