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That’s for bidding games, especially vulnerable ones. How bad can they be for us to say we should be in part-score? There were 6 low point-count, lowish percentage games to be bid this week. Most were makeable though there were chances for the defence on two of them.

Let’s see whether they should be bid. Perhaps the worst first!

Board 10
East Deals
Both Vul
A K 9 4
Q 8 7 5
K 9
6 5 2
7 6
K 6 3 2
A 6 5 3 2
8 3
W   E
Q J 10 3
A J 9
Q 10 4
8 5 2
10 4
J 8 7
A 10 9 7 4
West North East South
    1 NT Pass
2  Pass 2  Pass
3  Pass 3 NT All pass


1NT was 15-17 and 3Diamond-small invitational showing 4 hearts and the longer minor. East had all the middle cards West probably should have had and the game was bid. Diamonds needed diamonds to break 3-2. That brought the percentage odds down to the mid 30’s (it is really hard to estimate odds of a successful guess were the king not to appear as early as it did. )East sensed that clubs were breaking 5-3 and after seeing diamonds very well placed, took the heart finesse for 9 tricks. The lead could have been more favourable for declarer but part-score was probably better in the long run.

One 23 point 3NT with a long club suit foundered when the killing 5 card spade suit was in opening leader’s hand. However, if you keep bidding all such vulnerable games with long-running suit, you should come out on the right side of the ledger:

Board 23
South Deals
Both Vul
A Q J 7 6
9 8 7
Q 2
8 7 4
K 9 5 2
10 6 2
10 6
Q J 9 3
W   E
4 3
A K J 4 3
8 5 3
K 10 2
10 8
Q 5
A K J 9 7 4
A 6 5
West North East South
Pass 1  Pass 2 
Pass 3  Pass 3 NT
All pass      


In the post-mortem, 3Diamond-small would receive more sympathetic support if North held Heart-smallJ87 but then Club-small J74 would not have helped the cause that much. South had six good diamonds and a useful ace. How East wished they had bid 2Heart-small as the Club-smallQ was led and after six rounds of diamonds, the Spade-smallK was where declarer wanted it.

A non-vulnerable game required a well-placed ace of one suit, king of another and the trump king and jack taking just 1 trick for the defence with 5 cards in the defence’s hands. It all seems a bit much for a non-vulnerable 22 hcp game…but they all happened for declarer this night.

However, would you bid with the following hand after this sequence where 2Diamond-small is a one-round force:

Spade-small A872  Heart-small -  Diamond-small AKJ   Club-small 876542

West           North         East            South

1Heart-small              Pass            2Diamond-small              ?

Would it make any difference if East’s bid was 1NT, less than game force style? Only your side is vulnerable.

2Club-small would not win this day but a double of 2Diamond-small most certainly would. It looks like at 5 of the 12 tables, no action was taken as the final contract was 4Heart-small:

Board 28
West Deals
N-S Vul
Q J 9 6 5 3
6 4
9 4 3
10 3
A K Q J 9 8 7 3 2
J 9
W   E
10 4
10 5
Q 10 7 6 5 2
A 8 7 2
8 7 6 5 4 2


A 4Heart-small opener from West would certainly have allowed South to make a take-out double. Twice, West bought the contract in 5Heart-small though four times, North- South pushed on to 5Spade-small, to very good effect.

Even one down in 5Spade-small, doubled or not, is a good result but neither East defending 5Spade-small found the only guaranteed successful defence of three top clubs. (The defence would also be successful on a trump misguess.) Two other tables took the push to 6Heart-smallfor a peaceful one down.

So, a 15 point vulnerable game to go with some other low count ones, mainly 3NT with long minors. They may not all make but they ask either the defence to do the right thing or from some assistance from the “card god”. Maybe they are not all as bad as their percentages might suggest.

Richard Solomon





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