We have standby partners available on the last Wednesday of each month as follows. Just turn up and be sure of a game:
So long as we can recruit willing volunteers!
I am volunteering for Wednesday 25 July and Mark Hill has kindly offered for Wednesday 29 August.
Any offers for 25 September or 31 October? If so, please let me know.
I looked at my three loser hand and felt justified in leaping straight to Five Clubs after two passes, followed by One Spade from my right.
West was not to be deterred and saw the potential of at least three tricks for the defence. DOUBLE.
West’s Plan A was to lead the singleton diamond, seize the lead with the Club Ace and put partner in with the boss spade (Well he had bid them). The appearance of Dummy scuppered this bright start, and the ♦5 was to gift the contract to Declarer. West took the ♣A and tried exiting with the ♥Q, to Declarer’s king. Now all Declarer had to do was draw the remaining trumps and, with the knowledge that East was 5-5 in the pointed suits, exit with the ♦10.
If West ducks this, Declarer continues with a small heart towards Dummy’s 8♥ and, eventually, must reach Dummy to enjoy the isolated A♠ for a heart discard.
The question is: Should East open third in hand with his holding? It certainly misled his partner!
After the first two rounds of bidding, it was obvious that both North and South held six card majors, with little or no support for their partner’s suit. I maintain that North should now bid 2NT with their 18 HCP but, no, North persisted with 3H. Unhappy with this outcome, South reasoned that North must hold some decent cards in the minor suits, so proceeded to bid 3NT.
West led the ♦4, and declarer was more than happy to see ¨K8 in dummy. This meagre holding guaranteed a maximum of three diamond losers and, had the defendant’s cards split 4-3 , a diamond trick could be made after a 3rd round of the suit. But ‘twas not to be, as East exited with a club at trick three. So Declarer's only option was to play North’s three aces, cross to ♣K and reel off his five top spades to make the contract.
The printout reveals that South can make game in spades for a better score, so why did most Souths fall one trick short in 4S?
When South opened his nine high five card major. he did not envisage playing a slam in that suit. However, North took a more positive view and, over West’s 2D interference bid, he bid 4D. This showed support for spades to at least game and a singleton or void in diamonds. With ♦AK, South was not too enamoured with the splinter bid but decided to show further interest with a 4H bid showing first round control.
With his 15 HCPs North was off to the races. 4NT (RKCB) triggered a 5C response (0 or 3 key cards), 5NT asked for Kings, 6D showed one and 6S set the contract.♦Q lead revealed dummy, and declarer prayed for a 3-2 split in opponents' spades. Moreover, for his overcall, West should have the ♠K so, when Dummy’s ♠Q held the second trick and the ♠K fell under the ace confirming the 3-2 split, Declarer was home in an unlikely scenario.
6NT was the winning score, and one brave couple were defeated in 7S. No-one found the top spot of 7C.
East was left to play in 2S after a spirited bidding sequence. After enquiring about West’s 3rd round double, South quickly gobbled up the first four tricks via ♣A,♣K, ♣ruff and ♦A. Now South had to judge the whereabouts of the two unseen diamonds. As declarer had shown at least nine cards in the black suits he was favourite to start with a singleton diamond. Therefore continuing with the ♦K would set up dummy’s Queen for a heart discard in declarer's hand,
So South switched to a heart. Now, with the potential heart loser gone, Declarer set about the trumps, but with five trumps in North’s hand, it looked like a loser in diamonds and spades to go one down. The only hope was to take the spade finesse, followed by another top spade and the winning club and heart. Fortunately North had to follow suit each time, so on trick eleven it was a simple matter to exit with the losing diamond and smother North’s play of trumps on the last two tricks.
PS. With hindsight, how much simpler to pass one spade doubled for an easier ride and better score!
I have aired this issue once before although the opponents' right to reserve their rights to summon the TD later is a rare bird. But, when it happens, what can one do about it?
On this hand I opened a weak 1NT, East doubled, and South bid 2D, which I alerted as a transfer to hearts, West could have worked out that this is wrong when East bid 2NT (With only a singleton heart!!) and bid 3NT in response.
Now South on lead, leads the J and, although he knows there is a bidding error, he should remain schtum until the end of play. Alas he felt he had to state that his diamond bid was a suit. West tabled her dummy feeling aggrieved as she would have made a take-out double of a natural diamond bid. Quite in order, she reserved her rights but, to my mind, if EW have a good result on the board they should be happy. If not they call on the TD to rule on the defenders, misleading bids.
