Hand 7 from the MenŐs and LadiesŐ pairs event.


You are South, itŐs your bid and you hold:


S AK         H T65              D AQT93        C J94


What do you bid? Please decide before reading on.


You have a balanced 14 points which might suggest 1NT. I think this hand is too strong for that bid and I would upgrade it by a point and open 1D intending to re-bid 1NT.


Your partner, North, holds:


S Q43        H AQJ92         D K                  C A863


If you opened 1NT then partner will transfer to hearts and then rebid 3NT which you will probably convert to 4H and make 13 tricks courtesy of a winning heart finesse.


However if you chose to open 1D then the bidding will start



1NT-3C(depending on your system)

3H (agrees hearts) -3S (cue bid)

4C-4D (both cue bids)

4NT (RKCB)-5H (2 key cards without the trump Q)

Pass or 6H


6H will again be the probable final contract because it is really difficult to find that grand slams are available in both hearts and no trumps. Of course you are never going to risk a grand slam on a finesse but the small slam in hearts looks a pretty good bet to me.


In the MenŐs event it was bid by only one pair who then went two off! (How did they do that?) Everyone else made 12 or 13 tricks in either 4H or 3NT.


In the LadiesŐ event it was again bid only once (by Di Hutton and Sheena Lanham! Well done!) who scored 1430 for a clear top in the room.


My point is that you donŐt have to open all 14 point balanced hands with 1NT. Some 14 point hands should be upgraded because of say a 5 card suit and lots of filling whilst some 12 point hands should be downgraded to a pass – three aces and a load of twos, three and fours for example.