Impossible


16th March– Board 24. Love All. Dealer West.
Bridge is such a wonderful game because sometimes there is no answer no matter how good you are. You could be a World Champion and still come unstuck on the featured hand.

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

West:
S A 9 6 3
H A K 8 3
D 10 8 6
C 9 7

East:
S K Q
H 10 7 5
D A K J 9 7
C Q 5 2

South:
S J 10 7 4 2
H J 2
D 5
C K 10 8 6 3


  West
 North
  East
  South
     No
     No
     1D
    No
     1H
     No
     1NT
    No
     3NT
    End
    



In most parts of the world where they play a strong no-trump throughout, East would open just that, West would bid Stayman, East would deny and West would bid game. And East would go down! Despite the combined point count game is not a good bet but everyone would reach it. (Actually those saucy enough to play a mini no-trump would play in game from the West side and would make it easily as a club is just about the last suit North would lead.) I also see that 4H can be made, although you would have to be dead clever to do that.

To The Limit


16th March– Board 7. Game All. Dealer South.
When partner overcalls it is a really good idea to bid to the limit of the trump fit on any excuse at all. It puts huge pressure on the opponents who cannot easily double on a trump stack.

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

West:
S Q J 10 7 3
H none
D Q 10 9 8
C K 10 9 5

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

South:
S K 9 2
H A J 8 6 3
D 6 2
C Q 4 3


  West
 North
  East
  South
    

   
    No
     No
     No
     1D
    1H
     1S
     4H
     4S
   End


There are several points of interest about this hand. South is right to wander on at her second go and West’s 1S bid shows at least five because with only four he should start with a negative double. Now just look at that North hand! Easily worth 4H now with the known ten card fit and good distribution. East now comes under some pressure, either to double or bid 4S but see how useful it is to know that partner has five spades or more and it is that knowledge that should tip you towards bidding 4S. That contract makes eleven tricks while 4H is only one off and there is a case for North bidding one more.

Uneasy Feeling


2nd March– Board 20. Game All. Dealer West.
South would no doubt be worried at the prospect of defeating 4S on the hand shown below and might decide that it would be more prudent to bid on. Personally I would have tried 5C and been wrong – again!

North:
S Q J 10 8
H A 7 2
D J 7
C 9 8 7 6

West:
S 9 7 6 5 4
H K J 4 3
D A 6
C K Q

East:
S A K 3 2
H Q 10 9 8 5
D 5 2
C A J

South:
S none
H 6
D K Q 10 9 8 4 3
C 10 5 4 3 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
     1S
     No
    2NT
    3D?
     4S
     Dbl
    End
   


2NT is Jacoby of course and with his minimum type opening West would bid 4S, fast arrival, showing a hand not suitable for a slam. North must have wondered what was going on and thought Christmas had come early and poor South must have looked at his utterly defenceless hand and shuddered, Still it is right to pass and collect 200 as it happens although I just know I would have run to 5C and concede 200 the other way.

Great Expectations


2nd March– Board 14. Love All. Dealer East.
West must have had great expectations of defeating the slam, holding as he did the king of clubs over the suit bid on his right, (I know because I did!) but as so often happens in bridge as well as life his hopes were dashed.

North:
S K J 9 6 2
H K J 8 7
D 6
C A Q 5

West:
S 10 7 5
H Q 9 5 4 3
D K 9 5 4
C K

East:
S 8
H 10 6 2
D A J 10 8 7 2
C 9 7 6

South:
S A Q 4 3
H A
D Q 3
C J 10 8 4 3 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
    
    No
    1C
     No
     1S
    No
    3S
     No
     4NT
    No
    5S
     No
     6S
   End



At my table South bid 4S instead of 3S but in any event North was quite justified in heading for the slam and indeed if South did hold the club king – when 4S would have been spot-on – then the slam would have been a certainty instead of a 50-50 proposition. For the scientifically minded things are much harder for N/S if East can open with a weak 2D with a subsequent barrage from West. Also South might consider 3H instead of 3S, a so-called mini-splinter showing values for 3S with a singleton heart.

Breaking The Rules


26th January – Board 24. Love All. Dealer West.
Rules are made to be broken according to some and with some slight reservations perhaps I think they are right.

North:
S 10 9 8 4
H Q 9 2
D Q 8 3
C K 8 2

West:
S A 5 3
H J 3
D K J 10 6 5 4 2
C Q

East:
S 7 6
H K 8 7 4
D 7
C A J 10 9 4 3

South:
S K Q J 2
H A 10 6 5
D A 9
C 7 6 5


  West
 North
  East
  South
     1D
     No
    1H
    1S
     2D
     2S
    End
   


I think South is quite right to introduce his spade suit even though he only has a four card suit. He wants a spade lead against a contract by West and if his partner has a fit they can contest the auction. Which is what happens and although 2S can be defeated by a trick it depends upon East obtaining a diamond ruff at some stage and that just will not happen, if only for the reason that West will not think his partner has more than one trump! West may contend with 3D I suppose but that is way off the mark  losing two tricks in every suit except clubs.