Club News Sheet – No. 163   17th  Dec 2005


                                    Winner                                                   Runner-up


Mon 12th    N-S   1st    Neil/Barry                      63%         2nd    Paul Kelly/Alan           62%

                  E-W   1st    Jan/Philip                        59%         2nd    Gerard/Derek             56%

Wed 14th    N-S   1st    Chuck/Terry                   66%         2nd    Paul Kelly/Hans          54%

                  E-W   1st    Bob P/Jan                      59%         2nd    Gerard/Derek             57%

Fri    16th    N-S   1st    Paul Kelly/Chuck            67%         2nd    Mike(Can)/Bill            52%

                  E-W   1st    Dave/Hans                     61%         2nd    Angela/Mike P           60%


The Gold Cup is pretty much decided now, current standings are: -


1st Chuck     1911.2%        2nd Dave 1892.2%      3rd Bob 1859.7%    4th Clive  1799.3%


        in the Silver Plate competition (best 10) we have           1st  Clive                 2nd Gerald/Derek

and   in the Bronze Medal competition (best 5) we have         1st Gerald/Derek   2nd Paul K



Bidding Quiz                           Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated


Hand A            Hand B            What do you open with Hand A?


AKQ43        A9                             

7                   QJ10972      With Hand B partner opens 1. (a) what do you bid?

KJ54             K765            Suppose you bid 1 and partner jumps to 3,

AKQ            K                 (b) what now?, and (c) would 3 now be forcing?


Hand C            Hand D            With Hand C partner opens 1, what do you bid?


K6                AK4                                          

AK8             K1063          With Hand D partner opens 1, what do you bid?

1083             10985          

J9643           AK


Hand E             Hand F             What do you open with Hand E?


AKQ            KJ94

J76               J53               With hand F partner opens 1 and RHO overcalls a

AK95           A9543          weak 2. What do you bid?

K54             9


Hand G            Hand H            With Hand G partner opens 1, what do you bid?


KQ965         J6

J                   J109832       Hand H – a tricky one to finish with. LHO opens 1, partner

KQ               106               overalls 1nT and RHO bids 2. What do you do?

K9853          942                                     



Suitable for Jacoby 2NT?part 1                      Board 11 from Friday 16th  


Dealer:             KQ965                                       Table A

South               J                                                 West          North(G)    East          South

Both vul            KQ                                             -                 -                 -               1

                        K9853                                       pass           2NT (1)      pass         3    (2)

pass           4NT (3)      pass         5    (4) 

J8                      N             3                           pass           6              dbl (5)      pass

K8654            W    E          10973                   pass

1075                   S              J982                     

J72                                     AQ64                   Table B

                        A10742                                      West          North         East          South

AQ2                                           -                 -                 -               1

                        A643                                          pass           3    (1)      pass         4      (6)

                        10                                              pass           4    (7)      pass         pass   (8)


Table A:     (1)  This deal generated a lot of discussion on Friday. What did you bid with this

                        North hand G in this week’s quiz? NT here was Jacoby 2NT, promising 4 card support and at least values for game. I don’t like the bid here as Jacoby is generally a balanced hand with no shortage - as with shortage you would splinter. So what should North bid? I would bid 2, especially if playing 2/1 as the subsequent auction is then easy. If not playing 2/1 and it goes 1 - 2 - 2 then North would then presumably bid 2, 4th suit, to get a game-going auction. There are other good alternatives; a simple 4NT (RKCB) is sensible as all North really wants to know is how many aces South has. The problem with this (and the subsequent 4NT later bid by this North) is that you get too high if partner turns out to have just one ace! Is there a real solution? Yes – see Bidding Quiz answers at the end.

(2)   I have covered Jacoby 2NT in lessons. It’s on the web and there is a leaflet on in the conventions folder. 3 here should show shortage.

(3)   As I said above, there is little point in bidding Jacoby 2NT – especially if partner does not know it. This North then simply launched into RKCB regardless.

(4)   3 key cards playing 1430.

(5)   Quite why East doubled id a mystery. Perhaps South’s ‘psychic?’ 3 bid leaned him towards thinking that he may score the AQ?

Table B:     (1)  This West chose to splinter. Now some players (especially 2/1 players) do play 3 as a splinter here but that is not standard. Standard is that 3 is a strong jump shift, showing a good hand with good ’s.

