Protective Bidding



Definition of a Protection bid

This is easy! 
The latter can occur at any bidding level!

If you PASS its the end of bidding and play must then commence.

What are your options?

PASS                             Accepts the contract so far bid

Penalty Double               You believe the opponents cannot make their final contract a bid in the  opponents agreed suit and partner has passed this bid or the bidding has not been hitherto competed

Optional penalty double  As above but partner has not bid since the last opponent bid in a previously competitive auction.is a penalty double subject to partner passing.

Redouble                        Your opponents doubled your contract but you believe it can be made
                                       In certain sequences this maybe used as a conventional and alertable bid - usually only at bidding levels 1 or 2 demanding partner to bid (again)

Lead Directing Double     When doubling a 3NT game contract where you are NOT on lead  (for us the first suit named by dummy)
                                        Any opponent bid above 3N which is not their agreed suit in an uncontested auction to show a control - possibly lead directing
                                        Doubling a conventional artificial bid above 4N is lead directing

Showing your hand          Doubling any opponent bid usually only at level 1 - showing that this was your intended bid - possibly a conventional bid

Protective Double            You wish to keep the bidding open but are without a suitable suit bid - also be aware your partner can convert this double to a penalty double by PASSing!
Protective 2 suit bid          In tune with Beta principals a protective suit bid shows 2 suits - this is safer as it doubles the chances of finding the best place to compete.

The protective bids are the main subject of this page.

Let's look into the last lines -  the main subject of this page

There are two different cases when partner has only passed:  X = any suit    (the case where the opponents open 1 NT is handled

(i) 1X(LHO)-P-P-?        &     (ii) 1X(RHO)-P-2X(LHO)-P-P(RHO)-?   (iii) 1NT-P-P-?

In all these situations your primary assumption must be the same - values are probably distributed 20-20.

The solution beta employs is similar in case (iii)  are  similar but necessary different as 4 suits are  candidates. In cases of a suit opening 3 suits remain and the approach taken is one where the protective bidder eliminates one suit (least promising) and 2 specific suits are nominated for partner to choose between. The philosophy with 4 suits available is to to first specify a good major if available otherwise to select the better minor - clubs if both good be suitable. The emphasis on the Majors is made since any suit battle would be won there and the NT opener would prefer a Major opening if a suitable on is available.

The essence of any protective bid is that you are bidding with the full expected combined strength available

You cannot guess to which side may have the edge in point count but also who has the better fit? Both come into this equation.
In the 2nd case the opponents have a fit and fair % of their honour strength is likely to be in that suit. This implies that your strength lie in the other 3 suits - increasing the probability that at least a good fit can be found in 1 suit.

An intervention is a good idea but be very cautious if Vulnerable v Not vulnerable. If unfavourable more distribution is advantageous. Say a 5431 distribution.
Also if they have agreed a suit then preferably you would like to have 0 or 1 or 4 cards in their suit! as this would suggest less losers in their suit if you buy the contract

The question now arises  of how to act.

Beta  works the following way.

A. Opponents open 1 in a suit:

If you hold 2 suits bid the lower ranking cyclically else make a Protective *

If you show 2 suits: Partner is asked to PASS or raise the bid suit or give preference to the second suit.
If you double Partner is asked to indicate his preference knowing that the odds favour your partner to have at least minimum support in the suit you choose.
There is another outcome when partner has length in the opponents suit - oartner may simply choose to PASS - converting your Protective Double into a Penalty Double.

B. LHO opened 1NT
If you have 2 good suits bid the lower ranking minor but if holding a 5+ Major it should be preferred.
Else If your hand is balanced and has 10+ HCP prefer a protective double - this asks partner to PASS for penalties (10+ HCP or select best suit, 5 card preferably. Alternatively a PASS can be considered to convert the protective double into a penalty double.
Note: In the 2nd position defence to a weak NT 2 suits are required to disturb a 1NT opening.and double requires at least 13HCP. With a good 6 card suits Rubinsohl can beused as an offensive tool. This approach to 2nd position increases the probability of a 5+ card suit with your partner.