Hand of the Week, Vol. 2 No. 5

When I direct, I am frequently asked, "we passed a hand out, and it was the first time it was played. Can we reshuffle it?" No. Not everyone has the same standards for opening bids. Just like any other board, you have the chance to earn a better score than your opponents by exercising better judgment about how to bid your cards than they do. In fact, I have NEVER seen a board passed out at every table in a 3- or more table game, though I have seen a board passed out at twelve tables out of thirteen once.

This week we have a double bill, to make up for my absence last week: two hands from recent club games that were passed out the first time they were played, but not reshuffled.

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

The first is from the Tuesday 10 February game. Only a very agressive South would open in first seat; but quite a few modern players will open the North hand in third seat with two aces and a king. If East-West stay silent, North-South may get as high as 3S before they manage to stop, and go down two. At my table, not only did Mike and I open the bidding, but East stuck in an ill-advised 1S overcall on a 4-card suit -- enabling us to play in an unbeatable 1NT, making overtricks after the defense got off to an unlucky start.

Conservatively-minded players may well pass out that hand from two weeks ago. In Fairbanks, my table was the only table that opened. In contrast, the third seat opening bid was clear-cut on this hand from the Tuesday 24 February game:

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

With 11HCP, a five-card major, and an easy pass of whatever his partner's response may be, almost every South will probably open 1S in third seat. North will either breeze his way home in a notrump partscore, or struggle in 2H. The table that played this board first was the only table that passed it out. Back to HOTW index
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This page last updated 25.02.09
©2009 Gordon Bower