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Intermediate Bridge
LESSON 16a
Michaels Cue bid & Unusual 2NT Overcall

  1. Michaels Cue bid over the Majors
  2. Michaels Cue bid over the Minors
  3. Natural Cue bid over the Minors
  4. The Unusual 2NT Overcall (UNT)
  5. Extended Unusual 2NT Overcall
  6. Defence against Weak 2 Opening bids
  7. Practice Materials

    Bidding Guide : Bidding Guide


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IBR 16a.1 - Michaels Cue bid over the Major suits

When the Opponents open the bidding with a major suit it is highly unlikely that your side will aim for a contract in that suite. Using a cue bid in their major suite with a natural meaning makes therefore little sense. Use Michaels Cue bid instead (devised by the late Mike Michaels, a close friend of Charles Goren).

Michaels Cue bid of the enemy suite shows a hand with

  1. 8-12 High Card Points
  2. 5-5+ distribution in the unbid major plus one minor suit.
  3. both suits must contain at least 1-2 Honour cards.
With a 6-5 distribution you may have less points and only need 1 honour in the 6 card suit. Here follow some typical examples (Opponent's Opening bid shown withing brackets)

a.
♠ 8 3
♥ K Q 8 4 2
♦ K 10 9 6 5

♣ 7
Bidding : (1♠) - 2♠ -
b.
♠ -
♥ Q J 10 4 2
♦ 6 4 2

♣ A Q 8 7 5
Bidding : (1♠) - 2♠ -
c.
♠ A J 8 3 2
♥ 6
♦ 9 5

♣ K Q J 8 7
Bidding : (1♥) - 2♥ -
d.
♠ Q 10 9 5 4 3
♥ 7
♦ K Q 10 7 4

♣ 5
Bidding : (1♥) - 2♥ -

The above type of hand typically have either 6 or 5 losers.

Holding a weak hand of 0-9 points Responder has two options :

  1. Bid Partner's major suit with 3-card support : (1♥) - 2♥ - 2♠   or   (1♠) - 2♠ -3♥

  2. Bid 3♣ : "Pass or Correct" when short in Partner's major : (1♥) - 2♥ - 3♣
    Partner will pass with a ♣ suit or bid 3♦ when he holds .
Holding a strong hand of 10+ points Responder also has two options :
  1. Bid Game in Partner's major suit with 3+card support : (1♠) - 2♠ - 4♥

  2. Bid 2NT : a strong enquiry : (1♥) - 2♥ - 2NT
After the 2NT strong enquiry Opener's replies are :
3♣ = minimum pts, 2nd suit is ♣
3♦ = minimum pts, 2nd suit is 3♦

3♥ = maximum pts, 2nd suit is ♣
3♠ = maximum pts, 2nd suit is
(Remember : "Minors are minimum, Majors are maximum")

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IBR 16a.2 - Michaels Cue bid over the Minor suits

Michaels Cue bids may also be applied over Minor suit opening bids : (1♣) - 2♣   or   (1♦) - 2♦
In both cases they promise 5-5+ in the two major suits.

As both suits are immediately known to the Cue bidder's Partner his responses are easy :

  1. with 0-9 points = bid your longest major suit : (1♦) - 2♦ - 2♠

  2. with 10+ points = jump bid your longest major suit : (1♦) - 2♦ - 3♠

  3. with 15+ points = Game bid your longest major suit : (1♦) - 2♦ - 4♠

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IBR 16a.3 - Natural Cue bid over the Minor suits

In standard biddin with 5-card majors opening with a short Club (1♣) as used in this course or with the better minor (1♣ or 1♦) are often based on 2 or 3 cards in the minor suit.   In the Precision system the 1&Club; and 1♦ opening bids are artificial and do not reflect any length in those suits.
It occurs therefore quite regularly, that an Opponent opens with a minor in which you have a quality 5+ card holding.

Many players therefore prefer to use the cue bid of the enemy suit as a natural overcall showing a quality 5+card suitand 11+ points, rather than using it as a Michaels Cue bid.

However the Michaels Cue bid over the minors is a useful tool. Ron Klinger (in his book "Bridge Conventions, Defences and Countermeasures") recommends the following alternative :

(1♦) - 2♦ = Michaels Cue bid showing both major suits

(1♦) - 3♦ = natursal Overcall showing 11-15 pts and a good 6+card suit.
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The Overcall at the 3-level naturally required a bit more strength. A good 6-card suit, or even a solid 5-card suit and 14-15 pts are therefore advisable.


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IBR 16a.4 - The Unusual 2NT Overcall

The Unusual 2NT Overcall (UNT) complements Michaels Cue bid nicely and is commonly used in tandem with it. It shows 5-5+ in both minor suits : (1♥) - 2NT   or   (1♠) - 2NT

To make this Overcall you need :

  1. 8-12 High Card Points
  2. 5-5+ suit in the both minor suits
  3. both suites must contain 1-2 Honour cards.
Partner's response options are shown below.

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The primary objective of this overcall is to present Partner with a clear choice for a sacrifice in case the Opponents reach a Game contract in their major suit.
Therefore with a stronger hand prefer to make a takeout double or a simple suit overcall.

With the Hand below bid : (1♥) - 2NT   or   (1♠) - 2NT

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Partner's response :
  • (1♥) - 2NT - (Pass) - bid 3♣ or 3♦
    Unless strong in the major suits Partner should not pass the 2NT overcall, but bid his longest minor suit at the 3 level. With no preference bid 3 Clubs

  • (1♥) - 2NT - (Pass) - bid 4♣ or 4♦
    With a strong hand Partner may jump to 4 or 5 as required.

  • (1♥) - 2NT - (4♥) - bid 5♣ or 5♦
    If the Opponents do reach a Game contract in their major suit, Partner can sacrifice, bidding 5 with a weak hand


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IBR 16a.5 - Extended Unusual 2NT Overcall

It makes sense to use the Unusual 2NT Overcall not only over Opponent's Major suit Opening bid, but also over their Minor Opening bid : (1♣) - 2NT   or   (1♦) - 2NT

Several options are available :

  1. showing the two cheapest unbid suits (Hearts plus the unbid minor)

  2. or showing the two suits in the unbid colour
    (Hearts and Diamonds after 1 Club and Spades and Clubs after 1 Diamond)
This is something to discuss and agree upon with your Partner.
I have included Option b. in the Bidding Guide : showing the two suit in the unbid colour. Although somewhat ambiguous it provides maximum coverage :

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IBR 16a.6 - Defence against Weak Two Opening bids

Michaels Cue bid can also be used over Opponents' Weak Two Opening bid.
But in this case the hand should be stronger, containing only 5 losers or less : (2♥) - 3♥   or   (2♠) - 3♠
It shows 5-5+ in the unbid major plus one of the minor suits.

Partner's replies are :
a. 3NT = to play
b. 4♣ = "Pass or Correct" (to Partner's minor)
c. 3 or 4 in Partner's major = to play
d. 4NT = ask for Partner's minor suit (not Blackwood !)

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IBR 16a.7 - Practice Materials

Coming soon.


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