Monday Bridge 12 August 2019

Hi All,

A lovely August day. Congratulations to Ray and Carolyn (66%) and Bobbie Sue (63%) for high scores for the day. You've all done very well.

Next Monday we'll start the Forcing 2-Club Opening. Important lesson to get right.

I'll try to add comments to today's boards. Check back tomorrow and Wednesday.

See you next time.


PS  Comments added to boards 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 (revised), 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20 and 22.

South opens 1 Club and North responds 1 Diamond. East doubles (big) and South passes with his minimum. West has a tough advance. His only 4-card suits were bid by the opponents. He considers 1 No Trump, but he lacks stoppers and partner is likely to pass. He decides to advance 1 Heart, hoping partner has at least 4 of them.

East instead rebids 1 Spade showing the big double and a good Spade suit. He can't bid higher because partner could have nothing. West now raises to 2 Spades to show some values and his Spade support. East reevaluates in Spades as 22 points and raises to game. It makes for the top.

The big double saves the day. If East instead overcalls, West is sure to pass.

West opens 1 Diamond and East responds 1 No Trump or 2 Diamonds. South has only a 5-card suit, but he likes his Spade suit and overcalls 2 Spades. West will pass and North will stop to reevaluate and think. He now counts 12 points in support of Spades and knows that his support makes partner stronger. He raises to 4 Spades and it makes for the top.

If South had passed, they would have set the opponents, but nowhere near 620 points.

Let's suppose West passes with his minimum. It will float to South who will open 1 Spade. North has no practical forcing bid, so will go straight to 4 Spades. West's opening bid made it much more difficult for North/South.

North opens 1 Spade and South responds 2 Hearts to show 10 or more points, 5 or more Hearts and to force partner to describe. West must pass and North rebids 2 Spades to show his 6 or more Spades and 13-16 points. 

As usual, South has two approaches from here. He has 11 points and can assume that partner has at least 16 points with his 6-card suit and just raise to game. If he is concerned that partner may have been forced to rebid a 5-card suit, he can invite with 3 Spades promising 11 points and Spade support. North can then do his own reevaluation and pass or go to game accordingly. Either way, they must get to game in this case.

It floats to South who opens 1 Club. West overcalls 1 Heart and North doubles (Negative) to show at least 4 Spades and 8 or more points. East may pass or compete to show his Heart support. If West competes, South can pass to set the opponents, but otherwise he is forced by the Negative double. In either case he may consider No Trump, but, seeing the danger in Hearts, will probably raise partner's Spades.

Now it gets tricky. If partner competed, West will reevaluate to 20 points and probably bid 4 Hearts. If East was silent, he may decide his Hearts are self-supporting and raise to 3 Hearts. North will compete to 3 Spades and West may plunge further into the vulnerable abyss. Over 4 Hearts, North must decide to bid, pass or double. As always, he first tries to assess if the opponents can make their bid. He remembers that West initially limited his hand and considers whether East competed or not. If he's not sure, he may pass. If he's sure they can't make it, he'll double. If he's pretty sure they can make it, he will consider a sacrifice. He not sure he can make 4 Spades, but he can go down 3 doubled and be better off than letting them make a vulnerable game. Ah! Competitive bidding.

South opens 1 Club, West doubles (big) and North responds 1 Heart. East advances 1 Spade and South will pass since partner has limited his hand. West will stop to think. He figures partner for 5-8 points with Spades and may just jump to 3 No Trump. He also may decide to bid 2 Diamonds to show his big double, lack of spades and look for a fit. If East rebids the Spades, he can then go to 3 No trump, and if bids either minor, he'll have a fit. This risks partner passing, but when East jumps to 4 Diamonds, West will reevaluate to 20 points and go to 5 or 6 Diamonds.

In the end, no one bid the slam and 3 No Trump and 5 Diamonds both make for a good score. Betty was lucky enough to be doubled for the top.

West opens 1 Club and North overcalls 1 Heart. One Spade by East over the intervening Heart overcall would promise a 5-card suit, so he responds 2 Clubs to show his 10 or more points and 4 or more Diamonds. South doesn't have enough to invite, so he competes with 2 Hearts. West can't reverse to 2 Spades so competes to 3 Clubs. North reevaluates to 18 points and competes to 3 Hearts and East stops to think. He now has 12 points and a good fit opposite partner's opening bid and he shoves another chip on the table with 4 Clubs. It makes for 130 points, so a 4 heart sacrifice pays off even if doubled.

Oops! I was critical of those bidding Spades. If East chooses the negative double over North's Heart overcall, South will compete to 2 Hearts and now West can rebid 2 Spades. North will still compete to 3 Hearts, but now East can reevaluate to 11 points and compete to 3 Spades. North may sacrifice to 4 Hearts and East/West must decide whether to bid, pass or double.

If you did it that way, I apologize. If East responded 1 Spade over the Heart overcall or West reversed to 2 Spades over partner's 2 Clubs, the criticism stands.

West opens 1 Heart and East responds 1 Spade. West rebids 2 Diamonds and East rebids 2 Spades. West reevaluates to 16 points and knows that his support makes partner stronger, so raises to game. It makes for the top.

