Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss

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About Me

H. Anthony Medley is an Attorney, an MPAA-accredited film critic, and author of Learn to Play Bridge Like A Boss,Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed, and UCLA Basketball: The Real Story. He is a Silver Life Master and an ACBL-accredited Director and the author of a bridge column for a Los Angeles newspaper.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Re-evaluating your hand due to bidding

Here's your hand, sitting West as dealer

♠ Q9653
♥ 942
♦ 5432
♣ 7

Here's the auction
West                North               East     South
P                      2D*                 2H       3D
* Weak

You've got 2 HCP, not a quick trick in sight. What do you do? The first thing is to think about the auction. North opened 2 Diamonds, so probably has six Diamonds. Your partner made a free bid over a weak two, which should show extra values. South made a simple raise to 3D, so probably has 3 diamonds. Your hand is looking much better. Because of your 4 small diamonds if North has 6 and South has 3, you know that your partner is almost certainly void in diamonds so will have no diamond losers. She will probably get a diamond lead, so will take the first trick. Your singleton club probably promises only one club loser (assuming opponents don't lead a trump). So she's got a great cross-ruff, utilizing your three small trump to ruff her club losers. She has to have values to make her bid. Given all that, your hand is worth a raise to 3 Hearts just to show her that you have three hearts.

Here's the entire layout:

                        ♠ A84
                        ♥ T7
                        ♦ KQJ876
                        ♣ 65

West                                        East
♠ Q9653                                   ♠ KT
♥ 942                                       ♥ KQJ53
♦ 5432                                     ♦ Void
♣ 7                                          ♣ KQJ843

                        ♠ J72
                        ♥ A86
                        ♦ AJ53
                        ♣ AT92

Here's the auction:

West                North               East     South
P                      2D*                 2H       3D
3H                     P                    4H       Dbl
P                       P                     P         
* weak
Opening lead Ace of Diamonds.

East trumped the Ace of diamonds, and led the King of Clubs, which South took. You have to get rid of the Ace of clubs before you pull trump. South took the Ace and, seeing the board now void in clubs and three small trump, led the ace of trump and a small trump, trying to cut down dummy's ruffing power. East then ruffed a small club, led to the King of Spades, pulled trump and ran the Clubs, surrendering a spade at the end, making 4 doubled. This was a team game and at the other table, NS was in 3 no trump, making 9 tricks off the top.

Bidding commentary: North's bid of a weak 2 is questionable because she's got an outside Ace. It's generally a bad idea to open a weak 2 with an outside Ace. When you open a weak 2, most of your HCP should be in your suit. An outside Ace gives you better defensive values than partner might anticipate. Because she has a six card suit, this hand could be opened 1D, due to the two doubletons, the strong diamond suit and the outside ace. However, even with a 2 diamond opening 3 no trump can still be reached. Since South knows North has six diamonds, he also knows they have six diamond tricks off the top since he has 4 diamonds to the ace jack. All he needs is to know about spades, so he should bid 2N, asking for a feature. When North answers 3S, showing the ace or king of spades, South can easily bid 3N. Regardless, the key to the hand is West's bid of 3H. No matter what NS have, East should always go to 4H after West's free bid.

Normally, you should bid your longest suit first, but here East was right to overcall Hearts, looking for a major suit fit. She can always bid her Clubs later, although if she overcalls 3 Clubs first and south bids 3D, West will pass with a singleton in her club suit, as will North. If East then bids 3H, West is unlikely to go to four.

Play commentary. 4H cannot be beaten as long as East trumps a club after getting rid of the Ace before pulling trump. If she doesn't trump a club, South's Ten will hold up and keep East from running the Clubs, which she must do to make the contract. If NS is in 3N, it is cold, running 9 tricks off the top, 6 diamonds and the other three aces.

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