Today's hand clearly illustrates the principle of protecting one's partner in the auction when the opposition has opened the bidding but stops at a low level. After south bids one spade in third position, west's hand is not suitable for any action except pass. Any overcall would be an overbid, and a takeout double would distort the values in the hand because there is no support for a diamond bid by partner. East's hand in contrast is most suitable for some kind of action after north does not respond to his partner's opening bid. East can tell that west will hold at least some high card points; and since his hand is distributional, he bids 2 notrump. This is not a suggestion they play in notrump but a bid showing length in both minor suits.
Note that although east passed at his first turn, he makes a bid with confidence in the pass-out seat because he is bidding some of his partner's values. This may explain why east did not jump to game in a minor even though he was able to make 12 tricks in clubs. Many players would have bid 1 notrump with the north hand, and south would go down only 1 trick if allowed to play in 2 spades. This emphasizes the importance of protecting partner in the balancing position.
The local bridge community is readying for the Boise Regional Tournament on May 15 with many events for novice and junior players as well as for experienced players. The partnerships chairman is Sandy Watson, phone number 375-4613.