Lesson 4 : Advancer’s Role

After Partner Overcalls.

With a Fit
Change your bidding style when both sides are in the auction. It’s harder to tell who’s got what, and how far to go. The key is the fit: the bigger the fit, the higher you should bid. 
Responding with support, to a one-level overcall

  • With three  cards and 6-9’ish points, raise partner to two: Partner: ♠AQ873 ♥A5 ♦732 ♣Q43  You ♠JT5 ♥84 ♦J84 ♣AJ952 The opponents open 1♥, partner overcalls 1♠, you should raise to 2♠
  • With four cards and only 4-8’ish points, jump raise to three: Partner: ♠AQ873 ♥A5 ♦732 ♣Q43 You: ♠ JT54 ♥8 ♦T854 ♣AJ95 The opponents open 1♥, partner overcalls 1♠, this time with four trumps, you should raise to 3♠. This is not showing a better hand, just another trump. 
  • With five cards and a weak hand, 4 - 8 points, jump to game: 1♥ (1♠) 2♥ (4♠) Partner ♠AQ873 ♥A5 ♦732 ♣Q43 You: ♠JT542 ♥8 ♦T85 ♣AJ9

With a good hand (10+ points) and a fit, cue bid the opponent’s suit. With a minimum, partner will bid at the lowest level, but with a better hand, they will accept the invitation and go to game. Partner: ♠AQ873 ♥A5 ♦732 ♣Q43 You: ♠JT54 ♥KQ8 ♦A854 ♣K5 e.g. 1♥ (1♠)2♥(3♥)p 4♠ p p p
 

Without a Fit
Proceed cautiously. A new suit by advancer should be forward going, and the overcalled should only pass with a very minimal hand. A 1NT bid covers a wide range and is forward going. e.g. 1♦ 1♠ P – bid 1NT on a hand like this.
♠J4 ♥752 ♦KQ93 ♣A1062

After Partner Doubles.

Advancer has to decide two things: which suit to bid, and which level to choose. Bid your longest suit, preferring a major, even if you hold only four cards in the suit.
Points need to be carefully shown too:
0-8 bid your longest suit (preferring a major) at the lowest level
9-11, jump a level in your longest suit
12+, go to game in your longest suit, or cue bid opener’s suit if you’re not sure of the best spot (this usually shows a hand with four cards in each major).

♠963 ♥Q4 ♦T82 ♣QJ864. Here you hold a weak hand, but passing is not an option after the bidding goes: 1♦X p 2♣.Bid your longest suit, 2♣ and partner will have support for you.

♠AQ64 ♥85 ♦KJ96 ♣T92. This time your hand is better, so jump a level of the bidding to show 9 – 11 points. 1♥X p 2♠

♠Q97 ♥AJT7 ♦852 ♣J82. No trumps is not ideal,(because your partner has shortage in opener’s suit), but sometimes, like this hand, 1♥ X p 1NT,  responder has controls, known as (stoppers) there. On this hand, bid 1NT (or, with more points, bid 2NT).
In modern competitive auctions, players are much more aggressive than they used to be. There are many competitive gadgets, but good judgement is usually the key to success. Sometimes it pays to bid a lot with a little, sometimes a little with a lot!