Maritha Pottenger

Hands are from Adventures in Bridge, October 25, 2018.

Hand #1

South (Dummy): J9743 J7 872 J109

West (you): A8652 A5 Q10 Q875

North (LHO) opens a strong (15-17) NT and your partner bids 2 (which you alert). You are playing 2 as Modified Hamilton where it shows EITHER just a diamond suit, OR a major/minor combination (at least 5-4). South (RHO) bids 2 (transfer) and you happily pass. North bids 2 and everyone passes.

Partner leads the 3. At this point, you are sure that partner has hearts and diamonds. The 3 is clearly fourth-best, so partner has four or five hearts and four or five diamonds. You take the A and play the Q.

Pity poor Declarer. His hand is KQ10 K1086 K93 A64. He cannot really tell, as yet, whether your partner has just diamonds (presumably 6 of them) or hearts and diamonds. (Partner could be leading from a 3-card holding in hearts, or even from the 32 doubleton.) Declarer elects to duck your Q (hoping that six diamonds are behind him). Alas, you still have the 10. Partner overtakes with the J and cashes the A. Dummy and Declarer follow, and you are able to discard a heart.

Partner now leads her lowest heart, which you ruff. You return a club and Declarer ducks and partner wins the K. Now she plays another low heart. Declarer ruffs with the 9 on Dummy, and you choose to throw away a club. Now Declarer plays a low spade to his K as partner shows out. He continues with the Q, which you take and you return another spade.

Declarer wins the 10 and thinks a really long time about overtaking on Dummy in order to finesse clubs through you. However, overtaking his the 10 would promote your 8 to a winner, so he shrugs, and plays the K, discarding a club from Dummy as you ruff a final time. N/S are down three. Double Dummy, E/W can make four hearts, but you are never getting there on your seven card fit and 22 HCP combined.

Hand #16

West: 7 A4 82 AQ976432

I believe this hand should be opened 4 in first seat. Occasionally you and your partner will miss 3NT with that bid. However, it is much more likely that you cannot make game and the opponents may make a lot in one or both of the majors.

If you open 1, North and South have an opportunity to find their double-fit in the majors [after a Michaels cue bid by North], cue bid controls, and get to slam in hearts. If you open 4, I do not believe that N/S will be able to find their slam. The full hand was:

In practice only the partnership of Paul Darin and Jim Johnsen (J.J.) found the 4 bid and they got to play their undoubled.

Hand #20

East: A108742 86 J73 105

West: KJ6 AK974 AK104 A

Our West chose to open 2NT with this hand. I think it is too good for that (and don't like the singleton Ace even though the rules allow that bid now). Although opening 2 with a three-suited hand usually takes up too much room, I would open this 2 and bid 2 over partner's 2 waiting response. Partner will bid 2 next.

We are now in a game-force since partner did NOT make a second-negative bid of 3. So, I can bid 3 and partner can bid 3 (which might only promise five spades as she would not want to bypass 3NT.

Now, I can bid 4NT (agreeing to spades) and partner will show one Key Card. I will ask for the Queen, and she will deny it. I am still bidding 6. I expect she can get a club ruff in my hand, and she may be able to develop my heart suit. She cannot have more than two hearts on this auction. Plus, she could have six spades, instead of just five.

Since spades are 2-2, Declarer can make seven. Ruff one club loser in Dummy while developing the hearts (by ruffing in the East) to discard one diamond loser on a good heart. The 13 tricks would be: six spades in long trump hand; two top hearts plus one length tricks in hearts; two top diamonds; one top club; and one club ruff in Dummy. Since hearts are actually 3-3, you end up with 14 tricks.