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Tales of Akarana

Catch me if you can…

Not a night of great deeds, a night generally if you could keep your nose out of trouble, you would score better. Trouble awaited round many corners, or bids too far:

How high would you bid this interesting collection?

Spade-smallKQ762

Heart-small K

Diamond-smallAK9653

Club-smallT

You are East and hear the following:

West              North            East                South

                                                                        1Heart-small

Pass                1Spade-small                  2Diamond-small                  2Heart-small

Pass                Pass                ?

Why did North have to bid spades? That and your seemingly devalued Heart-smallK have made your hand rather less appealing than first seemed. Nevertheless, you have a pretty fair hand with reason to think your partner could be of a little assistance. This time (only this time?!), they let down the bidders, of which there were a few.  However, only two of the six Easts who tried 3Diamond-small were doubled for their trouble.

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
A 10 8 5 4
2
J 8 4
K 8 5 2
9 3
10 8 7 5 3
Q J 9 7 6 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 7 6 2
K
A K 9 6 5 3
10
 
J
A Q J 9 6 4
Q 10 7 2
A 4

 

It would be an unlucky day for South should 3Diamond-small make. They are looking at 3 red suit tricks and the Club-smallA. Partner made a free bid. Can they not provide one defensive trick? They actually provided two (both in spades rather than Club-smallK) giving North-South a lucrative 500. In theory, South can do better by bidding and making 3NT but the only South who tried pulled up three tricks short. It looks like South must play on East’s long suit and then make a second spade trick to bring their number of tricks to 9.

Maybe East could bid 2Spade-small rather than 3Diamond-small at their second turn as North’s suit might be playable for East-West, though not on this occasion. The more bids East makes, the greater danger of attracting the axe.

Trigger Happy?

West had a chance to wield the axe on the following board…but should they?

Board 1
North Deals
None Vul
   
Q 9 4
Q 4 3
J 7 3
K Q 10 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
  1  2  3 
3  Pass Pass 4 
?      

 

2Heart-small showed 5+ spades and a 5+ minor with Intermediate or better values. South appeared to have walked into some fairly hot water when they bid clubs for the second time. Time for the red card?

Well, there is a supplementary question if you answered “yes”. That is, what are you going to do when North retreats to 4Heart-small? Double that as well? If North does run, you have just turned a small gain into a large loss!

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

 

When faced with that decision over 4Club-small, Ian Berrington, West, chose to pass. His partner managed to under-lead his Diamond-smallA at trick 2 in a “good cause” (or so he thought!) and that meant 4Club-small was only one down. However, try beating 4Heart-small by North.

After cashing both their aces, East can either switch to a trump which means declarer can afford a second diamond loser and will come to 10 tricks or else East preserves West’s Heart-smallQ as a trick by exiting a spade. This allows a diamond to be ruffed with only a trump then to be lost as the second round of diamonds is ruffed, with Diamond-smallJ falling under the Diamond-smallQ on the third round of the suit. The club loser is discarded on Spade-smallK.

Thus, passing out 4Club-small  was a fine decision to make.

Twice bitten, third time shy

After a match in which our partnership conceded 200 twice and 300 once, I was too scared to take further action with the following:

     
Board 3
South Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
9
6 2
A J 8 7 6 5 4
A 6 4
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1 NT 2  2 
Pass Pass ?  

 

What horrors awaited me in 3Diamond-small? The answers were none as the diamond game needed little more than finding the Heart-smallA with the opening bidder:

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

 

Reaching game seemed harder than making it (only one pair recorded +600) with our +50 from 2Spade-small scant compensation.

Despite this board, knowing when to stay out of trouble is a harder skill to master than that of aggressive bidding.

Richard Solomon

 

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