Mon 10th N-S 1st Alex/Jeff 57% 2nd David/Kenneth 50%
E-W 1st Clive/Tom 66% 2nd Bob Short/Phil 58%
Wed 12th 1st Peter (Lux)/Kari 60% 2nd Dave/Gene 55%
Fri 14th 1st Bob/Monte 61% 2nd Kari/Ian 60%
Now you may ask how you can come 2nd in a Mitchell with 50%? – The answer is that the scores for ‘Terry all alone’ are not included! And tough luck for John Gavens/Phil on Friday – they scored 60% but only came 3rd !
There were loads of interesting boards this week – too many for the news-sheet and so some have been left over for next week.
Bidding Quiz Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated
♠ AQ1085 ♠ K1074
♠ 9 ♠ AQ1085
♠ 9 ♠ 87
Hand J Hand K With Hand J
partner opens 2♠ and
♠ 642 ♠ AJ75
♥ AJ ♥ KJ872 With Hand K partner opens 1♦ and you respond 1♥. Partner then
♣ A852 ♣ 965
1NT overcall in the balancing seat Board 6 from Monday 10th
♣ QJ43 pass 1NT (2) pass 2♣ (3)
pass 2♦ pass 3NT (4)
♠ J10642 N ♠ Q85 all pass
♥ 10752 W E ♥ A3
(4) South was expecting 15-18 opposite.
And what happened? 3NT went two down for a poor score. If South had passed 1NT then the +90 for N-S would have score around average.
The bottom lines: -
- Be aware of balancing bidding. In the above example North would get a poor score for passing 1♣ and so needs to be able to bid 1NT. One effective way of thinking about it is that you ‘borrow’ 4 points from partner. And partner needs to know this of course and not leap about – so pass with the 11 count above.
Bidding in the Pass-out seat is totally different: here is a general type of schedule, different partnerships may vary upon this a little: -: -
1NT = 10-13
Double followed by NT = 14-16
2NT = 17+
A take-out double = 7+
An overcall = 7+
Double followed by a suit = strong, but not as strong as in the direct seat because we also have the jump overcall to show a strong hand.
A jump overcall = strong, range/strength up to you, say 17+ or equiv.
Double followed by a new suit = about 14-17 as a direct jump shows a stronger hand.
Cue bid = a 2♣ opener!
There’s no such thing as a pre-empt over a pre-empt! Board 10 from Wednesday 12th
Both vul ♦ K42 - - 2♦ 3♥ (1)
♣ 98652 4♠ 5♥ (2) 5♠ pass
pass 6♥ pass pass
♠ AKJ1075 N ♠ Q92 dbl all pass
♥ 5 W E ♥ K
(1) What did you bid with this South hand B(b) in this week’s quiz? ‘Unfortunately’ any jump here shows a strong hand. With this hand B you should simply overcall 2♥; 3♥ shows a very good hand.
(2) An easy 5♥ bid, maybe there’s slam?
- You cannot pre-empt over a pre-empt; jumps show a very good hand.
Invite with a good 11 or 12. Board 21 from Wednesday 12th
N-S vul ♦ AJ3 - pass pass pass
♣ 95 1♥ pass 1♠ pass
1NT pass 2NT (1) pass
♠ A86 N ♠ K1074 3NT (2) all pass
♥ A8642 W E ♥ Q10
(1) What did you bid with this East hand D in this week’s quiz? It’s a decent 11 points with three 10’s, and the Q10 in partner’s suit make it well worth a try for game (2NT).
(2) West has shown 12-14, and with this max he should certainly accept.
Intermediates count Board 17 from Friday 14th
I’ve said it a few time, 10’s and 9’s are sometimes important: -
Love all ♦ AJ104 - 1NT all pass
I don’t know the auction at other tables, but three
♠ KJ875 N ♠ 32 N-S’s arrived in 1NT. I was North here and with
♥ A75 W E ♥ K843 his totally flat 2 count my partner said ‘good luck
♠ Q94 limited ability had no problem making +1 on this
♥ 10962 combined 19 count. Why’s that?