(6)   And that’s what South assumed and correctly bid 4

                  (7)  Meant as natural and to play.

(8)   South passed here, but later asked be about the ethics in this situation. When North bid 4 South then thought that North had made a mistake with his splinters and wondered if he could ethically bid on?


My answer (others may disagree?): - In a genuine established partnership where 3 is definitely strong then 4 at (7) would be a cue bid looking for a slam and South is obliged to bid. In a casual partnership I think it’s very reasonable for South to assume that North has made the wrong bid and indeed had shortage. There is nothing unethical about bidding on here and I would bid 5 (a cue bid) which actually is the same bid I would make if 3 was natural.
Suitable for Jacoby 2NT?part 2                      Board 1 from Monday 12th   


Dealer:             AK752                                      

North               QJ73                                          West          North         East          South

Love all            84                                               -                 1              pass         2NT (1)

                        A7                                              pass           4    (2)      pass         4NT (3)

etc to 6

Q86                   N             -                          

1082              W    E          K985                   

K75                    S              1032                    

K1064                               Q98532              






(1)   Now this pair were playing 2/1 and the Jacoby 2NT convention. South chose a Jacoby 2NT but that would not be my choice. The Jacoby 2NT promises 4 card support and at least game going values, but it is in principle a balanced hand. With a singleton one usually prefers to splinter. Having said that, some may prefer not to splinter as it takes up a lot of room and may prefer to show this great suit. Playing 2/1 it’s easy, bid 2♦.

(2)   And I don’t like this response to the Jacoby 2NT either. Playing Jacoby 2NT the jump to 4 shows a weak opener and this hand is too good.

(3)   Fortunately South had a hand good enough to press on anyway.


And what happened? Nearly everybody bid the slam, making 12 tricks.

And how should the hand be bid? Playing 2/1 I would recommend:

1 - 2(game forcing) - 2 - 2 - 3 (cue) - 3 (cue) - 3 - 4NT etc. to 6♠.


Now the play is also fairly interesting. Obviously declarer easily picks up the ’s and then takes a losing finesse. But I did see one declarer then take the finesse. This is poor technique and the contract fails if the K was offside. You should combine your chances and try for the 3-3 split (or the 10 falling) and then 3 losing ’s can be thrown on three good ’s. If the ’s did not behave you can always fall back on the finesse.


The bottom lines (for the previous two articles): -

-         Jacoby 2NT should have 4(+) card support and be balanced. With a shortage one normally prefers a splinter and with a two-suiter it may be better to bid the other suit, especially if you play 2/1.

-         Some players put an upper limit on the point range for Jacoby, but then you really have to play something like Swiss which I will get round to at a much later date.



Play Strong Jump Shifts!                                     Board 3 from Monday 12th  


Dealer:             A9                                              Table A

South               QJ10972                                    West          North(B)    East          South

E-W vul           K765                                          -                 -                 -               1

                        K                                               pass           1    (1)      pass         3   (2)

                                                                              pass           3NT (3)      all pass

KQ5                  N             87642                  

653                 W    E          4                           Table B

103                     S              AJ9842                 West          North(B)    East          South

J7642                                 5                          -                 -                 -               1

                        J103                                           pass           1    (1)      pass         3   (2)

AK8                                           pass           3    (3)      pass         4    (4)

                        Q                                                pass           pass (5)


                                                                              Expert Table

                                                                              West          North(B)    East          South

                                                                              -                 -                 -               1

                                                                              pass           2    (1)      pass         3

                                                                              pass           3    (6)      pass         4   (6)

                                                                              pass           etc (7) to 6


Table A:     (1) What did you bid with this North hand B(a) in this week’s quiz? It seems to be a recurring theme recently. I would bid 2 - strong with a good suit. As I have frequently said, I think that this is the best use of the jump shift as you may otherwise have problems telling partner how good your hand is. And this deal is just another example where nobody let partner know how good their hand was. Anyway, as far as I know, everybody in the club bid just 1♥.

                  (2) This looks spot on to me.

                  (3) Now what did you bid with this North hand B(b) in this week’s quiz. Obviously you have game forcing values (and more!) but is 3 forcing? I assume that this North was not sure and so bid 3NT.

Table B:     (3)  So is 3 here forcing?

                        Yes! I’ve been all through this before (news-sheets 51 & 66). The best bid now is 3. 3 is also forcing but I much prefer to rebid this great suit.