I was certain that we were playing transfers as per our convention card and insisted on calling the TD (Law 16B2), to settle the issue there and then. South had mis-bid, and the TD was sympathetic to the opposition, but NS had not benefited from this info during the auction. Had South said nothing I would have known from dummy’s hearts that South had a long diamond suit. As it was, declarer took the K on trick 2 and six spade tricks before conceding the last five tricks via South’s A. Most declarers made 10 tricks in three or four spades.
At most tables at a Thursday session, the declarer was West in 1NT – 2, so the score of 3NT by South for 600 stood out like a sore thumb. So, how come?
Well this South had recently played in an EBU sim pairs and, with a hand similar to this one, the EBU expert had strongly advocated opening one spade. Rule of 19, with HCP plus length of two longest suits amounting to 19.
So our South pushed his luck and opened the bidding. 2D from North, 2H from South and a bullish North bid the fourth suit.
Now South regretted his weak opener, but with J10 and two other tens as well, the only bid was 3NT.
West was stuck for a decent lead and opted for a small club, so it was a simple matter to set up three club tricks, and three heart tricks. With the very favourable lay of the diamond and spade suits, it was possible to set up three tricks in the other two suits, unless EW were spot on in their defence.
The England rugby team incurred so many penalties in the World Cup because they queried the referee's decision too often and antagonised the man in charge. This can happen in any game, especially bridge.
At a recent event I was called to a table where Declarer, (North), had revoked when, early in the proceedings, she had played a heart after leading a spade from dummy. I was intent on finding out whether the revoke was established, when East claimed that there was a penalty in any case. She knew the rules, and claimed that Declarer had not realised she had revoked until West had said: "You have revoked". Not difficult to diagnose as Declarer had bid hearts followed by spades, before settling in a heart contract.
Now it was difficult to establish what had happened first - whether Declarer had tried to amend her revoke before or after West had alerted her to it, ie whether the revoke was established or not. No-one seemed to know so, influenced by East’s belligerent attitude, I ruled in favour of Declarer.
Half an hour later, East-West arrived at our table, and my partner was in a 5H contract, destined to go one off. Partner had a lot of hearts and, in a frosty atmosphere, was drawing trumps. I did not get a full view of West’s small red card, and asked if I could see it.
West pointed out that I was dummy, and had no rights, so refused. Partner, a canny Suffolk farmer, was aware that West had revoked but said nothing and waited until the revoke was established. After which one trick was duly transferred to the good guys!
An ironic outcome.
This hand from the county match against Essex, produced a mixed bag of results, and illustrates the extremes the competitors resort to in order to gain a good result. With both sides vul, North opened a dodgy 4S. Well it could silence the opposition, but East was daft enough to bid 4NT showing both minor suits. Fortunately West had a useful hand , with support for both minor suits. Rather than plonk for 5C, West deliberated, assuming East had a better hand than his actual holding. What to bid??? After considering possible options, West found the excellent bid of 5S, asking partner to bid his favoured minor. East responded 6C on the assumption that West would convert to 6D if clubs not in favour. Understandably, South led ª3, ruffed in hand with §3. Drawing trumps with the successful finesse, Declarer crossed to his ©A, and the heart finesse worked to enable him to discard two losing diamonds on the long hearts. Now ¨2 to his Ace allowed declarer to play towards dummy’s¨Q, and although South took the trick with his ¨K, Declarer still had a trump left to ruff the spade return. Could South defeat the contract by starting of with a diamond for his partner to ruff. YES, assuming North does not then play ªA, which would then provide declarer with three diamond discards on dummy’s major suit winners. 6C and 6H by West are untouchable. On the four tables in the B team we amassed a score of 2630, which translates to 21 imps. Massive! Robbie
This hand from the county match against Essex, produced a mixed bag of results, and illustrates the extremes the competitors resort to in order to gain a good result.
With both sides vul, North opened a dodgy 4S. Well it could silence the opposition, but East was daft enough to bid 4NT showing both minor suits. Fortunately West had a useful hand , with support for both minor suits. Rather than plonk for 5C, West deliberated, assuming East had a better hand than his actual holding. What to bid??? After considering possible options, West found the excellent bid of 5S, asking partner to bid his favoured minor. East responded 6C on the assumption that West would convert to 6D if clubs not in favour.
