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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Judy Holdom

The Joy of Winning.

It’s been quite a year for everyone. So, it is great to be able to finish it on a mainly positive and happy note, tinged like everything this year with a little sadness.

Firstly, let’s look at our bidding problem from yesterday. The deal came from an event at the 1998 New Zealand National Bridge Congress, the event being the Restricted Pairs.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

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

 

What would you bid next?

Despite our rather poor club suit, the Panel were very interested in slam prospects. Look at those control cards, two aces and a king. Their approach, though, was by no means universal.

Nigel Kearney “4Club-small:  Set trumps and cue bid. My poor trumps may turn out to be a problem but there's no way to diagnose that below 3NT and I have plenty of other stuff that means chances of a club slam are very good. “

Michael Ware “4Club-small: suit set. No reason for my hand to key-card.”

Our club suit is a concern and one Panellist is not yet convinced of slam:

Matt Brown “3Diamond-small: At Teams, 4Club-small is probably the right bid and best to investigate a possible slam but at Pairs, it doesn't seem right to unilaterally bypass 3NT. So, I will give partner a bit of a wiggle. If they sign off in 3NT now, I'm happy; if they have higher ambitions, I might find myself jumping to correct back to clubs.”

That 3Diamond-small bid intrigued me. I was not sure that I would like to suggest that my two-card minor should be the trump suit in a slam but Stephen Blackstock assures me that all will be well:

Stephen Blackstock “3Diamond-small: I can’t construct a sensible jump shift with values that doesn’t make slam sound or cold. What I don’t know is partner’s hand type.  It may be genuinely two-suited, strong with diamonds only (3Club-small was “prepared”), or about to show a slam try with primary heart support. The third and fourth rounds of clubs may be an issue. What I do know is that my aces and kings will be easy for partner to locate. So, it’s best to make him captain of this auction and see where that leads. East will usually be best placed to decide strain and level (small or grand).

I guess you will get some 3Spade-small answers. How that will do anything to address the obvious issues I have no idea.”

Stephen added that our hand would probably, in the Pairs environment, convert a diamond slam to a no-trump slam alleviating my fears of a poor 5-2 trump fit.

and providing a third alternative and perhaps an answer to Stephen Blackstock are:

Kris Wooles “3Spade-small: obviously looking at slam in clubs, possibly a grand. How good are those clubs opposite?

Partner might place you as with a moderate Spade-small Jxx   Heart-small Kxxx Diamond-small xxx  Club-small Qxx, just trying to bow out in 3NT.

Peter Newell “3Spade-small: I have a good hand for partner with sharp cards (aces and kings) and good support. At this stage 3NT, 5Club-small or 6Club-small could be right. I’m not keen on 3NT unless partner has some spade cards (as partner is unlikely to have solid enough diamonds and clubs) and that probably lessen the prospects of 6Club-small. So, I’ll bid 3Spade-small and pass 3NT. If partner goes past that, then heading for 5 or 6Club-small

Bruce Anderson “3Spade-small: I will pass partner’s 3NT “for the match point score”; if partner has a card in spades, it is possible we are missing Heart-smallA and I do not want to play a club slam with a possible trump loser.

If I hear 4Club-small, showing at least 5/5, I will then bid 6Club-small; there is the risk we are off Heart-smallA but if that is so partner must have very strong clubs given that he is missing the ace of his first bid suit. If I hear 4Heart-small over 3Spade-small, showing a 1354 shape, I again bid 6Club-small; partner surely holds Heart-smallA to bid in this way.

I am not bidding 4Club-small immediately as partner will expect better support. And I cannot see a way how RKC can be used sensibly when clubs are the agreed suit, but I am willing to learn.

Pam Livingston “3Spade-small: Fourth suit forcing.  I want to hear more from partner before I decide where to go.  I am thinking of 6Club-small but with the option of bailing out in 4NT.  The hand has good features such as sharp cards (aces and kings) and a club fit.  It also has bad features in that it is balanced and has marginal high card points.  I would quite like to know the standard of the field please. (Quality, of course, Pamsmile)

So, the majority investigate with 3Spade-small. 4Club-small immediately by-passes 3NTwhile 3Diamond-small is an interesting third choice. Everyone at least looks for slam: no 3NT immediately, a contract not even certain to make and which rather cuts out higher alternatives.

The Joy of Winning

This deal was written up in Bulletin 5 of the 1998 NZ National Bridge Congress by New Plymouth’s Russell Wilson under the heading “The Joy of Winning” and highlighted the success of two New Plymouth players, Judy Holdom and Joan Gower, in winning this Congress event.

Russell comments: “It was marvellous to share in the excitement of Restricted Pairs winners, Judy Holdom and Joan Gower. There were hugs all round, huge smiles that could not be made to wither, phone calls to sleepy husbands and, even at 1am, a jig that few were privileged to witness.

Judy and Joan have been a sporadic partnership over 5 years. This was their first A Point tournament win and indeed, Joan, who is the Intermediate member of the partnership, had previously won only one A Point.”

Sadly, Judy passed away just before Christmas 2020 after a long illness. The above deal, which was their favourite, is dedicated to both Judy and Joan, who is also no longer with us.

They did not bid it in the manner we set out above:

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

 

Judy liked the look of her hand and decided “to have a go for it”. 4Spade-small showed 2 aces and 5Spade-small 2 kings.  These were the 4 hands:

East Deals
Both Vul
Q J 7 4 3 2
9 7 3 2
9 5
5
A 9 5
K 10 5 4
A 10
9 8 7 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
6
A 8
K J 7 4 2
A K J 10 4
 
K 10 8
Q J 6
Q 8 6 3
Q 3 2

 

South led Heart-smallQ won by Joan in hand. She played 2 high trumps and then 2 high diamonds, ruffing a third round, played Spade-smallA and ruffed a spade and ruffed another diamond. Another ruff to the East hand and the fifth diamond…and all the defence could take was the Club-smallQ. Joan had the heart finesse in reserve if she needed it but she did not. Meanwhile, a spade lead would threaten 3NT but declarer would be safe as long as they ducked two rounds of spades. Why be in 3NT when you can make 6Club-small!

Back to Russell:

“The celebrations in the university hostel where they were staying were so raucous that complaints were lodged by non-bridge players staying on the same floor. They did not seem to understand when Judy said “but we’re bridge players and we just won a big tournament!”. Rumour has it that hostel warden was heard to say that university students have nothing on bridge players.”

Our condolences to Judy’s family including her husband, John, who is also a New Plymouth bridge player.

May you all have such happy moments in 2021 at and away from the bridge table.

Happy New Year 4.jpg
 

  "20" for 21

 

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

 

A 20-count to start 2021. Nice to have that many high card points. So, just two questions: well, three really!

Do you agree with your 1Diamond-small opening bid?

If not, what would you prefer?

In the above sequence, what is your next bid?

Hopefully, you have made your bridge wishes for 2021.See you on Tuesday.

Richard Solomon

 

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