(4)   With no reason to expect a monster opposite, South obviously bids 4.

(5)   And it’s really too late for North to press on.

‘Expert’      (1)  Our experts like an easy life and play strong jump shifts.

  Table:       (6)  cue bids.

(7)  and N-S have various routes to the excellent 6 slam.


And what happened? 3NT made +2 but scored badly. Everybody else bid 4.


The bottom lines: -

-         Play strong jump shifts! Nobody found the easy slam, and I believe it was because North simply did not show what a great hand he had! After South has shown a good hand it’s then difficult for North having not jump shifted immediately. The fact that nobody even had a sniff at slam bears this out!

-         The strong jump shift really makes life easier.

Strong or weak? – play Lebensohl                      Board 31 from Monday 12th  


Dealer:             Q98                                            Table A

South               A75                                            West          North         East          South

N-S vul            AK853                                       -                 -                 -               pass

                        KQ                                            1NT  (1)     dbl             pass         2    (2)

                                                                              pass           4    (3)      dbl           all pass

A73                   N             K10542               

K4                  W    E          Q6                        Table B

J742                    S              Q9                        West          North         East          South

A865                                  J1073                   -                 -                 -               pass

                        J6                                               1              1NT (4)      2    (5)    pass (6) 

J109832                                     pass           pass


                        942                                            Expert Table

                                                                              West          North         East          South(H)

                                                                              -                 -                 -               pass

                                                                              1              1NT (4)      2    (5)    2NT   (6)

                                                                              pass           3   (6)      pass         3      (6)

                                                                              all pass


Table A:     (1) This pair play a weak NT, so12-14 .

(2)   weak, to play.

(3)   South’s bid is weak (about 0-5 pts) and North should pass.

Table B:     (4) 15-18

(5)  weak, to play.

(6)  with no agreement, South cannot bid as 3 would presumably be forcing

‘Expert’      (6)  But our experts do have a conventional bid here – Lebensohl. South wants to

  Table              play in 3 and does not want to hear a raise from partner. So he bids 2NT –

                        Lebensohl, which demands that partner bid 3. South then bids 3, to play. With a strong hand, South would have bid a direct 3, forcing.


And what happened? 4 doubled went one down for a poor score, 3 making would have got a good score. 2 by East was a good score for him.

The bottom lines: -

-         When partner doubles 1NT, then pass with 6 or more points, with less bid your best suit.

-         When you double RHO’s 1NT opening and partner bids – he has nothing! (5 or less points).

-         Play Lebensohl

A 2 opener?                                                       Board 17 from Wednesday 14th  


Now just last week I mentioned a hand 86 AKQ1073 A K1062 and said that it was about 8˝ playing tricks; I was asked how I arrived at this figure. Now I have actually written a few pages on playing tricks and it’s on the web. With this hand there are the obvious 7 red playing tricks; the K is ˝ a playing trick and a 4 card suit is worth one additional playing trick – so it’s 8˝. Now the reason I’m mentioning this is that a hand came up on Wednesday that I evaluated as 9˝ playing tricks and thus opened 2 (our strongest bid). But as nobody else bid slam I am wondering if nobody else thought this North hand A worth a 2 opener (or 2 playing Benjamin twos)?


Dealer:             AKQ43                                      West          North(A)    East          South

North               7                                                                   (me)                           (Chuck)

Love all            KJ54                                           -                 2   (1)      pass         2    (2)

                        AKQ                                          pass           2              pass         3    (3)

                                                                              pass           4   (4)      pass         4    (4)

102                    N             965                       pass           6    (5)      all pass

Q32               W    E          KJ10865             

A98                    S              103                      

87653                                109                     






(1)   What did you open with this North hand A in this week’s quiz? I make it 9˝ playing tricks (5 in ’s, 3 in ’s, ˝ for the K and one for the 4 card suit). The ‘modern’ ‘norm’ for opening 2 in Standard American (or 2/1) is one trick short of game in your hand. Now I personally do actually like to have some sort of minimum point range (say about 17+ points – for example I will not open 2 with 9 playing tricks but only 14 points). Anyway, this North hand easily qualifies for 2 in the modern style.

(2)   We play this as a ‘waiting’ positive (2 is the negative in our system).

(3)   Slow arrival, so decent support.

(4)   Cue bids

(5)   North knows that just the A is missing so there is no need for any further messing about.


And what happened? Just this one table out of six bid 6, the rest were in 4 making +2.


