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“Shut Your Eyes and Bid”.

We are going to introduce a slightly different concept this week as we are going to look at the bidding of the same hand at two different tables. Let’s call it a Teams match and see what can happen. It involves some high- level bidding which can be both exciting and at the same time nerve-wracking!

We are, first of all, going to look at the board through the eyes of East who holds:

Spade-small AQJ72

Heart-small JT


Club-small AT864

Both sides are vulnerable. Your partner, West, opens in first seat 3Heart-small, a pre-empt showing a 7 card heart suit and about 6-10 high card points. North on your right passes. Over to you? When there are hands with extreme distribution about, with singletons and void suits, the guidelines of needing at least a combined 25hcp to bid game can be relaxed a little. This is certainly true when your partner shows a 7-card suit as here. You have 14 hcp of which the Diamond-smallQ is probably not worth 2 hcp. However, the fact that you have only one diamond but two trumps is good. With the prospect of trumping a diamond loser in our hand, we can add 3 points for our one-card suit.

So, 14 – 2 + 3. We are up to 15 and partner has 10 at most. We have aces in both black suits, a potentially useful spade suit and even a couple of high trumps. We may be a point or two short of the magic 25 but it is worth raising our partner to game in hearts. Don’t worry about mentioning the spade suit. We know which suit we are going to make the trump suit. We have a fit in hearts, with 9 trumps. Go for it. Bid 4Heart-small.

Decision made. Great. Yet, the big decision has yet to be made! Who invited South to bid? Yet, they did. Over 4Heart-small, South bid 5Diamond-small! Both West and North passed…and the decision as to what to do next is back fair and square on your shoulders.  

Such decisions are never easy to make as it sounds there is some freaky distribution around the table. We have a choice of actions. We could bid 5Heart-small or we could double 5Diamond-small. With two aces and more and our partner in the bidding, we have too much to let South play the hand undoubled in 5Diamond-small.

At one of our tables, East decided to bid on to 5Heart-small. At the other, they decided to defend 5Diamond-small…but East was rather afraid to double. We will see who is right on Sunday. For now, plan the defence in 5Diamond-small:

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

Your partner leads the Heart-smallA and declarer follows with Heart-smallK. Your partner continues with Heart-smallQ which is ruffed by South. Declarer then plays 4 top diamonds. Your partner follows with three small diamonds and then a small heart. Declarer discards a heart and a club from dummy.

Which three black cards do you throw on the second, third and fourth rounds of diamonds?

See you on Sunday.

Richard Solomon

Whether you were East or South on this deal, you could not be sure whether or not you had enough to make game, though bidding on to the game level was worth trying. (We will see the South hand on Sunday.) Such high- level decisions like deciding what to do as East over 5Diamond-small are hard, though passing 5Diamond-small undoubled is probably the least appealing of the three options discussed.

Sometimes, you have to shut your eyes and bid… or double!


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