Maritha Pottenger

Hands are from Adventures in Bridge, October 6, 2018.

Kathy Moyer has set the bar higher: 26 out of 27 stars today.

Hand #14

East: 964 A108 K6 109873

West: AK10 42 AQJ932 K6

After two passes, West opens 1, being too good to open 1NT with 17 HCP and an excellent 6-card suit. North overcalls 1. East passes as does South. What should West do?

West should bid 1NT. This bid promises 18-19 HCP (adding one or two points for your lovely 6-card suit) opposite a passed partner. For those of you worried about the small doubleton heart—life is imperfect. (1) They have bid spades; they will probably lead spades. (2) Partner might have a heart card for you. (3) They would have to lead hearts and be able to take five tricks off the top in the suit.

Partner may find a raise to 3NT holding the key K and an Ace. 5 pairs out of 13 got to 3NT. The rest played diamond partials (or went down in 5).

Hand #18

Sometimes undisciplined preempts work. East opened 3 on her four jacks hand and West passed his 15 HCP hand which included the AQ. (I would be worried about missing 3NT if partner has the A.) Undisciplined preempts mean you cannot tell when partner really does have something.

However, it worked today. Partner (North) with 4-5 in the majors, doubled. Even discounting her the K, it is tempting to compete. 3 would have won—but it has to be played double-dummy to make it. Since West has EVERYTHING, N/S can actually make 3NT, but it won't be bid.

My preferred auction would go Pass/Pass/1NT by West and an overcall by North showing the majors. South will take a preference to spades which makes 110. Some Easts may use a Lebensohl sequence to play in 3 which is down one for a reasonable sacrifice. In our game, two Wests tried 3NT which failed spectacularly. Several E/W pairs were in diamond partials, three were doubled at 4 and 5. Four N/S pairs were in hearts. 3 made twice and went down once. 4 undoubled went down two.

Hand #19

West: J5 J106 1083 AQJ98

East: K92 A8 AQ7 105432

After two passes North opened 1 and East passed, lacking a bid despite holding 13 HCP. South responded 1 and West and North passed. East balanced with 2 and South pushed to 2. West raised gently to 3 with fabulous trump support.

The J was led to Declarer's Q. A low club to the Q won to Declarer's surprise. The opponents have made three bids with only 18 HCP between them. Clearly RHO (North) opened light. The question is whether RHO (South) has the Q or the A.

Since you are hoping to end play the opponents to force them to break spades, you start to eliminate the hearts by playing the J from Dummy. As expected, RHO covers. You kill the Q with the A and play the 8 back, ducking when South covers with the 9. LHO carefully returns the 5 to prevent RHO from being end played in diamonds. RHO’s 9 forces your A.

Now you play club to the A, removing the last trump from RHO and ruff the third round of hearts. Then, you play a low diamond, which LHO will win. LHO has to either give you a ruff-and-sluff by playing another diamond or a fourth heart, or she will have to lead a spade.

You have decided that LHO has the A and RHO has the Q for a couple of reasons. (1) LHO taking the push to 2 with only 6 HCP and a Qxxxx suit seems unlikely. (2) RHO clearly opened light, ready to pass whatever partner bid with a 3=4=5=1 pattern. RHO has shown up with 8 HCP in the red suits. The Q will make 10 HCP—enough for a light third-hand opening.

So, when North leads a spade, you duck (thanks to that J in Dummy) and South is forced to take her A.