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For Junior, Intermediate and Novice players…and others! It’s FriYay.png  Day.

Not real support!

Well, it sounded like support to North. Their partner bid the suit they had opened and they had a decent hand, 15 high card points and a singleton. That’s an 18 count and add that to the 6 hcp partner must have to have responded a round earlier and they just about had enough hcps to bid and hopefully make game.

So thought North with the hand and sequence below. So, they bid directly to 4Heart-small but dummy was rather disappointing and the end result was down 3.

Can you spot the errors in North’s logic?

Bridge in NZ.png nz map.jpg

 

A Q 7

K Q 7 6 4

8 5 3 2

A

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 

Pass

1 ♠

2 ♣

2 

Pass

2 

Pass

?

 

 

After West's 2Club-smallbid,North might have used what is called a "support double" showing 3-card spade suit. Many do not play such a double and this article assumes the North-South pair did not. 

The first point is to understand why North bid 2Heart-small, indeed why they bid hearts at all! It was not that they particularly wanted to but merely because you had given them a choice between hearts and diamonds and they had chosen hearts. As we can see below, they may only have two of each and indeed because they knew that you held at least five hearts and perhaps only 4 diamonds, they might even have had held two hearts but three diamonds. This is because it can be easier to make more tricks when one’s five-card suit is the trump suit rather than playing in a 4-3 trump fit.

That was not the case today with South having two cards in each red suit. Let’s look at the four hands:

North Deals
N-S Vul

A Q 7

K Q 7 6 4

8 5 3 2

A

10 9 5

J 2

A 10 7

K Q 8 6 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

J 8

A 9 8 5

Q J 9 4

J 9 2

 

K 6 4 3 2

10 3

K 6

10 7 5 4

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 

Pass

1 ♠

2 ♣

2 

Pass

2 

Pass

?

 

 

South’s 2Heart-small denied holding 6+ spades (they would choose 2Spade-small with a weak hand and 6+ spades) and it also denied having an invitational to game hand (say 9-11 hcp with 3+ hearts) as then South would have called 3Heart-small, “real support”.  

North’s own heart suit is not long enough nor is their hand strong enough to jump to game. That does not mean, however, that they should pass 2Heart-small. They do have 15 hcp and were South to have around 9 hcp, then game would still be possible.

A possible game?

There is one important factor we have not so far mentioned, North’s 3 card spade suit. If South held 5 spades and say 9 hcp, then game in spades might be makeable and the trump suit should then be spades. That is why North should have bid 2Spade-small after South’s 2Heart-small sign-off.

This bid shows about 15-16 hcp and 3-card spade support for their partner’s suit. It is invitational to game but not forcing. It keeps the bidding at a low level if South is weak, as here. South passes 2Spade-small.

What if South had only 4 spades? If they were minimum, they should pass. At least the partnership had 7 trumps. That would be preferable to bidding a level higher, say 3Heart-small, unless South did hold three or four hearts. If South had a stronger hand with only 4 spades, they may well be able to bid 2NT, maybe even 3NT.

The play for 8 tricks

However, today South passes 2Spade-small and the best fit has been found at a low level. West may lead Club-smallK won in dummy with Club-smallA. South would like to ruff a losing club in dummy and thus plays a diamond to the king, losing to West’s Diamond-smallA.

The defence may now lead a trump. South should win in dummy with a trump honour (they need Spade-small7 for ruffing or else will lose a trump trick) and will eventually ruff a small club with Spade-small7. South will lose Heart-smallA, 2 diamonds and 2 club tricks but should make 8 tricks. Meanwhile, in 4Heart-small, there are at least 2 trump and 2 diamond losers, probably more if the defence switches to trumps. Our North lost 4 diamond tricks!

They did not appreciate why their partner bid 2Heart-small, preference rather than particularly liking the suit. North might have passed 2Heart-small though their hand was worth a try for game, a try that kept the bidding at a low manageable level for their partner. +110 would have been a much nicer score than -300.

Richard Solomon

 

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