All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

asset poor.

Not much, how much?

It’s not how strong you are but where your meagre assets are that really counts. Take a look at the following collection:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

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

 

1Club-small is 3+ clubs and 4Diamond-small a singleton or void diamond with 4+ spades. What now?

One king outside some decent trumps is not normally the stuff of a slam. Those red suits look particularly unappealing especially with East bidding one of them. Yet, wait, your partner has made a statement about diamonds, that they hold no more than one card in that suit.

So, is that in itself sufficient for you to get very excited about your hand? Despite a nice Club-smallK, you could be forgiven from just signing off in 4Spade-small. If you did, that would have been a shame as these were the four hands:

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

 

Partner had the enemy heart suit well under control and after the defence took their diamond trick, it was not hard for you to draw trumps and run the clubs with a diamond ruff in the dummy providing your 12th trick.

Slam missed, a great one to be bid even playing Pairs where you should not over-stretch in the slam zone. South could be heard saying they were sorely tempted to go hunting for slam but that they just did not have enough to go ace or key-card asking.

In fact, they probably did. Unless North produced an unwanted useless honour as their singleton diamond, North’s honours were fairly well marked, Spade-smallKJ, Club-smallAQJ…only 11 hcp…leaving the rest in hearts, some combination of  two  of the top three. AQx would be unwelcome, KQx less so. It would also be less attractive if North’s shape was 4414. There seemed too much uncertainty for South to proceed upwards.

A slight change of system

There was, though, an answer, not so much in South’s choice of actions but in what their partner had bid. 4Diamond-small was a mighty big bid and from South’s point of view used up too much space in one bid. What in your system would 3Diamond-small have meant?

It must depend on the meaning of South’s double. Traditionally, it is negative style, usually showing four spades and at least another place to play. If that is the case, then a jump to 3Diamond-small would be a strong hand with clubs and diamonds.

It is becoming quite popular that either double or 1Spade-small (you choose which) shows 4+ spades and the other shows a hand with less than four spades but with no obvious competing bid, a hand like:

Spade-small AQ6    Heart-small 874   Diamond-small K762   Club-small 852

enough to compete but with no suitable bid to make. Let’s say 1Spade-small showed that hand type, less than four spades. “Double” therefore becomes 4+ spades, not negative. The bidding is the equivalent of:

West              North            East                South

                        1Club-small                   Pass             1Spade-small

Pass               ?

after which 2Diamond-small becomes a reverse.. and 3Diamond-small? It seems wasteful to have two bids to show a strong hand with clubs and diamonds. So, 3Diamond-small can mean something different, maybe diamond shortage with spade support. It is up to you if that sequence is forcing to game or only to 3Spade-small (mini-splinter style).

Either way, in the actual hand above, South would like to have a shot at game knowing their partner held a singleton diamond. Rather than just jumping to game, it gives South the opportunity to show what they have en route to 4Spade-small. Get it off your chest and let partner decide.

West              North            East                South

                        1Club-small                 1Heart-small                   X

Pass                3Diamond-small                Pass                4Club-small (1st or 2nd round control in clubs)

Pass                ?

It is no longer South’s problem since North is indeed strong. They use key card 4NT and discover South has one key card. They can then ask for the Spade-smallQ with South responding in the partnership’s preferred way in the affirmative…and slam is reached opposite the known Spade-smallAQ and Club-smallK or Spade-smallQ, Diamond-smallA and Club-smallK.

Playing mini and or game force splinters would here be dependant on the meaning of South’s double. If one plays as suggested above, then 3Diamond-small can show a singleton and 4Diamond-small a void diamond. Opposite 4Diamond-small, South would be even keener to head towards slam.

There is more involved in such a style of bidding…and it should be pointed out that after a 1Spade-small overcall by East, double would be a more traditional negative style double.

What the above deal does show is how valuable splinter bids can be in heading to the right low hcp slams and staying out of other poor slams where partner’s honour cards do not fit. The style of bidding over the 1Heart-small overcall (and would have equally applied had East been silent) enabled both 3Diamond-small and 4Diamond-small to be splinter bids and slam investigation to begin at a lower more convenient level.

Would your system have enabled you to reach this slam?

7 Trumps between the two hands.

Choose the trump suit with the two hands below and decide as South how you would play the contract you did not choose (that’s right, if you choose 4Heart-small, you must play in 4Spade-small…and vice versa!) on the lead of DK. The opposition have been silent in the bidding:

 

North Deals
N-S Vul
A J 6
J 8 7
A Q 10 7 6 4 3
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K 10 3 2
A Q 10 9 8 7 2
A
J

 

Remember you are playing in a 7 card, not the 8-card club fit.

Richard Solomon

 

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • NZB Foundation
  • City Council square logo.png
  • Ryman