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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Nice hand… but where to go?

Just for once your partner seems to have a decent overcall…and your hand is not without merit. Yet, the two hands do not seem to gel very well. What to do next?

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North Deals
E-W Vul

   

6

K 10 6

A Q 7 6 4 3

Q J 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

   

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 

1 ♠

Pass

2 

2 

3 ♣

3 

?

 

 

 

 

Much of the debate seems to revolve around what shape our partner has, bearing in mind they have both black suits. They have not used 2Heart-small Michaels (5 spades and 5+ minor) and are therefore not 5-5 in the black suits. We do have one abstention because East did not double, the bid he and others would make with only 4 clubs:

Stephen Blackstock “East’s auction doesn’t appear to make sense. With 5+-5+ in the blacks, as 3Club-small suggests, why no two-suited overcall? With less shape, why no takeout double of 2Heart-small? (Even with 5125 and honour x in diamonds, a second-round double is probably better than 3Club-small).

 

Unless I have misjudged the situation (perfectly possible of course) you are asking the Panel to guess what East is doing, unassisted by prior actions they can rely upon. I don’t think that is fair.”

 

Agreeing with Stephen about double is:

 

Pam Livingston “3NT: 3Club-small is a free bid and shows a 5- card suit and likely extra values.  With 5224 partner would double rather than bid 3Club-small. My club holding is good and I have hearts stopped.”

 

Here’s one interpretation of East’s hand:

Michael Ware “3NT: Partner appears to be 6115 as he/she didn't Michael's or double 2Heart-small for take-out (maybe 5215 outside our agreed Michaels range?). We have too much to pass but 5Club-small seems too much with only Diamond-smallA and only 3 clubs to take care of all partner's spade losers.”

Yet, others see 3Club-small as only a 4-card suit:

Andy Braithwaite “3NT: Partner’s failure to Michael’s initially suggests 64 or more likely a stronger 54 hand which makes 3NT a viable option- partner's free bid at the 3 level may indicate a partial diamond fit such as Kx. That would give 3NT a real shot so that is my bid.”

 

Nigel Kearney “3NT: Our 2Diamond-small was constructive but need not be this strong. Partner has bid 3Club-small voluntarily and appears to have only 5-4 shape as Michaels was not used so is likely to have significant extra values. A mediocre 5224 with 12 HCP is unlikely to have bothered introducing the club suit. Even so it's a close decision between pass and 3NT, but we're vul at IMPS and partner will fairly often have either Diamond-smallKx or heart help.”

I would have thought with a decent hand and Diamond-smallKx, our partner might have chosen a 3Heart-small ask rather than 3Club-small.

Is our heart hold good enough for 3NT? It’s a maybe. We are too strong now to pass. There is still an alternative, whatever it means…

Bruce Anderson “Double: 3NT is the alternative but 9 tricks may be problematic after a heart lead. It could well be partner’s hand was improved by my bidding 2Diamond-small and we have a diamond fit; partner did not use Michaels, so his shape could be 5134.

 

On the other hand, the fact partner did not bid an immediate 3Heart-small but instead bid 3Club-small suggests he/she does not have that hand. It is a close- run thing but I am doubling for penalties, notwithstanding the vulnerability.

The defence could go well if the Diamond-smallK is in the South hand. Partner should be good for the 1Spade-small overcall and the 3Club-small  voluntary bid, meaning it is likely they hold the Spade-smallA. We may get a cross ruff going to declarer’s detriment.”

 

or:

Michael Cornell “Double: in theory for take-out when they have bid and supported their suit.

Would love to hear 3NT but this is unlikely but I will bid 3NT myself over 3Spade-small which can surely only be a single stop.

I do not think partner has five clubs (no Michaels?) unless he has six spades so if he is 6-5 he will bid 4Club-small over 3NT and I do not think I have enough to raise.”

 

I like Michael’s “in theory” because I think it rather denies black suit support or long strong diamonds….and that therefore, it is leaning more towards penalising. Penalising 3Heart-small (and remember South’s heart support came only because of North’s 2Heart-small rebid) was the theoretically correct action though in practice 3NT looked a good shot on the day:

North Deals
E-W Vul

Q 9 3

A Q 7 5 4 2

K 5

4 2

6

K 10 6

A Q 7 6 4 3

Q J 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

A 10 8 7 4

J 9

J 8

A K 8 6

 

K J 5 2

8 3

10 9 2

10 9 7 5

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 

1 ♠

Pass

2 

2 

3 ♣

3 

?

 

 

 

 

With no entry to the South hand, against 3Heart-smallx, West can score 2 trump tricks either by ruffing or naturally. Indeed, on Diamond-smallJ lead, the defence will score Diamond-smallA, Spade-smallA, two spade ruffs and two top clubs for +300.

 

no spade lead.jpg

 

That’s a good score for East-West if North finds a spade lead to 3NT. That will allow the defence to score 6 tricks. However, if any other suit is led, there will be 10 relatively comfortable tricks for West.

So, how would you interpret 3Club-small and a double of 3Heart-small? Would you have been writing down +630. Let’s be optimistic!

 

Ukraine Update

On behalf of the Auckland Bridge Club, Anthony Hopkins would like to thank all those who took part in the club’s two fund-raisers about a month ago. The final figure raised for UNICEF was $7,700, a great effort.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

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