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Interesting Hands Library
Teaching - Strong Hand

Hand from Teaching on 27th May 2017:

Interesting hand, I had set the strong hand myself but see what you would do with this.....

Small slam - just

Hand 24 at CBC 19th May 2017:

Board 24 was fouled prior to play and shuffled at the table so doesn't match the hand file - it is here for reference

7NT if you can!

Hand 20 at CBC 15th May 2017:

Board 20 proved to be an above average board but we could have been in 7NT !  Only 4 bid a slam (2 in 6, 1 in 6NT and 1 in 7).  1 was not in game, so it really was a tricky slam to find!

We were in 6, I have 19HCP and both majors so I open 2.  Partner is forced to say 2 and I now bid 2.  Partner jumps to 5 and I have no room to look so bid 6 (5 of a minor is rarely a good score).

Now, if partner ignores our system and bids 3 over my 2 I have a better picture of the hand and we can cue our way up to the grand.  If partner bids 4 I can bid 4NT and ask and we get to at least 6NT.

7 Spades Making

Hand 18 at Wimbledon (Mary Edwards) 14th May 2017:

Hand 18, South holds 9 ♠s to the AKJ, a ♣ void a singleton ♥ and an outside AJx.  I hold (in West) an opening hand with 6♣ to the KQ and 2 other Ks.  They open 2♣, I overcall 3♣ and North bids 3♥.  South has made a game force opener (for them) and so now bids 3♠.  North now bids 6NT!!!  I cannot see how to touch this, I lead the K♣ but it's all over.  Several are in 7♠ going 1 off here but one pair bid and MADE 7♠!!!!!!!  Played by one of our own players (representing Farnham here), Tim Green squeezed the Ops so tight they collapsed and threw away the only winners in attempt to keep everything and he bid and made 7♠ - I have asked him to send me a description of the bidding and play and will add to this if/when it is sent.  Well done Tim though, this is the play of the year in my book!!!

7 Spades Doubled

Hand 36 at Petersfield 13th May 2017:

Unfortunate here.  Ops open strong and positive reply.  When later Key Cards are sought, declarer cannot believe his partner has none and so assumes they thought it was key cards in D and has 3.  Therefore 7 is bid.  With 2 Aces my partner doubles and take it 2 off.

Crazy 4 Hearts

Hand 32 at Petersfield 13th May 2017:

Playing 5 card majors, we open 1.  I only have 4 points but rarely pass a semi-artificial 1 and I have a 6 card  suit.

Partner then bids my singleton, I repeat my .  Partner now bids an enquiring 2 and that's my 5 card suit so I raise.  Then partner bids 3NT and I cannot leave this so bid 4.  This holds very little hope but.....

I get a trump lead that helps a lot, trapping the Ops K which is volunteered on trick 1.  I now play a  and ruff a .  Then lose a and another and a comes through.  I win this and ruff a .  Now throw my single on a (loser on loser) and contract made!

13 tricks missing 2 Aces

Hand 23 at CBC 12th May 2017:

I bid 1NT, partner transfers me to s then bids 3 s (game force and showing distribution).  I have 3 s but decide to play in 3NT.

Small  lead and I duck, South shows a void and my 7 wins.  Small  to dummy KQ and small back to my A.  Then a  and North plays Q and I go up with the K.  Next the J (no covered) and small to my Q (again not covered).  I take 3 more s then small to dummy and they all fall - 13 tricks made missing 2 Aces!

4 Hearts - making?

Hand 21 at YHBC 10th May 2017:

Hand analysis from Mr Brown of YHBC (actually same at our table in teams where my partner makes 4 and our team mates take 4 1 off):

Bidding has gone

N E S W
3♣ * 3  P 4 
P P P  

 

 

 

*This hand is not much good for anything else and I need to play it in clubs. If I open 1 it will probably start a bidding war so I might as well get in there with 3.

All pass.

Contract is 4 by East, lead J.

The lead is covered by the Q and won by North’s K, East dropping a (subtle) false card of the 8. This suggests to N that E only has a singleton but even so, N should play the A, If this gets ruffed N can win the A and lead another to promote a trick in partner’s hand.

As it happens E follows to the A and now N leads a third .

