The Wachusett Bridge Club
 
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Club # 272005
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Hand of the Week

This page will hold a collection of instructive hands played at the Club or hands about which you have asked questions.  So feel free to ask about a specific hand from each week's game and one will be chosen for inclusion here.

Board 2 - October 16 Game

Here’s a hand where East should initially Pass rather than consider a preemptive bid of 3 Diamonds. Especially for those who play the Rule of 2 and 3, promising six tricks when opening with a non-vulnerable three bid. I see maybe five sure tricks in this hand, but six is a stretch.

West will then open 1 Club and I think that most North players would overcall 1 Heart. Nine HCP and a reasonable Heart suit should be enough even vulnerable. At this point East should certainly be mentioning the Diamond suit. Next, South will support partner’s Hearts but only with a minimum raise at the moment, recognizing that North merely overcalled.

As West – especially with the favorable vulnerability – I would raise partner’s Diamonds so as to not sell out too cheaply to N-S. And once East hears even minimal support, I think that the key to the remaining bidding is that East continues Diamonds to ANY level necessary in order to outbid a N-S Heart contract. Even if N-S bid four Hearts, East should sacrifice at five Diamonds. A -500 (if doubled) is better than the -620 North and South will receive making four Hearts. And four Hearts is indeed makeable with a trump finesse and losing only one Diamond and two Spades.

For profitable sacrifices you not only need a suit in which to do so, but you need a good knowledge of the scoring table itself as well as careful attention to vulnerability of both you and opponents.

Board 15 - October 9 Game

An interesting hand in terms of play. I think that most West players will open 1 Club and East will respond 1 Spade. After West rebids Clubs, East must be careful to make a forcing bid since East, with a 16 point hand, knows that the partnership must reach game. And I think the cleanest route at that point is to simply bid the 3 Notrump game directly now that East knows that opener’s Club suit is “real.”

East’s initial count of winning tricks comes to five: one Spade, two Diamonds, and two Clubs. Since South’s opening lead is likely to be a Heart, declarer can also rely on two Heart tricks for a total of seven winners. Either black suit offers at least two more eventual winners, but which is the best option?

As it turns out, leading a Spade from dummy catches the singleton king, leading to a total of 4 Spade tricks. Even if the intended Spade finesse loses (if the king were in South), declarer would establish at least three Spade tricks. But NOT looking at all four hands as we all are right now, I would work on establishing the Clubs by initially leading low and LOSING the first Club trick! The odds of Clubs breaking 3-2 is greater than 50 percent (67.8% !!!) and, if they do, this play will establish a total of five Club tricks. The odds of a successful Spade finesse are exactly 50 percent and, should it fail, declarer is likely to come to only three Spade tricks. And as an aside, even if Clubs broke 4-1, the safety play would earn declarer a total of four Club tricks using the Diamond ace as an eventual entry to dummy.

Lessons and logic aside, the weird distribution on this hand should allow many declarers to make six on a Heart lead: 4 Spades, 1 Heart, 2 Diamonds, and 5 Clubs.

Board 6 - October 2 Game

Here’s a hand in which all seven pairs who played it are in Clubs – five clubs makes easily yet only two pairs were in it, three pairs were in three, and two pairs were in two. The hand depends upon understanding sequences involving takeout doubles.

West is likely to open the hand 1 Diamond. North should make a takeout double! I know, I know . . . North is promising support for Clubs, Hearts, and Spades yet is conspicuously missing the latter two. But North’s hand is so strong, that North fully intends to bid Clubs over anything that partner bids. A takeout double followed by the bid of a new suit clarifies the takeout double as one not necessarily capable of supporting all suits, but one holding a strong suit in a very strong hand.

As it happens, South will likely bid 1 Heart and now North can complete the picture by bidding a new suit – namely, Clubs. Is a 2 Club bid forcing? Let’s put it this way. Even if not forcing with a capital “F,” South should make every effort to keep the bidding open for North. If I had absolutely no points as South and no Club support, I might well pass. But that’s not the case. Bid 3 Clubs and now North, with little to stop either Diamonds or Spades, should abandon any thought of notrump and bid the Club game.