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Tales of Akarana 4


It seems a good philosophy that when your and your partner’s cards fit well together that you can bid relatively aggressively though when they do not, stay as low as you can….and best do not bid at all!

With that in mind, how would you feel as South about the following auction:

Spade-small AQ74

Heart-small T



West              North            East                South

                                             Pass                Pass

1Spade-small                  2Spade-small                 3Spade-small                  ?

where 2Spade-small is Michaels style, hearts and a minor? On some days, you would be entering this auction, especially where your partner produces clubs as their minor.

However, if partner has clubs, then the opposition have a good fit in spades (they announced that, despite your holding) and diamonds… and you will be outbid. So, best presume what you already suspect that your partner’s second suit is diamonds.

In that case, do you really want to bid? Although your Spade-smallA is likely to be handy (less so opposite a void in partner’s hand), your other honours will not be particularly useful in a diamond contract. So, unless you think you can push the opponents up to a non-making 4Spade-small contract…and at the same time muzzle your partner from bidding on in diamonds, it is best you pass immediately. The reward, if you do, is a plus score:

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


After a high heart lead and high diamond switch, the defence could always come to 5 tricks by means of either two tricks in each major and a diamond or one trick in each red suit and three from the black suits. Meanwhile, those who tried 5Diamond-small or even worse a high-level heart contract found varying degrees of failure.

Misfit – stay low.

Great advice which I followed on the next board. Partner did not find the right time to open 2Spade-small (spades and a minor, less than opening strength) when I held the following: Spade-small A  Heart-small AQ5  Diamond-small 965  Club-small KQ7653

Too much to pass but nowhere particularly to go when partner produces their regular five spades, four diamonds and around 6-8 hcp. Negotiating a 3Diamond-small contract under these circumstances might be hard. Therefore, I decided to stay low and pass. If there was a reopening double and pass from the opponents, I could retreat to 3Club-small (which I could not do as 3Club-small immediately would be pass or correct to diamonds). Otherwise, I had a few tricks for partner who could scrape away in 2Spade-small, hopefully making 8 tricks.

So, there, just as in the Simon and Garfunkel song “American Pie” where “the music died”, so then did the bidding. There were only two things wrong with this contract: both black suits!

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


With the heart finesse working, 2Heart-small was likely to make were it not that West held more spades than declarer. One down was the end result. Alas, though, as partner produced the unexpected, a club fit and with that successful heart finesse, an easy game to make in 5Club-small. 3NT is also a make thanks to the 6-2 diamond fit (just duck one round of diamonds). Even 3Club-small making two overtricks would have been an improvement.

So, perhaps I was too pessimistic in presuming we had a misfit. The above two hands did have something in common that the player making the decision about “going high” had similar decisions, whether to bid on and risk a misfit or declare low. Had system allowed in the second case, I would have tried 3Club-small.

The philosophy does hold true. Stay low with a misfit. Alas, in the second deal, we did not have one!

Richard Solomon

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