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Play, Defence even Bid for Newer Players

Wrong Suit, Wrong Level, Wrong Result?

Hey, let’s be positive as we draw to the end of the year. Here’s hoping that those new to the game are enjoying themselves, maybe getting the hang, just a little, of how to bid and play this game….and then along comes a title like the above! Sorry….. but, as you will see, two “wrongs” occasionally do make a …positive result! (Can he count? Surely that is "three" wrongs?) Right, here goes:

It was a Teams match, which means there is only one team to beat. Let’s see what happened in the match on Board 8 when 4 more experienced players took on 4 who were fairly new to the game. The new players knew what pre-empts meant: trouble! "They" should not pre-empt against less experienced players. Well, just this time they did! West opened 3Club-small and after some thought, North doubled for take-out. East passed…..and what should South bid with:

Spade-small A632

Heart-small AK753

Diamond-small Q432

Club-small –

Those New Zealand Bridge notes might have helped had they been handy….but they were not! So, South bid their longest and strongest at the 3 level…and no-one had any more to say. South did not play the hand quite to perfection but 9 tricks were made and +140 recorded.

Fortunately, South’s teammates (E/W at the other table) had also learnt about pre-empts and West, there, also started the bidding with 3Club-small…but the bidding was just a little bit different and longer. Here are the North-South hands ….and the bidding:

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

 

Well, that’s different! We might check it out in a minute but firstly a question for you. What was the result at this second table and which side won the imps?

Looking at the 2 hands above, as long as spades behave, the only loser in 6Spade-smalllooks like being a heart. On the normal lead of a club, declarer ruffs in the South hand, plays Spade-smallA and a second spade and ruffs North’s remaining club in the South hand. Cross back to Diamond-smallA and draw the last trump. You can afford to lose a heart and will soon be claiming 12 tricks.

So, with neither side vulnerable, that’s 980 at one table against just 140 at the other. It looks like 13 imps to the experts. Right? Wrong! The “newbies” were soon writing 5 imps in the plus column!

david and goliath.png

"David" had overcome "Goliath"

Why?  Because one East remembered that leading away from an ace or even an unsupported ace (no king) was not such a good idea (this argument is not quite true against a slam..well, certainly do not lead low when holding an ace of that suit) but that leading the top of a sequence was:

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

 

Against 6Spade-small, East led the Heart-smallQ. South’s ace was played and ruffed by West. No matter how much North tried, they still had a second heart loser …and the slam was defeated.

6Spade-small was a little unlucky to be defeated though it did need trumps to behave. However, let’s just check out the bidding, especially South’s 4Club-small response to the double of 3Club-small. What did that mean?

That forcing bid asked North to bid a suit. South was too strong to bid a non-forcing 3Heart-small. North-South had to be in game and as our first South discovered, North was not strong enough to raise to game. So, South should have jumped to game themselves by bidding 4Heart-small.

However, as stated earlier, pre-empts can mean “trouble”. The sort of trouble may be that although the doubler of the 3Club-small pre-empt should have both majors, they may not….and when their partner has more than one suit which could be trumps, they could explore by bidding 4Club-small (the pre-emptor's suit) to see which suit North would like to be trumps.

So, when North bid 4Diamond-small, why did South not raise to 5Diamond-small? We would rather play in a major suit game at the 4 level  (only 10 tricks needed) as opposed to 5Diamond-small where we need 11. A major suit game also scores slightly better.

North-South found their spade fit (North did not like hearts) and South then became ambitious. They asked for aces (something called “key card”…we will keep them for your Christmas stocking next year) and since North had 2 and the Spade-smallQ, South bid slam…and the Juniors won their 5 imps!

“Wrong result”? Well, crime did pay. 3Heart-small just did not get the job done but earnt a plus score for the underdogs. 4Heart-small would have earned an even bigger plus, if South could have made 10 tricks.

So, we are going to be positive. If partner doubles a pre-empt and we have an opening hand or even close to one, we are going to bid game. Next year, we might try that 4Club-small bid (please, please do not pass, partner..please!) and the year after that key-card convention.

What a game bridge is. Always something new to learn…. No matter what level you are.

Richard Solomon

Some may wonder why West opened 3Club-small with an 8 card suit. Normally, it promises a 7 card suit (even sometimes just 6) and 4Club-small promises an 8 card suit. However, with a poor hand and a poorish suit, both West players chose a little conservatively to start at the 3 level.

 

 

 

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