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A Lighter Look


Many times, our opponents make bidding difficult for us. Even sometimes when the opponents are silent, our partner can make life impossible for us. Occasionally, even when our partner and the opponents have said nothing, we give ourselves an almighty problem by our own actions.

You don’t believe me? Try this.

John Wang is a very thoughtful top Auckland bridge player. He held the following hand as East in the final round of the recent major Auckland Teams event:

Spade-small AK                Heart-small 63               Diamond-small QJ74                      Club-small AJ762

A fairly nice 15 count, more or less balanced, probably all right for 1NT opening as John and partner, Gary Chen, do open a 15 -17 1NT. Yet, John was not happy with either major suit holding, two tricks in one (but no hold-up possible if required) and two tricks less in the other. So, he looked for an alternative opening.

1Club-small? No, since he could not rebid 1NT…. too strong or reverse into 2D ….too weak! Just rebidding 2C would not really describe the shape or strength of the hand very well. So, he looked for an alternative.

1Diamond-small? "Well, I can rebid 2Club-small now…much better" thought John. It would not matter much that partner would not think his diamonds were shorter than his clubs.

So, he went to pull the 1Diamond-small card out of his bidding box….and without realising it, pulled out the 2Diamond-small card in error!

“Alert” announced Gary. “Weak 2 in a major. No other option” Gary explained to the inquisitive opponent.  South passed with Gary bidding 2Spade-small, less than game interest and showing hearts than spades.

“Oh dear” was something close to the English translation of the Mandarin word John muttered to himself under his breath! What to do? North passed and John had to think quick. He could make what would be an impossible bid of 2NT or even 3NT (remember there is no strong option) alerting partner that something was up! Yet, it was possible that Gary had only 5 or6 hcp even though both opponents were silent.

Any other ideas? John bid 3Heart-small! That’s right.3Heart-small…the suit in which he had no tricks! Well, his partner had said his hearts were better than his spades! The question was how much better? Gary could have bid 2Spade-small with a singleton spades and Heart-small872. If that were the case, John would need to be a fine player to make many tricks, especially in his trump suit!

Gary was a little bit surprised that John had a weak 2 in hearts but decided on a good day, game might make and on a bad one, the cost was probably in 50’s. Indeed, when you see Gary's hand, you will see that he bid 4Heart-small to make it harder for the opponents to bid 4Spade-small which was likely to be a making game. There was no 4Spade-small bid with 4Heart-small becoming the final contract. You can say that John awaited dummy with more than a degree of interest.

“Please put your trumps down first, Gary” were the words in John’s mind. We believe he did so.

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
10 9 7 4 3
7 4 2
K 10 8
9 8
Q 5 2
A Q J 9 5
9 6 5 2
W   E
6 3
Q J 7 4
A J 7 6 2
J 8 6
K 10 8
A 3
K 10 5 4 3
West North East South
    2  Pass
2  Pass 3  Pass
4  All pass    


John won the spade lead, took a trump finesse, came back to hand with a second spade and much to everyone else’s amazement, took a second successful finesse, drew trumps and made his contract for the loss of just two diamond tricks.

That was worth 1 imp in when the opponents did not repeat the above auction and made a routine 10 tricks in 3NT.

Gary John Wang  Blair Liz.jpg
All smiles: Gary, John and their amused teammates, Blair and Liz Fisher

We always thank partner for their dummy, good or bad, though, this time, rumour has it that John really meant it! We doubt that even the great exponent of the “unusual Multi 2Diamond-small”, Stanley Abrahams, ever came up with an anchor suit of 63 doubleton!

Richard Solomon

Had John realised that he had made a nonsense bid and called the director before his partner had bid, it is likely that John would have been allowed to change his opening bid back to 1Diamond-small. 2-2 in the majors is no one’s weak 2. Is it, Stanley!

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