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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Enough Stuff?

Are you? Have you? Your partner has used a Michaels bid, quite an aggressive one as it took your partnership to the 3-level opposite what could be a misfitting yarborough in your hand…and you have much more than that. So, should you bid more than the minimum? Yet, you have no fit!

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West Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
10 9 7 6 5
4
A 9
A K 9 7 5
West North East South
1  2 NT Pass ?

 

1Club-small is 4+ clubs and 2NT is Michaels style, 10+hcp with the red suits. What’s your fancy?

If blame is to be apportioned , and why should we have such negative thoughts(?), then the system has been attacked as the problem:

Stephen Blackstock “3Diamond-small: Anyone’s guess, the methods are unplayable. How is South supposed to guess whether North has 10 or 19?  And please don’t tell me North will bid again with 19, as that would be crazy opposite a misfitting blitz. And with 17 would North bid again?.....etc etc.”

Peter Newell “3Diamond-small: Ugh – don’t like the system….10+ is a rather unhelpful range, prefer to overcall 1Heart-small, could it be very strong. I assume that it is forcing so cannot pass 2NT..  – anyway, now the choice seems to be between 3Diamond-small and 3NT or a risky 3Spade-small …the underbid or the overbid and depends a bit on partner’s style and likelihood of being strong.  Playing NT from the wrong side is not appealing – a club lead through will be rather awkward as partner is unlikely to have more than one club, and the poor fit for partner’s suits may make them hard to set up….  On this hand, I’ll go for the underbid of 3Diamond-small. If partner is strong ,they will make another bid, and with a strong 3550 should bid 3Spade-small.  If I try 3NT and partner is minimum, it is quite likely this will get doubled as the suits are likely breaking badly, so rather stay low…

I agree, not that I do not like the system but about the rationale. However, one hopes partner did see the vulnerability before making this bid and therefore should not be minimum. With a more optimistic outlook are:

Kris Wooles “3NT: partner has bid a vulnerable 2NT and so should have a decent hand and I don’t think I can bid less than 3NT despite the misfit. It’s always only one hand. So, I don’t see torturing myself too much with this practical decision. The only suit contract I could foresee would be in diamonds and if partner now bids 4Diamond-small, I’d bid 5Club-small.

That’s more optimistic: cueing for slam.

Michael Cornell “3NT: nearly cold opposite Diamond-small KQxxxx and Heart-smallA. Misfitting but partner should be serious at this vulnerability at imps and 3NT is by far the most likely game. Furthermore, any shortage partner has is much more likely in clubs, where we have 2 holds rather than in spades.”

Pam Livingston “3NT: Partner is unlimited.  I have no idea if no trumps will make but might as well be in three if there's a chance of nine tricks.  It might be right to just bid 3Diamond-small but with three pointy cards, I just can't do it.”

 But others can. There is no choice for:

Bruce Anderson “3Diamond-small: without a fit in either of partner’s suits, I can see no sensible alternative. It is possible to construct a hand where 3NT makes; partner has something like Spade-smallJx Heart-smallAQxxx  Diamond-smallKQJxxx Club-smallx, but that is giving partner golden cards with the heart finesse working. Rather than be so optimistic, I will play a contract that should have a good play, particularly on a non -trump lead.”

Matt Brown “3Diamond-small: I think this is pretty clear with the only alternative I can see being pass. If we pass and partner has a great hand, it's disastrous but it is way too large a gamble bidding 3NT. Having a trump suit will help with likely communication problems between my hand and partner's, and if partner bids 3Heart-small, 3Spade-small or 4Diamond-small, we will likely have game on which we would have missed by passing 2NT.”

Yes, one may not like the system but one hardly can make the executive decision of passing. One other bid does get a mention.

Nigel Kearney “3Diamond-small:  Not pass as surely we have at least one more trick in diamonds than in NT and we give partner another chance if he is strong. 3NT is too much with no tricks and a misfit and could be carnage if they double. 3Club-small is presumably game interest but I think 3D is enough even if partner has extra e.g. Spade-smallAx Heart-smallKQxxx Diamond-smallKJxxx Club-smallx

If 2NT is, as Michael Cornell describes, a “serious bid” then perhaps you owe it to partner to say you have something too. 3Club-small would not be natural but should show game interest and would certainly have produced more than 3Diamond-small from partner on the actual hand.

2NT was serious but was still within the 11-15 hcp range that some might prefer. Had North an extra heart, they might convert 3NT to 4Heart-small while with an extra diamond, they would be happy to sit out 3NT:

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

 

2NT seems to sum up that North hand quite well. I doubt that 1Diamond-small would do the job (or even Peter Newell's 1Heart-small) while an initial double would make it difficult to describe the hand.

Counting to 9 in 3NT would not be hard though even 5Diamond-small makes, even on a trump lead though perhaps that is a lucky contract as West could not continue trumps when in with the Heart-smallA.

optimistic.jpg

 

I am a firm believer in checking out the vulnerability before one makes such bids as 2NT. Therefore, while 3NT making is on the lucky side, I would expect at this vulnerability for my partner to take an optimistic rather than pessimistic view of their South hand.

Safety first

     
East Deals
Both Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
8 7
J 10 9 6 5
4 3 2
10 5 2
West North East South
    1  Pass
2  Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT All pass    

 

1Heart-small is 4+ hearts while 2NT shows 15-17. You are likely only to have one decision during the play of this hand…and that is your choice of opening lead. So…?

Richard Solomon

 

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