Spotlight on East. He has to ruff and also must ruff high with the J.

Now, East’s next move is crucial. He must draw trumps but he knows that the A will win and it ought to be with N for his vulnerable pre-empt. In fact, if S has it, then there is no real problem. E is also missing the 10 & 9 of s so he needs to avoid N winning by taking another of his top s and leading another to force a trump promotion.

The solution. Lead the next round of s from dummy. Problem, how to get there.

He can overtake one of his top s but then will be left relying upon the  finesse because he really needs the A to ditch a small from his hand.

He can cross to the A but that then could leave the s open to a loser.

Decisions, decisions.

It really comes back to those s. It looks as though E will need the finesse so why not take it now? Chances are that N does not have anything more that the A outside of his s (remember he pre-empted).

So, taking a deep breath and crossing everything, E leads to the J.

And it wins. Phew. Now he can lead a heart from dummy and that is that.

Thoughtful play

Hand 24 at Woking 9th May 2017:

I pass with my 10 count (6 but no honours and I have 4, would rather wait and see how things develop).  Partner opens 1♣ and Ops overcall 1.  I now bid 1 and partner bids 2♣.  Ops now repeat s and I say 2 (I should have bid 3 I think).  Partner bids 3 and I now bid 4, all pass.

Ops lead the 6 to my singleton Ace.  I then stop and think.  I can try and cross ruff the hand which is a good line and generates 10 tricks (1, 2 ruffs, 4 ruffs, 1♣, 2).  Is there more here though?  Dummy's ♣ look so good.....

I decide to set the ♣ up.  I play K and Ops J appears (looks like a singleton to me but could have the 10).  I then play a low ♣ and the Ops Q appears (this IS a singleton as I hold AKJ10 between the hands).  I now know how to play this!

I ruff a  in hand and then play the Q.  Ops danger hand now holds 2 trumps as does dummy but I can't finesse the 10/9 and cannot now afford to lose a direct  either way round.  I therefore have no choice but to play J♣ and after a big pause, Ops ruffs.  They are now fixed as I can draw the last trump and dummy is high.  They play a  and I ruff with my last trump and play a  to dummy's 8.   Now the A for the last trump and just ♣ left - 12 tricks made and this is the last hand of the evening so I leave on a high!!!

Tricky bidding with a Minor

Hand 2 at CBC 5th May 2017:

We have 6 (4-3 fit) or 6♣ on - we end up in 5 but nobody else in game - I find this amazing with our hands but it is hard for partner to get the bidding correct here and we got through it.  When you hold 9HCP and only 4 card suit is ♣ (which I have opened), what do you say?  2♣ can be passed, 1NT can be passed, lie and bid a 3 card major and risk partner zooming off?  My partner decided to bid 2♣ and we were fortunate that the Ops came in so I was able to reverse and show my points.  Now a 3 card ♠ come from Partner and I jump to 5♣.  Any ideas how we find either slam and if we should find it?  Just because it can be made doesn't mean it should be bid.....

I also notice as I write this that South didn't open with this hand, I suspect they mis-counted the hand and then came in after realising - with a 1 opener, I would have used Gesthem to still find game.

Slam or Slam DBL?

Hand 3 at YHBC 1st May 2017:

Playing in the inaugural Swiss Pairs run as a joint event by Camberley and YHBC and we come against this hand on our first hand of the session.

We are drawn against a very competitive pair who push hard and through a fierce auction, they end up in 5 which I double.  I should actually have bid 6 but no idea what will generate the biggest score here so settle for Ops off in their slam.  At the time, this proves to be a zero for us as only 3 scores in and both the others were NS in 6.  In the end though, the majority did not bid the slam and we ended with 76% - what would you do with this?

7 of a Minor or 3NT?!!!

Hand 16 at YHBC 28th April 2017:

We had a good score for 3NT+2 as I opened 3NT (Gambling).  At our table this was passed and I play in 3NT.  If South overcalls 4, I can then bid 5 and partner may now get interested and push to 6 - do we ever get to 7?  Should we be when it relies on the  finesse (which I took in 3NT)?  Open to discsussion, would be interested in views here....