The bottom lines: -

-         If you do not play Benjamin twos, then play 2 waiting and 2 negative over 2, it really is the best scheme for non Benjaminites. It’s written up on the web.

-         And 9˝ playing tricks is a clear 2 opener in Standard American these days.

-         Playing Benjamin this hand is perhaps borderline between a 2 or 2 opener. I would not argue with either but you will probably miss slam if you start 2 - 2 - 2 playing Benjamin and I would prefer a 6 card suit for 2 - 2 - 3. So I would open a Benji 2.

If a NT bid describes your hand – then bid NT!             Board 17 from Wednesday 14th  



Dealer:             A75                                            Table A

North               J9                                               West          North         East          South(C)

Love all            AQJ54                                        -                 1              pass         2   (1)

                        AK10                                         pass           3NT (2)      pass         pass (3)


Q982                 N             J1043                  

Q65                W    E          107432                 Table B

K92                    S              76                         West          North         East          South(C)

Q72                                   85                        -                 1              pass         2NT (1)

                        K6                                              pass           4NT (4)      pass         6NT (5)

AK8                                           all pass




Table A:     (1)  What did you bid with this South hand C in this week’s quiz? I do dot like 2 with 11 point hands like this – basically because you are fixed over 2NT (12-14) from partner (and also over 3NT).

(2)   Now there has been a ‘debate’ in an earlier news-sheet about what 3NT here shows. I am a firm believer that NT bids should have a fixed point range and think that it’s 18-19. Chuck correctly stated that some experts play it as weaker. I don’t see the point and think that 3NT here is correct.

(3)   And whatever 3NT meant, South really has no option but pass.

Table B:     (1)  Now Chuck and I were actually S-N at this table; and Chuck correctly bid 2NT – not necessarily because he is a better declarer than me, but because it is the best bid. It shows +- 11 points and no 4 card major and is a far better bid than 2.

(4)   Invitational. 4NT after a natural 2NT (or 1NT or 3NT) from partner is simply inviting slam and is passable. I think that this North hand is worth an invite because of the good 5 card suit.

(5)   South has shown his hand pretty exactly and with a 5 card suit, good top cards and good intermediates he correctly accepted.


And what happened? 3 tables bid 6NT, 3 tables stopped in 3NT. 3 tables made 12 tricks and 3 tables made 13 tricks. I can see no other reasonable line than taking both minor suit finesses (after the first one works) and 13 tricks are easy.

The bottom lines: -

-         5 card suits are a + factor. Both N and S upgraded and found the good slam.

-         With a balanced 11 points (and no 4 card major) respond 2NT to partner’s 1 level opening rather than 2.

-         Only respond with a suit at the two level if you know what to do with a 2NT rebid.

-         4NT over 3NT or 2NT or 1NT is quantitative.

A poor 2NT opener?                                               Board 26 from Friday 16th   


I overheard this comment as one North unravelled the score traveller and observed that another North competitor had achieved a +ve score on this board – ‘How can anybody open 1 with this hand? – everybody should open 2NT and accept his defeat like a man’.


Dealer:             AKQ                                          Table A

East                  J76                                             West          North(E)    East          South

Both vul            AK95                                         -                 -                 pass         pass

                        K54                                           pass           2NT (1)      all pass    


875                    N             10964                  

K1052            W    E          AQ98                   Table B

Q64                    S              J87                        West          North         East          South(C)

A62                                    Q10                     -                 -                 pass         pass

                        J32                                             pass           1    (1)      all pass





Table A:     (1)  What did you open with this North hand E in this week’s quiz? It really is very simple, especially if you heed my continual advice in the news sheets. This hand is 20 points, but knock off a point for the totally flat 3343 shape – so it’s really 19; and bearing in mind that AKQ triplet is a very poor holding the hand is nowhere near a 2NT opener. If 2NT (or more) is going to make then partner must have enough points to respond, if 1 is passed out then that will score better than 2NT going down. This poor 2NT opening was chosen at most tables.

Table B:     (1)  I believe that only one North (whoever was North from Jim/Tom) found this excellent 1 opening.


And what happened? 2NT was -1 at most tables and scored a joint bottom. 1 made exactly and scored a near top.

The bottom lines: -

-         Same as ever, knock off a point for the totally flat 4333 type shape.

-         AKQ bare is a very poor 9 points – degrade it unless partner has bid the suit.