Understandably, South led ª3, ruffed in hand with §3. Drawing trumps with the successful finesse, Declarer crossed to his ©A, and the heart finesse worked to enable him to discard two losing diamonds on the long hearts. Now ¨2 to his Ace allowed declarer to play towards dummy’s¨Q, and although South took the trick with his ¨K, Declarer still had a trump left to ruff the spade return.
Could South defeat the contract by starting of with a diamond for his partner to ruff. YES, assuming North does not then play ªA, which would then provide declarer with three diamond discards on dummy’s major suit winners. 6C and 6H by West are untouchable. On the four tables in the B team we amassed a score of 2630, which translates to 21 imps. Massive!
Board 4 from Thursday 4th November produced some early fireworks. On the traveller, all four players had been declarer in all denominations except spades. So what happened at my table?
After my partner opened 1D followed by a 1H overcall from North, I had a problem. With three unprotected Kings, I felt the hand would play better if I were declarer. I envisaged making my K and, presuming Partner had top diamonds and an outside Ace for her bid, I could count on six tricks in diamonds plus AK of another suit. Nine tricks in all, but I hedged my bets by bidding 2NT. Partner with QJ10 to support my stop in hearts bid 3NT
Predicted lead of a heart from South, and dummy revealed a very dodgy opening bid from Partner. UGH! Press on and hope. K on trick one, A dropped singleton K, so seven tricks in the bag. Exited with heart to dummy’s QJ, which held trick and somehow the defence contrived to give me a ninth trick in spades. Very lucky. Admittedly the defence are ‘squeezed’ on six rounds of diamonds but, if North rises with A at trick one and switches to a club, then they take the first ten tricks. Lucky.
The Michaels cue bid is a very useful convention to have in one’s armoury. Despite no opportunity to discuss it with my partner, I assumed he was au fait with this convention.
Basically, you can show your distribution by bidding the opponents' opening suit bid. If this is a minor suit, a two bid of that suit guarantees at least 5-5 in the majors. Conversely, if the opponents open one of a major suit, two of that suit shows 5 cards in the other major, and 5 cards in an unspecified minor.
If partner does not like your major suit and has useful cards in a minor (say 3-3 holding) he can bid 2NT asking you for your minor suit. Simple.
On Board 24, West opened 1C and with my hand, I bid 2C. Partner was alive to the situation and, although East probably bid 2D, partner's 2S response was passed out.
No problem with the play: just one trick to be lost in each suit. One other pair played in spades, but they reached game , losing the same 4 tricks. Strangely enough, when we arrow-switched on the last round, Board 7 provided my partner with the opportunity for a Michaels cue bid. He converted my 2S response to 4S, and the defence contrived to give me a twelfth trick.
Remember this convention. Twice in one day makes it worthwhile.
Playing Acol partner opened 1C, which in a 4441 hand is the suit below the singleton, unless the singleton is a heart. I responded 1D, and West’s 1S silenced partner for a moment.
Now we had been on a good run, so I assumed partner only had four clubs, and could not support my diamonds. However she had opened the bidding , and I held the most points in the minor suits Coupled with my ©J109, my partner’s major suit holdings could ensure a 3NT contract. How do we get there?
I jumped to 3C and partner, bless her, duly obliged by bidding 3NT After a spade lead the play was relatively simple, and the contract was made with two spade tricks two in diamonds, four club tricks and the heart Ace.
My message on this hand is that you must envisage your partner's holding, and sometimes fortune favours the brave. Lena and I were walking on water at times. Most of the other NS were in 2NT, making 9 or 10 tricks.
On Board 23 from Thursday, everyone made 10 tricks in spades but only three pairs bid game. My partner opened one spade and, although we had a fit, I felt that with my flat hand and only seven points, two spades was sufficient. Unsupported Kings and Queens never look that attractive.
However, partner had other ideas and bid three clubs, alerted by me. Partner’s three club bid says: "I am interested in game but I have at least three losing clubs in my hand. Can you help me?" Now, with a doubleton club to the King, I knew we could not lose more than two tricks in clubs so dutifully bid four spades. If I had held three small clubs I would have bid three spades
The opposition took their three Aces and fortunately the A was onside. Remember the long suit trial bid. A useful gadget as evidenced here.