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Tales of Akarana

It’s all in the bidding.

That was pretty much the case this evening. There was little in the play to challenge declarers or defence but plenty of imps on offer with some correct bidding decisions:

1.

 
10 4
A Q 8 6 5
A J
A 10 9 8
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Pass
Pass ?    

While discussing this hand, and still as North, would you take any action after West raised 2Diamond-small to 3Diamond-small?

2.

     
Board 25
North Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A 9 8 4 2
9 4
A K 10 3
A Q
West North East South
  2  3  ?

2Spade-smallshowed 5 spades and a 4+ card minor with below opening strength.

3.

     
Board 28
West Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 2
9 4 2
K Q 10 3
A K 5
West North East South
1  Pass 2  Pass
4  Pass ?  

 4Club-small is a splinter agreeing diamonds.

Back to our first question(s).

 
10 4
A Q 8 6 5
A J
A 10 9 8
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Pass
Pass ?    

 

Back to our first question(s). It was a good idea to do something with the best “something” being to bid your second suit. You might have wished for a stronger hand or longer clubs but failure to take any action would result in a minus score:

It was a good idea to do something with the best “something” being to bid your second suit. You might have wished for a stronger hand or longer clubs but failure to take any action would result in a minus score:

Board 24
West Deals
None Vul
10 4
A Q 8 6 5
A J
A 10 9 8
J 3 2
J 7 3 2
9 4 3 2
Q 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
A Q 7
K 10 9
K Q 10 7 6 5
K
 
K 9 8 6 5
4
8
J 7 5 4 3 2
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Pass
Pass ?    

 

You will not always strike 6 card support in bidding but it feels wrong not to compete at all. Double does not seem right either because of your lack of spades (what do you bid over partner’s 2Spade-small let alone 3Spade-small?) but also your diamond holding makes it unlikely that your partner is trap-passing. 3Club-small would at least always return you a plus score even if you did not reach the cold club game.

It is even harder to take action over the raise to 3Diamond-small by West though at least North-South should always go plus after South’s singleton heart lead. Only Jeff Thompson- John O’Connor reached the club game with two more pairs playing a club partial. Three tables saw East-West one down in 3Diamond-small though the danger of West raising diamonds is that East might and did twice try 3NT unsuccessfully. A good dive,though,  against the making 5Club-small contract.

     
Board 25
North Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A 9 8 4 2
9 4
A K 10 3
A Q
West North East South
  2  3  ?

 

Five card trump support and a decent looking hand, no matter which minor suit partner held. There are two drawbacks to going above game level, the two little hearts at which you are staring and the knowledge that partner might have taken a little liberty point-wise with their opening.

You might have to gamble on the second of these but there would have been a nice surprise had you checked on that heart suit:

Board 25
North Deals
E-W Vul
K Q 6 5 3
Q 9 7 2
5 4 3 2
J 7
K 10 7 6 2
J 8 4
J 10 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
10
A Q J 8 5 3
6 5
K 9 8 7
 
A 9 8 4 2
9 4
A K 10 3
A Q
West North East South
  2  3  5 
Pass 5 NT Pass 6 
All pass      

 

Lucky? Against the odds? Perhaps but is 5Spade-small in danger opposite a minimum but sound 2Spade-small opening? The answer may be “possibly” but not this time. 5Spade-small asks partner to bid slam with first or second round control in the opposition’s suit. 5NT showed total control of hearts though South would still not look for grand-slam. With a heart void, and a 10 count, North should really open at the one level.

Only one table made it beyond 4Spade-small…and that was to collect 800 from 5Heart-smallx. Shame… a missed opportunity.

     
Board 28
West Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 2
9 4 2
K Q 10 3
A K 5
West North East South
1  Pass 2  Pass
4  Pass ?  

 

This should be the easiest of the three problems. 4Club-small was a splinter agreeing diamonds and whether or not your approach is Acol style or 2 over 1 Game Force, the splinter detracts from your hand. That Club-smallK is not necessarily pulling much weight. Issue a warning. Bid 4Heart-small. If partner still goes on, they must have something special.

They did not, really, and were forced to take the heart finesse in whichever slam they bid. 6Diamond-small proved better than 6Heart-small…less off!

Board 28
West Deals
N-S Vul
J 7 5
Q 10 8 5
9 2
Q 8 7 4
A 6 3
A K J 7 3
A 8 5 4
9
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 2
9 4 2
K Q 10 3
A K 5
 
K Q 8 4
6
J 7 6
J 10 6 3 2
West North East South
1  Pass 2  Pass
4  Pass 4  All pass

 

A sixth heart in the West hand or even Spade-smallK would have been enough in 6Diamond-small. As it was, the heart situation defeated all the slammers. Only three pairs stayed below the 5 level, though 5Diamond-small would have made. For the rest, the warning was either not given or heeded.

Richard Solomon

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