Major Suit Raises: Limit Raises


Limit Raises (1♥/♠ p 3♥/♠)

These show four trumps, and 11-12 points (or a "good" 10).  Some judgement is needed when making the decision about which raise to make, because shape is as important as points, and when you choose a limit raise rather than a single raise, you, the responder, are telling partner that they don't need much more than a minimum to go to game.  Don't jump in trumps without at least four, even though you know that partner has five+ to have opened a major in the first place. 

Let’s compare two hands after partner has opened 1♥. They are both valued as 10 high-card points, but the second hand is stronger.
(1) ♠ Q 7 4
    ♥ J 6 3
    ♦ K J 7 2
    ♣ Q J 2

Hand (1) has 10 high card points, but poor trump support. The hand is also balanced, and the high cards are mostly queens and jacks.There are no shortages to allow extra tricks  by trumping. 

(2)♠ 9 4
   ♥ A 10 9 4
    ♦ 8 6 3
    ♣ K Q J 10

Hand (2) also has 10 high card points, but the trump support is good (four cards). The high cards include an ace and king, the club honors are nicely together, and there is a doubleton which will possibly allow an extra trick by trumping, should declarer have a losing spade.  

Shortage Points (also known as "Dummy" Points)

Extra tricks are available when declarer can trump losers in dummy. This will work only IF there are trumps and a short side suit in dummy. The number of trumps in dummy will make a difference to the number of extra tricks available. The more trumps, and the shorter the side suit, the better the trick-taking potential of the hand. 

NB: The important different between length and shortage points: Count length points from the very beginning when you pick up the hand, but  don't count shortage points until you know there's a fit!  Also, once both partners know there's a fit, don't count both length and shortage points. Your length point evaluation has become the trump suit you've both agreed to play in, and now it's the shortages in side suits that will improve the hand quality and add to the trick count. 

Bergen Raises
Because the number of trumps you hold for partner's major is important, Bergen raises always show four trumps. Bergen raises like to jump in trumps with a weak hand to keep the opponents from reaching their best spot. 
1♥/♠ p 3♥/♠ = 0-5 points and four trumps
1♥/♠ p 3♣ = 6-9/10 points and four trumps
1♥/♠ p 3♦ = (10),11,12 points and four trumps

Raises in competition (i.e. when the opponents enter the auction with either a double or an overcall) are still consistent with the number of trumps you hold, and it's popular to play Bergen when the opponents have doubled or overcalled too. (e.g. 1♥ x 3♥ = four hearts and 0 - 5 points, 1♥ x 3♣ = four hearts and 6 - 10 points,  1♥ x 3♦ = four hearts and 11, 12 points). or 1♥ (1♠) 3♣ = 6 - 10 and four trumps.


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