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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Controlled Optimism.

If I were to put down a hand as dummy with three suits headed by AK, I would not be ashamed of my bidding if I had started it with a game-force opening. That could well be the case with today’s hand though does it qualify for a standard Game Force     2Club-small in first seat?

What’s your choice with the hand below? Those who play Precision would have no problem…but for the rest of us?

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A K 6
3
A K 10 9 4
A K 10 5
West North East South
  ?    

 

A nice hand, but how nice?

I have cast my vote. It is too good to start at the 1 level and not really right for a balanced 2NT. So, since most of us no longer play “strong but not game-forcing Acol 2’s”, 2Club-small it has to be, by a process of elimination.

Would you rather play 1Diamond-small making two overtricks or game or even slam? Silly question but perhaps central to the debate here.Some see it differently:

Michael Cornell “1Diamond-small: Only palatable choice for me is 1Diamond-small. I think the risk of this being passed out is minimal with 12 hearts out there, including all the big ones.

In any case, it is our style to respond light. So, if partner does not respond 1 of a major, the chance of opponents not balancing must be close to zero.

Obviously, my next bid is 3Club-small, GF so we can easily develop the hand from there."

Well, you can, Michael. Your partner might be less keen with their 5-count.

Matt Brown “1Diamond-small: For me this is clear. Obviously, it isn't very appealing if all pass, but we may not necessarily have missed a game. 2Club-small is too large an overbid, I think.”

I agree with Bruce's bid although not his interpretation of 2Club-small, or his lament for a big club system…

Bruce Anderson “2Club-small: I don’t want to risk 1Diamond-small being passed out when partner has enough for us to make 3NT, 4Spade-small, or even 5 of a minor. Admittedly, after opening 2Club-small (which I play as too strong to open at the one level but not necessarily a GF), we risk going overboard if partner doesn’t fit and is very weak; is there a rational second negative available after the 2Club-small opener rebids in a minor? But if partner holds as little as Spade-small Jxxxxx and out, 4Spade-small is a likely make.

The hand is an excellent example of why I prefer to play a big club system.”

It is not even that I think that we will often get passed out in 1Diamond-small. It is just how can partner imagine you are so good to open at the 1 level if you try and have a sensible conversation with partner at the3 / 4 levels.

A sequence starting with 2Club-small would have to continue with 3Diamond-small after the expected 2Diamond-small call. Then, after, 3Heart-small from partner, you would be heading for 3NT.

If you start at the 1 level, it might go:

              North                      South

              1Diamond-small                          1Heart-small
              3Club-small                          3Spade-small (4th suit forcing)

              ?

Would even 4NT, quantative, do justice to your hand?

 Back to Reality

However, South did not reply to your 2Club-small opening  2Diamond-small or an annoying 2Heart-small but 2Spade-small…..

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

 

The choice, then, would be 3Spade-small, 4Heart-small(shortage) or a direct Key-Card ask. If South took control and discovered they were facing three aces and three kings, they would not stop below the 7 level.

The choice of final bid might be critical. Against 7Spade-small, a contract which needs nothing more than a 3-2 trump break, West might lead Diamond-smallJ. South can afford to test trumps before taking their heart ruff for trick 13. They would be glad they did test trumps this time since on the second round, West discarded a club. So, a different way had to be found to get rid of the losing heart.

Declarer may draw trumps in four rounds and play Diamond-smallK and ruff a diamond… but on the third round West discarded a heart. So, the last chance was clubs…and when the Club-smallA was played on the first round, East discarded a heart. That is great news for those in 7NT or those in 7Spade-small who had received a red suit lead,

bad luck 2.jpg

Bad luck!         

but less satisfactory had the opening lead to 7Spade-small been a club:

North Deals
None Vul
A K 6
3
A K 10 9 4
A K 10 5
5
Q J 9 4
J 8
J 8 7 6 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 8 7 3
10 8 7 5 2
Q 6 3 2
 
Q 10 9 4 2
A K 6
7 5
Q 9 4

 

7Spade-small is a fair contract, 7NT less so though this time that contract was the one guaranteed to make. Ironically, had North opened 2NT, they would, by courtesy of a transfer, have right-sided 7Spade-small. On the night, most played safely at the 6-level though I wonder how many started at the 1 -level. “Controlled optimism” is how I would describe the 2Club-small opener. Certainly not a solid game-force but, for me, an announcement of a hand just too good to open a level lower.

You are on lead to 4Spade-small x. You have a good hand. That is why you doubled! So, simply, what do you lead?

 

North Deals
E-W Vul
   
A 9 4
Q J 8
A K J 4 2
A 6
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
  Pass Pass 1 
Dbl 4  Pass Pass
Dbl All pass    

 

The answer will be on Saturday…

Richard Solomon

 

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