Consult the Coopers

Opener’s Three Card Major Suit Raises

By Kitty & Steve Cooper

Ed Yosses, Aurora, Colo., asks: “What is your recommended rebid with ♠K93 75 AK73 A1082 after you open 1 and partner responds 1♠?”

Coopers: Frankly, experts disagree about this. One crowd says rebid 1NT to show the balanced nature of the hand. The rest of us would raise to 2♠, even though you have only three trumps, because you have a weak doubleton and a spade honor.
Another benefit is that the opponents will have to bid at the three level if they want to balance.
Rebidding 2♣ is the worst choice since you do not have the extras required for bidding 2♠ after the preference to 2♦, thus possibly leaving you to play in a 4-2 diamond fit.
By the way, many experts would open this hand 1♣ since they plan to rebid 1NT or raise spades. This gives partner the option to bid a fake 1♦ rather than 1NT with a weakish hand, no major, and at least three diamonds. Sometimes opener will rebid a major and responder can pass to play a 4-3, which is often a better contract than 1NT.
One problem with raising with only three card support is getting to the right game. While Steve loves a 4-3 fit, most people, Kitty included, prefer to have at least a 4-4 fit. A possibility is for responder to jump to 3NT, expecting opener to correct back to four of the major with four trump.
Modern players prefer to reserve the jump to 3NT for a 4-3-3-3 hand and use 2NT as a forcing ask to find out how many trump the opener has, if he has shortness, and whether he accepts a game try.

We wrote about this convention known as “Spiral” 2NT back in July of 2012, and that article is published on our district website at www.d17acbl.org/index.php?page=forcing-2nt-after-1m-1m-2m-july-2012.
Gavin Wolpert wrote an excellent article about raising with three trump, and his follow-ups on the Bridge Winners site at www.bridgewinners.com/article/view/spiral-raises/