West opens 1 Diamond, North overcalls 1 Spade and East stops to think. He has 5 Hearts, but only 9 points since he can't take points for the singleton in partner's suit. He doubles (Negative) to show his 4 or more Hearts and 6 or more points. South passes now West must stop to think. He likes the Hearts, but would like to know how many partner has. He wants to be in game and is afraid to give partner a chance to pass by jumping to 3 Diamonds.

West is about to just jump to 4 Hearts and hope for the best when he remembers that North has bid. He decides to rebid 2 Spades, a cue bid that says he has enough for game, but isn't sure where. This will force partner to keep describing his hand until they get to game. East knows what he's supposed to do, but isn't sure where to start. His features are the two black Aces and the 5-card suit. He doesn't want to imply 6 Hearts, so starts with 2 No Trump.

West trusts that partner has stoppers in Spades, Hearts and Clubs and 3 No Trump might be okay. He's in no hurry, though, and is encouraged that partner has a Heart stopper. That must be better than 4 little ones, but might be 4 to the Jack-10. He now bids 3 Hearts to learn more. East is now sure that partner has three Hearts. If he had 4, he would have raised previously and if he had two, he'd probably bid Diamonds again or raise to 3 No Trump. West raises to 4 Hearts and it makes for a good score. Herb found an extra overtrick in No Trump just to spoil a good story.

I hope this is a good example of the use of the cue bid to aid conversation between partners.

South opens 1 No Trump and North responds 4 Diamonds, the Texas Transfer. South rebids 4 Hearts as directed and North rebids 4 Spades, a control bid to show first round control of Spades and ask partner to show a control. South bids 5 Diamonds, denying the Ace of Clubs and showing the Ace of Diamonds. The Clubs are scary so North settles for 5 Hearts. 

Everyone makes the slam when both missing Aces were favorably located. You can't count on that and it was a good stop. You can't bid them all.

East opens 1 Club and West responds 1 Spade. East rebids 2 Clubs and west rebids 3 No Trump. It makes with an overtrick for the top. Easy peasy.

West opens 1 Club and East responds 1 Spade. West can't reverse to 2 Hearts, so must rebid 1 No Trump. East counts 12 HCPs and decides that 3 No Trump minus 1 is better than 2 No Trump plus 1. He just does it and it makes with overtricks for the top.

In this case 2 No Trump with overtricks worked out okay and 3 No Trump minus 1 was a bottom. In the long run, you'll do better if you bid a game when you smell a game.

It floats to South who opens 1 No Trump. North may just raise to 2 No Trump or he may use Stayman to look for a Spade fit. If he responds 2 Clubs, partner will reply 2 Diamonds and he will then bid 2 No Trump. In either case, South will raise to 3 No Trump with his 17 HCPs. 

The results varied and only two declarers made the game. Let's suppose West leads the Queen of Clubs and declarer stops to count and plan. He sees only 4 top tricks; 2 Clubs and the 2 Red Aces. He sees 2 or 3 more Diamonds with the finesse. He must get 2 or 3 more tricks from Spades and Hearts. He needs at least two entries to dummy and has only one for sure.

He ducks the first Club and then wins the continuation with the King of Clubs in dummy. and leads a low Diamond toward his hand, hoping the King appears and the Queen will be another entry to dummy. His luck is in as the King pops up and he wins the Ace. He crosses to the Queen of diamonds in dummy to lead a Heart to his 10 in hand. West wins with the King and considers his exit. He continues Clubs to force out the Ace. He doesn't see much chance to get in again, but he sees nothing better. 

Declarer wins with the Ace in hand and stops to count and plan again. He now sees 2 Clubs, 4 Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts, so still needs two more. A Spade to the King and a return to the Hearts looks good, but unlikely. Can he improve his odds? He leads the 9 of Spades toward dummy (unblocking the 8), West covers with the 10, declarer covers with the King and East wins the Ace. 

Now East is stuck. If he exits with a Heart, he gives declarer the Ace-10. If he cashes the Queen of Spades, he gives declarer two Spade tricks. If he leads a low Spade declarer will run it to the 8 and take the Heart finesse. He probably chooses to lead a Heart to the the Ace-10 and let declarer unravel the Spades. It's to no avail since declarer wins the 10 of Hearts, forces the Queen of Spades with the Jack, wins the Heart return with the Ace and leads the 7 of Spades to the good 8-6  for his contract.

Declarer can get overtricks by not holding up the Club lead and by choosing to drop the King of Hearts rather than finesse, but if you can guess those, you don't need me to tell you anything.

East has two weak suits, but chooses to open 1 No Trump with his balanced hand and 15 points. South considers a penalty double, but overcalls with his good Spade suit. Systems are off, so West responds 3 Hearts with his good suit. North passes as does East and South ponders whether to compete to 3 Spades. Partner could have nothing and he sees no need to sacrifice against the part score, so passes. It makes for a good score, but those who chose (or were forced) to 4 Hearts did poorly. That is, except for Walter and Pat who bid it, were doubled and made it. Either very good or lucky, but a top nevertheless.