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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Jan Cormack

“Tentation”

It is 4 high card points for an ace, three for a king, two for a queen and one for a jack which leaves nothing for any of the spot cards. Yet, we would rather have 4 10’s than 4 2’s, wouldn’t we, even if at times they create annoying two- way finesses which can be quite hard (a mild understatement) to get right?

Stand up, then, the four 10’s who feature in today’s "Jan’s Day" article. Pointless but very prominent.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 
A 10 9
A 10 7
A 10 8 7 5
Q 10
West North East South
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 NT
Pass ?    

 

1NT is in the 8-10 hcp range. Would you bid and if so, what?

Jan’s Day

“Never underestimate the unassuming ten.

Over the years, I have become increasingly impressed with the worth of that lowly card, the 10, to the extent that I now revalue an opening hand if it has a few 10’s sprinkled around.

Here is a striking example:

South Deals
N-S Vul
A 10 9
A 10 7
A 10 8 7 5
Q 10
8 4 3
K 8 4 3 2
Q 2
K 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 7 5
J 6
K 6 4
8 7 6 5
 
J 6 2
Q 9 5
J 9 3
A J 9 3
West North East South
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 NT
Pass ?    

 

The contract played at most tables was 1NT played by either North or South. However, at one table, North opened 1Diamond-small and there was a 1NT response from South and our very experienced North player refused to believe that his hand could only add up to a mere 14 hcp.

He reasoned that 4 10’s deserved a half-point each and assuming South held a diamond honour to compliment North’s 5-card suit, his hand had to be worth at least 17 hcps.

Knowing that the 1NT response showed 8 to 10 hcps, he therefore bid 2NT, invitational. South had no difficulty in raising to 3NT.

Most of the adverse high- card points were badly placed for the declarer. Yet, 10 tricks were invariably made after the natural heart lead even though North-South were well short of the 26 hcps that are normally required for a successful 3NT.

The three aces in the North hand can also be taken into account. Apart from stopping power, they also help lower cards to pull their weight. Finally, it is sound practice to add an extra point when the honour strength is distributed over all four suits.

More tantilising tens!

Say your partner opens 1Diamond-small and over your 1Heart-small response, rebids 1NT showing 15-16 hcp. How many players would consider raising the following hand to 2NT:

 
10 5
J 10 9 8
Q 10 8 4
A 10 8

 

This example is not as clear-cut as the first one given but 3NT is infrangible:

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

 

 At least 9 if not 10 tricks once again on a mere combined 23 hcps.”

Since the writing of this article, the recommended point count for a 1NT rebid in the sequence above in Acol is 15-17 making that raise to 2NT just a little more enticing. Also, it is interesting that the point-count given in the first sequence is 8-10 for the 1NT call. For many, the sequence 1Diamond-small-1NT shows 6-9 though it is also the best bid to make with many majorless 10 counts. Jan’s comments about the raise to 2NT are still valid even if the responder could be slightly weaker than stated.

Both hands quoted contained all 4 “10’s” and the first hand, three aces, which are generally regarded as undervalued at only 4 hcps. Before one goes racing off to 2NT or 3NT at the sight of one or two 10’s, be careful. The article does indicate how valuable 10’s can be and their presence or absence can be the determining factor as to whether one accepts or declines an invitation to game. They are also more valuable in no-trumps because when playing game in a suit, 10’s do not make up for missing aces and kings.

Nevertheless, do not just look at your aces and other top four honour cards when valuing your hand. 10's are nice to have, too.

10s.jpg

Good to have them

Hopefully, the post mortem discussion will be a happy one when you say you bid on to game holding 4 10’s, 3 9’s and a couple of 8’s. As Jan indicates, it often will.  

Oh, this is true on any day, not just this particular day of the month!

For Less Experienced Players

Lots and lots of points...even a 10 too!

West Deals
None Vul
   
A K Q 2
A K 10
K J 3 2
A J
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
2  Pass 2  Pass
?      

 There's always a warm glow when you get to open 2Club-small. A slam, maybe even 7NT beckons. Hold it! Partner produces the inevitable 2Diamond-small negative. Sometimes, they have a few high card points. So, what's our next bid?

Richard Solomon

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