The redoubtable Marty Bergen has created two online quizzes to carry you through the quarantine season. Labeled 1-20 and then 21-40, they ask questions about auctions that start:

Partner           You
1♦️                1♥️
1♠️                ???

Here are some cases that intrigued me.

Your hand:
♠️ A 10 4    ♥️ A 10 9 8 7 6    ♦️ K 10 3    ♣️ 3

Marty’s answer: 2♣️
“I love the distribution, intermediates [add a point for three tens} and controls, so am willing to force to game.”

The artificial 2♣️ bid is “fourth-suit forcing” to game, and it’s perfect when you’re looking for more information and can’t ask by any other bid. Here you’re hoping for heart support from partner.  With the tens and two additional points for the fifth and sixth hearts, your hand is worth 14 points. A raise to 3♥️ wouldn’t be forcing.


Your hand:
♠️ 10 7 6 5    ♥️ A K J 9 8 2    ♦️ A J    ♣️ 3

“Bid 2♣️. I’m not ready to raise spades. If opener has two or three hearts, I’d rather play in that suit. My favorite type of 8-card fit  is NOT 4-4.”

Whoa! I’d always heard the virtues of 4-4, so I asked Marty to elaborate: “With a 4-4 fit, you are assured of 4 winners."

5-3 = 5
6-2 = 6
7-1 =7
8-0 = 8


Your hand:
♠️ A Q 10 9    ♥️ 9 8 7 6 3    ♦️ A 9    ♣️ 5 2

“Bid 4♠️. Great trumps, good shape, and a well-placed ace in partner’s first-bid suit.”

He’s not doctrinaire about 4-4 when the four spades are great and the five hearts poor.


Your hand:
♠️ Q J    ♥️ A Q 7 5 2   ♦️ 5    ♣️ Q 7 6 4 3

“Bid 1NT only based on the quacky [jacks and queens] hand and possible misfit.”

He rates each ace as worth 4 ½ points, and jacks and queens as possible subtractions.


Your hand:
♠️ K 6 2  ♥️ K Q J 10 8  ♦️ J 4 3  ♣️ 7 6

“Bid 2♥️. Any suit headed by 4 honors should be treated as if it were one card longer than it actually is.”


Your hand:
♠️ J  ♥️ A Q J 9 6 5 2  ♦️ 3 2  ♣️ K 3 2

“Bid 4♥️. You have too much offense to bid 3♥️.”

To determine if you have a self-sustaining suit, add the number of cards and the number of honors. If the total is 10 or more, you don’t need support from partner. So this bid will work even if partner has no hearts.

If interested in the full 40 for $10, please send an email to mbergen@mindspring.com.