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#11 - Hugh's 'Hand of the Week' - Tuesday 23 August 2022

Nine members convened to discuss some interesting hands. Today’s hands raised a number of interesting bidding issues…the play was fairly standard.

  1. Many did not reach slam on #3…for various reasons. Both E and W should see their hands as potentially “interesting”, but how to get there? At one table, W opened 1D, E went 2C, W rebid 5D (!) and E punted to 6D (actually not much of a risk as the E hand has a lot in a D contract). Can we do better? Many bidders are worried their partner will pass too soon, and so jump to game “to make sure we don’t miss out”. This is totally understandable…we’ve all done it! One good guide is that when the partnership has shown points for game the bidding should not be dropped before game is bid (this takes the pressure off, and allows the partnership time to explore options). One possible sequence might be 1D – 2C - 3D (now W has shown 16+ and E 10+, so game is on…we can take our time…). E could bid 4H (splinter agreeing D and interest in slam, W bids 4NT, and with 3 aces from E, W can now bid 6D easily…and 7D with some confidence. Or…E can bid 4D over 3D (agreeing D, and stronger than 5D - slow arrival stronger than fast, once game points established). Either 4NT or cue bidding should get to 7D, 6D at the least!
  1. #6 generated a lot of options…should E open? Opening 1D, planning to rebid 2C is a reasonable bid, it fulfils the Rule of 20. Opening an unusual 2NT might say the same thing, but is a level higher, and the 2 major queens aren’t worth much! Over 1D, S has an automatic overcall of 1S, after which W bids 2C, N 2S, E 3C, and maybe 3S from S. If EW are not careful they may either push NS to a 4S they would otherwise not bid…or get too high in Clubs.
  1. In #12, all roads lead to a fateful contract of 4H by W. Some might open 2H by W, and E bids 4H. If W passes, N may open a weak 2D. Then E overcalls 2NT (16-18, balanced and stopper in D), and W likely bids 4H, or at least 3H – 4H (or transfers if you play them). If N passes, an ACOL E would open 1H, and W would bid 4H. A 5 card major E would open 1C or 1D, W would go 2H (weak), and E now bids 4H…all roads get to 4H…but it cannot be made with sensible defence.
  1. We discussed #19 at some length….should N open 1S or 2C? I favour the former…yes partner might pass. BUT if you open 2C and rebid 2S you are telling partner you like the idea of game in spades. Opposite 2 or even 3 small, your spade suit is just not good enough. Over 1S, playing Bergen, S has an automatic 3S (4 spades and 0-5 points). 4S makes easily because the clubs sit nicely.
  1. #20 nicely illustrates the Opener’s splinter bid. N opens 1C, E over-calls 1D (2D works, but risks missing a 4-4 H fit), S bids 1S, W likely bids 2D. N now shows their whole hand with a 4D splinter bid (this promises 4 spades, points for game, a singleton or void in D, and interest in slam…nice bid, eh?). S is weak, so signs off in 4S, and 5S makes easily with the club finesse.



Again, we concentrate on bidding….N opens 1D, S responds 1S. By bidding 2H, N  reverses (a reverse is a specific bid, where the longer lower suit is bid first, and the shorter higher suit second…even though partner seems to deny interest in that suit. The first suit bid is always longer. A reverse promises 16+ points). With 5 diamonds, 4 hearts and 16+ points you reverse…1D followed by 2H. With 5 diamonds and 5 hearts, you bid 1H and jump in D. “Reverse” means bidding suits in the “reverse order”. On this hand, 1D – 1S – 2H shows N’s hand well. What does S bid now? Rebidding spades is unlikely to be good as N has shown 2 other suits…but S has points for game (11 plus N’s 16+).

Some might be tempted to bid 3NT. The problem is that the lead is likely to be a club (unbid suit), and doubleton KQ is only one stopper. If partner has only 2 little clubs, as seems likely, 3NT may be a disaster. 3C is 4th suit forcing …this is a good bid here. I call it the “where are we going bid?” It shows points for game, but does not promise clubs. N can now bid 3S if they have 3, rebid H if they have 5, or bid 3NT if they have a club stopper. A rebid of 3D from N does not promise 6 diamonds, as they have to bid something! In this case N bids 3NT, which makes comfortably (play on diamonds and make 4 hearts, 4 diamonds and 2 club tricks, for an overtrick).

Click here to see the hand records for Tuesday 23 August.

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