This hand was played in a Thursday duplicate on 2/11/17 and it was unsusual in the fact that every players first suit bid was the same suit - '♥'s'
The opening bid was a 'weak two' showing a 6 card suit (maybe the purists would not open a weak 2 when also holding 4 spades?); souths double is for take out; Wests bid was natural (a raise to 4♥ or even 5♥!! woud have made life harder for the opposition); North with a hand that is powerful enough to suggest at least game values and with 2 places to play plus the void in ♥'s chose the not unreasonable cue bid of 4♥; after East passed South with a strong hand for the initial double & excellent support for all 3 suits, and after some deliberation decided to show slam interest by bidding 5♥ and suggesting to North to pick the slam (or maybe even go for the grand with the right hand!!); after Wests pass North deliberated and as it was 'Pairs' chose the very reasonable option to go for the 'higher scoring' ♠ slam in lieu the ♣ slam
So there you have it everybodys first suit bid in this auction was HEARTS!! Allowing N/S to reach this excellent slam.....but was it?
Unfortunately the tale does not have a happy ending for N/S as the play went; ♥ lead ruffed in hand by North; followed by a finesse of dummys ♠Q (correct play) which lost to dummys singleton ♠K and now the 'heartache' follows as declarer cannot avoid a second loser in trumps.
Unfortunately with the diamond finesse being right, no matter how you play the spades the club slam will always make 12 tricks. The question is....after the same auction upto south's 5♥ bid follwed by Wests pass...can you find a bid from North now that would suggest South to choose the slam and thereby find 6C without North guessing?
What about 5NT? What can this possibly mean?
Now if South chooses 6♦'s North can convert to spades or if South chooses 6♣'s (which in this case he will) North can pass
This is an unusual bidding situation that does not come up very often. It occurred in a recent Sakar Cup match which is a local Knock Out Teams of 4 competition. Sitting East and playing ACOL with 4 card majors, everybody is vulnerable.you open 1 Heart after North has passed, then you hear the auction go, 2 clubs by South, Double by partner (Take Out and promising spades), pass by North, back round to you. What is your next bid?............ Nb. It is better to NOT look at all four hands until you have read the answer!
Even though this is only an 11 count, I think most red blooded bridge players will be opening this hand in the East position, but having done so you need to now asses your options over partners take out/negative double. Partner's double promises 4 spades, he will not have 4 hearts on this auction and is almost certainly to be short in clubs. Therefore he is likely to have a two suited hand with spades and diamonds; S xxxx, H xx(x) D xxxxx C x(x) being a most likely distribution or even a singleton heart and 3 clubs with 5 diamonds, (yes S xxxx H xx(x) D xxxx C xx(x) is also a possibility) . If he had 5 spades he would definitely have bid them unless he was 5 - 5, in which case a double would probably be the best bid. So having worked out that partner is more likely to hold 5 diamonds, rather than 3 hearts you can bid 2 diamonds knowing that even if partner has only 4 diamonds, then the 4-3 fit with shortage in partners other suit will still probably offer several play possibilities.
However you have been given another option now................how about pass?
Partner knows we are vulnerable and is making a '2 level' take out double, so does not rate to have a minimum holding, he may be expecting a few more points yes, but he will also realise that you must be short in spades and must have a decent club holding (ok I would have been more confident with the club suit being a little stronger and with more solidity sat under the club overcall, but we cant have everything). So even if partner has an opening bid, game our way is going to be tricky or even not making at all, in which case 2 clubs must be 'going for a few' (we are not likely to be missing a slam with these cards, are we??) On the other hand if partner is minimum and the best we can make is a part score, then 2 clubs is still going to be a struggle and may even be a 'misfit' for the defence. The other likely occurrence after a pass is that South will work out what is happening and may even offer 2 spades as an alternative contract for their side...... West will surely be doubling this for penalties now unless his double was made on anything but the minimum of hands.
So PASS was the bid and after 'the dust settled' 800 rolled in after 3 down for declarer. Yes 3NT and 4 Hearts can make on the above distribution, but the fortunate heart layout makes this easier than it may have been on other more likely layouts. The other table played in 4 hearts for 620, a swing of 180 for your side and a gain of 5 imps, which went toward an eventual win for our side A team incidentally which is made up of predominently Wigan memebers.
Yes it is questionable if South should be making a vulnerable overcall on those cards, but we were playing against a team from Bolton and they have not had the advantage of some expert teaching on overcalls that is given by the Wigan Club!!
This is an actual hand played in the East Lanc's Bridge League. You are vulnerable as South and take an optomistic view (rightly or wrongly) of this 17 points and go for the game.
Westt leads a small diamond and you now have to make 10 tricks from what appears to be a hopeless situation, or is it?
What are your thoughts and how do you plan to play the hand?
Yes the contract now looks very over optomistic when you see dummy. But the trick target is still 10 and if there is any slight opportunity to salvage a game bonus it must be taken.
So lets consider the hand:-
Wesst has doubled, and there are a total of 16 points missing. Your KX holding in the Spade suit looks doomed you have a definite diamond loser now after this lead, but If the clubs behave (unlikely but we must play for them to be 3-3 to stand any chance) and if East started with KJX in hearts you may be able to bring the contract home, via a double finese in hearts... By way of; 4 Heart Tricks; 1 Diamond Trick; 4 Club tricks, if 'the weather stays fine' and clubs are 3-3, and 1 diamond ruff in dummy. Yes we may be clutching at straws, but sometimes the situation demands it..........Does all that sound good!!
