Sally's 12-week program finished with a Multiple Teams event. Congratulations to the winning team Mary & Steve and Alina & Nic. Click HERE to see the full results and click on your name to see your own scores and all the hands. See below for Sally's final hand commentary.
Board 11 - Tricky to Bid! S will most likely pass on this hand, and W will open 1C on their lovely 19 points. Now, it could go one of two ways depending on the N actions - but both are very awkward!
First, let's consider if N passes - I have a feeling this happened at most tables. E is very weak, but with 6 points we keep the 'conversation' going - precisely for the reason we see on this board. Partner can have as many as 19 points for their 1 level opening, which means there's the potential for us to reach the magic 25 points for game. There are always two questions to constantly keep in mind during any auction:
1. Have we got enough points/strength for game? and 2. Have we got an eight-card major suit fit?
If we don't yet have the answers, particularly to that first question, then ideally, we'd like to have a bit more of a bidding conversation until we do have an answer - be it yes or no. So, E bids 1D, showing six+ points and four+ D, we have that, no problem.
W does now have the answer to the first question, and almost certainly to the second question as well - 'yes' to the first, and 'no' to the second. But unfortunately, that does not make their next bid easy! Often when those are your answers, the final contract tends to be 3NT - often, but not always! And particularly with that singleton H, it doesn't look like the right bid here at this stage of the auction! Jumping to 3C looks like the best description of your hand in some ways: a good six-card C suit and extra values. But here you're stronger than that, you want to force to game, and partner could (and would) pass 3C. So, you have to come up with another option which partner won't pass. It's going to have to involve 'manufacturing' a bid, and the only thing you can do here to game force is to jump to 2S. When you fabricate a bid like this it's always preferable to do it in a minor rather than a major, but unfortunately partner has just bid 1D so you don't have that option! The good news though is that E will very rarely have 4S when they have responded 1D. With weaker (non-game going) hands including a four-card spade suit, and even with longer Ds, responder should prioritise the major suit rather than responding with 1D/2C. So, in practice, your 2S fabrication will not tend to drop you in it! On this hand, playing straightforward methods, E will probably now bid 3C. W can follow up with 3H - FSF - and E gets pushed into 3NT, which is a make - just be sure to duck the H lead twice if you get one. Definitely potential for W to worry about the H suit too much to stomach 3NT though, and opt for 5C. Which is quite possibly a better spot to choose, I think I would rather play there just looking at the EW cards. But with that 4/0 break, although it is makeable, in practice you would go off in this. No one ever said bridge was an easy game!!!
The alternative route is also very tricky - N might well stick a cheeky 2H weak jump overcall in there after the 1C opening. Non-vulnerable, I'm all for making such a bid . Mix things up and make life difficult for the opponents. E now obviously passes, and S bids 3H - going to the level of the fit. Not how W was hoping the auction would progress. The only sensible option for W now is to make a Take-Out double. East feels completely thrown under the bus by this, but doesn't have anything better to do really than take a deep breath and bid 3NT. It's another slightly all or nothing moment, but W is perhaps more likely to risk passing here knowing that N has 6Hs and a weak hand. Very tricky though!