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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Reasons to Bid.

There can be many reasons for overcalling. You may overcall in an effort to win the contract. Sometimes, you can make it more difficult for your opponents by bidding. Then, you may just be wanting to help your partner with an opening lead. Sometimes, you are strong and on other occasions….well, you have a little less!.

So, with all that in mind, you have the chance here to use something other than the pass card.

Bridge in NZ.png nz map.jpg

 

A K J 5

10 9 8 5 4 2

6 3 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

Pass

1 ♣

?

 

 

You are playing Pairs and both sides are vulnerable. 1Club-small promises at least three clubs.

So, problems of bidding hearts are evident. You are hardly helping partner with an opening lead while 1Heart-small does not really disrupt the opponents. Despite holding a void, you are weak in high card points.

Pessimism and optimism are displayed by:

Andy Braithwaite “1Heart-small: I loathe this problem but would bid 1Heart-small which at least keeps spades as an option for partner at a low level. I would hate to hear 3NT as the next bid and have partner lead a top heart honour with Spade-small Qxxxx on the side but that is sometimes the cost. Equally partner may have Heart-small AKx  and things have worked out well!

The normal overcall seems to be the majority choice:

Leon Meier “1Heart-small: and surely a unanimous panel”  but “surely not!”


Wayne Burrows “1Heart-small: 1Heart-small looks routine. Too much to pass. A bit light to double but that would get three suits into play and distorts the suit lengths. Similarly, 1Spade-small is too much of a distortion of suit length.”

and there are votes for both the other bids Wayne suggests: 

Bruce Anderson “Double: very thin on high cards but 1Heart-small has the drawback of bidding a suit that has length but lacks strength, and this is a hand that will play well if partner has length in spades or diamonds. And if that is so, double avoids the problems that could arise if East pre-empts in clubs over 1Heart-small. I am prepared to take the risk East passes and partner also passes for penalties; if that happens c’est la vie.”

Anthony Ker “1Spade-small: I can easily see the opponents winning the auction and I really really really want a spade lead! If partner raises we may survive and if I get hit in 1Spade-small, I’ll run to 2Heart-small. If partner says something I’ll rebid 2Heart-small. Yes we might end up in the wrong major but that’s better than getting the wrong lead at Pairs.

I doubt that being doubled in 1Spade-small is a major concern….while Anthony does show the positives of his rather off-beat overcall. Also, in bidding a 4-card overcall, the opposition may be frightened off a making 3NT as an opponent with length will presume their partner has to be short in the suit, whereas they could have a 4-3 fit...and the suit would not be dangerous.

There was no support for the 2Heart-small jump bid found at at least a couple of tables. Just maybe, we could be getting too worried about partner leading a heart from Kx:

Stephen Blackstock “1Heart-small: Normal, if cautious. 2Heart-small (weak) has attractions because my spade holding reduces the chance that East or West will have a comfortable take-out double, and without that option, they may be uncomfortably placed. However I reject it because of the risks of missing a spade contract or going for the "kiss of death" -200, either doubled or simply down two.

Of course, a heart lead may not be best for us, but (a) I may be on lead. and (b) if South is on lead against a NT contract, perhaps a heart lead gives us the tempo to set up long cards there. The lead issue is not enough to for me to overcall 1Spade-small: South might bid too much playing me for five or more.”

 

Nigel Kearney “1Heart-small: Not close for me. We have very good playing strength and it could easily be our hand so I want to find the right suit. Offbeat pre-empts are fine, but 2Heart-small has too many strikes against it here: bad suit, good holding in the other major, too strong if we have a fit. 

 

We will return to the weak jump overcall later.

Peter Newell “1Heart-small: Yes I have a bad suit and do not want partner to lead a heart, but partner may not be on lead....I may be on lead. West may end up bidding no trumps first, and I will not be leading a heart.

Partner is a passed hand so there is some merit in a spade, but given I have playing strength and shape, it could still be our hand even though the opponents have the majority of the points.”

 

Michael Cornell “1Heart-small: (lead directional!) However, if partner has just 3-card support, hearts will be very playable. One never knows partner might bid spades which we can support and we can support diamonds as well.”

So, it would seem the simple overcall has the votes and we should not worry about partner’s lead. At least, if disaster strikes, it is only one bad board at Pairs.

At at least two tables, North did choose a weak jump overcall and this was quite a good choice on the day. It gave East an almost insurmountable problem holding:

     

South Deals
Both Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

9 6 4 3

A K Q J

K J

A Q 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

Pass

1 ♣

2 

?

 

A re-opening double from partner had East passed would be fine but could they guarantee West would come to the party? As it happened, 2Heart-small undoubled would have given East-West a better score than what they achieved:

South Deals
Both Vul

A K J 5

10 9 8 5 4 2

6 3 2

Q 7

7 6 3

A Q

K 8 7 6 4 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

9 6 4 3

A K Q J

K J

A Q 2

 

10 8 2

10 9 8 7 5 4

J 10 9 5

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

Pass

1 ♣

2 

Dbl

Pass

3 ♣

Pass

3 

Pass

4 ♣

Pass

6 ♣

All pass

Unrealistically on a small heart lead from North (yes, I know, they are all small!) ruffed, spade return, a second ruff, a second spade and a third ruff, this contract is down 4, albeit East-West having a 6-3 club fit and a combined 31 hcp! Realistically, two cashing spades were followed by a heart ruff, down 2.

Any no-trump adventures were not to be recommended, either. 9 tricks there was the maximum. Pity also the pair who found 6Heart-small by East after North had kept their mouth shut. With South leading a diamond, they could well have been booked for 12 tricks…until the first round of trumps!

Of course, there were no worries about South leading a heart this time as that they could not do! There does not seem enough reason for North to try anything fancy in their first turn to call.

Richard Solomon

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