6 Spades on distribution and logic

Hand 5 at CBC 24th April 2017:

I decide to open this 2 (strictly speaking, reading Ron Klinger for example, this is too wild for a weak 2, but it seemed correct to open).

Ops come in with 3 (actually had longer  but still), now partner jumps to 4.

The ops carry on to 5 but I am thinking and pause for a while......Now, what can partner have.  The ops have bid and supported and I have 5, cannot be any in partners hand.  I have the high so these points are not in partners hand.  Must be a red hand with high points in them, but are the right cards there?  My space has been taken away so what do I do?  I bid the ops suit (at the 6 level!!!) - if honest, I am not sure what this means either but I know partner cannot pass!  I want to know what the red suit hlding is and am looking for 6 /  bid to show a control.  I don't blame partner, but this was not understood so 6 was bid (no chance of finding 7 now but it is not there anyway!).  My logic was that partner MUST hold the hand I want to make 6 on this auction, there was room for the cards to be wrong but the odds in my favour and was right this time!  The only pair in the slam, if only every hand was like this!

3NT off 1, can it be made?

Hand 4 at YHBC 21st April 2017:

Landing in 3NT (not the auction we had but end result is the same), Ops (me) lead the 4 (4th highest and can be trusted for a genuine lead).

Look at trick 1.

4-5-Q-A.  What's your 4?  I'd say declarer knows your game well and should trust it for fourth-highest anyway, but actually on the bidding a short-suit lead (of a major) would be reasonable.  BUT I wouldn't have played the Q had I held the T.  And if you'd had a doubleton T4 you'd have led the T.  A MUD lead from T4x would be an eccentric start given the bidding (and while your bidding can be eccentric at times you stick to the book on opening leads).  Therefore KT6 of can all be placed in your hand.

Now count tricks.  Declarer has four sure , a top  and two , and has already won A... so only needs to find one more to make the contract.  The s... are a 75% shot (roughly)... but if the 9 is run (well, cover the T if you play it) Declarer is *certain* to make the second .  It doesn't even matter if the K is mis-placed (which is a 1 in a 1000 shot): as long as T is with east Declarer has the second and ninth trick - and why would I *ever* play Q holding T when J is sitting in dummy?

Grand Slam but how?

Board 17 at Cobham in the evening:

An amazing hand, partner opens 1♠ and the auction continues and key card in  is asked.  I answer 1 keycard (partner thinks it is 0) and auction signs off in 5 - I should have been awake and realised partner must have must have made an error, why are they asking if 1 is the wrong answer?  Am certain I should have gone to 6 on this auction - I didn't and a poor score ensues.

However, should we get to 7?

Assuming we play exlcusion Blackwood (I do with 2 other partners) - auction could go, 1, 2, 2, 5, 5 (showing 1 other than A).  Now - does partner go 7 missing the 2 key Qs?  I have shown 8+ HCP but 4 are A and 4 could be in  - I think 6 is all we can bid without more sophistication  crying

One of my bridge partners from back home has since commented that although you could be missing the Q♠, it's very unlikely to find one Op with 6 to the Q, if you find 4 to the Q, ruff them good for 7 - it IS worth a go at the Grand...!!!  Also, a better bidding sequence starts with a strong 2 in ACOL or 2 for Benji:

2  – 3  – 5  – 5♠  – 7  (You could try 5NT grand slam force to locate Q , but makes no difference to locating Q♠ .)

Game or 1100?

Board 1 in the afternoon at Cobham

This turns into a compettive auction where N stays quiet (for good reason).  I am faced with a choice of a game score in  (which I had assumed), or 800+ as a penalty.  I chose 800 in the end!!!  Of course, they bid again and this turned into 1100 - a fairly flat board other than our score - one for the good guys for once!

Lead to Singleton K

Letting the Ops go wrong...

Missing 3 Aces and having no voids in either hand, 12 tricks scores us 100%.  This was just such bad luck for our opponents.  Lead of a  and they take trick one with the A but this is Dummy's singleton - unsure what to play next as she doesn't want to lead A or away from an A and doesn't find the correct  switch so plays a trump.  I win in dummy and play a small  to my singleton K, this wins and now I draw trumps, ending in Dummy and play Q (only the A left and the others are now the same value).  A comes up and I ruff.  Back to Dummy with a trump and play the last 4 s to discard all my  - 12 tricks made.  Not playing the A ended up costing 2 tricks this time.

