Hand of the Week #15

Here is another hand from this month's Summer Solstice Regional in Anchorage, from the Friday evening session. A fairly routine hand, but one where intermediate players may get stuck in the wrong contract, while beginners get to the right contract for the wrong reason:

Dealer North
NS vul
S 8 6
H J 7 6 5
D K J 8 7
C 9 7 6
S A T 9 4 2
H 2
D A 5 4 3
C T 8 4
[table marker] S J 5 3
H A Q T 8
D 6 2
C A Q J 2
S K Q 7
H K 9 4 3
D Q T 9
C K 5 3

Three players have chances to go wrong. First, after Pass-1C, South passes. With a minimum balanced hand including club values, a takeout double would be a mistake. After Pass-1C-Pass-1S-Pass, East's rebid is 1NT, showing a balanced 12-14, despite not having a diamond stopper. An immediate spade raise would suggest 4 spades, and a 2H rebid would be a reverse, showing a much better hand.

But the critical bids are responder's rebid and opener's third bid. West has a very suit-oriented hand, and doesn't want to pass out 1NT. But rebidding 2S would be a serious mistake, promising a 6-card suit, and virtually demanding opener pass 2S out regardless of his spade holding. West's correct rebid is a simple 2C. This tells East that West is unbalanced and doesn't want to play notrump.

Then it is up to East to correct to 2S. If East has only two spades, he will pass 2C. Any time East has opened a short club suit he will have three spades and correct to 2S. At matchpoints, even with a good club suit, taking a preference to 2S is right, for the extra ten points a trick. At IMPs East would have a close decision with his actual hand, and might well pass 2C if he is 3-3-2-5.

When this deal was played at the Anchorage tournament, 110 for 2C making three was worth only 2 matchpoints out of 12. A lucky 130 wasn't much better. You needed 140 or 170 playing in spades to get a decent matchpoint result.

The full auction:

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This page last updated 29.06.08
©2008 Gordon Bower