♦ 875 Just look at those 10’s and 9’s!
♣ 973 2 ♥ tricks with just 3 points in the suit!
The bottom lines: Add on for 10’and 9’s. But note that the North hand is not too strong for 1NT because the ♥QJ doubleton are poor cards - but turned out great opposite 109xx! And I’ve mentioned touching honours before – those two J10 combinations in the North hand.
Penalising the opponents when there’s no penalty double available
E-W vul ♦ AK97 Table A
♣ 3 West(G) North East(F) South
- - - pass
♠ 9 N ♠ AQ1083 pass 1♠ (1) pass (2) 1NT
♥ AQJ W E ♥ K94 dbl (3) pass pass (4) 2♠ (5)
♠ J7 Table B
♥ 10632 West(E) North East(C) South
♦ 82 - - - pass
Table A: (1) A light opener, but fine in 3rd seat.
(2) What did you bid with this
East hand F in this week’s quiz? It’s a decent 14 count which has improved with
(3) What did you bid with this West hand G in this week’s quiz? A double here is take-out of ♠’s, and as you have already passed partner will only expect 10-11 points. Pass is reasonable, but I chose to double.
(4) We’ve got them here, what a great partner I have.
(5) We’re toast whatever I do.
(6) When I say double – I mean it.
Table B: (1) This North chose to pass. OK.
(7) Way short of the mark for a 2-level overcall.
(8) What did you bid with this West hand E in this week’s quiz? Playing negative
doubles you pass of course – awaiting partner’s ‘automatic’ re-opening double which you will then pass for penalties.
(9) Unfortunately West is still waiting. What did you do with this East hand C in this week’s quiz? Playing negative doubles then a re-opening double is absolutely mandatory with anything but a very strange hand.
And what happened? 2♠ doubled went two down for the top to E-W. 2♣ went four down; it was a decent score for E-W, but a double would have got the top spot.
The bottom lines
If LHO opens and
With length and
- When playing negative double, opener should re-open with a double with most hand types.
3rd hand high Board 21 from Friday 14th
There are a number of saying in bridge. Two which are true most of the time are:
(a) 3rd hand plays high and (b) return partner’s suit.
Let’s see what happened when both of these were ignored: -
Love all ♦ 52
♣ 103 E-W play 4-way transfers, so East could
have shown his ♣ suit at (1). But what’s the
♠ K64 N ♠ 9 point? 3NT must surely be the best bet for
♥ Q2 W E ♥ A108 game.
♠ AQ82 led the ♠J, some would prefer a 4th highest but
♥ KJ94 that’s not the issue here. What should South play?
♦ 873 DUMMY What he did was play low! Now the contract
How do you reach 6NT Board 23 from Friday 14th
Most pairs reached slam (6♥) and I was asked how 6NT could be reached. This was a typical auction: -
Both vul ♦ AJ4 - - - 1♣
♣ 3 pass 1♥ (1) pass 1NT (2)
pass 4♣ (3) pass 4♥
♠ 9653 N ♠ K1042 pass 5♣ (4) pass 5♠
♥ J W E ♥ 1092 pass 6♥ (5) all pass
(1) What did you open with this South hand H(a) in this week’s quiz? I would open 1NT (15-17). In my opinion it’s much too good for 1♣ followed by 1NT (12-14) or 2♣.
(2) And what did you rebid with the South hand H(b)? 1NT is 12-14 and if you don’t agree with me that it’s worth a 1NT opener then that’s the rebid. Note that this does not guarantee s stop. I witnessed one South having a problem with this rebid here, he eventually chose 2♦ which is incorrect because it shows a much stronger hand (it’s a reverse) and also promises 4 ♦’s.
First of all, to answer the question (how to bid 6NT). It’s easy of course, (1NT – 6NT). 7♥ or 7NT are also fine contracts that could/should also be reached after a 1NT opening, but fail because of the 5-1 ♣ break and either finesse (♠ or ♦) failing.
