All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

A Multi Problem.

It is pretty certain when an opponent starts with 2Diamond-smalland you have the hand below, that they will have a Weak 2 in one of the major suits. You are strong enough to rule out their strong option. Yet, which suit do they have and how should you develop the bidding?

If you think you should be able to tell which suit the opener has, the situation is complicated by the fact that you have 4 or 5 cards in the two major suits. So, are you a betting person? Would you like to put some money on opener’s suit? Your hand and the bidding to date follows:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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


There were only two options for 2Diamond-small, 20-22 or a Weak 2 in a major. Your options seem to be Double or 2NT or maybe Pass and wait.

Matt Brown “ Double:  I think that caters for most possibilities. If the opponents have hearts, partner will almost certainly be void and slam is a mild possibility. Otherwise, if they have spades we likely have a heart fit anyway. If we pass, hoping for partner to double back in, it would be disastrous if he couldn't, and if they do indeed have hearts and correct to 3Heart-small, we can't really get our strength across anymore.”

Bruce Anderson “Double: If West has opened on a garbage 6 card spade suit and passes, we will not miss a possible heart fit. Partner will read my double as showing hearts given that East has not necessarily shown length. In the more likely event West is forced to bid 3Heart-small (the convention used makes no sense) then after whatever partner does, I can introduce my spades.

The only alternative I can think of is 2NT. But the hand is not balanced and partner may read that bid for greater strength as East seems to have something for their bid. “

While the doublers seem to have covered the possibilities, Bruce’s comment does not reflect everyone's idea of 2Spade-small as this is the bid East would make with any hand with short spades and a decent length in hearts. It depends on style though three hearts and one spade and few hcp would be adequate for most.

Double seems to show hearts when the Weak 2 is in spades and spades when opener has hearts. All will soon be revealed, we hope.

Bruce’s alternative 2NT attracted a lot of support:

Kris Wooles “2NT; and if we play puppet stayman. I can show my 5-card spade suit. I guess it is even possible we have a heart fit. “

Peter Newell “ 2NT; I have too much to pass.  A clever West without spades would know we have a big spade fit and would pass at this vulnerability. So, passing is a big risk with such a strong hand at this vulnerability. 

 If West has spades, we may belong in 3NT anyway, and if he has hearts and converts 2Spade-small to 3Heart-small, I will be in a more difficult position having to decide whether to bid a very strong 3Spade-small, or guessing to bid 4Spade-small or 3NT.  While 2NT is a bit of a distortion, but is fairly close on values and with puppet stayman ,we can find our spade fit if we have one.”

Stephen Blackstock “2NT;  Right on values, and I’m not inclined to try to guess West’s suit. Partner can transfer or use Stayman, and if we are showing 5-card majors in response (why not?) we won’t miss any major fit.

If I was given that explanation of 2Spade-small at the table, I would be reluctant to believe it. Doesn’t everyone play 2Spade-small as to play opposite spades, invitational or better in hearts?

No, Stephen. As stated above, they do not.

Michael Cornell “2NT;  I am good for the bid but that is allowed, isn’t it?Partner can inquire for majors if they want to (4 or 5 ).

At any other vulnerability, I would try to play for penalties but that could be tricky in any case.”

Pam Livingston “2NT;  This shows 15-18 ish and stops in both majors.  I would rather have more stuff in the minors but, oh well. If partner has 4 of a major, she can stayman with some values or transfer if she has five.  If 2NT is passed out, I have a fighting chance of picking up 120  which beats passing and maybe picking up 50 or 100.

Double is not on my menu.  This would be take-out of spades so it will never be left in. Either opener or my partner will bid. It would be great if partner bid a major but it is much more likely she will bid a minor and then I am facing the same tricky decision except a level higher with the opposition having more information about the hand.”

The meaning of Double: well, we are dependent on opener describing their hand accurately by passing or bidding 3Heart-small: hearts, or spades. There was one vote for Pass:

Nigel Kearney “ Pass. An in tempo pass is best. If LHO corrects to 3Heart-small, partner will have spades and heart shortage and I can bid 4Spade-small. If LHO passes I won't like it much, but maybe partner can reopen with a double or we don't have a game. A slow pass is no good though because LHO can figure out what has happened and pass with a weak two in hearts. If I start thinking, I have to bid 2NT. 

So, it seems unless you really want to try and catch them, you are best to make your value bid of 2NT, which more or less sums up your hand. Only Pam commented that partner might be weak and indeed they were:

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


So, was your money on a Weak 2 in spades? The doublers would have found North hurrying off to diamonds, either directly, or perhaps via a Lebensohl 2NT. If the latter, South had the option of making, this time, an inspired pass of 2NT.

3Diamond-small is destined to fail while even on an inspired Club-smallJ lead from West, 2NT should make 8 tricks.

Not your idea of a Weak 2? We do not all have strict views about suit quality. 2Spade-smallx by West would be expensive, in trump tricks alone but would North be able to pass South’s double with certainty?

This time, East did have some value for their 2Spade-small bid though that’s not always the case.


Probably, the clarity of 2NT appeals more than the murkiness the double could create while “Pass”, disliked by most of the Panel might have produced an even better reward than +120. Played by East, it is hard for the defence to beat this contract by the necessary 3 tricks since declarer can play diamonds before a club can be led by North. The difference between +100 and +150 for North-South was very significant.

Again, a lot of pressure on North who may hold an 8 or 9 count, to re-open if South passes 2Spade-small. No pressure this time but no bid produced no great result for North-South.

Never mind the approach:’tis the result that matters

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


South did overbid their hand a little in the early stages (that 3Club-small bid) but North steered the partnership to a very sound contract. Well, it should be sound. West leads Heart-small5 which you cover with Heart-smallJ and ruff East’s Heart-smallQ. Plan the play and decide what to lead at trick 2.

Richard Solomon


Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • NZB Foundation
  • Ryman