Lucky 3NT

Hand 21 at CBC

I have 5 headed by the KQ but decide to open this 1NT in the modern style.  The Ops now overcall 2 and partner bids 3 (the correct bid or not?).

Not quite sure what this means or how strong my partner is but given that my hand is good for 1NT, I decide to punt 3NT.  The auction ends here and play commences. I win the  lead and play the 8 (only the K can beat it and it appears) - now set-up, I lose a  to generate my 9th trick and contract now made!  I could have played up to my K for one more trick early on but if wrong, I don't make the contract.  I had already decided that we were in a lucky contract and so decided to ensure I got it home!

I will open this hand 1 in future though as it is really too strong to open to 1NT.

Tricky Slam 2

Alan Brown's view:

N pass
E has enough to open 2
S not many points but so shapely and also n/v against vul. And also bidding will disrupt the enemy so should bid 3, 4 if feeling frisky.
W straightforward 3
N tempting to bid 5
E 5 - at the 5 level before I can show my suit !
S got to pass
W South must have 6 and partner has jumped to 5 so must have 4 of them. Therefore partner can only have a singleton. With my  void and super support I think I can safely bid 6

Tricky Slam 1

Alan Brown's view:

E 1
W 2 - no need to rush, E will certainly bid again. With a combined count of 30+ HCP we are possibly in the slam zone
E 2
W Right. Partner is 5 - 4 in the majors. He did not jump in  so they are at best K high. He has not bid NT so he has nothing in . And speaking of diamonds we really need the final contract to be with West to protect that suit from the lead. So I will just bid 3N.

For the more advanced, I think West's bid should be 5N. E can now bid 6 happily with that AK of  that partner does not know about.

1NT played perfectly by Partner!

Playing NT

Playing a strong  system with 5 card Majors, 1 shows 11-15 with no 5 card major and a hand without a winner in 3 suits and 4 tricks (which would be 1NT).

With this in mind, I open 1 (alerted).  Ops overcall 1 and partner bids 1NT (up to 10 HCP for us).  The auction is then passed out.

After the lead and partner wins the 2nd in hand, the K is led and loses - back in and lose another - is this worth it?  YES!!!!  Make use of dummy's long suit, doing so now sets up the long suit.  It may seem that the  would offer more tricks but these come at the end.  Perfect play earns my partner 100% for making 8 tricks - it is not just the 7NT hands that count, this is duplicate pairs and every hand counts, this was great play and well done partner!

6 Spades Redoubled.....

The rare Re-Double

I am North and decide to open this poor hand 1 (nothing outrageous here), opps overcall 2 (not un-reasonable), partner raises me to 6 !!!!  Opps double, I gulp inwardly regretting opening this terrible hand and then partner redoubles!!!!

It is fair to say, I was quite pleased to see the higher s in partner's hand but am still confident of 1 off - I win the first in hand and then play a small expecting to find the 3-0 break off-side, no - they both follow!  Q must be a doubleton.  First hurdle dealt with.  Now, I have a losing  and a losing , what to do?  I take my 's and leave W with a winning on lead, what can she do other than give me the ruff and discard I need, give me a or give me a - she played a low , I duck and win in dummy, K now trapped, 12 made - 2070 scored!!!

Downgrade in 4th?

Downgrading a hand

Passed round to me in 4th seat, I have 15 HCP and a flat hand and down grade to 1NT (trying to be clever perhaps).  Had I opened 1, partner may muster up a 1 bid and now I bid 2 and that is where we play.  This is a much better spot than 1NT - lesson here, bid your hand!!!  I am sure a later diary entry will advocate when to up or downgrade a hand though....!

It takes 2 to Slam

Don't get carried away...

The bidding has passed round to me in 4th seat and I have 24HCP - open 2.  2 negative from partner, 2 from me (we cannot pass until game is reached so no rush).  So far so good.  Partner has 5 and correctly bids 3.  This is only promising 4 at this stage so the auction should carry on like this..... 3 by me showing extra length, 4 from partner, All pass and game bid and made for a joint top.  This is me however............  Instead of bidding 3 I bid 6 on my own and get doubled and go 3 down for 0%.   Lesson here, when you have a strong hand, partner is in control, listen to partner and make use of their hand.

