Michaels ready or not...

While a bid of the enemy suit in most auctions is used to show a strong hand, the immediate bid of the enemy suit is used differently, as a Michaels Cue Bid showing a weak 5-5 hand including any unbid major. What would you do with the following hand after an opponent opens 1C or 3C?

S JT9754
H KQJ643
D —

Over a 1C opening by an opponent, bid 2C Michaels, showing at least 5-5 in the majors. This does not promise a strong hand – about 7-11 HCP is typical. Over an opponent’s 3C, bid 4C Michaels – the extreme shape of this hand deserves to be given a voice.  

Here is the full deal, from a past Trumps Teams Congress:

Dealer East, NS vul.

          S JT9754
          H KQJ643
          D —
          C J
WEST                EAST
S A                 S K2
H T87               H 952
D AK9752            D T4
C KT6               C Q98432
          S Q863
          H A
          D QJ863
          C A75

           3C   Pass
5C   5H    Pass Pass
Dble 5S    Dble All pass

After East with only six mediocre clubs opened an aggressive favourable vulnerability pre-empt and West raised to game, North figured a Michaels Cue of 6C would be excessive so settled for 5H, then when that got doubled tried the other major, 5S, which was also doubled. South was happier with spades, although as it happens 11 tricks were available in either major.

Another hand from the same tournament:

Dealer South, both vul.

          S 82
          H QJ9
          D 8
          C AT98764
WEST                EAST
S QJT943            S 7
H 87652             H A4
D 3                 D KQJ9762
C 3                 C KQJ
          S AK65
          H KT3
          D AT54
          C 52

Pass 1NT   Pass Pass
2D!   All pass

Over South’s 1D, West was not good enough for a Michaels 2D or a weak jump to 2S. North responded 1NT because the hand was too weak for 2C.  East passed, unable to bid 2D because that would be Michaels.

I like to play that West’s belated 2D bid is natural (showing diamonds), but he meant it as Michaels (showing majors, but too weak to have bid earlier). To East with seven diamonds it was pretty clear what West intended but he was happy to pass it anyway, finding an unorthodox way to finish in the making East-West contract.

What's On...

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