Driving home last week’s issue of bidding carefully to a minor-suit contract, I give you this OK Bridge hand. Paired with Paul Laliberte, I was sitting North and dealing, with no one vulnerable:


                     NORTH (Me)
                    ♠️ 9 8 5 3
                    ♥️ A
                    ♦️ A J 2
                    ♣️ K J 10 5 4

WEST                                        EAST
♠️ 4                                         ♠️ A K J 10 6 2
♥️ 9 7 6 4 3 2                          ♥️ Q 10
♦️ 9 8 7 5                                ♦️ 4 3
♣️ 9 6                                      ♣️ A 8 7

                  SOUTH (Paul)
                 ♠️ Q 7
                 ♥️ K J 8 5
                 ♦️ K Q 10 6
                ♣️ Q 3 2

The bidding proceeded as follows:


North          East           South               West
1♣️             1♠️            DBL                  Pass
2♣️            2♠️            3♣️                   All Pass

Opening lead: ♠️A

The key bid was Paul’s 3♣️. Many players would have taken the position, “My partner opened, and I have an opening hand. We should be in game.”

Among several problems with this thinking, Paul’s ♠️Q figured to be worthless. In addition, it can take more than two opening hands to bid game in a minor suit: 28-29 high-card points or the equivalent in favorable shape. So Paul showed restraint in bidding 3♣️, which made.

“How well I remember the deal featured in last week’s column!” he says. “There were a number of factors behind my decision. After my negative double, your 2♣️ bid denies a fit in either hearts or diamonds. Your bid, undoubtedly the weakest possible, tends to deny a stopper in spades. Furthermore, East’s 2♠️ rebid deflates the value of my holding. My ♠️Q-7 becomes virtually worthless opposite strong spades to my right. Instead of 13 HCP, I hold only 11 ‘working points.’ The spade doubleton should be downgraded as a ruffing value because there are only three pieces of trump in dummy. By no means is my holding worth a raise to 5♣️.”

Now what would you bid in the following situation? Partner has bid a weak 2♦️ and your right-hand opponent has overcalled 2♥️. You hold:

♠️ K Q 10 4
♥️ A 4 3
♦️ K Q 10 6
♣️ A 4

I bid 3NT, which went down one when RHO cashed four hearts and the spade ace. It was unrealistic for me to assume that partner had aces in spades and diamonds. Better — and safer  — to bid 5♦️, which would have made.