Unusual vs. Unusual is a defense against the Unusual Notrump.. It is used after partner opens the bidding and the opponents overcall 2NT to show the lowest two unbid suits. For simplicity, the following description uses examples when partner opens 1 or 1 and the opponents overcall 2NT. However, Unusual vs. Unusual should also be used when partner opens 1 or 1.

Conventional responses after 1/ (2NT) :

Double   Natural with interest in penalizing the opponents in one of their suits.
3   A game-forcing hand in the unbid major (hearts if partner bid spades, and vice-versa). Forcing.
3   A limit raise or better in partner's suit. Forcing.
3   A constructive raise (7-10 points) opposite a 1 opening.
A natural non-forcing bid opposite a 1 opening.
3   A constructive raise (7-10 points) opposite a 1 opening.
A natural non-forcing bid opposite a 1 opening.


Below are the responses in greater detail.


The Double

Natural with interest in penalizing the opponents in one of their suits. Shows about 7+ points, and typically a balanced hand. Denies 3-card support. Note that this gives up the ability to play negative doubles in this situation.

OpenerResponder
K4SAJT2
HAQT92T8
DA752J43
CT8KJT9

Opponent 1    
Pass

Opener    
1

Opponent 2    
2NT (1)

Responder    
Double (2)

  1. Unusual, showing at least 5 clubs and 5 diamonds.
  2. Double shows an interest in penalizing the opponents in either suit (in this case, clubs).

The 3 Response

Artificial. A game-forcing hand in the unbid major suit (hearts if partner bid spades, and vice-versa). Forcing.

OpenerResponder
K84SAJT52
HAQT92K8
DA72K94
CT8K97

Opponent 1    
Pass

Opener    
1

Opponent 2    
2NT (1)

Responder    
3 (2)

  1. Unusual.
  2. A game-going hand with 5+ spades.

The 3 Response

Artificial. A limit raise or better. 10+ points and 3+ card support. Partner is allowed to sign off in 3.

OpenerResponder
K4SA52
HAQT92KJ87
DA7K984
CT87342

Opponent 1    
Pass

Opener    
1

Opponent 2    
2NT (1)

Responder    
3 (2)

  1. Unusual.
  2. A limit raise or better in hearts. Responder's strength is unlimited.

The 3 Response

A nonforcing raise if partner opened 1. 7-10 points, 3-4 card support.
*OR*
Natural, 5+ hearts (usually 6) and 7-10 points if partner opened 1. Weaker than a 3 response. Non-forcing.

OpenerResponder
K43SAQ2
HAQT92J875
DA7T984
CT8342

Opponent 1    
Pass

Opener    
1

Opponent 2    
2NT (1)

Responder    
3 (2)

  1. Unusual.
  2. A constructive raise. 7-10 points, 3-4 card support.

The 3 Response

A nonforcing raise if partner opened 1. 7-10 points, 3-4 card support.
*OR*
Natural, 5+ spades (usually 6) and 7-10 points if partner opened 1. Weaker than a 3 response. Non-forcing, but represents a very good spade suit since it bypasses 3.

OpenerResponder
54SAKQT92
HAKT928
DAQ2T98
CT83542

Opponent 1    
Pass

Opener    
1

Opponent 2    
2NT (1)

Responder    
3 (2)

  1. Unusual.
  2. A very good spade suit, but non-forcing.


Other Considerations

Note that with 5-card support, responder should only use Unusual vs. Unusual with game-forcing values. With less than 12 points, it's normal to simply jump directly to 4/.

See also

  • Michaels
    A cuebid of an opposing suit to show a two-suited hand.

  • Unusual 2NT
    A conventional 2NT overcall to show the two lowest unbid suits.

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