How Second Hand Should Bid After An Offensive Declaration





When the Dealer has made an offensive declaration, the Second Hand must

bear in mind that it is possible this may be his last opportunity to

declare. A declaration under such circumstances being what is very

properly termed "forced," is of a totally different character from the

"free" declaration heretofore considered, and is not limited by any

hard-and-fast rules as to the presence of certain cards. For example,

should the Dealer bid one Royal, and the Second Hand hold seven Hearts,

headed by Queen, Knave, he obviously must declare two Hearts; otherwise,

even if the Fourth Hand hold the Ace and King of Hearts, and other

strength, the declaration of one Royal might stand.



The principle is that an offensive bid having been made, the

declaration of the player following does not of necessity show high

cards, but does suggest the ability of the Declarer to successfully

carry out the proposed contract.



When the Dealer has called a No-trump, the Second Hand is obliged

either to pass, or declare two of some suit, or of No-trump. He must

remember that against the Dealer's No-trump he is the leader, and as

the information regarding his strong suit will be given to his partner

by the first card played, it is not important that he convey it by a

bid.



The No-trump may be only of minimum strength, but it may, on the other

hand, be of much more than average calibre. The Third Hand has yet to

be heard from, and if, as is possible, he have considerable strength in

the suit that the Second Hand thinks of declaring, such a bid will

offer an ideal opportunity for a profitable double. The Second Hand,

therefore, should be somewhat diffident about bidding two in a suit. He

should make the declaration only when his hand is so strong that in

spite of the No-trump, there seems to be a good chance of scoring game,

or he has reason to think he can force and defeat an adverse two

No-trumps, or the No-trump bidder is a player who considers it the part

of weakness to allow his declaration to be easily taken away, and can,

therefore, be forced to dangerous heights.



This is an opportunity for the Second Hand to use all his judgment. The

Dealer may be taking desperate chances with a weak No-trumper, and the

balance of strength may be with his partner and himself, in which case

it is important for him now to show his colors; yet he must always keep

in mind that conservatism, in the long run, is the main factor of

Auction success. It is the ability (possibly "instinct" is the proper

term) to act wisely in such cases that makes a bidder seem inspired.



With a strong Club or Diamond holding and a reentry, such a hand as,

for example,--



Spades Two small

Hearts Two small

Diamonds King, Queen, Knave, and two small

Clubs Ace, Knave, Ten, Nine



it is generally unwise to bid Second Hand over one No-trump.



There is little danger of the adversaries going game in No-trumps, but

they may easily do so in Hearts or Royals. A Second Hand declaration in

this position may point out to the opponents their safest route to

game, and is not apt to prove of material benefit, as with such hand,

eleven tricks against a No-trump is extremely improbable.



A similar principle presents itself when the holding is five of any

suit, headed by the four top honors, or even by the three top honors,

and no other strength. With such cards, the No-trump can almost

certainly be kept from going game, and if the partner be able to

assist, the declaration may be defeated. If, however, two of that suit

be called, the adversaries, not having it stopped, will not advance the

No-trump, but if sufficiently strong, will declare some other suit in

which they may score game.





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