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Kielbasa Klub -- After 1 - 1M
(Page of 4)

Welcome to part 3 of the Kielbasa Klub. We're skipping over continuations after the 1 response to jump into the most common auction: 1-1M.

If opener has a weak NT hand

If you have a weak NT hand, there are three options:

  1. You can raise partner's suit,
  2. You can bid 1NT
  3. You can bid 1 (if partner bid hearts, and you have 4 spades of course. But don't do this if you have 4 card heart support).


The decision as to whether or not to raise partner's suit with 3 card support is tricky. I suggest the (modern classic) article by Steve Weinstein called 1m-1M, Now what?. Whether you decide that a raise shows 4 or 3 cards (and we've played it both ways) after a 1N or 2M bid, you can play whatever system you like. Kielbasa Klub recommends Modified Two Way Stayman (aka XYZ, or XY NT in this case), but it's up to you. Similarly, after 1-1M;2M your system will depend on if the raise promises four or three.

The one thing to be aware of with Polish is that after 1-1;1 is that 1 is absolutely forcing. Yes, opener may have a weak NT hand with four spades, but opener may have 18+ with 5+ spades.

Because of this, there is a philosophical question -- Should the weak NT hand routinely bid 1?  For a long time, we did. However, now we allow flexibility. This is still an open issue, one that your partnership will have to work out.

If opener has a strong hand (18+)

Obviously, based on the previous chapters, the two bids that are right out are 1N and 2M.

Assuming you don't wish to bid a suit (you are a balanced hand, for example) then you have two options.

  1. You can bid 2, the fit-reverse. This reveals a strong hand, and shows 3+ cards in responder's major.
  2. You can bid 2NT. This creates a game force and strongly implies exactly two cards in responder's major.  This shows 18-20, but if you have 23+ you later bump 3N to 4N (etc).

 The fit-reverse (called Odwyrtka in Polish according to Jassem, and no, I don't know how to pronounce it) is one of the cornerstones of the system. Like 2/1, you've now established a game force at a very low level -- but in this case is 18 (and up) opposite 7 (and up). You could just play that natural bidding follows, but we prefer some conventional responses (next lesson).

After 2N we do simply play natural bidding .... you are in a game force, so responder can simply bid a new four card suit, or rebid their major to set the trump suit (at the three level to invite slam, at the four level to sign off).

Of course, if you are an unbalanced hand you can just bid your suit. If your suit is spades and partner bid hearts, you'll bid 1 and partner can't tell. If your suit is diamonds, you'll have to bid 3, which eats up a lot of bidding space and is one of the reasons we open 1 with some extra points. Bidding 2 (after 1) is straightforward. In each case you create a game force (but in the case of 1, its only a one round force until you show the fifth spade by rebidding it, or raising the level.

If you do play XYZ on the auction 1-1;1 then if responder bids 2 opener must not accept the relay and should bid 2 to set a game force (similarly, if you prefer New Minor Forcing, then you must work out how to show extras).

And then there is the 2 rebid.


Two clubs only shows 15+ (15 point hands can be treated as weak by opening 2, or strong by opening 1). Therefore it only creates a one round force. Opener could still have 20+ (with a real monster it may be worth it to bid 3 and eat the level to get it off your chest).

After a 2 rebid the Kielbasa uses a simple system:

Responder's 2 denies the ability to go to game opposite a good fifteen (so, roughly any hand up to a bad 10 points, possibly more with a true misfit). At that point, 2N, 2M or 3C become passable by either side. Any other bid is natural and creates a GF.

For the 4=4=1=4 if you are a bare minimum you can bid 2M and have some extra shape, but if you are stronger you can bid 3M and a true maximum can bid 4M and hope. These don't show 18+, since those would go through the fit reverse. (Of course, a 5+ club hand can also do this, but should probably go through 2 to clarify and possibly save bidding space).

Other suit bids by big hands

A big hand can also make a suit bid. 2 (after 1) or 3 of either minor are strong and GF. 1, as mentioned before, is ambiguous but a one-round force. A jump to 2 (after 1) should show some extras over 1 then 2, so probably closer to an ACOL 2 bid instead of a bare 18.

Handling the fit reverse -- Bubrotka

After 1-1M;2 is the fit reverse. Kielbasa uses one of my favorite conventions -- Bubrotka, which is just an asking bid for responder to clarify his hand. The primary reason to bid Bubrotka (instead of 2N or your own suit) is the implicit agreement that you might be interested in responder's major, at least if he shows 5 cards.

Here are the responses:

2 -- 4 card major, weak (7-10)

2 -- 4 card major, strong (11+)

2N -- 5 card major, strong (11+). The Kielbasa agreement (for the few times this shows up) is that 2N sets trumps and opener can cuebid or splinter right away.

3m -- 4 card major, 5+ card minor, 9-11 HCP

3 -- 5 card major, weak, unbalanced (3 asks for shortness, using submarine or not to show it, as you deem fit).

3 -- 5 card major, weak, balanced. Opener can bid 3N to play, or signoff in 4M, or cuebid/RKC.

3N -- 6 card major, weak, balanced.

4m -- 6 card major, self splinter, weak. (Also 4 if spades was the major. No, there is no splinter if you have six hearts and a stiff spade...)

4M -- 6 card major, balanced, weak, no outside ace or king.

There are a few subtleties to this. In particular, note the 3m response is a gap-creating bid. If you have a 4M+5m hand that isn't 9-11, you can bid 2M (showing a weak or strong hand) and then rebid your minor over openers (typical) 2N. Over a direct 3m response, we play a similar system to what most people use after 1N-xfer-accept-3m: Bidding 3M sets trumps (and is GF, in this auction), NT (at any level) is a misfit, and other suits implicitly agree the minor.

(If you have a long suit of your own, then you shouldn't bid Bubrotka, but just bid your suit and then give delayed support later).

Also, for a passed hand we lower the "strong" response to a good 9 or so.

Next week -- example auctions starting with 1-1M.

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