-         Quite simply, this North hand is nowhere near worth a 2NT opener!

There were three examples from Friday where a 4-4 fit was ignored – with varying success: -


Ignoring the 4-4 fit  - part 1                              Board 20 from Friday 16th  



Dealer:             842                                             Table A

West                J753                                           West          North         East          South

Both vul            852                                             2             pass           2      (1)  pass

                        654                                            3              pass           4NT   (2)  pass      

5     (3)     pass           7NT   (4)  all pass  

10                      N             AJ6                      

KQ64             W    E          A1092                  Table B

AKQ976            S              J                            West          North         East          South(C)

KQ                                    AJ982                  1     (5)     pass           1            pass

                        KQ9753                                     3    (6)     pass           3    (7)    pass

8                                                 4     (8)     pass           pass (9)    pass




Table A:     (1)  Presumably waiting.

(2)   Not waiting any more, RKCB for ’s.

(3)   2 keycards (A,K) plus the Q.

(4)   Looks like my J is a great card.

Table B:     (5)  I agree with table A that it’s a 2 opener.

(6)  West decided to show strength by inventing a suit.

(7)  Since the auction is game forcing I see little point in 4th suit here as East has the ’s stopped.

(8)  Showing his support eventually.

(9)  Obviously East should be looking for a small slam, but the grand is probably not biddable after West’s failure to open 2.


And what happened? With 16 top tricks most players claimed a modest 13 fairly quickly after they had demonstrated their ability to not get blocked. One player did indeed try to go down but with both minor suits splitting that was impossible even having blocked himself.

The bottom lines: -

-         You can ignore 4-4 fits is you have all the available tricks without a ruff.

-         Note the nice bidding at table A – RKCB really worked a treat here.

Ignoring the 4-4 fit  - part 2                              Board 17 from Friday 16th  


Dealer:             AK106                                       Table A

North               82                                               West          North         East          South

Love all            9874                                           -                 pass           1NT   (1)  pass

                        1063                                          3NT  (2)     all pass                                    

J82                    N             Q5                       

A543              W    E          K976                    Table B

KJ1066               S              AQ532                 West          North         East          South

K3                                     A4                        -                 pass           1    (1)    pass

                        9743                                           1              pass           2    (3)    pass

QJ10                                          4             pass




Table A:     (1)  I have no problem with 1NT here, both doubletons being good enough.

(2)  ‘Obviously’ West should try Stayman before bidding game

Table B:     (1)  But I also think that a 1 opening is fine.

(6)  West decided to show strength by inventing a suit.

(7)  and 4 is reached whether East bids 2 or overbids with 3 here.


South at Table A elected to lead the Q and when dummy came down North exclaimed ‘fixed again’. And so he would have been had declarer been on the ball: -

This declarer simply took his 9 top tricks and gave up – stating that he was ‘afraid of the s’. How would you play in 3NT as declarer in the East seat after the Q lead?

You can mess about taking a few top tricks first if you wish, but before you relinquish control of the suit you should lead another - a 3-2 break in that suit will give you a 10th trick and a top board. You should lead a low and duck it (or not – it does not really matter – you could equally well have ducked the opening lead). If both follow to this 2nd round of ’s then you have two top ’s left and are assured of 10 tricks for a good score – note that the ’s are not a problem as the opponents can cash only two tricks in the suit – Qx opposite Jxx is a guaranteed stop on any distribution.

And what happened? Everybody else was in 4, usually making exactly. This E-W had ‘fortunately’ landed in a lucky 3NT which happened to be cold for 10 tricks on any lead but declarer failed to take advantage of it.


-         It’s virtually always best to bid Stayman with a 4 card major.

-         Qx opposite Jxx is always a stop.

Ignoring the 4-4 fit  - part 3                              Board 23 from Friday 16th  


Dealer:             7                                                 Table A

South               A72                                            West          North         East(D)    South

Both vul            QJ764                                         -                 -                 -               pass

                        7632                                          1    (1)     pass           1    (2)    pass

                                                                              1              pass           1    (3)    pass      

Q109                 N             AK4                     1NT           pass           4NT (4)    pass

J854               W    E          K1063                  pass  (2)     pass

AK2                   S              10985                  

Q85                                   AK                       Table B

                        J86532                                       West          North         East          South

Q9                                              -                 -                 -               pass

                        3                                                 pass   (1)    pass           1NT         pass

                        J1094                                         2             pass           2            pass

                                                                              4              all pass


Table A:     (1)  A dubious opener. I would pass (knock off a point for the 4333 type shape).

