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bidding – What are the arguments for and against raising a “one over one” response with three to an honor?

There are really two questions in this question: first, what are the merits and demerits of “raising on three,” as it’s called, and second, what went wrong in the auction on the given hand?

Raising on three has advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that it makes subsequent bidding somewhat more difficult. You should have good agreements about further bidding in auctions that start 1X-1M-2M, being able to answer questions like “which game tries by responder promise five cards in the major?”. If opponents compete, it makes it somewhat more difficult to decide whether to compete further without game going values. It also risks playing in a major-suit partscore when no trump would be more appropriate.

The advantages include playing more often in 4-3 fits at the two level on partscore hands when it’s right to do so, making it more difficult for opponents to compete, and reducing the variety of hands stuffed into opener’s 1NT rebid.

The advantages are reduced and the disadvantages increase if opener raises on 3 even with very flat hands. Almost all pairs who raise on three don’t do it with 4333 patterns; some do it only with 5431 patterns.

As to the second question, the bad result is 100% on you in this case. As a matter of evaluation, this hand should force to game. You have 11 HCP, but you have two excellent suits in which all your honors are concentrated, and the spade suit has good intermediates. This hand has a lot of offensive power. Probably you should just bid 4S, as Standard American lacks the tools to be more precise. The worst case hand for you is something like x KQJx xxx KQJxx — would your partner open 1C and rebid 1NT with that hand? A doubleton spade and an ace or two make 4S considerably better than 3NT. You could try 3D after 1NT, but I think that muddies the waters of your spades.

But let’s suppose that you evaluate your hand as invitational (I think this is a severe underevaluation, as mentioned). Without an agreement to play New Minor Forcing, 2D is not the correct rebid. 2D is nonforcing and suggests that you hold only four spades. To invite with this hand, you should bid 3S.


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