Here is a simple hand that requires what is, perhaps, a counter-intuitive approach to the bidding.

Dealer: North
E/W Game


This type of problem occurs routinely and, by most average players, it is misjudged. Looking at the South hand, it may seem obvious to you to pass but, in the long run, it will certainly be superior to rebid 2S.

This is because, in a NT contract, the poor-quality 5-card spade suit will be almost impossible to establish whereas, if it is trumps, even opposite a doubleton in partner’s hand, it is very likely to produce two tricks, often three.

In no trump contracts, you want solid or semi-solid suits; in suit contracts, some gaps will not prove as costly. This is also why, had North opened 1NT, you would normally make a weak-take out to 2S, either naturally or via a transfer.

There will be times, especially at duplicate pairs, where you might decide to remain in 1NT despite a poor 5-card major suit, but this should be reserved for when you have an excess of points: the fewer you hold, the more advantageous it will be to have a trump suit.

Here, against 1NT, East would lead 6♣ and E/W have seven top tricks. The declarer will also have an uneasy time discarding from both dummy and his own hand. Against 2S, the defence are helpless.

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