Question of the Week - 10

 Hi All,

I was sent the following board because of the seldom seen 13-card fit. The writer was happy that they bid and scored 5 Clubs, but pondered why the opponents didn't sacrifice. Both hands were vulnerable and North opened 1 Club. How did it go from there?



                     ª 10 4

                     © A K 10

                     ¨ K 10

                     § K Q 10 9 4 2

West                                  East

ª A Q 9 7 6 2                       ª 8 5 3

© Q 9                                 © 8 7 3 2

¨ A Q 6 4 2                         ¨ J 9 8 7 5 3

§                                       §


                     ª K J

                     © J 6 5 4


                     § A J 8 7 6 5 3

East passes and South properly responds 1 Heart to force partner to describe his hand. West overcalls 1 Spade and North jumps to 3 Clubs to show his 6-card suit and 17 or more points. East passes, South raises to 5 Clubs and all pass.

East leads the 8 of Spades, West takes the Ace and Queen and then probably tries the Ace of Diamonds. Declarer ruffs and attacks the Hearts. He will probably lead the Jack from dummy to bait the Queen if West has it. He plans to win the trick and return to lead another if West plays low. West must hope that partner has the Ace or King and will put up the Queen. Declarer has both and it's over.

Now we can take the writer's invitation to ponder a sacrifice by West. He must expect to be doubled and being vulnerable must take 9 tricks to come out ahead. He knows nothing about partner except his inability to support the overcall. Can he even get to dummy? Is he sure that North can make 5 Clubs? He sees 4 very possible losers and the sacrifice might require him to take the rest with a bunch of spots. It doesn't look good.

Let's go back to the first round. The opponents have bid two suits and West has 11 cards in the other two plus a void. He counts 17 points and doubles (Big). North redoubles or jumps to 3 Clubs, but East advances 3 Diamonds. South still jumps to 5 Clubs, but now West has a better picture. He sees a good fit and they will have transportation to maximize their values. He still needs 9 tricks, but it looks more feasible.

In Diamonds, North can take the Ace and King of Hearts and wait for the King of Diamonds, but I don't see any more. Minus 200 is a good sacrifice if the opponents can make 5 Clubs for plus 600.

In Spades, North can take the King of Hearts and lead a Diamond. South will ruff and return a Heart to North's Ace and get another ruff. Minus 500 is still a good sacrifice, but harder to bid and not as good as the Diamonds. 

To sum up, I don't see the likelihood of 5 Spades in the given bidding, but if West doubles, they may get somewhere.