2 NT—7 1 [Diamond]—3 1 NT—2 2 [Diamond]—1
With a clear score, your point count would be subpar (22 points, minimum) even for a nonforcing opening bid of two no trump. But the requirements may be shaded with a part score, and here a mild overbid at the outset can prevent all sorts of headaches later on. Note, too, that your bid over game is not necessarily a slam try. Partner can pass, respond weakly or move cautiously toward slam. One diamond might be passed out, or it might leave you with a rebidding problem. One no trump is more likely to trap a strong partner than a weak opponent. And although the requirements for opening a strong (forcing) two bid may also be lowered slightly with a part score, opening with two diamonds on this hand would be too long a stretch.
1 [Diamond]—6 pass—2
Light opening hands should not be passed when you are the first to speak for your side. You would prefer to have greater strength in the majors, but it is better to bid than to pass in the ostrichlike hope that the opponents will fail to discover a major-suit fit if they have the balance of power. By bidding, you will also take the strain off partner, who may decide, with a minimum opening in fourth seat, to toss it in if you pass. Finally, it is usually safer to open than to try to compete later.
pass—6 1 NT—3 2 [Diamond]—1
Any bid at this point may lead partner to count on you for strength you don't own. Your best chance to buy the contract—and your game—for three diamonds is to pass initially. One no trump is not a contract you want to play, but if you bid it, the chances are that partner will not stop short of the 60 points you need to convert your partial. You hope he will not rebid two spades; you can pass two hearts or remove from two clubs to two diamonds. The award for an immediate two-diamond bid is for bravery.
4 [Club]—7 6 [Heart]—4 4 NT—3 5 [Heart]—1 pass—minus 1
Here partner's bid over score is clearly a slam try. Your hand is supermaximum (with a clear score, you would have opened one club rather than one no trump because your count is 19 points, including distribution). By cue-bidding your high-card strength now you may pave the way to a grand slam that you will surely miss if you leap directly to six hearts. Four no trump might be mistaken for a no-trump raise and passed by partner. Five hearts is overly timid but certainly better than a pass, which receives a one-point demerit.
2 NT—6 3 [Diamond]—2 pass—minus 1
The fact that partner already has bid enough for game is no excuse for you to pass. Besides, even though partner may have been shading, an opening two bid in a suit is always forcing, so you must respond at least once. In this case, a conservative two-no-trump response is better than a positive answer in a weak suit. Thereafter, if partner rebids in either minor, your hand will be worth a move toward slam.
2 [Heart]—6 pass—2 1 NT—0
Partner might consider your two-heart response as a mild slam try, but if he does make a move in that direction, a three-heart sign-off should be safe. As for a pass, your defensive values are meager, so you must try to deter the opponents from outbidding you. If your side fails to make two hearts, a score of minus 100 may still be a kind of victory. One no trump would get a minus score from me except that it could have some value in keeping the opponents quiet. A contract of one no trump, however, is likely to be inferior to two hearts.
pass—6 2 NT—1 double—minus 1
Partner is presumably short in spades and well aware that two spades will give the opponents the rubber, yet he has failed to act. The opponents may have the rest of the deck, so any move you make can be disastrous. If your nature will not let you sell out, a bid of two no trump, suggesting a minor suit contract, is far better than a double begging partner to bid "the other major."
3 [Club]—7 pass—3 double—1
Although it is logical to double a contract you think the opponents cannot make, there is no chance that this hand will be played in two clubs. To double in this position is to call for a lead or to suggest a sacrifice if partner has help for clubs. But you don't want a club lead against a spade or heart contract, nor do you need help from partner to play a club contract. A pass earns a higher reward because it gives the opponents no warning of your freak distribution to help them play the hand—and you can always bid later if the occasion demands. An immediate bid of three clubs, however, is descriptive of your hand. It warns partner not to expect defensive power, and it may also help to uncover a profitable save.
2 [Club]—6 1 NT—2 pass—1
A bid of a new suit is not forcing when the score will complete a game. Therefore, you do not need 10 points or more to respond at the two level. Instead, such a bid promises strength in the suit rather than overall strength. One no trump gets more credit than a pass, if only because it may keep the opponents from bidding, but its reward is small because it may also leave you in an unmakeable contract. The award for a pass is for five-card majorites who, knowing that partner has opened with no fewer than five, hearts, prefer to warn him of defensive weakness so that he will not double the opponents later on.