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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Call the police!

SUIT STOLEN …for less experienced players and others.

What do you do when instead of opening your lovely long and strong suit at the 1-level, the opposition open it for you? You might think you could bid the suit yourself…but you cannot as you have learnt that a bid of 2Spade-small over their 1Spade-small is a Michaels Cue Bid, showing 5+ hearts and 5+ cards in one of the minor suits. That does not quite describe your hand this time. Take a look:

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

 

The deal sounds like a misfit. Should we let them struggle to find a fit? Would you now take any action? If so, what?

If you cannot bid 2Spade-small directly over 1Spade-small, it would not be wise to make a take-out double, either. Try having a sensible auction with your partner who bids clubs and will never believe you have the hand you hold as you bid spades and then spades again.

So, there is nothing for it: you have to pass initially. Yet, “initially” does not mean forever. Should you let them play in clubs? That is the likely outcome if you decide to pass a second time.

Our Panel are nearly united in taking some action second time round:

Pam Livingston "Pass: It’s hard passing with such a good hand buts it’s all a bit of a misfit. I would like to find out if partner has hearts but can’t think of a way."

Bruce Anderson “2Spade-small: This should be natural as with hearts and a minor, I would have bid 2Spade-small over the opening bid (playing Michaels). A take out double showing hearts and diamonds, or bidding 2Heart-small might work, but could well come to grief when East/West cannot make game.

It is important to realise that bidding the opponent’s suit here is natural and not forcing. You have had and still have other ways to show red suits. It is also illogical to force partner to the 3-level by bidding spades for take-out.

Stephen Blackstock “2Spade-small:  Why not? I have six easy tricks in my own hand, and partner will need very little for 2Spade-small to make. East may even have psyched, less likely at this vulnerability but not impossible. It’s unfortunate I can’t show hearts for now (North is marked with 3+), but I will be tempted in the likely event one opponent bids more clubs. Regrettably double shows reds, not this hand, and in any event, I would be horrified if partner chose to defend 2Club-smallx!"

Your side would make very few spade tricks defending 2Club-smallx: hence Stephen’s reluctance to make a take-out double. Double did, though, have some support

Michael Cornell “Double: I would prefer to be in the balancing seat but we have a very good chance of a decent red suit fit. So, here is the chance to get in the auction cheaply.

The only dangerous case is if partner has a bad hand with 5 clubs and passes but once again with a red suit (still likely), they should not pass unless their clubs are good.”

 

And almost got support from:

 

Peter Newell “2Spade-small: I’m bidding. The only question is double or 2Spade-small? The opponents may have quite a good club fit and East doesn’t have wasted value in spades opposite their partner’s shortage. So, at the very least, I want to push them up. 

On occasion when partner has 5 hearts, we could be making 4Heart-small. If I don’t bid now, we will not get into the auction as partner will not be taking a bid and the 3 level is rather more dangerous to be venturing in.

So double has more to gain in terms of getting a chance to get to hearts (though a 4-4 fit may not play well but a 5-4 fit likely would), but more to lose in partner potentially passing your double of 2Club-small and it making. 2Spade-small is safer I lean slightly towards 2Spade-small, perhaps a little timid in my old age."

  Hey, Peter, if you are in your "old age", what are the rest of us languishing in?cry

Kris Wooles “2Spade-small:  most descriptive and logical apart from the heart suit being undisclosed.  Will give partner useful information also as the auction progresses. If it does!”

 

Nigel Kearney “2Spade-small: I will start with 2Spade-small then double for take-out if they support clubs. That gives partner a fair idea of what I hold and he can handle things from there. It's possible we will already be too high but I have a nice hand and can't afford to do any less.”

 

The down-side of 2Spade-small is that it might end the auction. Well, often, that will not be a bad thing. You are in what should surely be a making contract. Our partner is marked with a few high cards. Yet, if they were in clubs, they will not be that useful for you.

 However, if the opposition had a club fit, which they did, could they resist competing to 3Club-small? They would have done well to have passed out 2Spade-small at the table as these were the four hands:

 

 

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

 

Unfortunately for North-South, at at least one table, it was 2Club-small which was passed out. Even though North led trumps as often as they could (an opening trump lead out of turn would have been the defence’s best shot!), there was no way to beat this contract for -90.

 Had 2Spade-small been passed out, North-South would have achieved a positive part-score but that was still small compensation for missing game in hearts.   

 Very wisely, East had opened 1Spade-small not 2Spade-small (spades and a minor) for unless West ran to 3Club-small (pass or correct to diamonds..they should do this), a re-opening double of 2Spade-small by North would have initiated a bloodbath in East’s longer black suit.

Michael Cornell’s double would have struck gold this time assuming South raises their partner’s heart call one level. With East starting their defence to 4Heart-small with a minor and the Spade-smallJ being in its rightful place, the only losers for declarer should be in diamonds. Indeed, with East showing both black suits and some length in diamonds, only West could have long hearts. Thus, trumps should be played for no losers…Heart-smallA then small to the king.10 tricks without North doing any ruffing.

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Back, though, at the 2Club-small level, you can see why it is imperative as South for you to take some action, now. East has made it hard for their opponents, you, to reach your best contract. That does not mean that you should sell out to them completely. Bid, something, and go positive. Remember bidding their suit, second time round, is a natural bid.

A Feistier Auction

 

     
East Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 7
A K Q J 9 7
Q J
6 2
West North East South
    1  Pass
1  2  Dbl 5 
Dbl Pass ?  

 

There’s nothing lowly about tomorrow’s auction. Your own double is a support double showing three card spade support. And partner’s double? Over to you and to what action you would now take.

Richard Solomon

 

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