And what happened? 3 pairs bid 6♥ (one made +1, presumably West discarded a ♣?). One pair bid 6NT and one somehow stopped in 3NT.
The bottom lines: -
- AKQxx is more than 9 points! Upgrade a hand with a holding like this.
- If you open 1NT you never have a rebid problem!
- A reverse is 16+ and shows at least 5-4 (always with more cards in the first bid suit).
- 4♣ is Gerber after partner’s last bid was 1NT or 2NT.
- 4NT is quantitative (invitational) after partner’s last bid was 1NT or 2NT.
Combining Chances Board 27 from Friday 14th
One pair overbid to 6♠ on this deal, and nearly every North mis-played it : -
Love all ♦ 84 - - - 1♦ (1)
♣ 107 1♥ (2) 1♠ 2♥ 3♥
pass 3♠ (3) pass 4♠
♠ 5 N ♠ 1083 all pass
♥ AK105 W E ♥ QJ63
♠ AJ - - - 1♦ (1)
♥ 872 2♣ (2) 4♠ (4) pass 6♠ (5)
♦ AKJ93 all pass
Table A: (1) 1♦ is correct, it’s too strong for 1NT and not good enough for a strong bid.
(2) I would double! – looks ideal.
(3) No ♥ stop
Table B: (2) I still prefer double
(4) I guess that this is fine if you agree it’s weak!
(5) And with 19 points South quite reasonably bid slam.
And what happened? 6♠ went two down. 4♠ made exactly at every table except Table A. Now I don’t know how it was played at other tables - presumably every E-W cashed two ♥’s and then declarer drew trumps and then took a losing finesse. At Table A declarer was a bit more careful. He drew trumps and cashed ♦AK and ruffed the 3rd round. That set up the ♦’s and it was not necessary to take a (losing) finesse. Mind you, if East led the ♥QJ and then a ♣ then it’s not so easy – but did he? I bet most North’s mis-played it?
The bottom lines: -
- If West had doubled, then a jump to 4♠ by North is to play.
- But after a simple overcall it’s not so clear and has to be agreed. It seems sensible to me to play it as weak but I can’t fault South’s bidding with no such agreement.
- Combine your chances when declarer. If you have various options in the play – then try to set up a suit rather than a finesse – you can always finesse later if the suit can’t be set up.
Who should bid Blackwood? Board 10 from Friday 14th
I was asked how to reach 6♠ or 6NT on this board. My inquisitor correctly saying that after West bids Blackwood and finds an ace missing then it’s dodgy to look for kings.
Both vul ♦ 953 - - pass pass
♣ Q965 2NT (1) pass 3NT (2) all pass
♠ AQJ6 N ♠ K982 Table B
♥ A5 W E ♥ K74 West North East South
♠ 754 2NT (3) pass 3♣ (4) pass
♥ 10632 4♠ pass pass (5) pass
Table A: (1) 20-21
(2) With a flat hand opposite 20-21 slam may be doubtful and so this East eschewed the possible ♠ fit and bid 3NT. Now you all know me (never deny a 4 card major, even with 4333 shape) but there is one important exception – that’s when you have so many points that you expect to make 11 tricks in either contract. So given that East does not want to look for slam, 3NT is better than Stayman. Mind you, a quantitative 4NT looks like a reasonable shot and West would accept with his clear maximum.
Table B: (1) I’m not sure if they play a different system or if this West upgraded this hand to 22-24 points. With this great ♦ suit upgrading is certainly reasonable.
(3) 22-24 in Standard American these days
(5) Having found the 4-4 fit I think that East should go for slam here. I would bid 4NT (Blackwood) and then 6♠. Now I have mentioned in earlier news-sheets that bidding Blackwood is dodgy with a wide open suit that partner has not bid but since he’s got 22-24 points it’s worth the risk.
