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a lighter look


16-18 they were in the good old days. Then, we dropped a point and made them 15-17. It’s now pretty common practice to sneak in good 14 counts (what? Any 14 count? No way!). The same point range applies to 2NT overcalls. Maybe.

After two passes, South opened 1Heart-small and West held the following:

Spade-small KT  Heart-small 3  Diamond-small KQ876  Club-small T7652

The vulnerability was very much in East-West’s favour (N/S Vul.) and most players would stick in an unusual 2NT call even if they were a point or two short for what many prefer to have for such a bid while in a perfect bridge world, the Spade-smallK should be the Club-smallK. (Surely you have played bridge long enough to know that the world is far from perfect?!) North popped in a 4Heart-small call while your partner, East, joined the fray with a double.

At that point, you look down at the bidding cards and see the bidding was not quite as you had originally seen:

K 10
K Q 8 7 6
10 7 6 5 2
W   E
West North East South
2 NT 4  Dbl Pass



1Heart-small had changed into 2Heart-small which meant that your bid had turned into a strong 15-18 2NT call. 2Heart-small was a five-card suit with a second, any, suit on the side.

What was partner’s double? Maybe penalty based on the hand we should have had.

If we run to 4NT, partner will think that is natural and pass. If the opposition doubled that, and you redoubled asking for partner’s better minor, they may not understand such a convoluted auction and pass again..with very dire consequences.

There was nothing else left but to start bidding suits. So, West thrust the Spade-smallK in with his clubs and bid 5Club-small. North doubled without much thought but you decided to sit it out. There was good and bad news:

Board 15
South Deals
N-S Vul
9 5
J 9 8 5
A 10 9 2
K Q 8
K 10
K Q 8 7 6
10 7 6 5 2
W   E
A Q 7 6
K 10 4
A J 9 4 3
J 8 4 3 2
A Q 7 6 2
J 4 3
West North East South
2 NT 4  Dbl Pass
5  Dbl All pass  

good news bad news.png

The good news was certainly East’s clubs. Sometimes the saying about “making your bed” and therefore “lying in it” holds true.

North led a heart and with South unable to make a trump switch, West was able to slither out for one down.

The bad news was that partner had enough to beat 4Heart-small even if your hand was a little lacking. A standard Diamond-smallK lead would enable  the defence to take a diamond, 2 spades and a diamond ruff (or a natural heart trick). Perhaps, your loss of vision should not entitle you to such a good result. More importantly here, that 2NT overcall had been done on an 8 count.

That, though, was a monster hand compared to the one that follows. However, let’s view the bidding through the eyes of the North player who held:

Spade-smallAK8          Heart-small Q              Diamond-small A72         Club-small T76543

The bidding up to their key decision was as follows:

Dealer East: East-West Vul.

West           North          East             South

                                         Pass            2Diamond-small

2NT             Pass            3Club-small                4Club-small

Pass            ?

2Diamond-small was either a Weak 2 in a major or 20-22 balanced while 2NT was that strong 15-18 style balanced hand. 3Club-small was a Staymanic style bid, all very normal. Indeed, the only unusual thing was South’s 4Club-small call which just had to be natural… but how strong a hand?

Since North held 13 high and West at least 14, that left South well short of what they needed for a strong 20-22 opening. After that, confusion that a psyche creates set in. If partner held a weak 2, then why bid clubs rather than the suit held?

4Club-small ended the bidding. Maybe East was also confused by their partner’s silence and East did not feel they had to re-open. South had little difficulty in making all 13 tricks while West had a story on which to dine out:

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


The "very weak" strong no trump

Once more, the point count of the strong no trump overcall had been eroded. Maybe in future, we should describe the bid as showing “between 0 and 18 high card points”!

We will not be naming many names but it is interesting to note that “the master psycher” Peer Bach was sitting at the table when

the above sequence occurred:

.Peer Bach.JPG                                                   Peer Bach….conjuring up another psyche, maybe!

 You might presume that he occupied the West chair. Never presume. All those who have been undone by one of Peer’s dastardly psyches can smile just a little sweetly when they hear that Peer held the North cards!

Richard Solomon


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