Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:38 AM

Hand Evaluation – Suits ( Recovering the SJS )
            The old fashioned strong jump shift by responder had its practical use. Advertising to partner that you have immediate slam intentions with a solid or semi-solid suit certainly is an asset for the partnership. Take this hand from the Vanderbilt. ♠AKQ10xxx KJxxx void ♣K   The auction went
4-P-4♠-P            Partners hand was ♠x Axx Axx ♣AQ1098x  so in 7NT reached at the other table , declarer took 7 spade tricks , 5 tricks ( doubleton queen)  6♣ tricks ( Jack came down ) and the diamond Ace for 19 top tricks , a 17 IMP pickup.
            What went wrong ? These were experts but the opener never visualized such a huge hand by responder. Responder never visualized such a nice hand by opener for a 2♣ rebid. Nobody flashed a slam signal.
            Here is how my partners would bid this hand.
 1♣-P-1♠-P                               (1)  Equivalent to a strong jump shift solid or semi- solid suit
 2♣-P-3♠(1)-P                           (2)  I have two kings and a source of tricks why waste time ?
 5NT-P-7NT (2) –P
            Do not scoff at the strong jump shift by responder. It had its use in the first 50 years of Bridge & it has its use today. Experts look for places to recover the strong jump shift by responder , so a jump rebid is one of them.
                        After a major opener and a 2/1 , a jump preference by responder shows 4 trump with a nice suit. Still another place where we have recovered the strong jump shift by responder. Original bidding theorists did not have it all wrong. They just had to pick their spots better for the strong jump shift by responder.
2♠-P-4♠-P    shows a strong fit showing jump shift type of hand.
            4th suit forcing is an artificial kludge designed to compensate for a lack of a strong jump shift or preference by responder. Keeping one specific hand type i.e. a strong single suited hand from the clutches of 4th suit forcing has an excellent negative inference. AKxxx xxx Ax ♣Q10x you respond 1♠ to openers 1 . Opener rebids 2♣ so you bid 2 as 4th suit forcing. Partner bids 3 so now what ? Since the strong single suited hands are taken out of the 4th suit forcing equation , 3♠ in this auction is a grope for 3NT. Partner with a heart stopper now bids 3NT which is now right sided. Artificiality like 4 th suit forcing needs all the help it can get.
        The strong jump shift by responder is the dinosaur of Bridge so has been replaced by the WJS & 4th suit forcing in modern bidding.  However , the strong jump shift by responder had its use especially to set the suit immediately & to show the slam intentions. There are not enough bids in Bridge that concentrate on the quality of the suit. We seem to be more hung up on HCP’s . Bridge is a game of suits so good suits should be acknowledged.  With the weak jump shift inferences that a suit rebid by responder  is invitational , we can assign a meaning to jump rebids by responder. These can be the solid suit type strong jump shift hands.  So in effect , we are “recovering” the useful form of the strong jump shift response of the old days.. If we choose to go the 4th suit forcing route or XYZ , we can show the rock without the good suit.
1-P-3    Strong Jump Shift
2NT-P-3 Broken suit
 1♠-P-3♥-P   SJS good suit in the teeth of a misfit
1-P-3♣    Playing XYZ this is forcing & slamish
        Since we play 2-way NMF & XYZ with 2♣ showing all the invitational hands , we can recover the strong jump shift there also.  1m-1M-1NT-3M  shows the strong jump shift hand led by AKQ or a semi-solid suit.
            Here is a hand from the GNT final in Calgary which shows the strong jump shift response in action. I held ♠KQJ10xx AQx KJ ♣xx  & partner opened 1. I responded a spade & partner rebid 1NT. OK strong jump shift time so I bid 3♠ which shows the strong suit with the slam intentions. Partner was all controls Ax xxx A1087x ♣Axx so he had no problem Q bidding the club Ace. I took control so +1430 in spades resulted. This “old fashioned” approach simplifies auctions. Once opener knows there is a good suit over there with slam intentions , she is on the same wavelength . She is in a position to put the breaks on a slam or accelerate it.
            Recovering the strong jump shift changes captaincy . Since you tell partner you have a good suit with a good hand , partner is captain of the auction. Maurice had this hand  AKQ109x J109 J9 ♣Kx . I opened 1 , he bid 1♠ & I bid 2♣ . He now bids 3♠ which describes his hand in one bid. I heard him so I bid 4♠ which was the correct spot. If you do something silly like bid 4th suit , you are still captain of the auction & now you must guess my hand. It never hurts in Bridge to describe your hand to partner especially if it fits your system.

             Playing this concept comes with a price . The weak jump shift in the major after a minor opener has to be quite healthy to allow the rebid of the major to be invitational. Since spades are the boss suit , the bidding can not remain at the one level except with a 1NT rebid. Therefore , you need XYZ at the one level with spade hands. If you want to retain the weak jump shift as really weak , you need a toy like NMF. Tom introduced me to 2 after a 1♣-2♣ rebid auction as NMF. You can bid that & later bid your spades to show the invitational major hands. If partner opens 1or 1 , rebids the same suit you can play 3♣ as NMF ( relay to 3 ? ) so returning to your major can show the invitational hands. NMF is not forcing to game in these particular 2 level auctions. Playing 2NT by responder as a “new suit” one round force , helps in these auctions. We have XYZ to handle the one level auctions , of course.
            In competition , “recovering the strong jump shift” should not apply. The main reason is frequency since the opponents are bidding also , the odds of you holding such a hand diminishes. The 2nd reason is that the opponents bid has given you a Q bid with which to work. You can Q bid & jump in your suit to show the strong solid suit hand. Partner opens 1 , the opponents overcall 1 & you bid 1♠ with ♠AJ10xxx xxxx ♦xx ♣A. Your LHO bids 2♣ & all pass around to you. This is a 3♠ invitational bid which is needed in competition. A 2♠ bid can now be more competitive than invitational.