The Minor Slam

6 Card + for a minor Pre-empt:

Although I am not claiming to be right here, opening a 6 card minor as a weak 3 level bid so often proves fruitful.  Here, if I do not open, partner will open some variant of a strong 2 (for us, 2 followed by a 2N rebid).  After this, it is very hard to go on above 3N - with more info from the off, Alan was able to assess the slam possibility (well done Alan!)

Opening hand - consider Passing!

Pass sometimes....

As West, I have an opening hand and I opened 1 - by the time it came back to me I am bidding over 3 and partner has bid s.  I cannot show my  with our system (not strong enough to bid above or and Dbl is penalties) so all I can do is support with my 3 card suit.  Partner now thinks my 5s are better than they are and correctly bids 4.  With a slightly better break we can make this but not tonight!  Better to Pass.....

Partner now opens and we cn have a more constructive auction.  I can now support patner and we ignore the dodgy s and find the correct contract, if only I would pass......!

Will they make it?

Not my hand here but was sent this to add to the interesting hands!

Partner opened 1 with this hand.      The next person doubled.    I redoubled, (“10+ points, no support for partner’s suit”) with my 10HCP and singleton diamond, hoping to double again for penalties whatever opps bid next.   They didn’t bid anything though!  The fourth person only had 3 points and Jxxx in  - which he/she should have bid of course.  My partner was happy enough to leave the redouble in and made 9 tricks in the end for +630!

We did have a non-vul 4 on, with a 4-3 spade fit, but 630 was much better.   Rarely have I seen that happen before.

The moral of that story being.... never leave a redouble in unless you’re absolutely certain that the contract will go off!

The wrong bid....Again!

CBC 27th March 2017 - hand 14:

In an auction where they are stopping in 2 of a major, it is almost always correct to bid with 7+ points.  However, with a poor suit, DBL do NOT bid your own suit.  Partner knows it is balancing as you have passed twice but give the option to find a fit or leave for penalties.  On this hand, I DBL and partner passes for 100%.   Of course, I bid like an idiot and 3 is a 0% - will I ever learn?

Slow down and play properly!

Bid to the correct contract against a tough pair

I got the  correct, pinning the Q - I took the finesse, it holds and I then planned the next few tricks.  In my haste, I was then a trick ahead of myself and played the K from Dummy instead of coming back to hand to make both s - so cross with myself!!!  Make the plan and then carry it out in a calm manner..... crying

The clues are there....!

Hand 13, unlucky for some

Not all would get here logically but our leader, Mr Brown did (albeit after the bidding, unlucky Mr Brown)....

With the knowledge that I have an opening hand and no 5 card major, all suits now bid by EW with the H being fouth suit forcing.  This would be promising some form of stop and the danger hand (mine) can not have 5, so at worst, 4 are out and partner has an interest.  partner has removed Alan' overcall so must be weak or strong, we know it is strong now with fourth suit forcing, Alan repeated his  but realised too late that a "close your eyes and bid 3NT" moment was there - it's the correct contract - 4 down 3 was unfortunately our top.

Cash your winners!

Hand 12 at CBC in the afternoon on the 24th March 2017.

A fairly poor session for us overall, rather than focus on the negatives, here is a good board !  This is a lesson in taking your tricks, if you do, partner may signal to continue to take more.

Here, if EW take the A and get a positive signal, the K is then taken and a  led back - this means with the A too, 4 tricks are taken and contract is held.  In theory, this would be a good result as 4 is available for 620 (beating the 400 for 3NT held).  With us, small led which I win in hand.  Win a , lose a and another small led which I win in hand.  Now I run then  for 12 tricks.....

Admittedly, it helps that our auction included a 2 cappiletti bid (showing and a minor) so a wasn't led trick 1.

Strong 2 or not Strong 2....

20 Points is a great hand, but always open at the 2 level?

My view with a singleton (honour or not) is that 2NT or a 2NT rebid is not the correct bid.

Open at the 1 level - if partner has nothing, 1 of a suit is likely to be the correct contract (amazing, but 20 points between you is not enough for much more on most hands).

