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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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Aggressive Bidding with a 4 HCP Distributional Hand

Here’s your hand, sitting East, second seat, NS vulnerable:

ª 3
© Q987542
§ Q9863

Only 4 HCP, but 7-5-1-0 distribution! If we have a fit we can make beautiful music because then it’s only a 5 loser hand! North, my right hand opponent (RHO), dealt and opened 1S. At favorable vulnerability (they were vulnerable and we were not) I bid 2S, Michaels, to partially describe my hand as at least 5-5 in hearts and a minor. If my partner can’t support hearts and wants to know what minor I have she asks by bidding no trump. There’s no way I could describe a hand with a singleton and a void in one bid, but my partner knew that I had at least 5 hearts and an unnamed 5 card minor.

The bidding continued with my left hand opponent (LHO), south, raising to 3S. My partner passed and my RHO raised to 4S. I wasn’t going to go down without a fight so I bid 5H. Now my partner should know I had a strangely distributional hand and probably 6-7 hearts. LHO bid 5S and my partner doubled. I can’t do anything but trust her, so I passed. However, when I saw my partner’s hand, I nearly passed out!

Here is the four hand layout:

                ª  AKT642
                ©  J6
                ¨  KJ954
West                         East
ª 95                          ª 3
© AKT3                      © Q987542
¨ Q3                         ¨
§ AKT54                    § Q9863

                ª QJ876
                ¨ AT872
                § J72

We have a massive two suit fit and 6 hearts is a cold laydown (of course 7 spades or diamonds is also cold for NS).

What was the thinking of my partner, who is a fairly experienced player with potential? She knows we have a terrific hearts fit. She has the best hand at the table yet she didn’t open her mouth to bid or support me. Then she doubles! She must know that her AK of hearts is worthless on defense. Of course with her sitting there silent I can’t go on above 5S. I have to trust her and sit for the double. We didn’t take a trick.

She actually had two choices here. One is to immediately bid game in hearts. But the other is to bid no trump to ask for my minor. If it’s clubs, which it was, with the AK plus length in both of my suits she could jump to 6H or at least explore for it. If she gives me a support bid for hearts, I’m not going to stop competing short of 6H (after all, I bid 5H without a peep from my partner).  I asked North, who opened the bidding, if he would have bid 6S over our 6H bid and he said that he would not have. South agreed, saying he had done all he could with his 8 HCP hand. I had done all I could to communicate this hand to my partner with my meager 4 HCP, but to no avail.

My partner actually made two mistakes. The first was not entering the bidding immediately to communicate her support for my hearts, and the other was to double. It’s dangerous to double distributional hands unless you hold a lot of trumps because HCP are often worthless in such hands. As can be seen by this distributional hand, both pairs can make slam, but all four hands are worthless on defense.

Like the beautiful woman who got away, this is a hand I shall never forget.

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