Monday Bridge 21 October 2019

Hi All,

A lovely autumn day. congratulations to Rick and Margie and Marion and Cynthia for a tie at 59% in North/South and Darrell and Jan (59%) for the high score in East/West. You've all done very well.

Next Monday we'll finish the Slam Bidding worksheet. Next Thursday at 10:30 Skip will be discussing opening in third or fourth seat with Drury and the Rule of 15.

Check back to see my comments on today's boards.

See you next time.


PS  Comments added to boards 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19.

North may or may not open 1 Club. It looks like I was the only one who didn't. I saw a poor 13 points and knew that I could have to rebid 1 No Trump with only 12 HCPs. After my pass, partner opens 1 No Trump and I have an easy raise to game. 

Let's suppose North instead opens 1 Club and South responds 1 Diamond to force North to describe his hand. North must respond 1 No Trump and South has a nasty choice. He has plenty of points for game, but isn't sure where. Should he bid 3 No Trump with no clue about Spades or 5 of a minor with a possible misfit. Most players just sucked it up, bid 3 No Trump and made an overtrick for the top. 

South opens 1 Diamond, West overcalls 1 Spade and North responds 2 Clubs. East competes to 2 Spades and South rebids 3 Diamonds. North sees game points and may bid 5 Clubs, 5 Diamonds or a 3 Spade cue bid to make partner choose.

At my table, West didn't overcall and I went straight to 3 No Trump. I tried to keep a straight face when East led a low Spade and they took the first four tricks with another Spade to come. Fortunately they had blocked the suit and I got the rest. Who said there's no luck in this game?

North opens 1 Diamond and South responds 1 Heart. North rebids 2 No Trump and South stops to think. He may pass with his 5 HCPs, but has a likely fit in Diamonds, an Ace and a 5-card suit. He might bid 3 No Trump or raise Diamonds, both of which make.

If East overcalls a skinny 2 Clubs, South won't have the 10 points to respond 2 Hearts, so will raise to 2 Diamonds. West will pass and North will probably bid 3 No Trump or some number of Diamonds.

I don't see how East/West got into Spades, but they didn't profit from it. 

East opens 1 Spade and South overcalls 2 Diamonds. West lacks the 4-card suit to respond 3 Spades, so responds 2 Hearts to force partner to describe his hand. North competes to 5 Diamonds, hoping to end the auction and find a great cross-ruff. If the opponent's let them play it, it will be a good sacrifice.

East thinks his pocket is being picked, but doesn't know that he has a triple fit. He may pass or raise to 5 Hearts, his only known fit. If he passes, West may raise to 5 Spades.

Ah, competitive bidding!

It floats to East who bids 1 No Trump. West bids 3 No Trump and says "Thank you, Harold Vanderbilt".

South opens 2 Diamonds, West overcalls 2 Hearts and North passes. East counts 12 points and has 2-card support for Hearts. He knows that partner has 6 Hearts and 13-16 points and that his support will make partner stronger. He raises to 4 Hearts and it makes for the top. The one who knows, goes! You must be able to trust that your partner has what he promises.

East opens 1 Diamond and West responds 1 Heart to force partner to describe his hand. East considers 1 No Trump, but can't deny his 4-card major. He rebids 1 Spade to show his 2 suits and 13-18 points. West is interested in game and is shy of No Trump with his singleton Club. He has no forcing bid and sees no fit but Diamonds. He reevaluates to around 16 points in Diamonds opposite an opening bid and bids the game. It makes for a good score.

This hand shows the disruptive value of a measly 2 Diamond opening. It can force you out of your usual methods and make it hard to communicate. South normally wouldn't  bid even a 2-level overcall without a 6-card suit, but 3 Clubs may be his only chance to compete. 

If South instead passes in this case, North has enough for a big double. East will pass and South can cue-bid 3 Diamonds to force game. North will rebid 3 Spades and they'll probably get to some game. Slam will be hard to bid with no apparent fit.

At my table, South overcalled 3 Clubs. I figured partner for 13-16 points and 6 or more Clubs and reevaluated to 17 points opposite 16-19 points. I should have pushed to slam, but I thought I could see possible losers and settled for game in Clubs. We were lucky to get 3-3 splits in Spades and Clubs, a Club finesse and a drop of the Jack of Hearts for 13 tricks. It only goes to show that you never can tell. At least 5 Clubs plus 2 was the top.

South opens 2 Diamonds and West stops to think. She sees 18 points and a good 7 card suit. Way too strong for an overcall that partner might pass with enough for game. She considers a cue-bid force for game, but decides against it for two reasons. Partner might confuse it with Michaels and, if partner has nothing, there might not be a game. She considers a big double. If partner just bid a suit at the lowest level, it wouldn't help much, but she'd be no worse than she is. Partner might be able to show strength that would lead to slam, so she doubles. East bids 2 Hearts and West shrugs and just bids 4 Spades. North leads the 10 of Diamonds and declarer stops to count and plan. 

Declarer sees 7 Spade tricks and the two minor Aces so needs one more. She sees two possibilities; The King of Hearts and a Diamond ruff. She ponders how to try both. She wins the Ace of Diamonds and cashes the Ace of Spades. When both follow suit, she cashes the Queen of Spades to draw the remaining trump. She then leads her Heart toward dummy and North takes his Ace and exits with a Club. Declarer takes her Ace of Clubs, ruffs her last Diamond with the King in dummy and discards her last Club on the King of Hearts for the overtrick.

You'll have to ask Zelda how she got twelve tricks. Hypnotism?

East opens a borderline 1 Diamond and South overcalls 2 Clubs. West competes to 2 Diamonds and North wants to be in Spades and doesn't want to bid anything that partner can pass, so he jumps to 4 Spades, It makes for a good score, but Rick found an overtick for the top.

Just for the holdouts. Always open 1 No Trump with a balanced hand and 15-17 HCPs. This applies even with a 5-card major. Please! South opens 1 No Trump and North raises to 3 No Trump. It makes with as many overtricks as the defenders let you have.