Daily Bridge in New Zealand
No Time for a Fit.
So, yesterday we gave you a pretty nice 20 hcp hand and we established that we had a spade fit. You know your partner has not got much of a hand. Even if the opener had only 11 hcp, that would be a maximum 9 to be spread around between South and your partner….and there could be several hcp less than that for these two hands.
Let’s remind ourselves of the problem:
You are West holding:
Dealer North. N/S Vul. Pairs
West North East South
1 Pass Pass
x Pass 1 Pass
How good is your hand in spades with every chance that North has AQ and that suit being led with your hand as dummy? Opposite very little, you may be lucky to make even 3 unless partner produces something useful like K or Q. So, a direct raise to the spade game feels wrong. If a jump to 3 opposite a partner who has been forced to bid shows around 18-19 hcp, then really you should try to show even more by bidding the opponent’s suit and then raising to 3…more like the point count you have.
Keeping a Secret
Yet, maybe now’s a good time to keep that spade suit a secret. It might be easier to make game in no-trumps than in spades. It should certainly be better having North on lead than their partner. So, what about bidding no-trumps?
Normally, a rebid of 1NT here shows 19-20, maybe a very good 18 count, too good for a strong no-trump overcall. However, with a fit for partner, and a probable double hold in opener’s suit, perhaps you could stretch to 2NT, in theory showing 21-22.
Perhaps partner should thus have raised to game with 3 points and 5 spades though they passed which in Pairs was a fair enough decision:
|2 NT||All pass|
If only West could get to be declarer in 4 as South can never get in to lead a diamond. With West declarer, North will lead K which West can win to exit a low heart. A patient North can win, cash their club winner and exit a heart. Declarer is in dummy and receives wonderful news in trumps, discards a diamond on the A and can score 420… but not when East is declarer.
Any sensible contract by West is so much better. Say North leads a diamond against 2NT..say 9. South will unblock the 10 (though it makes no difference if they do not). West wins to play a low heart and can then enjoy two heart tricks, five in spades, A and a diamond beating any pair who manage to stop in 3 with East at the helm.
So, the key was to avoid that spade fit unless miraculously you could get West to be declarer. Major suit fits need not always be the answer.
While it was fortunate South held K, a spade contract would have been even worse off had there been a trump loser too. Basically, any no trump bid was better than any spade raise.
And today’s problem is:
You are South and hear the following sequence. What, if anything, do you bid?
Dealer North. All Vul. Pairs
West North East South
1 21 ?
1 Weak Jump
What system are we using? The answer is “yours” though we will dictate that 1 promises at least 4 diamonds!
See you tomorrow.