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#8 - Hugh's 'Hand of the Week' - Tuesday 2 August 2022

Members discussed a number of interesting hands….

  1. On board #7, some Souths were tempted to open 1H. West may or may not double for take-out. Either way N bids 1S, S has to rebid 2H, and N, thinking S has an opening hand, bids 3D. S now feels uncomfortable, probably bids 3NT, and goes light. If S doesn’t open at the beginning, W may open a weak 1NT, N probably overcalls 2S, and S likely passes…2S making 3. Other contracts can make, but with considerable difficulty! This introduces the “Rule of Twenty”.

    With borderline opening hands, add the number of points to the length of the 2 longest suits (here 11+5+3)…if the total is 20 or more, and you have a rebid, a weak opening bid is reasonable. Opening on this occasion risks partner bidding too high.

  2. Bidding game over intervention is sometimes difficult. See #10. Left to their own devices, N/S easily bid 3NT (1C-1D-2NT-3NT). If E opens 2H it is harder, but still possible…over an opening 2 bid, a 2NT overcall promises 16-18 points and a stopper in opponents’ suit. S responds 3NT…easy!

  3. Bad breaks abound on #14…good judgement only goes so far! If E passes, S would open 1S, W will likely overcall 2H, and N and S would do well to pass… 2 light. If E opens a weak 2D, anything anyone else bids will not go well…

  4. Bidding good hands to 3NT sometimes requires a bit of imagination. See #16. N opens 1H, S responds 2C, N rebids 2H…what should S bid now? Hearts is not attractive, 3C may be passed, 4C bypasses 3NT. Some might just bid 3NT, trusting partner has a spade cover. More “scientific” is 3D, a responder’s reverse, forcing to game, and showing a diamond stopper. N obliges with 3NT…the play is easy. Note 6C can be made…easily, with 2 diamond ruffs…BUT with opponents leading clubs, you need an unlikely double finesse in Spades (25% chance).

  5. #17 requires some bidding discipline. What does N open? Best, though not strictly “balanced”, is 2NT (20-22). S bids 3D, transfer to Hearts, and S passes when N accepts the transfer. With optimal defence, 3H is all one can make, but one can easily excuse East’s lead of singleton 8 of clubs…now N makes 5H!

  6. How to bid 6H on #21….in truth, it would be very hard, missing 2 aces…our opponents bid it only because I pushed them there!

  7. Many missed game, and slam, on #24. Some would open 2C…2D-2S-4S. Others would prefer to open 1S, because the suit is not strong, and a 2C opening can make it hard to show 2 suits. BUT…everyone passes…1S making 6 (with 2 finesses in S and 1 in D). I would open 1S!


East will likely open this lovely 2-suiter (“6-5 come alive”)…it also fulfils the Rule of 20.

Whatever E opens (best is 1C, planning to rebid S twice), S should double. W will pass and N must bid…1S if E had opened 1C, 2D if E had opened 1S. E rebids their other suit.

What does S do now? At my table, E opened 1S, my partner bid 2D in response to my double. I liked that, as I saw a possibility N’s diamonds would reduce my losers there.

When E rebid 3C, I jumped to 4H. West led 8S, and I ducked to break communications.

On trick 2 I played AS, then 4 rounds of trumps. I then played AD, saw E show out, so then played 9D. Contract made.



We lastly discussed Ruffing finesses, and finessing into the safe hand. Consider this:

South                                       North
7                                               AQJ10          …you are in 4H, on a small H lead….
AKJ10x                                     Q9xx
Kxx                                            xxx
9xxx                                          Ax

…the risk is that E gets in and leads diamonds through your K. You take out trumps, preserving QH as an entry, then play 7S to AS, and QS back, throwing a D. If W has the KH, your KD is still safe…if E has it, you ruff, go back to dummy and use J10S to throw 2 diamonds. Contract made. The moral…finesse so that if it loses, your weak spot is not exposed.

Click here to veiw the hand records for the hands discussed above..

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