Lesson 1: Michael’s Cue Bids

Most modern partnerships have some agreement on how to enter the auction with two-suited hands – two five-card or longer suits. The advantage of intervening with a two-suited hand is that partner is likely to have a fit with at least one of the suits. If partner has a fit with both suits, the partnership may even make a game on very few high-card values.

Michaels Cuebids are one of these:
A direct cuebid of opener’s minor shows at least five cards in both majors e.g. 1♣ (2♣)
A direct cuebid of opener’s major shows at least five cards in the other major and a minor 1♥ (2♥)

Responding to Michaels
When partner “Michaels” over a minor, imagine their hand has two decent five-card major suits with 8+ points
1♣ (2♣) pass ?
Only three-card support for one of East’s suits is needed for a fit. The usual approach is:

• A preference to 2♥ or 2♠ shows no interest in game
• A jump to 3♥ or 3♠ is weak and pre-emptive
• A jump to 4♥ or 4♠ is to play. It could be weak and pre-emptive, or be bid with the intention of making the contract

Here are examples of responding to a Michael’s Cue bid.
1♣ (2♣) pass ?
♠ 84
♥ Q73
♦ KJ873
♣ J94
Bid 2♥. East’s has five cards in each major. West should prefer hearts to spades. Since East has at least five hearts, there is an eight-card fit. West should avoid 2D, even though diamonds is West’s best suit. East is unlikely to hold many diamonds

♠ QJ74
♥ 95
♦ J875
♣ Q65
Jump to 3♠. With a good fit with one of East’s suits and a weak hand, the jump to three is pre-emptive. Hopefully it will keep the opponents out of their best contract. If they double for penalty, there is a nine-card fit.

When partner uses Michaels over a major suit, it shows at least five cards in the other major and an unidentified minor. The responses are similar to those after a minor suit cue bid, with the exception that 2NT now asks for partner’s minor suit.

What does West call on the following hands?
1♠ (2♠) pass ?

♠ Q973
♥ 984
♦ 862
♣ K75
Bid 3♥. East has hearts and a minor. West doesn’t know which minor, but doesn’t care. West knows there’s an eight-card fit in East’s major. With no interest in game, West bids the suit cheaply.
♠ Q10742
♥ 5
♣ J973

Bid 2NT. Without a fit for the known major suit, West bids 2NT to find out which minor suit East holds. West hopes it’s clubs, but intends to pass whichever suit East bids.