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#7 - Hugh's 'Hand of the Week' - Tuesday 26 July 2022

11 “Regulars” convened for another friendly debrief session. We discussed:-

  1. #16…North opens 1H, and is disappointed when (s)he hears 3 passes. What should South bid? Playing 5-card majors, 2H is relatively easy. It is still appropriate for South to bid playing Acol…either 2H if happy that partner may be playing in a 4-3 fit, or 1S…both bids will end in a 4H contract which is easily made. The South hand is not strong, but the singleton C makes a bid desirable. It is not correct to simply pass “because I only have 5 points”. A singleton, when there is a fit with partner’s suit, is worth at least 2 extra points.
  1. #21 introduces an important, though not well known, bidding convention. East will open 2NT, either directly or via 2D, What does West respond? The only way to show 5 spades plus 4 hearts is to bid 3S directly. There is little use for 3S normally, using transfers, so this bid is well accepted. (5 hearts and 4 spades can be shown by bidding 3D and then 3S. 5 of both majors is shown by 3H followed by 4H.) Sadly, neither 4S (on paper the best contract) or 3NT makes!
  1. Defence discipline was discussed, using 2 similar hands - #9 and #11. In both cases a J is led, dummy has the Q and declarer the K, and leader’s partner has to decide whether or not to put up the A?? In #9, N is in 3S on a JH lead, and in #11 N is in 2H on a JD lead. In #9, West sees the J as a singleton, goes up with the Ace (harder if declarer throws KH!!), and leads back 2H for a ruff (the 2 is a suit preference for clubs, in the hope of another ruff). In #11, with far fewer diamonds, West ducks, declarer gets his KD, but no further D tricks.
  1. #10 was an interesting hand. If East opens a Tartan 2S (a bit cheeky, in my opinion), West will bid 4H and go 1 light. If East passes, West will likely open 4H, whereupon N might overcall 4S (some of us did!) and get into a lot of trouble!!


Bidding and making 4S was not easy… North’s hand qualifies for a 2C opener on most criteria. South responds 2D,

North rebids 2S, and South’s best bid is 4S. The only way to make it is to do a ruffing finesse of the QH. 

North has 4 losers…1 diamond and 3 clubs…ruffing the 4th club won’t work if the defence leads trumps. To ruff the 3rd round of hearts requires 2 entries to dummy…the only option is to lead a low spade and finesse the 9S (after first playing AK of hearts, of course!)…a very tricky hand to play…




   We again discussed some common plays

How would you play xxx across from KQJx? Assuming entries, and no information from the bidding, it is correct to lead small towards KQJ, if necessary several times.

There is no way to win 3 tricks if A10xx sits over the KQJ We know missing 6 cards in a suit they will divide 4-2 just under 50% of the time. Leading from the strong hand loses a trick uncomfortably often. Similarly, one would lead up to K when you have KQxx opposite Jxx, and do it again. And you would lead up to the J when Jxx sits opposite AQxx…in each situation, making 3 tricks is easy if they are split 3-3…..but the above advice improves your chances if the split is 4-2. Beware the singleton, or doubleton honour….with QJxx facing A10xx, play small towards the 10….similarly, with 9xx opposite AQ10x play small to the 10. 

Kxxx opposite Qxxx is difficult…the only way to make 3 tricks in this suit is to correctly guess who has the Ace; play through them; and then when they duck, come back and duck, hoping they are Ax doubleton. With A10x opposite K9x, the only option to make 3 tricks is to make the opponents play the suit first, and hope for split honours.  

To view the hand records .... click here.

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