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Bidding Over One Spade

When Auction was in its infancy, the authorities advised the Second
Hand, regardless of the character of his cards, to pass a declaration
of one Spade. The reason given was that the Third Hand would have to
take his partner out, which might prove embarrassing, and that a bid by
the Second Hand would release his left-hand adversary from this,
possibly, trying position.

Modern Auction developments have proven the futility of this idea. The
Third Hand of to-day is not troubled by any obligation to take the
Dealer out of "one Spade," and will not do so without considerable
strength. Should the Second Hand pass, with winning cards, the Fourth
Hand may be the player who finds himself in the awkward position, and
if, adopting the conservative course, he allow the Spade declaration to
stand, a good chance to score game may be lost by the failure of the
Second Hand to avail himself of his opportunity.

Second Hand silence is not now regarded as golden, but there is still
some question as to the amount of strength required to make a
declaration advisable. Some authorities believe the Second Hand should
pass, unless his cards justify him in expecting to make game. This
theory was for a time very generally accepted, and even yet has a
considerable following. Experience, however, has convinced most of its
advocates that it is unsound, and it is being rapidly abandoned.

It is now conceded that the deal is quite an advantage, because of the
opportunity it gives the Dealer to strike the first blow. It follows
that when the Dealer has been obliged to relinquish his favorable
position, it is the height of folly for the Second Hand, when he has
the requisite strength, not to grasp it. Furthermore, the Dealer having
shown weakness, the adverse strength is probably in the Third Hand.
Should the Third Hand call No-trump, the Fourth Hand will be the
leader, and it will then be important for him to know which suit his
partner desires opened. On the first round of the declaration, this can
be indicated by a bid of one, but after the No-trump, it takes two,
which, with the strength over the bidder, may be dangerous.

The bid of the Second Hand, furthermore, makes the task of his
left-hand adversary more difficult and may prevent a No-trump. It
certainly aids the Fourth Hand--indeed, it may be just the information
he needs for a game declaration.

It seems clear, therefore, that the Second Hand should show his
strength when he has the chance. He should not, however, carry too far
the principles above outlined. It is just as fatal for the Second Hand
as for the Dealer, to deceive his partner.

Next: When To Bid No-trump

Previous: Second Hand Declarations

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