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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Where to from here?

To bid? If so, what? Or maybe to pass? If we choose to bid, what do we bid? What does partner’s double mean, anyway? Too many questions! Suddenly, a fairly simple hand has become rather less simple to handle. It looks like we should seek help from the Panel.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 
     
North Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K J 6 4 3
J 3
A 7 3 2
5 4
West North East South
  1  Pass 1 
3  Dbl Pass ?

 

3Diamond-small is a Weak Jump. You are playing 5-card Majors. Your bid is? You are playing Pairs.

What we do know is that partner has an above average hand. We, too, have a little more than we might have. So, what is that double?

Many play “support doubles”, a double when your partner opens the bidding, you change the suit and the opposition intervene. “Double” then shows three-card support for your suit. This works extremely well when the interference is at the 2-level though there is less room to manoeuvre, more hand types to show when the interference is higher.

“Support double” is how our first Panellist interprets the double:

Michael Cornell “4Spade-small: I play partner’s x as 3 card support, non- minimum at the 3 level. I am well over a trick better than I might have been with a 5th spade. So, it seems a pretty obvious call to me.”

It is not so easy for Pam though she reaches the same conclusion:

Pam Livingston “4Spade-small: It would be good to have more points, but I have heard there is a bonus for bidding and making game and the 3Diamond-small bid has put the pressure on.

Partner's double shows extra values as with minimal values she can pass and let me act with a suitable hand.  She almost certainly has three spades and if so, she could have still have six hearts. Without three spades and with six hearts, I think she would just bid ‘em.  She could be 2524 with extra values and no diamond stop but oh well- if it was easy, we wouldn't be answering this question!  If partner bids 4Diamond-small rather than double, this will show a good four card spade raise.  If I bid 4Diamond-small in response to the double, it would show major holdings but a stronger hand.

Doubles are for takeout and I would not consider leaving this double in even though I have 4 diamonds.  The vulnerability is wrong and the ace is a useful card in a suit contract.  3NT could be right but I wouldn't want to deny major holdings.  Partner could have a hand that is suitable for slam opposite mine.”

However, Bruce is taking the money:

Bruce Anderson “Pass: I am playing partner for a good hand given my initial response did not promise much. Game in a major is a possibility; partner should have a partial spade fit as with just hearts and clubs I would have heard 4Club-small. But both major games are likely to be problematic. 3NT could also be considered as there is unlikely to be a certain entry to the West hand. But I do not want to play a game relying on a spade finesse if partner holds, say, Ax.

I do not have a killing trump holding but it does mean E/W do not have a trump fit.”

3NT did not pick up any votes but others felt it was time for partner to reveal what they do have:

Stephen Blackstock “4Diamond-small:  Pick a (major) game. Those who think this is a slam try are neglecting the “games before slams” dictum – with no agreed suit, a cue looks initially for the best game contract.

We won’t necessarily make if the hands do not fit, but South is at least a trick better than he might have been so must show more than a minimum, as 3Heart-small would do. North will expect a doubleton heart (else 4Heart-small), and five spades (North cannot have four spades so I must have at least five to keep that suit in play). I don’t expect to hear 5Club-small as 4Heart-small from North will show five hearts and a club suit: with six hearts, he would have bid differently over 3Diamond-small.”

Peter Newell "4Diamond-small:pick a major.  I don’t know which major to pick so I’ll ask partner to choose. I don’t much like it as it feels pushy as partner may not have that much in the way of values apart from short diamonds. So game may be too high…and may get doubled, and partner could be something like 2515 which could be ugly….as 3Diamond-small is weak, I would consider 3NT as West probably doesn’t have an entry and I can hold up the Diamond-smallA as long as necessary…but I probably would stick with 4Diamond-small anyway.

Matt Brown “4Diamond-small: pick a major. I think my hand is good enough to force to game after partner's double. So, I want partner to choose where to play (Hearts if he has 6, otherwise he will have spades and we will play 4Spade-small).”

Summing up the problem many might have: are we both on the same wavelength?

Nigel Kearney “4Spade-small: Partner may have only two spades but will often have three. I won't be able to ruff many diamonds without getting over-ruffed, but I can discard them on dummy's heart and club winners. 4Diamond-small as choice of games could be better if I was sure partner would understand it that way.”

Those who chose 3NT or indeed 4Diamond-small (as partner’s next bid would be 4Heart-small) would not have too many problems when dummy (or your hand appeared as dummy) appeared on the lead of a Diamond-small.

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

In 4Heart-small, you would have guessed the spade position for at least 10 tricks. However, those who finished in 4Spade-small seemed to have bought themselves much more of a challenge when the Diamond-smallK hit the deck.

What, though, is the potentially saving grace of this contract, when East followed suit?

Nigel Kearney suggested dropping diamond losers on high hearts and clubs. That’s fine but there is still the question of the trump suit and the shape of West, who might be shortish in these suits.

The saving grace is that East has only one diamond and that if and surely when they win the lead, they cannot continue diamonds. How many spades do they have? Four, five..or a horror 6-card suit? Perhaps it is time to find out while you still have some trump control in dummy.

So, win Diamond-smallA and play a club to the ace and a spade to your jack, which wins the trick. No real “horror” break!

Change suit…a heart to dummy and try a second spade, to East’s ace..and West follows…and East plays a second club…and you win in dummy.

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

 

You need to get to your hand. So, heart to the jack and play a third round of spades and the world is a much happier place, with an overtrick!
lucky day 3.jpg

3Diamond-smallx would concede 500. 11 tricks are also the limit in 4Heart-small while if you are brave enough, you could even score 12 tricks in 3NT. All contracts could be in greater danger (certainly those overtricks in 3NT might not happen) if West held a spade honour, though their honour was unlikely to be the ace.

However, as Pam Livingston said, the bidding is not so easy. Would you have known what the double meant and how to proceed the auction?

Which major have they got?

     
West Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A Q J 10 9
A K 9 3
8 7
K 2
West North East South
2  Pass 2  ?

You are playing Pairs. West’s 2Diamond-small¨ is a 2-way Multi (20-22 or a Weak 6-card major). 2Spade-small shows better hearts than spades but is simply “less than game interest”. It’s your bid?

Richard Solomon

 



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