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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

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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Previous: The Bid Of Three Spades

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