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Tales of Akarana


There are two good things that can happen when you have not got a hold in a suit and you contract for a no-trump contract. Firstly, your partner, who is on your side may help you out with a useful card or two in that suit. Failing that, they may not even lead that suit.

So perhaps our South players who seemed a little exposed in two suits should just have sat out 3NT when they held:

Spade-small KQ Heart-small K  Diamond-small AKQJ8765  Club-small 74

after an auction like:

West              North             East                South


Pass                1Spade-small                  Pass                3Diamond-small

Pass                3NT

or could even have bid it themselves:

West              North             East                South


2Heart-small (weak)    x                      3Heart-small                  ?

If South did not feel like trying the effect of 3NT with a singleton king, double might suggest some uncertainty as where to play, perhaps a half heart hold, with 3NT from North then being an option.

Before we see the rest of the hands, I cannot resist a small commercial for the much maligned and under-used 3-way Multi 2Diamond-small. For me, 1Diamond-small followed by a jump rebid of 3Diamond-small does not do justice to the power of the South hand. A jump to 3NT, gambling style seems better and would have been well rewarded on this occasion though here is a perfect strong single-suited minor hand to open 2Diamond-small rebidding the suit although one still has a difficult rebid problem after the sequence:

West              North             East                South

                                                                        2Diamond-small (Multi)

Pass                2Heart-small                  Pass                3Diamond-small

Pass                3Spade-small                  Pass                ?

The winning action, of course, is 3NT though there must be a temptation to support partner’s 5+ card spade suit.

Another option is to bid 3NT directly after partner’s 2Heart-small response, a long running suit with at least some outside stops.

The defence could only score 4 tricks against 3NT while lack of aces defeated 5Diamond-small. The interesting play contract was 4Spade-small:

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
J 10 8 6 5 4
Q 8 4
K J 10
9 2
J 10 7 6 5 2
A 8 6 2
W   E
A 7 3
A 9 3
10 4 3
Q 9 5 3
A K Q J 8 7 6 5
7 4


Where West had made a weak jump overcall in hearts, it was easy enough for East to lead Heart-smallA and switch to diamonds at trick 2 as with more trumps than dummy, East could ensure declarer could not draw trumps and then run the diamond suit.

North won to try a club at trick 2. West seized their ace (declarer would not have succeeded even if West ducked and North guessed to play the king) and returned a second heart. With three aces to lose or lost, declarer had to dispose of their losing heart and club and thus ruffed the heart to play a second diamond.

West ruffed with North overruffing and playing Club-smallK and a third club, ruffing once more in dummy. However, with only diamonds in dummy, West ruffed once more and again North overruffed.

North was left with Spade-small J865 and East Spade-small A73 meaning that East scored two trump tricks to defeat the contract.

Had North played a second trump instead of ruffing a club, the trump “upper-cut” would not have taken place.With East having only two trumps left, North could ruff high back to hand after disposing their remaining club on the third round of diamonds. However, the contract would still fail if West’s first diamond ruff had been with the Spade-small9.

Thus, Spade-small A73 probably provided two trump tricks for the defence while in no-trumps, singleton K and 74 in two side-suits were no worries towards scoring 9 tricks. No worries! worried.jpg

Richard Solomon

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