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For Junior, Intermediate and Novice players..and others. It’s Fri yay 2.png day!

Putting the pressure on!

Competitive bidding often creates difficult situations. One good piece of advice is to bid quickly to where you think (with emphasis on “think”) you would like to be and let the opposition work out whether you indeed are right! What about this?

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South Deals
None Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

   
 

9

A J 9 8 6 3

A Q 5

K 6 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

1 

1 ♠

Dbl

2 ♠

?

What is your partner showing with their double? Tolerance for hearts and at least one if not both minor suits. They do not have to be very strong but they might be.

You certainly want to compete to 3Heart-small though if you do, it is almost certain the opponents will bid 3Spade-small. After all, neither side is vulnerable.

Then what? Should we bid 4Heart-small? Maybe it will make. Maybe it is a reasonable sacrifice against 3Spade-small which might make. Nothing is certain…but if you bid 4Heart-small immediately, then you have stated your intention. Let’s see what one’s opponents might do….and if they decide to bid 4Spade-small, then double them! Yes, you should make one or two heart tricks and with partner’s hcp in the minors, there should be enough there to beat 4Spade-small.

That sounds like a plan. So, bid 4Heart-small over 2Spade-small and await:

South Deals
None Vul

7 3

K 7

10 9 6 2

Q 7 5 4 3

A K Q J 8 2

10 5

8 7 4

A J

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

10 6 5 4

Q 4 2

K J 3

10 9 8

 

9

A J 9 8 6 3

A Q 5

K 6 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

1 

1 ♠

Dbl

2 ♠

4 

4 ♠

Pass

Pass

Dbl

All pass

 

 

 

Notice that North did not have much for their double of 1Spade-small. However, that Heart-smallK was from North's point of view a useful card for their side and they were happy to compete, at least to the 2-level!

You might say that 4Heart-small is a lucky making contract but it is certainly there to be made. West is likely to start with two high spades. You ruff and then can prove that finesses do sometimes work. A heart to the king and a second heart, putting in Heart-smallJ. You can draw trumps before turning your attention to clubs.

Club-small2 will probably see West insert Club-smallJ. Win Club-smallQ and play Diamond-small10. East should cover and you insert Diamond-smallQ. You will have to lose one trick in each minor suit (Club-smallJ on the first round of the suit may well indicate doubleton Club-smallAJ) but that would be 4Heart-small making. Your lucky day? Certainly. Making 4Heart-small would be even easier if West won Club-smallA on the first round of the suit, though as you can see from the bidding above, it is unlikely you will end as declarer in 4Heart-small.

West could not be sure about defeating 4Heart-small and perhaps took insurance by bidding 4Spade-small…and you doubled that!

North would start with Heart-smallK and a second heart. West ruffs the third round and draws trumps. That is when, for them, the fun stops. With North covering whichever diamond West leads, Diamond-smallJ loses to Diamond-smallQ. South has to lead a low club which West wins and can exit a club. As long as North wins this trick with Club-smallQ, the defence can take three diamonds, a club and two heart tricks, down 3, +500 which is even better than the +420 for making 4Heart-small.

Remember, also, that +420 or + 500 has been achieved with North having just a 5-count. They may well have a stronger hand for the same bidding.

South could not tell whether or not they could make 4Heart-small over East’s 2Spade-small raise. They also could not tell the fate of 3Spade-small. They did not wait to find out. Bid as high as you want quickly and let the opponents have the problem of whether to keep bidding…and do not forget to double should they bid on to game. Playing Pairs, recording +100 from 4Spade-small undoubled down 2 would not score well compared with making 9 or 10 tricks in hearts.

under pressure.jpg

Under pressure!

It was West who would be more disappointed with their dummy in 4Spade-small doubled than you would have been had you been allowed to play 4Heart-small. Some days, you may finish in a non-making 4Heart-small contract though there is still the chance the opponents may misdefend or the lie of the cards is fortunate.  “Putting that pressure on” should have borne dividends here whether or not you were left to be declarer.

Richard Solomon

 

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