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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Any rethink? For less experienced players and others.

When you play “500”, you bid first time round or not at all. In Bridge, of course, you can pass several rounds of bidding and emerge “out of the bushes” with a bid. In similar vein, you can decide a board is just a competitive part-score but then something convinces you that you might want to be more ambitious. That “something” can be your partner’s or the opponents’ bidding…or both!

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

 

1NT shows a strong no trump, 15-18, with a heart hold. You are playing Teams. The rest of the bidding is natural. Are you content now to pass?

Although one’s aggressive bidding and our hand distribution tend to make an opponent’s 15-17/18 strong no- trump style less of an obstacle than perhaps in the past, such a bid whether as an opening or an overcall commands respect.

With one’s partner a passed hand and your own hand a mere 12 count, albeit a shapely one, game might have seemed a long way off for South when West did overcall 1NT. Even when their partner mustered up a 2Heart-small bid, 110, maybe 140 would have seemed like a reasonable result for South. This was so much the case that South did not compete when East bid 2Spade-small. After all, South had two likely spade tricks and potential in the minors to give East a rough ride in their contract.

However, North had not finished. They bid a second time, to 3Heart-small. Their hand had to be better than say three card heart support and 5 or 6 high-card points, worthy of a competitive action to the 2 level, at least when one was playing 5-card majors.

Not only was North now marked with four hearts but with East having five spades and West at least two, South could anticipate their partner might be very short in spades…. and they had some high-cards in the minors, too.

All this pointed to a raise to 4Heart-small being a calculated risk. The risk is that not many of North’s honour cards would be in diamonds. So, South found the raise to 4Heart-small. Playing Teams, the scent of a vulnerable game made the risk very much worth taking.

It sounded that South was on the right track when West competed with 4Spade-small, a contract that South could now double. These were the four hands:

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

 

Against 4Spade-smallx, South led a heart. East won to lead Spade-smallQ taken by South’s ace. South continued hearts, ruffed, with East playing a second spade to dummy’s jack before trying Diamond-smallA. (A low diamond from the East hand would have been better play.) The defence took two diamond ruffs, Spade-smallA, two clubs and a natural diamond trick, down 3, +500.

good choice 3.jpg

That was not quite as good as what South could achieve in hearts where, in placing West, who overcalled 1NT, for the Club-smallQ, 11 tricks could be made fairly comfortably. It was certainly better than scoring +200 from their heart part-score.

How East would regret their 2Spade-small bid because South would probably have passed out 2Heart-small. Yet, so often, they would regret “not making” that bid, such being the “slings and arrows” of competitive bidding.

A Major Disaster

That’s the last thing you want with such a potentially nice hand as the one below. So, what are you going to bid next? Partner’s double shows 4 spades.

     
West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
A K 6
K 3
A Q 10 9 8 5 4
K
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1 
1  Dbl Pass ?

 

You are playing Pairs.

Richard Solomon

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