And what happened? One pair bid 6♠. 3NT got the 2nd top and the rest shared the wooden spoon for 4♠+2.
The bottom line: -
- One rare exception to denying a 4 card major is when you have a flat hand and so many points that you expect to make the same number of tricks (i.e.11) in 3NT or a major suit.
- After a 2NT opening (or 2♣ - 2♦ - 2NT) then 4NT is quantitative, 4♣ is Gerber.
- After a 2NT opening (or 2♣ - 2♦ - 2NT) then 3♣ is Stayman and 3♦/♥ are transfers.
- When you have shown your hand then it’s up to partner to look for slam; so in this example West can never go slamming – it’s up to East if he wants to have a shot.
- Having used Blackwood or RKCB, 5NT asks for kings and it’s generally accepted that all aces (or key cards) must be present for a king ask.
Raise partner’s pre-empt with 3 card support Board 6 from Friday 14th
E-W vul ♦ 5 - - 2♠ pass
♣ K96 pass (1) 3♥ (2) pass 4♥
♠ 642 N ♠ AJ9753
♥ AJ W E ♥ 9 Table B
♠ Q 3♠ (1) pass (3) pass pass
Table A: (1) What did you bid with this West hand J in this week’s quiz? See table B.
(2) With West showing little values, North has a comfortable 3♥ bid.
Table B: (1) With 3 card support for partner’s pre-empt, always raise. This is ‘The Law’ and you should raise pretty much regardless of your points; I would bid 3♠ here with a lot less points and even with more (if not quite enough to try for game).
(3) And now it’s not so easy for North. 4♥ is probably worth a try but you could easily run into trouble if East has a little more and South did not have ♥’s.
And what happened? 3♠ made +1 for the E-W top. 4♥ was bid and made twice.
The bottom line. With 3 trumps, always raise partner’s pre-empt (either a 2 or 3 opening).
(Usually) don’t rebid a 5-card suit Board 5 from Friday 14th
N-S vul ♦ 3 - pass pass 1♦
♣ 965 pass 1♥ pass 1NT
pass 2♥ (1) all pass
♠ K1086 N ♠ 42
♥ 95 W E ♥ A63 Table B
♠ Q93 pass 1♥ pass 1NT
♥ Q104 pass pass (1) pass
Table A: (1) What did you bid with this North hand K in this week’s quiz? See table B.
Table B: (1) Now I guess that bidding 2♥ is not totally unreasonable here, but I usually prefer to have a 6 card suit. In this particular case South has denied 4 ♠’s and so presumably has something in ♣’s. Also, you’ll probably get a ♠ lead on the bidding and that may work out very nicely if partner has a ♠ honour.
And what happened? 3NT got a ♠ lead and so scored +2 for a complete top – outscoring everybody else who all played in ♥’s.
The bottom lines: -
- It’s usually best not to rebid a 5 card suit. Even if there is a 5-3 fit it may play better in NT.
Force partner to do the right thing Board 22 from Friday 14th
There’s interesting bidding and play on this deal: -
E-W vul ♦ AK6 pass 1♣ (1) pass 1♥ (2)
♣ AJ85 pass 4♥ (3) all pass
♠ 2 N ♠ K10853 (1) I would downgrade because of no
♥ KQ W E ♥ 86 honours in the ♥ suit and open 1NT,
♠ J9764 Bid 5-5’s from the top down.
♥ AJ953 (3) But the final contract is always 4♥ anyway.
Now onto the play. West decided to lead his singleton ♠. Now some may say that it’s a bad lead with this trump holding, but as I was West I’ll say nothing more.
South then asked East what the lead of a two meant. East replied ‘standard bridge’. Upon further interrogation he was informed that the lead of a two promises an honour unless it’s a singleton. That’s standard.
Declarer reasonably played the ♠Q and East won.
® ♦ AK South won, led a ♣ to the ♣A and finessed a ♥
♣ J85 which West won.
That leaves this position, with West on lead.
