Interesting Hand 30

Three hands for bidding this time

1.At a recent game your partner as N picks up AKQ543 void 3 KQJ965. The dealer is E who opens 3. You pass, and so does the next player, so its round to N. what would you bid with the N cards?

2.At a different venue, you sitting S, pick up 1064 86 874 K9862 , no a great hand as dealer. Of course you pass, and it is partner who opens with 2, your strongest opening bid. You bid 2 (a negative) and partner bids 2, which is a heart suit and forcing to game. What do you now bid?

3 A third hand. You hold KJ107 AKQJ94 void AK3 and as dealer decide to open 2 , your strongest bid. To your delight partner bids 2, a positive response showing a suit. What do you bid now. Remember you are forced to game by the positive response.

The replies


Julian Pottage the international player who writes a column for Mr Bridge kindly sent me a response on the first and most difficult problem

If you play a convention known as non-leaping Michaels, North might bid 4cx to show a strong two-suiter with clubs and spades. Most pairs will not be playing that, in which case as the hand is too slammish to settle for 4sx, the only sensible alternative is 4hx. This must show some sort of two suited hand including spades (North would bid 4NT with both minors or double on other good hands). Over the expected 4sx from South, North cue bids 5hx. South might then work out that either minor-suit ace would justify bidding a slam. Alternatively North might bid continue with 4NT over 4sx, making the reasonable assumption that East holds the hxA and therefore that any ace South shows in reply to 4NT is useful.

club players replies

Hand 1. I would Double and over 4D bid 5S, expecting partner to bid 6 in his best black suit if holding at least one ace, and to pass with none. Over 4S I would bid 5S and over 4C bid 4H,hoping for a cue bid of 4D when I would bid 6C,but passing partners rebid of 5C.If he held just the CA I would expect him to bid 4NT keycard .when I will bid 6C.

stats for hand 1

Assigning the preempt a 7 card H suit and 6-10 Hcp, a simulation run of 200 hands gave the following:

slam in one of the black suits 66%

11 tricks in one or both black suits 88%

No 2 card fit in S/C (i.e 0-1 or 1-1) 1/200

At least a 3 card fit in either S/C 167/200

No ace in D/C 42/200

HA only ace held 12/200

hand 2. Bid 4H, no other bid merits consideration.

Hand 3.Cue bid 4C, over 4D bid Key card, over 4H Key card, over 4S bid 6H

30.1 I’m hoping to make 4S here. I would probably bid 4S straight away. The alternative is double, but partner is bound to bid diamonds, or there has to be a fair chance that partner would leave the double in, for penalties. But if partner has a few small diamonds and I have a singleton diamonds and no trumps, then they might even make 3H, so I probably wouldn’t take that chance. Vulnerability would also be part of my decision process. On a good day I’ll bid 4S and partner will bid 4NT!

30.2 I’d bid a second negative, 2NT, showing 0-3 points.

30.3 Partner’s 2H must be based on length and 8+ points in other suits, seeing as I have AKQJ in hearts. What I really need to know is if partner has AS. Can’t use Blackwood straight away because if partner’s response says ‘one ace’, I’m none the wiser. So I will cue bid 4D – not 4C although that would be an equally valid cue bid, because partner might respond 4D (having the ace) and then I would have to go up to 5 level before I can find out about the spades. Cue bidding the diamonds ‘forces’ him to tell me about the spades. If partner does cue bid spades over my diamonds then I will move on to RKCB. 6H is likely and 7H is possible, depending what RKBC reveals. But if partner just bids 4H over my 4D cue bid then I will leave it there. If partner thinks my 4D is natural, then I will be looking for a new partner!

hand one

4 hearts - game force two suiter - certainly spades and a minor - if I held both minors I would bid 4 NT

hand two

4 hearts (limit bid - no slam interest)

hand three

3 hearts

Dissention in the household. For number 1, my partner would go straight to 3S whereas I would double and if my partner comes back 4D, I would then go 4S

For number 2 We both agreed that we would go 3C saying we have something in C and that we are not delighted with H, but willing to continue the conversation (as we are bound to do)

For number 3 We are looking for 7H – Blackwood with 4NT, looking for the elusive 2A (because we don’t cue bid) and if in any doubt, we stick at 6H (minimum)

I think hands 2 and 3 are dependent on the strength of the 2 Club opening but my answers are as follows:

Hand 1, E opens a weak 3H (10HCP max) and his partner W passes so doesn't have much at all, I would therefore bid 4 Spades.

