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Hand of the Week
Sample from Iain

Iain has kindly offered to provide analyses here of some hands which have been played at the club.  As a taster, examples of two recent hands are attached.

Hand of the Week - Board 5 from Friday April 13th
On all but one table, East/West played in spades, making at least 9 tricks.  On the other table, North/South played in diamonds and can't be prevented from making 12 tricks and actually made all 13!
It doesn't look like a No Trump hand from South's point of view but, with the cards laying as they do, 3NT is unbeatable.  A spade lead would restrict the overtricks but it's not an obvious lead for East after a 1♠ opening by North.  Most North-South pairs played in Diamonds and made at least 11 tricks but only one of them bid to game.  Nobody played in Hearts although 4 should make with an overtrick.
Board 15 on Wednesday August 24th (by Alan L)

2 is a transfer to spades.

N/S can make 13 tricks in spades on a dummy reversal but South has bid her hand and North is worried about the hearts. The East hand has nothing in defence but the 6♣ sacrifice is a pure punt which should not be possible without the 5♣ bid from West. Would you have found 6♠ as North or South?

At the table, South doubled and N/S took their 4 tricks and scored 500.

Other scores, also plus scores for N/S were :-

  • 680 for 5S+1 by N
  • 300 for 5C*-2 by E
  • 230 for 3S+3 by N
Board 12 on Friday August 19th (by Helen)

A superb example of the losing trick count in action!  East opens 1♠ and South overcalls 2.  West, with only 3 points but 8 losers, bids 3♠ and East with 7 losers passes.  Only one pair bid to 3♠ and made it!  Two pairs bid only 2♠ and one of these made 3 (remember Bob said with 8 losers bid to 3) and the 4th time the hand was played, North/South were allowed to play in (and make) 3.

Board 10 on Wednesday July 13th (by Richard and Frank)

To bid or not to bid?  After 1NT by East, what does West do?

After hearts and spades were bid by North/South, one West eventually bid and made 4.  Can you work out what happened on the other three tables where North/South played the contract?  Results were 2-2, 2+1 and 3♠-2 (after a conventional 2♣ in the bidding sequence shown).  With North/South vulnerable, making 4 didn't look so clever after all!

Board 22 on Wednesday July 13th

North/South have only 17 High Card Points between them but can always make 12 tricks in spades or 11 tricks in clubs.  Two North/South pairs bid to 5♠ but neither bid the slam.  On the other hand, East/West can always make 11 tricks in either hearts or diamonds.  Two East/West pairs bid 6 and although they both went one down this was a worthwhile sacrifice.

Board 22 on Friday June 3rd (by Steve)

At two tables, the Easts played in 1♠ making 6 and 7 tricks respectively.

One East chose to open 1♣ (which should promise 4 clubs) rather than mention his weak 4-card suit.  West's inverted raise is weaker than 2♣ and is intended as pre-emptive.

South began with two top spades and continued with a third.  Declarer was now home.  He ducked a club to South and was relieved to see North follow suit.  He won the spade return and took the rest of the tricks with five clubs and three more in the red suits for +630.

South can beat the contract if he finds the opening lead of a low heart or switches to a low heart at trick two.  Declarer must now lose 2 hearts, 2 spades and a club because he does not have time to set up his black suit winners.

At the other table, North played in 3for -150.

Board 21 on Friday May 27th
What would you open with East's hand which has 19 points and a 4-4-1-4 distribution?  Two pairs opened 1♣ ('one below the singleton') which was passed out and made plus one.  One pair got as far as 4♣ with a 4-2 fit and went one off.  Two pairs got into spade contracts, also with a 4-2 fit, and went off.  Finally, one East opened 1♠ and, after a 2 overcall by South, boldly jumped to 3, striking gold.  A previously uninterested West woke up and bid 4 which made for a clear top.
Board 20 on Friday May 13th

With the points quite evenly split between all 4 players and all players having a singleton honour, who, if anybody, is going to open the bidding?  In fact, this hand was only passed out once.  It was played twice in spades by East/West, making 10 tricks, and twice in diamonds by North/South, making 9 and 10 tricks respectively.  One North/South pair bid to 5 going one off and this would have been a very good sacrifice if all East/Wests had bid to 4 but only one pair did.

Board 4 on Weds April 29th (by Richard)

How would you bid this hand?  The Losing Trick Count suggests East-West can make 9 tricks in spades and North-South can make 10 tricks in clubs but this didn't quite match what actually happened.  Two North-South pairs played in 5 and went '2 off doubled' and '3 off' respectively.   These would be good results if East-West bid and make game in spades.  Unfortunately for the two North-South pairs in 5, all three East-West pairs who played in spades made at least 10 tricks but only one of them bid to game.

Board 18 on Weds April 20th (by Richard)

Five tables played this hand.  Two Wests played in hearts, both making 9 tricks.  One East played in 3NT but made only 8 tricks.  Two Easts played in clubs, both making 11 tricks for an equal top.  The bidding is from one of those two tables.  The moral is "it's better to be lucky than smart".

Board 15 on Weds April 6th
On 3 tables, North/South made an easy 11 tricks in spades.  On the other table, East/West got a clear top by going only 1 down in 5.
Board 14 on Weds March 30th

If you were West, would you lead a spade and keep the contract to just making (assuming you and partner can avoid blocking the spade suit)?  Or wouldn't you be able to resist leading a heart, thus enabling declarer to make 4 over-tricks when both club and diamond finesses succeed?  Only one defender found a spade lead.