In this hand, partner has the danger suit.  If they bid it (as I would), problem solved.  If not, they could say 1NT - in this case, you still know the D suit is covered, don't you?

What does 1NT show over partners minor?  It shows no 4 card major, this means only 6 cards can be in the majors and therefore 7 cards are in the minors.  Extend this logic, they have 2 card support for you and so have 5, or 3 card support and 4.  If they opted to bid 1NT with 4 or 5 in your suit, they will now pass with an ever spread of points or they will take it out into game in your suit.  Think about this and make sure you understand the logic, I think this level of understanding of partners shape is vital in bidding.

Im in 1NT Doubled, get me out of here!

When a 12 point 1NT is doubled and partner passes, use RDBL to say SOS (Help!!!).

If the Opps decline to bid still, partner should now bid lowest ranked suits up the line to achieve a fit (even if 3 / 4 fit).

If partner actually has 8+ points (you have the balance), they can now pass the RDBL and hope to make a huge score!

It is normally advised that if you DBL 1NT, keep doubling!  In this case, partner panics (correctly) and bids ♠.  How can you not go to game now the evil DBL you planned has been wriggled.....

Pick your sacrificial moments.....

Hand 6 at CBC on 20th March 2017.

A typically competitve auction.  After 4, 5 Vul can never be a good sacrifice - pick your moments to be brave....

The Slam that got away

Bidding is not a problem, landed in 6

Draw the trumps for 2 rounds, then carry on for a few to see what happens - If you are thinking of a squeeze you need to "rectify the count" so, after clearing trumps finishing in dummy, lead a small .
If E has the Q it is unlikely he will play it. If E has the A it will be a brave E who won't put up the A (end of problem)
If E does duck then the J will be won by the Q.
At some stage you need to ruff another two clubs to "isolate the menace" and then it becomes a simultaneous double  squeeze - Why didn't I do this! crying

A cheeky bid pays off !

Portland Pairs - Hand 26, session 1:

Are you getting to game, take the bidding space away and NS are left unsure if this is sound or not - do you pass the DBL as NS?  Interesting.....

Pre-empting with a Minor

Pre-empting with a minor:

Consider pre-empting with a 6 card minor, these hands are often not worth any more and you will never enter the bidding if you don't open.

These can be disruptive for the opposition and also tells partner not to get carried away and go to high.

Look at the example above and see if you would open with the N hand.

Carding Signals

Attitude:

It is important to have some way to encourage or discourage partner in each suit.  This applies each time a suit is played (you won't always have the cards to show what you want but most of the time this will work).

A common system is Attitude (or Reverse Attitude).  Attitude is High to encourage and Reverse is Low to encourage - Using the reverse attitude method, defend the  contract by leading the J (partner may ovetake), A next and play the 3 to say "continue" and win with the K - no more tricks on offer here but you have ensured the tricks have been made.

Level of the Fit

This hand could be bid as follows:

P, P, 1, 2

4, P, P, P

The W hand has an LTC of 7 when partner opens a suit we can agree, therefore bid to game.

The 2 shows at least 5 and 8+ points as an overcall, a brave N may bid 5 after 4 given the fit says 3 and 2 off doubled is 300 - this is better than 420+ for 4.  The danger is we may go 1 more off or push them into a slam - no right or wrong answer here.

Maximise Tricks in Dummy

How to make use of Dummy in No Trumps:

You have found yourself in No Trumps with very little points in Dummy and a long suit.

The first thing to think about in No Trumps is how to make the tricks required (9 in 3NT).  Then think about how to make the most of the dummy provided.

In this exampe, there is a 6 card suit in Dummy.  It is almost always a good plan to make the most of Dummy's long suit.

After the lead (which you win in this example), play the K.  If the Ace takes it, win trick 3 and then play the Q - if they duck the first , still play Q on trick 3.

Once the Ace is out, you now have a low  to get over to Dummy.  Dummy has now provided you with 5 tricks.  Count the discards and you can see the 4th  in hand is good and so throw the losers in  and you are only left with winners in hand - 12 tricks made.

Key here is not to panic, don't be afraid to throw your high cards under the oppositions Aces if you need to keep a low card to transport to dummy.