All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Not quite the norm.

It seems however you treat today’s problem hand, it will fall outside what partner expects you to hold. Maybe, then, the aim should be to finish as declarer to prolong the suspense of what you do have…or in this case, do not!

Enough theorising. It is time to start the bidding:

Bridge in NZ.png nz map.jpg


North Deals
None Vul








A 10 8 4 3

J 10 9 8 7 5 4 2










Two voids. That’s usually a recipe for a bit of fun. So?

I should have banned the following bid as it is not an option for most of us. The hand even falls outside this description, just:

Anthony Ker “2NT: (minors, 6-10).”

It’s nice to be pedantic. Only a 5-count, Anthony! He does qualify:

“ Next choice 4Club-small. I’m also attracted to an opening bid of 5Club-small. Would not pass initially.”

We do have the full range from:

Nigel Kearney “Pass: In first or third seat, I would open 5Club-small but when one opponent has passed, it is more likely my partner has the best hand at the table. Under those circumstances, I want my pre-empts to be pretty close to the sort of hand partner will expect. In second seat, I would pass and await developments. This hand is far too good for 4Club-small when not vulnerable and I would never do that.”

Anthony Ker also passes 4Spade-small.

Second seat is certainly the honest seat, if there is one! I would have thought it was 50:50 who has the best hand at the table but certainly, partner might expect more club honours for a higher level bid. What is 100% certain is that South or West will open the bidding. Also considering second seat bidding is:

Michael Ware “Pass: I would definitely open 5Club-small in first seat, but now an opponent has passed, I don't think I like it or 4Club-small with such a poor suit and an alternate strain (diamonds). Happy enough with pass.

With slight qualification (an “ish), Wayne has few doubts:

Wayne Burrows “4Club-small: looks “normalish”. I am not really going to be able to describe this hand better later if I pass and I like to pre-empt without major length and I certainly have that here.”

The rest of our Panel start high:

Leon Meier “5Club-small: I'm a simple man. I open 5Club-small with a void in both majors.”

Andy Braithwaite “5Club-small: someone should feel the pain! Probably me!”

Michael Cornell “5Club-small: just a guess as anything could be right so might as well bid game – only needs a couple of good minor cards.

If partner does have a  very sharp hand with some club support, they may well guess correctly to bid another.”


Peter Newell “5Club-small: Freak hands are always difficult to judge.  Generally if one person has a freak hand, other players have pretty wild hands too. 

 I am generally wary around opening 5 of a minor with hands that on a bad day will go for a big number.  If partner has the majors and no honours or length in the minor, we will go at least 3 down and they opponents may not even make game.  Further, North has passed somewhat increasing the chances that partner has more of the points than one might otherwise expect.   These hands are invariably very hard to describe given they are freaks and often partner and the opponents make jump bids.  I generally think pre-empting is preferable given that bidding does not get easy by passing and you are giving 2 opponents more room. 4Club-small looks pretty feeble so I will go with 5Club-small.”


So, a range of bids and views. I was also intrigued that if you did open 4Club-small and your partner now bid 4 of a major, say 4Spade-small, would you pass that? Let’s hear from our “4 Clubber”

Wayne Burrows “4NT to show this hand. A hand that starts with a pre-empt can hardly have a Blackwood rebid when partner makes a non-forcing bid at the lowest level. So 4NT should show a two-suiter preferring to play in one of my suits. Of course most partnerships have not discussed this so we could be creating a disaster.”


Michael Ware “ 4NT: (minors). This could be very, very wrong -but it's all very well to say partner might have 7 solid spades, but inreality, partner often just had good 6 card suit with club tolerance - and there's not much difference between 4Spade-small and 5Spade-small if partner hates both my suits.”


Well, that seems like a good partnership. However:


Nigel Kearney “Pass: Spade shortage will not be any surprise to partner and my clubs are not good enough to overrule him and bid 5Club-small. 4NT is possible if I was certain my partner would understand it, but will still often be wrong.” and:


Peter Newell “5Club-small: could easily be wrong but partner will not be expecting 8-5 shape so may be bidding 4Spade-small on an average 6 card suit. He needs a lot in his own hand to make 4Spade-small and may have some useful cards for us still.”   


and there was also the issue of what to bid should one pass initially and your partner starts with 1Spade-small. Strangely, the opposition are silent.


Michael Ware “2Club-small: if not Drury. Playing 5 card majors, most people do play Drury so I bid 3Club-small if natural or indeed 1NT if I have to. Although I have distorted my hand unbelievably, I'm still not that worried with both opponents passing.”


Nigel Kearney “1NT:  Not feeling too good about developments so far, but what else can I do at this point?”

Anthony Ker “1NT: If I missorted my cards and did pass, I would respond 1NT to 1Spade-small, planning to bid clubs next (it’s likely there will be a next - where are all the hearts?).

Wayne Burrows “2Club-small: in say an Acol style of 2Club-small just 10 plus or a little less with distribution and only a one round force, I think I prefer to start bidding my suits with 2Club-small.”

Some interesting thoughts of follow up actions over an initial 4Club-small opening or an initial Pass. I asked the question about the spade option as when the board was played, 7 of the 15 pairs did play the board in spades. There is a saying you should never put an 8-card suit down in dummy that is not trumps. That saying holds true here.  These were the four hands:

North Deals
None Vul

A 9 6 2

9 8 3 2

K 9 7 5


K J 10 7 4 3

A K Q 10


A 6








A 10 8 4 3

J 10 9 8 7 5 4 2


Q 8 5

J 7 6 5 4

Q 6 2

K 3










Well, we can answer Anthony Ker’s query about the heart suit. Neither North nor South had the quality in that suit.

4Spade-small will not make while 6Club-small does. Would West feel that they had enough to raise a 5Club-small opening to slam? They would be horrified to know both Club-smallK and Club-smallQ were missing. One pair did bid and make this slam.

There is no right answer to what one should open this hand. At least having opened 5Club-small, you will not have to bid again, an issue perhaps facing the 4Club-small openers and those who passed.

This board brought back memories of an afternoon’s goulash in Paris for Michael Cornell:

“I was dealer as South with Spade-smallHeart-smallDiamond-small AKQJ109  Club-small J1096543  and ‘cunningly’ opened my quality 6 card diamond suit and the bidding continued:


            West          North           East        South (Michael)


            1Spade-small                 Pass             2Heart-small         3Club-small

            x                    3Diamond-small                x       All Pass

Both doubles were for penalties.

The French international, Marc Bompis, West, led a major ace while before he put down his dummy, North admonished me. He was 7-6 in the majors! He preferred his diamond to his club void!”


In our problem, those who played in clubs did not have to expose their hand and ended with a far better result.

Richard Solomon


Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • Tauranga City Council
  • TECT.jpg