Do You Know?

Do You Know?
13th July – Board 6. East/West Game. Dealer East.
Are you fully conversant with your actions when an opponent preempts? Do you know what you do when your partner bids 3NT after a three-level opening? It may not happen very often but that’s no reason not to be prepared.

North:
S K 9 8 6 5 3
H 9 8 3
D 7
C K 9 4

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

East:
S A
H J 7 2
D K J 10 9 8 5 2
C 8 5

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


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
   
    3D
    3NT
    No
    4H
    No
     4S
   End





I suppose East has a fairly routine pre-empt of 3D even if it does look a little on the heavy side to me but what is poor South supposed to do? Well 3NT is a stand out although this bid can range from about 15 points to about 24. With so much bidding space taken away North might well be in some difficulties. Suppose for instance he had a decent hand with four cards in a major, or indeed both majors. With such a hand how should he proceed? A good policy is to have 4C as asking for four card suits upwards until a fit is found. And if not the partnership stops in 4NT. 4D and 4H are red suit transfers to the majors while 4NT is ordinary Blackwood. If you want to make a limit raise in no-trumps you can bid 4S, which is otherwise redundant. Got it? Of course here both 3NT and 4S are easy makes.

Amour Propre


13th July – Board 15. North/South Game. Dealer South.
A cardinal rule is never to bid over an enemy preempt with a weak hand although this sound advice is usually disregarded when the machismo factor is added. On the featured hand both East and West should have stayed silent.

North:
S 7 5 2
H A J 5 3
D 9 8 3
C A Q 5

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

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

South:
S 10 9 8
H 9 7
D A K Q J 5 2
C 8 4


  West
 North
  East
  South
    
   
   
    3D
    End
   
   
    


Maybe you wouldn’t have opened 3D with that South hand holding only six trumps but just look at them! And nobody is going to be able to double you for penalties unless you are very unlucky indeed. It may seem hard to pass with the West hand but it is the right thing to do. Even if 3H is the right contract partner will feel compelled to bid thinking you are stronger than you are and now you are in real danger of going seriously overboard and doubled to boot. Amazingly the correct contract is found in just one bid!

Taking The Pressure


22nd June – Board 4. Game All. Dealer West.
Preemptive bids are made to cause maximum discomfort to the opposition, which can often lead to some gung-ho tactics. Take a look at the hand shown below:

North:
S A K
H Q 4
D A 7 2
C A Q 10 9 7 6

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

East:
S 10 6 3
H A 3 2
D Q 6 3
5 J 8 3 2

South:
S J 8
H J 10 9 8 5
D K J 10 9 4
C 5


  West
 North
  East
  South
     2S
    3NT
     End
   


What choices does North really have after a weak 2 opening? 3C is safe but is in no way forcing and could lead to a missed game, while double would lead to much soul searching if South bid a Lebensohl 2NT. It seems to me best to take the pressure off partner by bidding a full-blooded 3NT and hope to find a useful card or two in dummy. Assuming East leads a spade declarer should play on clubs by entering dummy with the diamond king and playing a club to the queen (or ten.) Either way the clubs will come in for five tricks giving declarer nine in all without the need for more than the two top diamonds. It’s much better to play on clubs rather than diamonds because even if there are five diamond tricks available you still have to make a couple of clubs.

Double Trouble


22nd June – Board 16. East/West Game. Dealer West.
Everyone knows you double an opening 1NT bid for penalties holding about fifteen points or more, the logic being that the expectation is you and partner will have the majority of the points. Exactly the same logic though can be applied to an overcall.

North:
S K 9 6 4 3 2
H A Q J 6
D 2
C K 7

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

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

South:
S 10
H 5 4 3
D K 7 6 3
C A Q 5 4 3


  West
 North
  East
  South
     No
    1S
     1NT
    Dbl
    End





East can hardly be blamed for coming into the auction with 1NT but South should be ready to pounce. He knows his side has the preponderance of the points and what is more he has an attractive lead in a small club. A routine defence will take this contract for 800 points with nothing but a partscore on for North/South.

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.