Bridge Tips No 3

Bidding 4441 Hands

Standard bidding methods are geared towards the bidding of either balanced hands or unbalanced hands. 4441 shaped hands are neither balanced (because of the singleton) nor especially unbalanced (because they do not have a long suit). Consequently, such hands do not fit easily into normal bidding methods. There are recommendations as to how such hands should be bid but one has to be aware that these methods are not perfect. The most usual method nowadays is to open the suit below the singleton if the three suits are not touching and to open the middle suit of three touching suits, e.g.

XXXXOpen 1CXXXXOpen 1DXXXXOpen 1HXOpen 1D
XXXX X XXXX XXXX 
X XXXX XXXX XXXX 
XXXX XXXX X XXXX 

If partner responds in any of your four card suits there is no problem but if the response is in the suit of your singleton which, of course, is the more likely, life is not so straightforward. There are two cases to consider; firstly, when the opener has 12 14 points and secondly, with 15 or more points. In the former case a NT rebid is barred because that would show 15 or more points depending on the level of the NT bid so the rebid must be in a suit but, to repeat the suit opened would guarantee a five card suit and to bid a different suit would infer that the first bid suit is five cards long, both of which would be untrue. Unfortunately, there is no alternative but, hopefully, arriving in a 4-3 fit is not the end of the world. When opener has 15 points or more the situation is not so bad since, if responder bids your singleton, you can now rebid in NT without telling a lie about your strength.