All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Hopefully not the result of your gamble!

Who is Gambling now?

The “Gambling 3NT” opening bid is certain to create a problem for someone at the table…and it is not the opening bidder! They are showing a long solid minor and no ace or king outside their suit. They have described their hand perfectly and can sit back while the other three players decide which contract is to be played. The decision is not always straightforward.

 

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

East Deals
N-S Vul

   

Q 8 6 4 3

A J

J 6

10 9 7 5

 

N

W

 

E

S

   

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

3 NT

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Pass

4 

?

 

 

 

 

So, your first decision is whether you pass 3NT or retreat to partner’s minor. With something useful in both majors, you decide to sit it out. However, North’s double prompts South to race off to hearts. What now?

The vulnerability is right for a sacrifice though the question is will it be a sacrifice or a phantom sacrifice? Our Panel are divided:

Michael Cornell “Pass: What now? I pass and try to beat it. Partner is big favourite to have diamonds so if these are 2-2 we can effectively take the first 4 tricks. We also have a chance if partner has Heart-small10xx.

Presumably Michael expects a third round of diamonds to yield a trick for Heart-smallJ.

If we dive, unless partner has an 8- card suit, we are giving away 500 so the gain is only 3 imps when we are risking a phantom.”

 

But why does our partner have diamonds? If that is their suit, then maybe they should have 8 because they do not have the Diamond-smallJ. They could have clubs…and then surely it is correct to bid on even if they only have a 7-card suit. Stephen gives partner a small ticking off were they to hold diamonds:

Stephen Blackstock “Pass:  If partner’s suit is diamonds, the likely result in 5Diamond-smallx (or 4NTx) is -500, not much of a profit against 4Heart-small making. Additionally, I don’t dismiss beating 4Heart-small, with two diamonds, a black ruff and the trump ace, or three rounds of diamonds promoting the Heart-smallJ. There is even a faint chance partner has the Heart-smallQ.

If I knew East had a club suit, then clearly a save is indicated, but this ambiguity is one of the downsides of the gambling 3NT. Concealing your holding from your partner is not a free lunch.”

 

However, we have the bidders…who do not all agree with our initial action:

Andy Braithwaite “5Club-small: Would not have stood 3NT to avoid this problem now.

4Heart-small looks cold so I bid 5Club-small now as it will be 3 off no matter which suit partner holds- this should be pass or correct, of course.”

 

Nigel Kearney “5Club-small: There's an outside chance we can beat 5Heart-small but it doesn't look likely. The sacrifice should make eight tricks which is enough at this vulnerability or we could push them to 5Heart-small. I would have bid 5Club-small last time to make it harder for them. Form of scoring doesn't affect my answer this time but would be nice to know anyway.”

 

Pam Livingston “5Club-small: pass or correct.  You have 8 tricks - 3 doubled = 500.  5Heart-small probably isn't in danger but on a good day we have two diamonds and a heart.  The risk is that part of playing gambling no trump is to make the opponents guess at a level that they don't want to be guessing.  When we take another bid, it gives them another shot.  A void in our partner's minor = slam.”

So, 5Club-small is “pass or correct to diamonds”. One panellist disagrees though we will have another use for 4NT shortly.

Bruce Anderson “4NT: asks partner to bid their minor suit. It is very unlikely we have 3 defensive tricks and being down three doubled (two down on a good day) should be profitable given the vulnerability. The bid can’t be natural as N/S consider they have the values to make game.”

Well, since 3NT was bid by partner, then maybe 4NT is to play…or at least until doubled:

Peter Newell “4NT: It looks very likely that the opponents can make 4Heart-small whichever minor partner has, so it becomes a question as to whether to bid 4NT or 5Club-small pass or correct to partner’s minor.  I favour 4NT as I think it is less likely to be doubled and an outside chance of making (say partner has 8 diamonds and the Heart-smallQ). 4NT will probably go down more than 5 of a minor if they don’t lead a heart, and I will run to 5 of a minor if they double 4NT.  5 of a minor doubled is probably -300 so go down 4 in 4NT undoubled non vul is better…and the opponents will often lead a heart.”

Kris Wooles “4NT: and if/when doubled then 5Club-small enabling partner to correct if they have diamonds and aiming to go no more than 500 off at favourable vulnerability.”

There seems to be a variety of opinion as to the chances of taking tricks against a heart contract. Two panellists think we have a chance of beating 4Heart-small and others doubt we can beat 5Heart-small. We do not know how many cards each opponent has in partner’s minor, or even which minor partner has.

I like the concept of bidding 5Club-small over 3NT to give the opponents the guess though we could not be sure there was to be a bid over 3NT (that double).

 So, who was right?

East Deals
N-S Vul

A 7 5

K 5

7 3

A K Q 8 4 2

Q 8 6 4 3

A J

J 6

10 9 7 5

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

10 9

Q 10 2

A K Q 9 8 5 4

J

 

K J 2

9 8 7 6 4 3

10 2

6 3

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

3 NT

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Pass

4 

5 ♣

Dbl

5 

Dbl

All pass

 

 

 

 

South also had a decision when their partner doubled 3NT. They, too, guessed wrong in that a spade lead (we lead aces against the Gambling 3NT..in the absence of any, maybe South should start off with Spade-smallK) will see a 1-trick defeat of this contract.

However, 4Heart-small was never making, thanks to the Heart-smallQ turning up unexpectantly in the East hand. 5Diamond-smallx was as most predicted down 2.

100 a great score.jpg

Well, a great score as long as it is “plus”.

Life and the Gambling 3NT are both a bit of a gamble. Were you going to collect + 100 or concede -300 on the deal? Alas, for me, the latter.  

Richard Solomon

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • Tauranga City Council
  • tourismbop.jpeg
  • TECT.jpg
  • Ryman
  • NZB Foundation