Delayed Double


6thApril– Board 1. Love All. Dealer North.
You must do everything you can within reason to make life awkward for the opposition – and that usually means not giving in easily.

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

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

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

South:
S K 8 5 4
H A
D Q 10 9 8 5
C A 9 2


  West
 North
  East
  South

     No
     No
    1D
     No
    1NT
     Dbl
    No
     2H
    End
    



Once North has denied a four card major it shouldn’t be too difficult for East to see that maybe the hand belongs to his side and the delayed double is a take-out of diamonds. If South is foolish enough to rebid his diamonds West will have something to say but the reality is that South will pass and West allowed to play in 2H, which will almost certainly make with an overtrick.

Assessing The Odds


6thApril– Board 8. Love All. Dealer West.
Even easy hands have something about them which may cause a moment’s concern. The hand below was not difficult to bid or indeed achieve a positive outcome but there was something of interest.

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

West:
S Q 10 9 7 5
H 9
D K 10 8 3
C K 10 7

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

South:
S K 6 4
H 8 7 4
D Q 7 2
C 9 8 3 2


  West
 North
  East
  South
     No
     No
     1H
    No
     1S
     No
     2NT
    No
     3NT
    End
    



I bet everyone reached 3NT and I’m sure everyone who did so achieved a positive result but it’s the play in the spade suit that is of interest. How should you play the suit to give yourself the best chance of making four tricks? Obviously you start by leading the ace followed by a low one but what do you do when South plays low as well? If the spades break 3-3 then you can’t guess right if North holds both the king and jack and you can’t guess wrong if South has them. But if South has the king and not the jack you should play the queen from dummy but not if South has the jack and not the king when you should finesse. However it’s the 4-2 breaks that make this combination interesting and you should cater for North having started with jack doubleton by playing the queen. If North started with king doubleton then you have two losers in the suit whatever you do. Geddit?

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.