♠ - N ♠ 10853 What card should West play now?
♥ K W E ♥ 8 Now West knows that East is now void in ♣’s
♠ J976 So he led the ♣9!!
♥ AJ95 Now West knows exactly what’s going on and he
♦ - also knows that his partner does not!
The bottom lines: -
- Eight ever, nine never: South should play the ♥A at trick one.
- Bid touching 5-5’s from the top down (4-4’s bid the lower ranking).
- Play a signalling system. I recommend Lavinthal (McKenny) for all non-regular partnerships as the ‘standard’ for our club. I have a sheet on it for those interested.
- Trust partner!
Overtake if you need to lead to the next trick Board 6 from Wednesday 12th
And let’s have another board on defensive play: -
E-W vul ♦ 6 - - pass 1♣
♣ Q109875 dbl 3♣ (1) pass (2) pass
3♦ (3) pass pass 4♣
♠ KQ82 N ♠ 75 pass pass 4♦ pass
♥ K109 W E ♥ 8754 pass 5♣ pass pass
West led the ♦K, which card should East play?
Answer: He should overtake with the ♦A and return a ♥. Why? Because West will almost certainly be in a spot if he is left on lead at trick two – the ♥ switch needs to come from East. East also knows the ♦ situation (declarer must be void now) and he also knows that West will probably continue with a fateful ♦ if left on lead.
And what happened? East played an encouraging ♦3 at trick one (they pay low to encourage). Obviously West had no idea that East had 6 ♦’s and so he ‘safely’ continued with a ♦. The resultant ruff and discard gifted the contract to South.
And at other tables? 5♣ was doubled and went one down at two other tables.
The bottom lines: -
- Make life easy for partner if you can.
- A king lead promises the queen if you’ve bid the suit.
I have been going through old news-sheets as I put them on the web and found this amusing article (137): -
What a Friendly Club!
Our Irish visitors (Kevin and Noreen) remarked to Richard what a nice, quiet, friendly club this is! Richard told them that that’s the way the director tries to keep it (and has to put in a lot of effort just to do that). I could give a list of ½ a dozen or so players who are noticeably absent at the moment – but no names!
One of these un-named noticeably absent individuals returned, caused considerable disruption, and has now been banned. Dave remarked how nice and peaceful the club had been for 6 months or so before his return and suggested he be thrown out for good. Most agree.
Hand A: 1NT. About 10-13 in the balancing seat. Pass is also reasonable I suppose.
Hand B: (a) 3♥, pre-emptive.
(b) 2♥. A simple overcall. You cannot pre-empt as a jump over a pre-emptive
opening shows a very strong hand – there is no such thing as a pre-empt over a pre-empt.
Hand C: Dbl. ‘Semi-automatic’ when playing negative doubles and this hand certainly is no exception. Double so that partner can pass if he has a ♣ penalty hand.
Hand D: 2NT. This is an excellent 11 points and well worth a raise.
Hand E: Pass. Sit back and wait for partner’s ‘automatic’ re-opening double (you are playing negative doubles of course).
Hand F: Pass. It’s usually
best to pass with length and strength in
Hand G: Dbl. This is for take-out (of ♠’s). It would be nice to have 4 ♥’s but these are 3 decent ones; and partner will not expect more in values as you are a passed hand.
Hand H: (a) 1NT. The ♣AKQxx are huge and this hand is easily good enough for a 15-17 1NT.
(b) 1NT. If you did not open 1NT (15-17) then you have to bid 1NT now (12-14). Note that this does not guarantee a ♠ stop – it simply shows a balanced 12-14.
Hand J: 3♠. With 3 card support always raise partner’s pre-empt and make it difficult for the next player.
Hand K: Pass. It’s usually best to bebid your major here only if you have a 6 card suit. In this particular case it’s very likely that 1NT will play nicely even if partner has 3 ♥’s as he has bid your singleton and the expected ♠ lead will turn out nicely if partner has an honour in the suit (especially the queen).