Long Suit Trials - Help Suit Game Try - Short Suit Trials - Weak Suit Game Tries - Counter Trial

 

Note: All of the above and following designations refer to the same concept. Therefore, by any name, term, or designation they all smell the same.

This concept also bears several designations in the bridge community such as Help Suit Game Try, but which is better known in North America and under the auspices of the ACBL as Weak Suit Game Try. The concept is employed to discover whether the partnership actually has a reasonable game possibility by determining whether or not one partner has help in a second suit, in which the player asking for help needs assistance. In general, the Long Suit Trial is used only for the two Major suits.

Note: the original, basic concept has been revised, altered, expanded, and varied to:

1. include the option of asking for support by showing a long suit,
2. to ask for support by showing a short suit, and
3. be able to bid in such a manner that the partnership can ask with either a long suit or a short suit.

 

The following illustrations should clarify this conventional method and its inclusive variations.

North   East   South   West Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass  
3 Partner, if you have help in Clubs, bid game.
3 Partner, if you have help in Diamonds, bid game.
3 Partner, if you have help in Hearts, bid game.

By bidding either 3 Clubs, 3 Diamonds, or 3 Hearts after responder employs the Limit Raise and supports the opening bid only one level, North is seeking a possible game by attempting to discover whether South has values in the second named suit. The information North is conveying to South is that North has a second suit, in which North has three plus cards in the bid suit and this suit contains two or three immediate losers. The following example is suited for such a Long Suit Trial.

North

South
96
AQJ63
A4
A742

 

8543
K842
965
K8
1

2
3

4

By bidding 3 Clubs, North is informing South that he has two to three losers in the Club suit and is asking for assistance. The guidelines for the responses of the partner are, in general, as follows:

1. If the partner has zero losers in the bid suit, then the partner should bid game.
2. If the partner has 1 loser in the bid suit, then the partner should bid game, as in the example above.
3. If the partner has 2 losers in the bid suit but has the maximum values for a single raise, then the partner should also bid game.
4. If the partner has 2 losers in the bid suit but has the minimum values required for a single raise, then the partner should sign off on the three level in the trump suit.
5. If the partner has three losers in the bid suit and maximum values for a single raise, the partner can show a suit also on the three level below the trump suit by bidding that suit. This is known under the designation of Counter Trial. The opener can then either sign off on the three level in the established trump suit or bid game if the known values of the Counter Trial suit are suitable and helpful in determining whether game is possible.

According to the above listed general guidelines, the following auction is possible using the guideline listed under number 5:

North   East   South   West
1   Pass   2   Pass
3   Pass   3   Pass
4

Additional examples could be added, but the concept should be clear.

 

Short Suit Trials

The converse is also a known bridge concept, but has as its foundation an entirely different conveyance of information to the partner. The auction remains the same, which is a single raise of the opening Major suit. Again this is known generally in North America as a Help Suit Game Try. The following illustration should clarify the difference between these two methods.

North

South
K9763
AJ10
KQ73
6

 

A854
KQ73
65
975
1

2
3

4

Using the Short Suit Trial bid, a new bid by the opener shows a singleton. In the above example, North in informing South that he holds a singleton Club. It is irrelevant whether the singleton is an honor or not. Since the trump suit has already been established, South is forced to make a decision, which is based upon the following guidelines.

1. If South has only three losers in the Trial Suit, then South should bid game.
2. If South holds the Ace and only two other losers in the Trial Suit, then South should bid game.
3. If South holds no Ace and two other losers in the Trial Suit, then South should bid game in the trump suit if South holds maximum values but sign off on the Three Level if South is minimum.
4. If South holds the Ace and one other loser in the Trial Suit, then South should bid game in the trump suit if South holds maximum values but sign off on the Three Level if South is minimum.
5. If South holds no Ace and one other loser in the Trial Suit, then South should simply sign off on the three level regardless of whether South holds minimum or maximum values.

 

Long Suit Trial and Short Suit Trial Combined

It is possible to use both the Long Suit Trial and the Short Suit Trial bid together as one concept. This is only a matter of partnership agreement. The combination of both methods, however, demands from the partnership that the natural meaning of a 2 No Trump bid will be lost. Most partnerships agree that this is a minor loss in any bidding sequence involving a Major suit. The guidelines for using the combined method are illustrated below.

Since there is a difference in the bidding sequence between both Major openings, both Spade and Heart openings are shown below. The first example shows a 1 Spade opening.

North   East   South   West
1   Pass   2   Pass
2 NT   Pass   3   Pass

Once the trump suit has been established, North, in this case, bids 2 No Trump. This bid is totally artificial and requests that the partner bid 3 Clubs. The opener is communicating to his partner that he holds a singleton and will bid the suit of that singleton at his next turn. Depending on what North bids next, North is showing a singleton in that suit.

3 : Shows a singleton in Diamonds.
3 : Shows a singleton in Hearts.
3 : Shows a singleton in Clubs.

The responder is generally requested to bid 3 Clubs when the opener attempts a Short Suit Trial bid, but the responder is not required to accept the request, which is also known as a Puppet. In the case that the responder has a singleton, then the responder can instead respond accordingly.

3 : Shows a singleton in Diamonds.
3 : Shows a singleton in Hearts.
3 : Shows a singleton in Clubs.

The opener is then able to compare his singleton to the known singleton in the holding of the partner, and set the final contract. Using this method, the normal meaning generally given to a 2 No Trump rebid by the opener in such an auction can no longer be used. The 2 No Trump rebid by the opener becomes a Relay bid and requests the responder to bid 3 Clubs in order that the opener can show his singleton. If the responder does not rebid 3 Clubs, then the responder is showing a singleton according to the charts above.

Any new suit rebid by the opener after 1 Spade - 2 Spades is a Long Suit Trial bid.

 

The following second example shows a 1 Heart opening.

North   East   South   West
1   Pass   2   Pass
2   Pass   2 NT   Pass

Once the trump suit has been established, North, in this case, bids 2 Spades. This bid is totally artificial and requests that the partner bid 2 No Trump. The opener is communicating to his partner that he holds a singleton and will bid the suit of that singleton at his next turn. Depending on what North bids next, North is showing a singleton in that suit.

3 : Shows a singleton in Clubs.
3 : Shows a singleton in Diamonds.
3 : Shows a singleton in Spades.

Again, the responder is requested to rebid 2 No Trump, again called a Puppet, in order that the opener be able to show his singleton, but is not forced to do so. The responder, by bidding a suit, can show a singleton according to the following:

3 : Shows a singleton in Clubs.
3 : Shows a singleton in Diamonds.
3 : Shows a singleton in Spades.

If the responder has chosen to show his singleton, then the opener becomes the captain and will set the final contract. The opener can better determine this after his partner has communicated the location of the singleton opposite a singleton.

Any new suit rebid of 3 or 3 by the opener after 1 - 2 is a Long Suit Trial bid.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.




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