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Bridge & other card games/Weak Hand Responding to 1NT


At a recent duplicate pairs evening, my partner(sitting South, non-vulnerable) opened 1NT (12-14 points, no 5-card major). We play Stayman and Transfers, and 2 Spades showing 11 points, but no other forcing bids over 1NT.
Her LHO(West)(Vulnerable) Doubled.
I had 3 HCP(a King), a void in hearts, and 6 low clubs to the 8. But I know that the opponents hold at least 9 Hearts, and 23-25 points. I cannot bid 2 Clubs(Stayman), I dare not pass in case East leaves the Double in, so to make it more difficult for them to find the fit, I bid 3 Clubs(knowing we have an 8 card fit).
East bids 3 Hearts, my partner passes, and West raises to 4 Hearts.
I pass, East passes, and my partner bids 5 Clubs! Which East Doubles.
I go 4 down for -800. At other tables E_W were allowed to play in 2 or 3 hearts, making 8 or 9 tricks.
When I politely queried why she had re-entered rhe bidding after her opening limit bid, she replied that she took my jump response of 3 Clubs as showing a strong hand, and since she had a doubleton A-K of Clubs, decided to bid 5 Clubs, expecting it to go at most 1 or 2 off over a possible-making 4 Hearts.
I pointed out the contradiction in her logic - if she read my response as a strong hand, then E-W would surely struggle to make 4 Hearts. But West's double showed at least 15-16 points, and the fact that East bid 3 Hearts over my 3 Clubs showed decent points, and South's opener showed 12-14 points, so Simple maths would indicate that I had a very weak hand.
But all to no avail.
What do you think of the Auction?


Your justification for bidding 3C is certainly faultless and your reasoning in general make a lot of sense except for one important and your partner apparently had no firm prior agreement about the meaning of 3C in this type of auction. You did not describe what your partner's hand was but certainly a 1NT opening bidder surrenders captaincy of the auction to partner and would only be justified in taking further independent action under the most extreme circumstances. For example, if partner's hand were AKxxx of clubs and a small doubleton heart then she might very well assume that she has limited defense to 4H while providing unexpectedly strong support to a club contract. However, with only AK doubleton of clubs, the help in clubs is much more limited and there is much more reason to assume that two rounds of clubs will cash on defense. The overriding point, however, is that the 1NT opener does not even come close to having the rare, exceptional hand that might excuse taking another call so she should certainly pass 4H without question.

In the end, though, while your analysis is correct, the failure to have a prior agreement on the 3C led to this disaster. You cannot always expect partners in unfamiliar situations to make accurate analyses or draw valid conclusions at the table so prior agreements are important.

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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