(2)   What did you bid with this East hand D in this week’s quiz? Most players bid ‘up the line – so 1 here’ without even thinking. But with a strong (slam going) hand it’s sometimes best to think. If you bid 1 and partner responds 1 then what are you going to do? Are you/your partner happy about forcing sequences in this situation? Obviously this pair were not – read on.

(3)   4th  suit? This is the very first problem – is 1 natural or 4th suit in this sequence? Expert opinion is divided but with no other agreement it’s best to play 1 as natural here and a jump to 2 as 4th suit. I have no idea what this East plays nor what he considered 1 to be. The problem that East has here is that any bid is not forcing.

(4)   With 17 points, a decent 4 card fit for partner and excellent intermediates East is obviously looking for 6 (it’s a shame that West did not have a real opener). Apparently East meant this as Blackwood on the way to the doomed slam. Obviously everything is a total mess now. E-W play RKCB but there is no remotely agreed suit and 4NT after a natural 1NT bid is quantitative. 4 would be the ace ask. Obviously there would have been no problem has East simply bid 1 at (2). There are actually ways out of the ‘mess’; jump to 3 now – this would confirm that 1 was indeed 4th suit and 3 is thus forcing; or 4 Gerber.

(5)   West correctly took this 4NTas quantitative and finally found one of the pass cards in his box and so they luckily avoided the slam.

Table B:     (1)  It’s easy after West does not open this flat hand.


And what happened? 4NT luckily scored about average. I note that 2 other pairs also somehow managed to miss the 4-4 fit and land in 3NT. The bottom lines: -

-         look for the 4-4 major suit fit.

-         After partner’s last bid was 1NT or 2NT, then 4 is the ace ask and 4NT is quantitative .

-         The sequence 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 has to be defined. Chuck and I have defined it as natural with a jump to 2 being the 4th suit bid (this is a fairly common treatment). Others play that it may or may not be natural. Others have no idea what they are doing.

-         If you/your partner are not totally sure about 4th suit forcing sequences, then try another method if there is one (that’s just one reason that I continually recommend playing strong jump shifts rather than weak ones).

4th Suit Forcing


It is apparent that even some of the club’s more experienced players have trouble with 4th suit forcing. So I have written a few extra sheets about it’ll be on the web soon.




Negative doubles still apply over weak jump overcalls             Board 6 from Friday 16th  


Dealer:             KJ94                                          Table A

East                  J53                                             West          North(F)    East          South

E-W vul           A9543                                        -                 -                 pass         1

                        9                                                2      (1)    3    (2)      3    (3)    4    (4) 

all pass

A86                   N             43                        

Q107642        W    E          K8                       

-                          S              10872                  

Q864                                 AK532                






(1)   Weak

(2)   What did you bid with this North hand F in this week’s quiz? With no interference it would be 1 but the hand is not good enough for 2 (forcing) now and that would promise a 5 card suit anyway. The best bid is double – negative and promising just 4 ’s. 3 would be reasonable without the 4 ’s. 

(3)   Not much point (zero pre-emptive value), but I guess it’s lead directional.

(4)   For South to bid 3 now would show a big hand.


And what happened? 4 made at one table and went down at another. Most N-S’s knew about negative doubles; reaching contracts usually making 10 or 11 tricks.


The bottom lines: -

-         Look for the 4-4 major suit fit (same old broken record).

-         Negative doubles still apply over weak jump overcalls.


SOS redouble?                                                     Board 7 from Friday 16th  


Dealer:             AK4                                           Table A

South               QJ                                              West          North         East          South

Both vul            KJ76                                           -                 -                 -               1

                        J853                                           pass           2NT (1)      pass         3    (2)

pass           4NT (3)      pass         5    (4) 

2                        N             Q1086                  pass           6              dbl (5)      pass

K84                W    E          A762                    pass

98543                 S              AQ                      

A96                                    K107                   Table B

                        J9753                                         West          North         East          South

1095                                           -                 -                 -               1

                        107                                             pass           3    (1)      pass         4      (6)

                        Q42                                           pass           4    (7)      pass         pass   (8)


Table A:     (1)  What would you open with this North hand? It is 15 points but a QJ doubleton is a poor holding. Having said that, it is not usually as poor in NT as in a suit contract. The hand has reasonable shape and I would not argue with a 1NT opener nor with 1/. Also, I would not criticise partner whatever he chose. Anyway, this North chose 1NT and all went pretty smoothly.

