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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Any Regrets?

You have opened very light in high card points, with just 9 to be exact. You have good holdings in both major suits and had every intention to play in one of them if your partner drove the partnership to game. Yet, an opponent’s bid casts some doubt on that.

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

 

North’s double is for take-out. Do you agree with East’s 2Heart-small bid? What now?

We were always going to bid 2Heart-small next time round after our spade opening. However, is that now appropriate? Also, if North has the red suits, is it possible our partner has both minors and we could catch them at the 2 level, as long as we pass 2Club-smallx?

That action met with a little support but the Panel are divided on the action we should take over 2Club-small:

Bruce Anderson “Pass: I would have passed to send the message to partner I lack high card strength.    And although I am 6/5, partner has bid one of my singletons and the double by North suggests an opening hand with hearts and diamonds (there is the less likely possibility North has a strong single suited hand with diamonds). In other words, there is evidence of a misfit. Penalizing our opponents may be our best option, particularly given the vulnerability.

Pam Livingston “Prefer 2Spade-small: It's looking unlikely we have a heart fit.  I am not forced to bid after the double. So, 2Spade-small shows 6+.  If partner then asks for a heart stop, I will admit to having one.”

Michael Cornell “Happy with 2Heart-small:  I have good hearts and with RHO normally having 4+ hearts, I would rarely expect to play in hearts.”

Stephen Blackstock “Yes to 2Heart-small, anything else would be poor. It’s forcing so 3Heart-small even if natural is unnecessary. For me, 4Heart-small would be a splinter.

Julie Atkinson “I am happy with 2Heart-small despite the double.”

 

 

Peter Newell “Yes I would bid 2Heart-small. I take the view that I have quite a bit of shape and I should describe it as quickly as possible, as if I pass, it will be harder to get the hand across. I may be weak in high card points, but I’m not ashamed of my opening bid.”

So, of those who expressed a view on our 2Heart-small call, the majority seemed happy with that bid. What now, though? We never intended to play the board in 3NT. However, has that double affected our thinking?

Nigel Kearney “Pass: Partner didn't have a lot of room to manoeuvre as 3Diamond-small is the only forcing bid. That means he can have a wide range of hands to bid 3NT, not just ones where he is 100% happy to declare 3NT regardless of what I have. At least I have a possible source of tricks in spades plus an entry. Two over one makes these hands so much easier as there's no need to leap around.”

Pam Livingston “Pass: I would be wishing I had bid 2Spade-small instead of 2Heart-small.  Having not done so, I have to pass.”

I doubt, Pam, that West would have been able to bid 3NT had you rebid 2Spade-small. The 2Heart-small bid would have been welcome news for your partner.

Stephen Blackstock “Pass: I know the hand so perhaps my view is not entirely objective. But one thing is clear: if West was interested in further description or a judgment call from East, he would bid 3Diamond-small. 3NT says that he is entirely satisfied he is in a position to set strain and level. It is undisciplined for East not to pass and accept that.

It’s understandable for East to be concerned, but that is a consequence of opening with so few high cards; having made that decision, East must now live with it and pass now. Yes, I would have opened too – the alternative of passing and hoping to cue bid over a 1 of a minor opening from N/S is risky. If North has a fair hand but short majors in 4th seat, he may see the writing on the wall and pass also.”

 

Kris Wooles: “Pass: North has shown hearts and diamonds and is Vul. West knows East is at least 5/4 but more likely 6/5 or 5/5 as East could have passed 2Club-small. I am trusting West to have a diamond hold and a decent club suit. 3NT is often the best game contract.”

Julie Atkinson “Pass: I would have pressed on to 4Heart-small without the double, but I am happy to pass and trust partner after this auction.”

 

Michael Cornell “Pass: 2Heart-small got a message across to partner and one of the hands he could hold is a solid club suit with a good diamond stop so I am not going to move.

Hopefully, we are not doubled (which would usually ask for a spade lead and East’s spades may not be good enough to do that) but he could easily have enough to double 4Spade-small!”

There were one and a half votes for 4Spade-small. Firstly, the half:

 

Peter Newell “4Spade-small just: It’s close for me between passing and 4Spade-small. Partner could have bid 3Diamond-small if they had some interest in the majors. So, 3NT implies to me that partner is not much interested – solid clubs? Minor 2 suiter? However, my hand is unsuitable for 3NT unless partner has a very good hand playing strength wise.

 On the other hand, 4 of a major is unlikely to play well opposite a minor oriented hand. I do worry that the opposition might start doubling. I lean slightly towards 4Spade-small, trying not to be influenced too much by the actual hand (4Spade-small in preference to 4Heart-small because of the better suit, length and that with 3 hearts, partner would often bid 3Diamond-small over 2Heart-small)."

Bruce Anderson “4Spade-small: That could be wrong if partner has long solid clubs, but otherwise it is likely to be a better game contract.”

So, several of the Panel knew the hand which came from the final round of the Wellington Anzac Teams. In theory, there was no absolutely right decision but one action, that of bidding on, was certainly not the winning one on this occasion:

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

 

Only the unlikely singleton club from North would give West a real problem though it is the defence who will have plenty of problems discarding to seven rounds of clubs after the likely Heart-smallK lead. 7 out of the 10 pairs in 3NT were successful while all the 9 pairs in 4 of a major failed between one and five down and were sometimes doubled! The remainder of the field were unsuccessful in 4NT or 5Club-small.

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Trust partner

There was no criticism of East’s opening bid, a little of their 2Heart-small response though despite East’s original intentions, East would have to change course and pass their partner’s 3NT, albeit rather reluctantly.

Give us a break!

 

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

 

5Heart-small showed 2 key cards but no Spade-smallQ. 6Club-small showed the Club-smallK. That was enough for South to go for grand. A little strangely since North had bid the suit, West led Heart-smallQ. What is your play to trick 1 and what is your line? If you test trumps, you will find that East started with Spade-small10985.

Richard Solomon

 

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