Our new 12-week program of Bridge continued this week with another successful evening. Thanks to everyone who came along and especially to those people who are new to the club.
We had six-and-a-half tables playing 14 boards in a Mitchell movement using randomly dealt hands.
At the end of the evening, Sally led a discussion on some of the hands played and gave some tips on playing.
To see the full results and the hands click HERE, click on a pair to access the travellers and the hands. For Sally's commentary a couple of the boards from tonight, see below.
Next week - 5th May - is the start of Teams month. Details are yet to be finalised but don't let that put you off. No need to have a ready-formed team although if you have one that is great. Come along even if you are without a partner, we'll sort out some team-mates for you on the night. Refreshments will be available during the evening.
Board 14 - A number of scenarios... A real mixture of results on this board, with EW pairs playing in both S and H, at both game and part score level, and one NS pair playing in 5CX (good move Penny & Carol , especially if it was over 4H). Possibly the range of different contracts was down to a range of different openings. E looks like a nailed-on pass to begin, but then S might have mixed things up at some tables. Usually, you look to have a seven-card suit to open with a preempt at the 3 level, but particularly with Cs (no weak 2C available as an option), you might be tempted to go for it with a six-card suit. Even more tempting when the six-card suit is reasonable quality and you're non-vulnerable. So 3C here looks like a good option - making this opening as the second bidder isn't the ideal position, and sometimes it will go wrong, but bridge is all about risk/reward and it's great to mix things up a bit and make life difficult for the opponents!
If this happens then W is hit with the 3 level as their starting point, never easy. Only 9 points but 5/5 in the majors is a very powerful shape, and although the H suit is pretty rubbish, the S suit is lovely! All your 9 points are working well there. It's a little off putting that partner is a passed hand but, non-vulnerable, if I have a way of showing both majors, then I wouldn't be able to resist doing that. 4C would most likely be the way you'd do this - cue bidding the opponent's suit in this position is a very effective way of showing two suits, and when it's a minor you're cue bidding then you're showing both majors, at least 5/5 always.
N doesn't really need to look beyond the 4 card C support to bid 5C. And then E is left with a tricky 5 level decision. Amazing H support, a second fit in S (although JXX isn't a great holding), difficult to know if those minor cards are much use or not... and at the 5 level, you're trying to limit yourself to just two losers. Which applies to both sides here - are either of 5C or 5H making? These high-level decisions feel scary. The QXX in Cs looks bad, but given the opponents bidding it does sound like partner is very likely to have a void in C here. And all of a sudden that improves your hand massively - not just the C situation, but also then your KX D looks extremely promising, particularly since the weak 3C hand is sitting over your KD - even if partner does not have the AD, hopefully N has it and your KD is a trick. These thoughts about the minors swings it for me and I think you must bid 5H. The fact that 5H makes here even though partner is about as weak as they possibly could be is perhaps proof enough that 5H has to be the bid. 6CX by NS is a good save on the hand but extremely difficult to bid!
Next scenario could be if S passes rather than opening 3C... W does not pass the rule of 20 (Quite! But would the hand be so much better if you snuck in the JD for instance? Or. even worse, a singleton JC and two small Ds? Then it would pass...Or even the JH... Sometimes rules are made to be broken!), but third position is the best position to be a little fruity with your opening bids at times, and having 5/5 in the majors is the perfect hand to be a little fruity with your opening bid whatever the position! Definitely open 1S here, we really want to get into this auction and try and find a major suit fit. N would feel tempted to bid something with 14 points, but that D suit is very ropey, 2 level minor suit overcalls are something to do quite rarely on 5 card suits, and you don't have a TOX shape, so unfortunately pass looks right here. E would respond 2H. If S didn't feel brave enough to open 3C in the first place then bidding 3C now seems crazy. And W is still obviously very weak on points, but now knows they have a 10 card H fit, and their shape is very powerful - got to bid 4H. Which is exactly where you want to be.
Third scenario - W passes and N opens 1D. Non-vulnerable, at the 1 level, looks like E would slip in a 1H overcall. S desperately wants to bid but is a bit short on points for 2C, perhaps 2D? And W would bid 4H, for all the same reasons as above - 10 card fit! (If S has bid 2C then perhaps the X card would come out now?)
So, all roads lead to a H game really, which with AQH on side and AD on side is easy to make. 4S looks like it should be equally easy, but in fact is much trickier to play - have a think about what you do in 4S if the opponents lead a C, and keep leading Cs when they get in with red aces. This kind of defence can be very effective - a 'forcing' defence, making declarer ruff with their long trumps. Can you see how you still make the contract?