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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

                                     “To bid or not to bid. That is the question”.

Not quite the problem facing Hamlet in his famous Shakespearean soliloquy. It is questionable whether having almost total control of the boss suit gives you the right to wait and see what develops or whether getting in early will serve your cause better. For the sake of Hamlet and other readers, let’s refresh the situation:

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South Deals
None Vul
   
A K Q J 7 6
10 8 7 5
10 9 6
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
      2 
?      

 

As West, you hear South open a 3-way Multi 2, a weak 2 in a major, 20-22 balanced or a strong single-suited minor.

No-one is vulnerable and you are playing Teams.  Do you bid? If so, what?

The Case for action...

For the bidders, one could hardly argue against 2Spade-small. Most would play a jump to 3Spade-small here as Intermediate on the assumption that opener has a Weak 2 in hearts. It would also give a little more insurance should South have a 20-22 pointer. Maybe you would count this hand as the equivalent of an Intermediate jump though there are rather a large number of minor suit losers for partner to cover.

.... and for Silence

For the passers, you can usually enter the bidding later should you wish, though the equal nil vulnerability might make that less appealing. However, you would not want to enter the auction if, in the once every so often occurs….that South is strong and balanced and North has a “flat not very much” and either passes 2NT or raises a level. I trust you have a playful Spade-smallQ ready to lead!  

So, what happened? Our West was a bidder…and so were both the opposition!

West              North            East                South

                                                                       2Diamond-small

2Spade-small                   X 1                   Pass              3Spade-small

1 Pass or correct

At this point, South hoped with a passion that North would not pass (what South did not have was a Weak 2 in spades!) while West was equally passionate that they would!

No such luck for West as North ended the auction with 4Heart-small. Dummy was quite interesting:

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

 

East led what proved to be their singleton spade with West playing three rounds of the suit, the third ruffed in dummy. Declarer then advanced dummy’s top trump ..and the roof fell in!

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

 

No amount of wriggling by declarer could avoid the loss of 3 trump tricks for the contract to be down two.

Much has been said about the opposition having somewhere better to play when they land in your decent enough six-card suit at the 4 level though when your partner has bid the other major and no-trumps did not seem to be in the picture, East’s pass of 4Heart-small does seem extraordinarily pessimistic. Let them rest in their 4-3 or 4-2 5- level fit, though the defence should manage 4 tricks in either before trumps can be drawn.

So, bidding produced +100 which should have been +300. Passing should have produced +100 as South would show 20-22. North would use a Stayman-style bid and South would end up in 3NT with West in the position they dreamed about…on lead!

At the other table, West was a passer and for very good cause, since South had already announced their hand type. Indeed, after a 2NT 20-22 opening, you would expect South to finish as declarer in 3NT as indicated above…but not!

West              North            East                South

                                                                        2NT

Pass                3Club-small                   Pass                3Diamond-small

Pass                4Diamond-small                   Pass                4Heart-small

All Pass

Why was West denied the pleasure of taking the first six tricks? It seems 3Diamond-small showed a 4-card major and 4Diamond-small both majors. South made up for their apparent lapse by choosing their better major, to West’s chagrin! With West silent, it was harder for East to double though they knew that the opposition were not in a 4-4 fit!

West, thus, took just the first two tricks but their partner could not be denied three more for a curious flat board.

We hope at the bridge table that the debate is not as serious as Hamlet’s one about whether it is better to live or die.

to be or not to be.jpg

It seems that both our choices this time ended with the same result, not necessarily the same as with Hamlet’s dilemma.

Our problem tomorrow is one of defence:

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

 

You are East and playing 5 card majors. Your opponents bid briskly to game with your partner leading Spade-small4. Your lead style is 4ths or low from an honour, MUD from three small (middle up down).  Trick 1 goes Spade-small4, Spade-small7, Spade-smallA Spade-smallK. You are playing Teams and really would like to beat the contract. Can you?

Richard Solomon

p.s. A couple of days ago, I commented that our Teaching Notes on the New Zealand Bridge website were silent on the minimum high card point recommended for a reverse after the sequence:

                            West                    East

                            1Diamond-small                      1Spade-small 
                            2Heart-small 
 I was wrong. Improvers' Lesson 9 does cover this and says the point count for this sequence is 17-19. I would not argue against calling 2Heart-small on a decent looking 16 count though on a 15 count which partner's bid has made worse rather than better...never! Oh, but you have heard me say that already! wink

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