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New To The Table

They Open: We bid Game.  

  As South you pick up a nice looking 18-point hand. You are 4th to speak and there’s a bit of bidding before you get your first shot:

     
West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A K J 7 4
10 5
K Q
K Q 4 2

 

West              North            East                South

1Club-small                  1Heart-small                   Pass                ?

The first thing you need to say to yourself is that you know you are heading to game. Even if your partner has a very weak overcall, and as they are not vulnerable, they might have, you must be able to place them with the 7 or 8 hcp which you would need them to have opposite your strong hand to make a game (well, to try and make a game!). Your problems are which game and how do you go about finding out which?

The immediate answer to the first question is you are not sure. 3NT, 4Spade-small and even 4Heart-small are all possibilities.

So, how do you go about finding out? You make a bid that you and your partner know that without interference they cannot pass. That bid is a change of suit from you, a non-passed hand (i.e. your hand can be (and is) really strong.) So, you bid 1Spade-small which shows 5 + spades and is as we said, forcing for one round.

However, it was not your partner but West who spoke again:

West              North            East                South

1Club-small                   1Heart-small                   Pass             1Spade-small

2Club-small                   Pass                Pass                ?

You can now be sure that your partner has no clear response even if they had a minimum overcall. Had your partner a 4-card spade suit, they would certainly have supported you (they might even have supported with 3 spades as you have shown 5).

So, with an excellent double hold in the club suit, it is time to bid to game and that game will be 3NT. It really was worth bidding     1Spade-small even though you did not get a response from your partner. Partner's silence answered your problem of deciding which game. 3NT ends the bidding with West leading the Club-smallJ.

Our problem for Sunday is another defensive one. We are going to show you the East hand and dummy….and then pose a couple of questions:

West Deals
None Vul
8 3
A Q J 7 4 2
9 5 3
8 7
   
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 6 5
K 9 8
10 7 6 4 2
6
West North East South
  dummy you  
1  1  Pass 1 
2  Pass Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

On the Club-smallJ lead, declarer wins with their queen and plays Heart-smallT on which West and dummy play low.

Do you win and if so, to which suit do you switch?

See you on Sunday.

Remember that a change of suit by the partner of an overcaller, who has not before had the chance to bid, is forcing for one round on the overcaller unless the intervening  opponent makes a bid.

Richard Solomon

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