Hand of the Week #8

This hand from the Tuesday evening game this week (18 March) ought to have been a boring flat deal - but somehow, EVERY pair who bid this hand managed to get to a contract they couldn't make. There was one potential pitfall each for East and West.

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

East, with a balanced 16HCP hand, should open 1NT. Anything else is inviting trouble. Yes, you have a 5-card suit, and no, you don't have a diamond stopper -- but worse trouble awaits if you open 1C. If your partner responds in a major, are you willing to raise with 3-card support? You are strong enough to have to jump-raise, if you do. If partner responds 1D, your 2nd bid can be in notrump -- but 1C-1D-1NT shows 12-14 points, and 1C-1D-2NT shows 18-19. Your ONE chance to show a balanced 15-17 HCP hand was to open 1NT.

If East correctly opens 1NT, West should have no trouble passing. Doing anything else will get you in over your head. If you use Stayman and rebid 2NT when partner doesn't have a spade fit, opener will assume you have the 9 points your bidding promised, and accept the invitation to 3NT.

On Tuesday night, two tables reached 3NT and went down. Two other tables reached spade contracts and went down. At my table, my opponents bid 1C-1S-3S-Pass. I was North and led a small diamond, and when dummy's jack won the first trick, partner and I were in the lovely spot of knowing where every face card in the whole deck was: declarer had to have two big diamonds -- and if she had another useful face card in addition to the DAK or DAQ, she would have continued on to 4S rather than passing 3S. Being able to defend double-dummy from trick two onward more than made up for the small indignity of letting that jack win the first trick (and declarer had no use for the extra diamond trick anyway.)

Back to HOTW index
Back to Articles index
Back to TaigaBridge home

This page last updated 18.06.08
©2008 Gordon Bower