Michaels bridge convention

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The Michaels bridge convention is used to steal the bid from a partnership that has started the auction with an opening bid and find out if opponents, who probably have the minority of high-card points, have any possibility of playing a contract on a distributional hand.

The Michaels convention is another example of those modern-style bids that give the bidder a two-for-one opportunity by communicating two different features about his/her hand with just one bid.

The Michaels bridge bidding convention involves a direct overcall in the opponents’ suit.

After an opening bid at the One level in a minor suit (1 Diamond or 1 Club), a direct overcall of a 2-Diamond or a 2-Club bid by the next opponent means “I have both majors,” and asks the partner of the Michaels interference bidder to pick the best of his/her majors. Ideally, the player using a Michaels bid has at least five cards in each suit, but some partnerships will use Michaels with a 5-4 fit. At least overcall strength of 7-8 points is required for the bid, but you may count distributional points from voids and/or singletons.

After an opening One bid in a major suit (1 Spade or 1 Heart) a 2 bid in that same suit (2 Spades or 2 Hearts) means: “I have the unbid major — and an unspecified minor suit.” If the partner of the opponent using the Michaels bid likes the unbid major, he/she may bid that suit. If the responder has a good minor suit himself/herself, he/she can bid that suit in the hope it is the same as partner’s. If the responder to the Michaels bidder has Clubs, he/she may say 3 Clubs, and it the Michaels bidder’s minor suit was Diamonds, he/she can then correct to Diamonds. If Diamonds is a disaster for the responder, the responder can always go back to the Michaels bidder’s unbid major suit, which is the “lead” suit of a Michaels bidder, in which he will have at least five cards.

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