But wait a minute have we thought this all through sufficiently?
That lead of a small daimond is giving you a problem, or at least it should be!!.
If West had started with KQXX(X) in diamonds, would he have led a small one? Probably not. Therefore East must now be holding a diamond honour and cant possibly hold the KJX in hearts as well. Otherwise West has doubled with a 9 or 10 count.............. So its back to the drawing board.
What are the possible combinations for the missing honours in the red suits?
If West has led from the QD then East holds the KD and could possibly hold the JH, giving West 12 points for his double. Alternatively East may hold the QD and possibly the JH, giving West a 13 count for his double. However East may just have started with the KH and QD, giving West the possiblity of having doubled with an 11 count. All in all we cannot plan our play until we know the layout of the red suits. But how can we discover the layout?..............
There is a simple answer..................PLAY LOW AT TRICK 1........
.........and if East plays the QD then you must 'flip a coin' and decide if his heart holding is either KXXX or JXXX; either way you are hoping for a singleton honour with West. Alternatively if he plays the KD, you will play for a singleton KH with West with a little more certainty. You just have enough entries into dummy via the AD a diamond ruff and the QC to take all the other heart fineses required.
In reality East played the King Diamond at trick one, a diamond return put you back in dummy at trick 2 (best return for the defence as a small spade may give you time to set up the Jack of Spades for a club discard. Nb it may look that a spade to the King then a spade to the Jack may work for a club discard now. But this will not help if Diamonds are continued each time, as you may be able to ruff twice in dummy, but will now be unable to pick up the Jack of Hearts with East). So without batting an eyelid you play a small trump from dummy inserting the Ace from hand and dropping Wests singelton King. All at the same time as giving a wry smile in Wests direction and noticing the already puzzled look on his face, wondering how you mangaed to see his cards when he was holding them under the table and out of view all the time!!
Unfortunatley the clubs did not break 3-3, but what a good shot you gave it?
Austin actually bid 4NT's intended as Roman Key Card Blackwood and received the reply of 5 Spades (From the four Aces and the King of Hearts, 5 spades showed 2 controls plus the Queen of Hearts), which caused something of a problem. If the 2 controls are the Ace and King of Hearts then they are useless, as the defence will take at least the first two tricks with Ace of Diamonds and Ace of clubs. Even if they are the Ace of clubs and Ace of Hearts again the defence can possibly take the first 2 tricks with Ace and King of diamonds.
With South's opening of 1 Heart, North judged that the likely hood of two tricks off the top was too great and passed 5 spades. Had he known that the Ace and King of Diamonds was with South and he held a Spade, he would have bid 6 spades.....which as you can see goes off after West starts with the Ace of Clubs.
Interestingly on the night out of the eleven times the board was played, 4 pairs bid the spade slam (which is not unreasonable), 2 pairs stayed in 5 spades, 4 pairs played in 4 spades and one unlucky West who not unreasonably judged that 6 spades was probably making, sacrificed in 7 clubs doubled going 4 off for -800
West / Game All
9 6 5
A J 6 4
A Q J 10
A K 2
J 10 8 7 3
K 8 7
*Checkback (essentially a major suit enquiry)
**3 card support
***It’s teams and vulnerable & a limp 3H bid would only assists the defence!
Playing Teams, online, using a Strong No Trump and 5 card majors. You end up in a not unreasonably bid 4H contract.
However after the opening lead of a small diamond, things look pretty hopeless and you wished you had gone for the easier 9 trick No Trump game.
Can you see any reasonable line of play to make 10 tricks after the Diamond lead?
After careful consideration, I decided there was only one reasonable line. If I could run 4 rounds of Clubs (and hope to find them split 3-3) for a losing diamond discard and hope that either defender holds any AK; AQ;or KQ doubleton combination in trumps (therefore the other must hold any HXX combination). I should scramble home for10 tricks.
Knowing that the most likely distribution in Clubs is 4-2, it may still make on a defensive error, if East has the doubleton Club. How? …..If I can convince east that I also have a doubleton Club, he may be reluctant to ruff thinking he is going to be over ruffed (this would also work if East started with any combination of a 3 card trump holding). Therefore I would now ruff a spade on table and still be able to discard my losing diamond on the winning Club!!
So combining both chances, I took trick 1 with the Ace of Diamonds; Playing a Spade to the Ace in hand at trick 2; I then played a Club from hand at trick 3 and took a (seemingly) successful finesse of the Queen!!; Now after the Ace of Clubs at trick 4, the stage was set. At trick 5 I played a small Club from table - Would the Clubs break 3-3? And if not,would East have the doubleton Club and if so would he be reluctant to ruff? East did follow to the third round of Clubs and they were 3-3.
Did you work it out?
Anyway only in Walt Disney Films do we ever guarantee a happy ending. In reality even though the clubs ended up being 3-3. The hearts where unfortunately 4-1 and West ruffed the fourth club with his singleton heart. AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!! After all that planning and everything going smoothly up to that point, you can imagine my frustration!! Ah well, if it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t get any luck at all!!
Who said bridge is only a game.