Monday, October 06, 2003 11:40 PM

6-5 Come Alive




            Every Bridge player knows the playing potential of a 6-5 hand . You “come alive” with this distribution and bid. You are usually rewarded if partner has a fit for one of the suits. Using the rule of 20 , 6-5’s can be opened with as little as 10 HCP so that you can “fire the first shot” . Some 6-5’s present a problem though with standard bidding . These hands have the 5 card suit as a higher ranking suit then the longer one. A reverse is defined as an Ace above an opener or better  so reversing with an 11 HCP hand is misleading to partner . There are four possible solutions :


1.      Distort your distribution and treat the hand as a 5-5 by opener the higher ranking suit first.

2.      Open your 6 card suit and rebid it thereby concealing your 5 card suit.

3.      Reverse anyway and since you use Lebensohl you can stop below game

4.      Define a bid for these hands as a Jump Shift Reverse


The number one option is the most popular remedy but it has the obvious disadvantage in missing your main fit with the 6 card suit . The 2Nd option also misleads partner. Opening a suit and rebidding it is supposed to show a one suited hand . You have 2 suits so this is a bad distortion. Option 3 is very bad . You can not bid a 10 HCP hand and an 18 HCP hand the same way and have partner make an intelligent decision.


The last option is an intriguing solution to the problem popularized by Karen Walker   . She advocates defining these 6-5 hands with an almost idle bid : a jump shift reverse . In Edmonton , a jump shift reverse is a splinter for partners suit .Fanatical splinter users only play Karen’s jump shift reverse when partner responds a NT . You therefore always have to open your longer suit first and if partner does not bid a NT or bids a 2/1 then your 5 card suit gets ignored . My opinion is the splinter is not worth the aggravation. Showing 2 suits is more valuable then a splinter which can be shown at the 4 level anyway .  



4-P-4         This sequence can be the heart splinter .


            I like Karen’s treatment for these hands . The bid is pre-emptive as well as being very descriptive.



 3                        x x KQJ10x  AQ1098x       


Bringing the auction this high so fast help jam out the opponents majors and with the right hand you can get to a magical 5 of a minor game.


By following the link above to Karen’s site she gives example of how to respond to these bids. There is an obvious 4th suit bid that you can use as responder. Karen advocates using the 4th suit as a slam try in the 1st suit and Blackwood keys off the second suit.


I held KQJ10x AK10xxx x x     and got to the wrong major suit game . if you distort your hand by opening 1 and partner bids 1NT and you rebid 2you muddy the waters. Partner pictures a 5-4 hand . If I was playing this toy at the time , the auction would go





This bid is non forcing so partner can pass 3S or with hearts lets try a shot at game. If I opened a heart and bid and rebid spades to show my 6-5 , I would be at the 3 level anyway. This bid gets it all over with in one bid and describes the HCP range  . I like it !!