Hand of the Week, Vol. 3 No. 4

This Hand of the Week is from the Saturday evening (30 January) pairs game at the Cabin Fever sectional. The lesson here is "don't get in over your head with a misfit."

Dealer East
None vul
S Q J T 8 7 6
H A T 8 2
D T 3
C 5
S 4 3
H K J 7 6 5 4 3
D 8 6
C 8 4
[table marker] S K 5 2
D A K J 7 2
C A K J 7 6
S A 9
H Q 9
D Q 9 5 4
C Q T 9 3 2

You didn't open 2C as East, did you? While you do have a 4-loser hand, you have only 19 HCP, two suits you'd like to show, and are likely to need two tricks rather than one from partner to make game since your hand is minor-suit-oriented. Start with 1D, planning to jump to 3C next if you get a response from partner.

Now, how should West evaluate his hand? 7 hearts and a weak hand looks like a preempt -- but even as preempt hands go, this one is a really lousy one. 2-7-2-2 shape is a minus, and so is the lack of spot cards in your heart suit. If I held this hand in first seat at equal vulnerability I'd consider it almost a full trick too weak to open 3H.

If you play weak jump shifts, you can jump to 2H over 1D. If you don't, start by passing; if you get a chance to come back in later, partner should know you have a very weak hand with a long suit. Not playing weak jump shifts, my suggested auction on this hand is


Don't dream of running from 3H even with a void: partner has said he is hopelessly weak, and he doesn't have 3-card diamond support, and he has a long weak heart suit. You can be pretty much guaranteed that 3NT or 4 or more of a minor will go down worse than 3H will. With a misfit it's usually better to have the weaker hand's long suit be trump -- your aces are winners in a heart contract, his small hearts are not winners in a club or diamond contract.

If you play weak jump shifts, you might pass out 2H -- or double North's 2S for penalty! -- but rebidding 3C is reasonable too. This lets you find a 5-3 minor fit (if there is one -- no such luck today), rather than what could be a 6-0 major fit. My suggested auction for WJS pairs:


As the cards lie, you are going to take 7 or 8 tricks no matter what is trump. The cheaper you get out, the smaller your penalty will be, and the less likely you are to be doubled.

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This page last updated 09.02.10
©2009 Gordon Bower