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Partner and I have a kind of agreement that we do not treat singleton aces or kings as singletons. They tend to lead partner astray as to the strength or otherwise of their own holding in the said suit. So, Board 1 this week put this theory to the test…and we did not come out smelling of roses.

Board 1
North Deals
None Vul
A K J 7 5 4
A 9 6 5
10 4
4 3
Q J 10 8 4
K J 8 7 5
W   E
6 2
Q J 10 6 5
7 3 2
9 3 2
10 9 8 3
A 9 8 7 2
A Q 6
West North East South
  1  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3  Pass 4 
Dbl Pass Pass 4 
Pass 4  Pass 4 
Pass 5  Pass 5 
Pass 6  All pass  


This board should have given me the opportunity to tell “honourable” lies twice, maybe three times!

The above was the sequence we had where 2NT was a Jacoby game-force bid with spade support. 3Spade-small showed an above average hand with no shortage (“lie” number one!). Notice up to this point, South had passed up the opportunity to show a singleton diamond and North likewise with a singleton heart!

When West doubled partner’s 4Club-small cue-bid (first or second round control), I had the opportunity for lie number 2. My pass indicated I had slam interest but that I did not have a control in clubs. This was in fact true but if partner’s control was the ace, and he held the Heart-smallA,  then we had total club control!

That was my objective for the rest of the bidding: to see if partner held the Heart-smallA. After my 5Diamond-small cue-bid, I discovered he did..wonderful. 6Spade-small was clearly makeable, unless partner held just the Club-smallK, though if that were the case, would he not sign off after the double of 4Club-small?

All this talk of scoring 12 tricks was fine but it totally ignored the fact we could make 13. One of the problems of Jacoby is that opener knows little of the shape of their partner’s hand, other than four+ card trump support. How nice it would have been here to know South has a singleton diamond, any singleton, the king, the 10, the 2!

In fact, reaching the grand should have been easy. After partner’s 4Diamond-small cue, wheel out key card. The 5Heart-small response is good news. Now, ask for kings and ideally specific kings (5NT) at the same time committing “lie number 3” pretending you have the Spade-smallQ. It’s no lie. You do. It is in the shape of your sixth trump!

Partner’s reply is 6Diamond-small and now your 6Heart-small asks if he has any extra as yet unshown. The singleton diamond comes to light and he reaches for the 7Spade-small card. While bidding the grand was harder than making it, it should not have been too hard, with or without the helpful double along the way and whether or not each hand owned up to holding a singleton.

telling lies.png

It would have nice to have told “three lies” too! In the event, only Michael and Vivien Cornell bid to 7 while all bar 4 others in the 16 table field made it to 6Spade-small. How do you value those singleton kings?

Richard Solomon



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