                  (2)  With a 15 count one can double a 1NT opening, but with no obviously good lead I think that pass is fine here.

Table B:     (1)  This North chose not to open 1NT and I have absolutely no problem with that. Open 1/ and rebid 1NT (12-14). So which minor do you open when 4-4? I’ve been through this a few times. In Standard American ‘better minor’ you open your ‘better’ minor, so 1 here. But, although I am prepared to play ‘better minor’, I personally will always open 1 when equal length in the minors (3-3 or 4-4) regardless o relative strengths. But this is a personal preference and up to you/partnership agreement.

(3)  With both majors I prefer dbl to 1NT, although 1NT (15-18) is acceptable.

(4)  Unfortunately 1 here is usually played as forcing.

(5)  A dubious decision (I would like better ’s) that worked. I would bid 1.

(6)  Now this p[ass generated some discussion. South suggested that North should bid 1NT and then South could escape with a 2 bid. I would not bid 1NT, but redouble (SOS) is an alternative. But with 4 decent ’s I would also not argue with pass. The redouble would enable N-S to play in 1, a nice spot.


And what happened? 1 doubled went for 500, as did 1NT doubled at another table. Most N-S’s ended up in 2 undoubled, 200 away for about average.

The bottom lines: -

-         Don’t criticise partner when he has made reasonable decisions that just happened to turn out badly?

-         However, if your partnership agreement has an understanding that you open 1 when 3-3 or 4-4 in the minors, then stick to that agreement (it’s a good one in my biased opinion).


Bidding Quiz Answers


Hand A:     2 (or 2 if you play Benjamin twos). It’s 9˝ playing tricks and worth your strongest bid.

Hand B:      (a)  2, a strong jump shift. If you do not start with this strong bid then you may

                        well have problems later getting across the length/strength of this suit.

(b)   3. Show this great suit.

(c)    Yes, 1 - 1 - 3 - 3 is forcing.

Hand C:     2NT, +-11 points with no 4 card major. I do not like to bid 2 with hands like this because you are then fixed over a 2NT rebid (12-14) from partner – you have no idea if you should bid on or not as it is the wrong man making the decision (it’s your partner who has the 3 point spread and it’s he who should be deciding). And there is also the problem which actually occurred with this hand – what do you do if you reply 2 and partner bids 3NT? ‘Obviously’ pass – but you may miss slam. If you can describe your hand in one bid, then do so; and 2NT does that with this hand.

                  Note. A 2NT response to 1/ of +-11 is ‘standard’ and is what most people play (perhaps because of the reasons I stated above). But in SAYC it is defined as 13-15, this is because SAYC is a bit basic and a 13-15 2NT response is sometimes handy if you do not play inverted minors. Anyway, that’s for another day and I suggest that everybody at the club plays the 2NT response as +-11.

Hand D:     1. Whether you respond 1 or 1 when 4-4 is a matter of personal/partnership preference. But there are situations where you have to think. If you respond 1 here then what will you bid over 1 from partner? It’s too good for 4 and are you/your partner sure about your 4th suit forcing sequences? If not, KISS and bid 1.

Hand E       1 (with a 2NT, 18-19, rebid in mind). This flat hand is nowhere near worth a 20-21 2NT opener.

Hand F:      Dbl. Negative, promising values (about 6+, some prefer 8+) and 4 ’s.

Hand G:     2, especially if you play 2/1. But if you do not play 2/1 I have a lot of sympathy for the straightforward 4NT ace ask – that’s all you really need to know.

                  But there is a problem with this type of hand – very strong but aceless. If partner replies 1 ace (certainly very possible) then you are too high!

                  The solution. 3NT – Baby Blackwood! I wrote up Baby Blackwood in news-sheet 153. It’s on the web and in the conventions folder but is something that certainly is not standard and would have to be agreed.




Notice from a member.


My name is Mike Bell & I have been attending the last couple of weeks, giving a lift to Dave who lives on the same estate. 
My e-mail address is  I am looking to rent a property long term now I have my retirement visa. I wonder, therefore, if you could mention this in your next circular. I am paying 20K per month but people say this is too much?
yours, Mike Bell.