Michaels Cuebid a handy element for your bridge tool kit

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A popular cuebid that bridge players use is called Michaels Cuebid.

If the opponent opens a minor suit and you are the next bidder and cuebid that same minor - for example, opponent 1C, you 2C - you are promising your partner five cards or more in both major suits.

A cuebid of a major suit - for example, opponent opens 1 Spade, you cuebid 2 Spades - you are showing partner five cards or more in the other major and an unspecified minor. If partner does not have a fit for your major suit, and wants to know your minor suit, she bids 2 No Trump, asking you to name your minor suit.

Do not tell your story twice. Your first bid (the cuebid) conveys a range of 7 to 9 high card points or 9 to 11 total points; if you bid again, you are showing a range of 13 to 16 high card points or 15 + total points.

If your point range is in the middle (10 to 12 high card points or 12 to 14 total points), do not use the Michaels Cuebid. Simply overcall in the higher suit followed, if the vulnerability allows, by an overcall in the lower suit.

After you make a Michaels cuebid, your partner (the advancer) is in charge. The Michaels bidder will bid again with a strong hand, but leaves decisions up to the advancer otherwise. The advancer is expected to choose one of her partner's suits - so cooperate!

The advancer signs off as cheaply as possible with a bad hand a poor fit. With a fit and a good hand, bid what you think you can make.

A jump to game in one of partner's suits can be based on strength or on good distribution (intended as a sacrifice). Distribution includes trump length as well as shortness in the opponent's suit. That means you might push to game with only 4 trumps and a good singleton.

The best hands opposite a Michaels Cuebid have honor cards in partner's long suits. Aces outside are okay, but devalue lower honors outside of partner's suits.

Ruffing value is useful with a good fit for partner in at least one suit. A big fit or a double fit makes advancer's hand better.

Let's try a few advancer bids. In all three situations, the opponent opened 1 club and your partner cuebid 2 clubs:

Hand 1, you hold: K4 Q105 AKQ6 K842

Hand 2, you hold: 6 AJ Q9742 A7654

Hand 3, you hold: 6542 J9842 8 Q109, but the responder bid 3NT before you get a chance to bid (bidding: 1C-2C-3NT-you?)

Cuebids are amazing. They may be used by opener, overcaller, responder or advancer and may be used more than once by anyone. Cuebid your way to the right denomination and to the right level of play at the Tuesday workshops this winter at the Hilton Head Island Bridge Club.

Dr. Kathie Walsh, an ABTA teacher of the year, teaches all levels of bridge at Hilton Head Island Bridge Club. kbwalsh@roadrunner.com

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