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Lock Down League Season 15

Season 15 starts off with a win against ABC (18-0). Go Woodberry C

Hand Review
The Halmic wriggle
The Halmic wriggle

If you like playing ACOL with a weak NT, then it pays to have an escape from the dreaded axe. Clearly weak no trumpers are softer targets then our players from elsewhere so the opportunity to use the wriggle will occur more frequently. There are really only two systems in town, and the choice comes down to how you use the re-double. The Halmic wriggle uses redouble to show a single suited hand. It acts as a sort of transfer, so the opener is duty bound to bid 2♣ after which the responder will correct. This leaves all suit bids to show two suited hands. i.e. the suit bid and a higher suit. So if you 2 you hold diamonds and one of a major.

In the example hand South should double and not bid 2♠ over 1NT, beacuse a bid in preference to a double denies the values to double and would therefore be limited to a maximum of 15 hcp. The bid of 2♣ by West is the start of a wriggle. With a single suited hand West would redouble and East would convert to 2♣. The interesting point with this hand is that West has potentially 3 playable suits, so even with 5 cards in the club suit it is preferable to treat this hand as two suited not single suited.

North's double is for penalties. Conventionally, you should double the opponents when you have 4 of their suit or three very good cards. East re-double is not to play!! It means get me out of here. So West now tries his next suit up the line  - Diamonds. South is just good enough to double this but this allows East - West to find their best resting place of 2♥. South can't double this so bids 2♠ which North converts to game.

In order to bring this contract home declarer has to find a way of getting rid of the diamond loser. There is only one possibile way to do this and that is by utilising the heart suit. After West leads the J  South can pretty well pin poit every card in Easts hand. That he holds the K  is certain and therefore in order to create two tricks in the heart suit a heart must be lead to the Q at the first opportunity. This removes the K  and sets up the  A10 to allow the finesse against the Jack.




More bidding at the five level
5 is for the other side

North has to decide whether to bid 2 or 3 The double jump puts more pressure on the opposition but leads to a more cramped aution if it turns out that the hand belongs to their side. The double by East is neagative. It guarantees 4  or more hearts and should be preferred to showing a minor suit unless there are reserves of strength. I play negative doubles up to 4♥. The second double is not necessarily a command, but particularly in match pointed pairs is pretty much forced. Your side might be making 5  or in this case even 6♣ which works because the cards are lying very favourably. On the flip side several good things may happen with the double. You may not be making 5 or even some other tables may be in 3 so it is important to score 200, i.e. getting the contract doen by 1, or you might be getting the contract down by 3 or more in which case you will do better doubling than making your game.

1,2,3 or 4

When considering what level to open, the suit is relevant. As Spades is top dollar you can always overcall the opposition. On this hand the choice is between opening 1♠  or 4♠  The hand is too strong for 3♠ and far too strong for 2♠. If the suit was hearts instead of spades then there is a good case for opening 4♥. The merit of openng 4♠ is ithat East is leading blind. On the suggested action East is tipped off from leading a diamond and choses a Club.




Pairs V Teams

This hand shows the different tactics between team scoring versus pairs, or more specifically match pointed pairs. North has a tough decision whether to bid or not. 2NT shows 15-18 hcp but especially in teams you can't afford to miss out on the vulnerable bonus of 500. In pairs making plus scores becomes more important so what you don't want to do is exchange a plus score for a minus when 2NT/3NT fails. In the protective position you can downgrade the requirements for a 2NT overcall. In pairs where the overtrick is all important South should look for the 4-4 major fit. In Teams there is no point in painting a picture for the defence and it would be right to bid 3NT.

East will no doubt lead the J and now the only chance is for decalrer to duck this. For sure East is more than likely to have lead from the A  but if South goes up with the K  you are now wide open for a lead through the Q . This does not come without risk, because if East finds the club switch declarer is doomed. Say East continues with a heart now the club becomes very interesting, as after a diamond is lost into the West hand, both defenders will have to come down to 1 club. Whover wins this trick in the end position will have to open up the spade suit which will yield the 9th trick.







Show up Squeeze


There are many beautiful elements to this innocuous hand. Let’s start with East. Only 11 points but an ironclad double with the 4441 shape. Then comes with the 1 bid by South. This bid normally promises a 5-card suit and is 100% forcing, but on this occasion South has only 4 cards. What else can South do. Redouble would show a shortage in clubs, 1NT is an option, as is a Truscott 2NT showing these sorts of values with support in clubs. But this bid takes away unwarranted bidding space so 1 , despite the absence of a  5th card in the suit must be right.

South is put to the test again the next time round. Surely too good for 2♣ , and now 3♣  must be the right bid getting the additional values of the hand across. 

North still has work to do, it sounds as though partner has 11-12hcp - can we sneak 3NT or should we pass the 3♣ for a safe part score. Time for 4th suit forcong. As 3 is the unbid suit it doesn't show the 5431 shape because it is 4th suit forcing. As it happens this is the shape of the hand making the bid but it doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

South can’t bid 3NT without the diamond stop but has to temporise with 3 . 

This is crunch time for North. If the opposition diamonds split 4-4 there is enough outside strength to play3NT. So the question is, does either side have a 5 card diamond suit. It’s unlikely after the double, and with a 5 card diamond suit surely West would have bid 2 over 1♥, but regardless of that with 3 diamonds North should lean toward 3NT. This is the lesson of the hand. North should with 3 cards in the unbid suit try 3NT, on the evidence of the bidding.

How about the play. Well, East will no doubt kick off with a diamond, as it happens the King. After taking the 4 diamond tricks West leads a spade, and a East is marked with the K♠ after the double. So up with the A♠  and now run the clubs. East turns up with a singleton ♣ and is now maked with 4441. You can make the contract by taking the heart finesse, but in fact you don't need to take that risk, because after running the clubs East will have to hang on to the K♠ and come down to the doubleton Q . Technically this is called a show up squeeze.