Hand of the Week, Vol. 2 No. 15

On this deal from the Tuesday 16 June game, every East-West pair in the room renewed their memberships in Overbidders Anonymous, and paid either 200 or 300 points in dues: the results on the traveler were 3D down 2, 2NT down 3, 3D down 3, and 5D down 3.

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

The key rule to remember on hands like this: if you don't have a fit and you don't have the values for 3NT, get out of the auction before you are in over your head. Here's the auction I like best on this deal:


Yes, West's double is penalty after a 1NT opening, not takeout and not "stolen bid" promising five spades. South is going for a phone number (800 with best play and defence.) Even if North runs to 2S he's headed for doubled and down two, -300.

The 5-card diamond suit and doubleton club won't stop most modern experts from opening a 15-17 1NT on East's cards, but if you play a 16-18 notrump, the most sensible auction for you is short and sweet:


Neither East nor West has another suit to introduce, and rebidding 5-card suits at the 3-level or bidding 2NT on a hand that you deemed too weak to open 1NT is near-suicidal. Just passing out 2H and beating it undoubled would have been worth a fine score compared to going set like all the other Easts did.

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This page last updated 27.07.09
©2009 Gordon Bower