Hand 2, The 2 Hearts response is forcing unless partner responds 2NT so assuming N has 20-21HCP, I would pass.

Hand 3, bid 4NT looking for key cards or splinter bid 4D depending upon the partnership agreement.

1. North picks up a very powerful hand only 2 losers so bids 4hearts to show their other major and one minor strong hand,

2. Partner opens 2 club, 23 plus points , after your negative reply of 2 diamonds, partner responds 2 hearts . I would then respond 3 diamonds to show my diamond feature. Partner knows I have virtually no points

Had a look at these hands, they almost gave me brain ache!! This is the best I could come up with:

1. There are only two losers in this hand with self sufficient spades and so I would go straight to 4 spades. I would have to lose one diamond trick and the ace of clubs but the rest should make.

2. As I have only 2 hearts, I would show the clubs at the third level to allow partner to chose game in hearts or NT with the strong hand remaining hidden.

3. I would agree the hearts, 3 hearts showing slam interest. If partner then bids game in hearts I would continue with a cue bidding sequence to check if partner has the Ace of spades, I can then call the grand slam.

Hand 1 is really difficult. If I double and hearts get raised partner might double for penalties. If I bid 4 spades we might miss a slam. So I would bid 4 hearts, which surely must suggest a two suited hand, with spades and a minor as the likely distribution. Then if partner bids diamonds I would bid 5 spades suggesting a very large hand!

Bidding 3- P – P - ?

Your hand with only 15HCP is so strong in playing strength that you would probably opened with a game force but the pre-emptive 3has denied you the bidding space to show your powerful 2 suiter. A 3♠ bid here is clearly not enough. A 4♠ bid will have partner passing even with the Club or Diamond Ace and 3 card support 4NT is useless even if partner shows 2 Aces you do not know whether to be in 6 or 7 and as you have not established a fit if partner shows no aces even 5♠ might be a problem. You are left with 2 practical alternatives, 4or Double.

The double – this is for take out and should show a spade suit, partner with little support for spades but with a reasonable Heart holding ( perfectly feasible on the biding so far) may convert to penalties. If partner bids 4again feasible of my holding I convert to 4 Spades. Partner should now recognise my hand as a big 2 suiter and bid accordingly. So, on balance I would bid 4, suggesting a strong 2 suiter and over 5response bid 5♠.

Hand 2

♠1064 86 874 ♣K9862

Bidding - 2♣ ( Game Force) - P - 2(neg) – P - 2- P - ?

It’s a “No-Brainer“. Partner has set trumps by bidding Hearts and I have no aspirations for a slam so I will just bid game in Hearts, promising nothing and fulfilling the obligation. If I bid any other suit it should be showing an Ace.

Hand 3

KJ107 AKQJ94 void AK3

Bidding 2♣ - P - 2(positive with hearts) – P - ?

Before getting too carried away with the big Heart fit, THINK, partner has made a positive response in hearts yet has no HCP in the suit, so where are the values for the positive response. If they are in Diamonds they are of no use but in Spades are gold dust. Here I would jump to 4, agreeing Hearts as trumps and showing a singleton or void in Diamonds. Partner should now focus in his values in the black suits disregarding any values in diamonds other than the Ace and bid accordingly

Hand 1 I would double, as I need my partner to say something. I bid spades over any other suit responsefrom partner

Hand 2. I am going to bid 2NT

Hand 3. A slam is on I hope, so I would bid 4NT and go to 6hearts/7hearts depending on the response

What actually happened

Hand 1 had a variety of results as you might expect. One player potted 6 , others stooped in 4, whilst others used double or 4 to convey the hand. Those in 6 were totally disappointed when the trumps broke 4-0 and declarer lost to A and a trump!

Hand 2 . Some players bid the club suit after opener had bid 2, but most just went to game in s. A club bid is forcing but overvalues the responder's hand somewhat

Hand 3. 6 was a common contract. One enterprising player bid 2 over the 2 response, because support in the spade suit is essential for a slam. When responder raised the spade suit., the slam in s is virtually guaranteed, so bid 6. Responder held A53 in s, and with a successful finesse 13 tricks in rolled home!