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Tales of Akarana

Spades over Hearts… and Diamonds, too?

It is so good holding the spade suit in the many highly competitive hands our dealing machine conjures up for us. Heart bidders have to find cunning ways to stop their opponents bid one more but at the same level. Take the following. It seems like you have to convince your opponents that pushing on to game is taking a step too far, in order to shut the spade bidders up.

     
Board 15
South Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
3
A 4 2
Q 8 4 3
Q 7 6 5 2
West North East South
      Pass
1  Dbl 2  2 
3  Pass Pass 3 
Pass Pass ?  

Although West’s 3Heart-small bid was just competitive and not inviting game, the East hand does indeed look like it is worth a shot at game. If you bid 4Heart-small directly over 3Heart-small, someone is bound to bid 4Spade-small with only the vulnerability being a negative factor. How high would you want to go..5Heart-small or prepare to trust that the opponents are too high in their spade game?

Taking the push, albeit reluctantly, talked North-South out of competing above 4Heart-small. Interestingly, there are still some players who still want decent suits for their weak 2 openings, rather than any random six card or even five- card suit!

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

 

A Weak 2Spade-small opening would have propelled North to game very quickly with it being very doubtful that East-West would have continued to the makeable 5Heart-small game. The Diamond-smallA lead proved terminal for a couple of E/W pairs defending 4Spade-small with the rest beating the contract of either 4 or 5Spade-small by one trick.

Double or Pass

Would you double East’s 1Heart-small opening bid with the following collection (all vul):

Spade-small KJ9

Heart-small AQ3

Diamond-small K982

Club-small62

If West was to produce a value redouble, you would surely wish you had stayed silent though there seem to be enough goodies to justify this low- level action. Failure to double proved expensive on Board 26:

Board 26
East Deals
Both Vul
Q 8 7 6 5 4 2
9 5
Q J 8 7
10 3
K 6 2
J 7 4 3
A K 9 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A
J 10 8 7 4
A Q 10 6 5
5 4
 
K J 9
A Q 3
K 9 8 2
10 6 2
West North East South
    1  Pass
3  Pass 4  All pass

 

Another victory for the heart suit. West did very well to pretend he had 4 hearts and show his point-count and 4 hearts with 3Diamond-small(Bergen style)…and the 10-card spade fit was lost.

With a club ruff saving a declarer in 4Spade-small the bother of finding the Spade-smallA, only the unkind positioning of the Heart-smallK prevented 4Spade-small from making. Two North players did even better after the Diamond-smallA lead saved the heart loser. The field was somewhat split between those in 4Heart-small or 4Spade-small which must mean the double of 1Heart-small was not universal.

What about this? The money ….or the slam? Neither side is vulnerable.

West              North            East                South

                                                                        5Diamond-small

X                      Pass                ?

East holds:

Spade-small K84

Heart-small 764

Diamond-small –

Club-small KQT9842

What has this got to do with an article on the “master” spade suit? The double hardly asked you to bid your better major!
money or the bag.png

The money..or the bag!

The money kept you in line with the room (this is Swiss Pairs, remember) but the slam was much more rewarding, no matter how high you went:

Board 27
South Deals
None Vul
Q 7
Q 10 9 8 3
7 6 4
J 7 6
A J 10 9 3 2
A 5 2
3 2
A 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 8 4
7 6 4
K Q 10 9 8 4 2
 
6 5
K J
A K Q J 10 9 8 5
5

A victory for diamonds over spades. It looks like North or South would bid 6Diamond-small over 6Club-small at least increasing the East-West reward from 300 to 500. Only Mark Robertson and Sylvester Riddell restored the natural order of things by bidding and making 6Spade-small.

Richard Solomon



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