~Colorful Michaels

Why I Like COLORFUL Michaels


Michaels Cue-Bids and Unusual NT are usually weak bids. You are usually bidding on shape, hoping to steal the bid because of a good fit or maybe hoping to find a fit so you can make a profitable sacrifice. Since the bid is based on shape and usually made from weakness, it would be helpful if partner knew immediately which two suits you hold. Note that partner knows your suits immediately if you overcall 1C with 2C, 1D with 2D or if you bid the Unusual NT. However, playing regular Michaels, if you overcall 1H with 2H or 1S with 2S, partner only knows one of your suits and may be unable to bid when the opportunity arises because of uncertainty about the minor suit actually held. Enter Colorful Michaels.


Michaels is a useful convention when the enemy has opened and you hold a 2-suited hand—generally 5-5 or better. To show this distribution, you cue-bid the enemy suit.

1C-2C or 1D-2D: you cue-bid the minors to show the majors.

1H-2H: Standard Michaels says you have the other major and one of the minors. Partner bids 2NT to ask what the minor is.

1S-2S: Standard Michaels says you have the other major and one of the minors. Partner bids 2NT to ask what the minor is.


You do not always have the right two suits to use Michaels. What if RHO opens 1H and you are 5-5 in the minors? Bid UNUSUAL NT. A jump to 2NT shows a 2-suited hand in the two lowest unbid suits.


There is one holding that cannot be shown with either Michaels or Unusual NTRHO opens 1D and you hold a two-suiter in spades and clubs. 2D would show both majors; 2NT would show clubs and hearts.

~You might bid one of the suits and hope to be able to bid the other at a low level.

~You might double with enough points and favorable vulnerability and hope partner either bids one of your long suits or partner passes due to an opponent’s bid and you get to bid again. This latter is dangerous, because partner may think you have a big hand.


Bid Michaels with either a weak (7-12 HCP) or strong (17+ HCP) point range (some play 7-13 and 16+). With 13-16 HCP (or 14-15), consider an overcall in one suit and bid the other suit later if the opportunity exists. Playing Colorful Michaels, your 2H or 2S cue-bid shows the other major and the minor of the same color. This applies anytime you hold a minimum 7-12 HCP hand, but does not apply when holding 17+ HCP. Here you are strong enough to mislead partner for one bid. So, the bidding may go (1H)-2H-(P)-3C (thinking you hold spades and clubs, partner has selected to support clubs). Now you bid diamonds, (the minor your first bid denied), and partner now knows you hold spades and diamonds (5-5 or better in each) and 17+ HCP. When trying to hinder the enemy bidding when holding two 5-card suits, it helps if partner knows what the suits are. Partner may get only one chance to bid.


 Suppose the bidding goes

LHO       Pard       RHO       You         Both Vulnerable

1H           2H           3H           ?


Your hand

S 73        H A3           D T98     C AT8765

Knowing partner has either a big hand with spades and a minor and 17+ HCP or spades and clubs with either a weak or strong hand, a 4C or 5C bid is easier to make than if you are unsure of partner’s minor. If partner passes 5C, all is well. If partner chooses to correct to 4D or 5D, all is still well—partner has 17+ HCP and 5S and 5D. You have two side-suit aces and 3-card support in diamonds. Partner can get to dummy twice to finesse, if desired, or to set up the club suit if that opportunity exists. Playing Colorful Michaels, you will be able to sacrifice more effectively and to bid game more successfully on the rare occasions that a game is biddable.

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