What Points?


15thJune – Board 14. Love All. Dealer East.
Freak hands are always good value with huge swings often coming from the distributional values inherent in them. The hand below was certainly no exception.

North:
S 8 6 5 3
H A J 10 9 4 2
D 2
C A 10

West:
S K J 10 4 2
H Q
D 10 6 4
C K 9 7 2

East:
S A Q 9 7
H K
D Q 9 7 5
C 8 6 5 3

South:
S none
H 8 7 6 5 3
D A K J 8 3
C Q J 4


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
    
     No
    1H
     1S
     4D
     4S
    No
     No
     5C
     No
    5D
     No
     6H
    End



The points are divided 20-20 but North/South can make a grand slam, which needs little more than the missing trumps to divide 1-1. South has to open 1H really as he can hardly reverse if he opens 1D but North of course is charmed. Even more so when the opposition bid all the way to 4S because his partner is (almost) certainly marked with a void in the suit. The opposition might double the final contract out of pique but they shouldn’t really as neither hand contains a surprise of any sort and the slam was bid voluntarily and not out of pressure. Interestingly enough 6S doubled is six down against best defence for a cost of 1400 points and a swing of 2 imps against 6H + 1.

Some Hands


15thJune – Board 18. North/South Game. Dealer East.
Often there is little to choose between triumph and disaster although usually partners don’t see it that way. Certainly there was huge scope for blame apportion on the board featured below.

North:
S A J 8
H Q 6
D Q 10 8 6 4
C A 9 6

West:
S 7
H A K 10 9 8 7 3
D K 9 7 2
C 7

East:
S Q 9 6 4 2
H 5 2
D A J 5 3
5 4

South:
S K 10 5 3
H J 4
D none
C K Q J 10 8 3 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
    
     No
    1C
     4H
     Dbl
     No
    ???


Letting the opponents make game when you can make one yourself is just about the worst thing that can happy to a bridge player but some hands are just too difficult to manage. Surely everyone would open 1C on that South hand and at favourable vulnerability West should barrage with 4H. But what is poor North supposed to do with his opening hand? ‘Double’ is the only sound option and now the spotlight fall back on South who can imagine incurring his partner’s wrath one way or another if he does the wrong thing. If he passes 4H will make unless South can engineer a diamond ruff but even then it is only one down. 5C of course is cold assuming declarer makes the logical assumption that East is a trillion times more likely to hold the queen of spades.

Feature Showing


18thMay – Board 4. Game All. Dealer West.
Good partnership understanding should lead to a sensible result on the hand shown below with a good game being bid on minimum values.

North:
S A J
H Q 10 8 7 3
D 6 2
C 5 4 3 2

West:
S 9 8 5 3 2
H 5 4
D A Q 7 3
C Q 8

East:
S K Q 6 4
H 9 6 2
D K 10 8 5 4
C 10

South:
S 10 7
H A K J
D J 9
C A K J 9 7 6


  West
 North
  East
  South
     No
     No
     No
    1C
     No
     1H
     No
    3C
     No
     3S
     No
    4H
    End





3S by North is feature showing and not necessarily a suit, for the simple reason that South has denied having as many as four spades. Of course these days one is seldom given an easy ride and it wouldn’t be wrong for East to double at his second turn showing spades and diamonds. West would be charmed of course and have an easy sacrifice in 4S (which is only one down) but whether he would be inclined to bid 5S over a retreat to 5C by N/S is more speculative.

Not Easy


18thMay – Board 26. Game All. Dealer East.
To be honest what might happen on the featured hand is not easy to predict and I only present a not unreasonable sequence. Quite often though in these high level bidding situations it becomes more a question of amour propre…..

North:
S none
H J 9 6 5
D A K J 10 9 5 2
C Q 3

West:
S Q J 6 4 2
H 7
D 8 6 3
C K 10 9 5

East:
S A K 10 9 7 3
H 4 3 2
D 4
C A 8 7

South:
S 8 5
H A K Q 10 8
D Q 7
C J 6 4 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
    
     1S
    2H
     4S
     5H
     5S
    End


I think it quite in order for East to bid 5S at his second turn because he must know that partner has one heart at most and a miracle holding in the club suit would actually make the contract cast-iron. South would pass that but North might do one of several things, including bidding 6H against which East should lead the ace of clubs, getting a smile and a nod from partner. An ill thought out lead of the ace of spades on the other hand would lead to an embarrassing result.

Right-Siding


11thMay – Board 10. Game All. Dealer East.
Preempts are supposed to unnerve the opposition but of course sometimes it doesn’t work out like that.

North:
S Q 10 5 2
H 9 3
D 10 8 3
C A 6 5 4

West:
S A K 6 4 3
H 8
D A K Q 9 7
C K 3

East:
S 8
H A K Q J 10 6 4
D J 6 4
C Q 10

South:
S J 9 7
H 7 5 2
D 5 2
C J 9 8 7 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
    
     4H
    No
    4NT
     No
     5S
   End
    6NT
    End




I can’t see much wrong with opening 4H on that East hand but South could hardly be said to be discountenanced! Instead it is West who has the headache but I think proper respect has to be paid to East’s vulnerable preempt, so 4NT it is. The reply shows the top three honours or possibly a semi-solid suit missing the ace but with the ace of clubs as well. Whatever the case West is committed to a slam and should choose 6NT over 6H in order not only to protect the king of clubs but also to gain those few extra points at match-pointed pairs. As it happens East has the queen of clubs, a card that is not necessary for West in 6NT but would be for East in 6H.