Maritha Pottenger

Hands are from Soledad Club, September 10, 2018.

Hand #16

North: AJ543 3 Q942 AK5

South: 9 K106542 107 Q1072

This hand was an example of partnership discipline winning out. West passed and North opened 1. East overcalled 2. South could have tried 2—which would be forcing and greatly overstate the value of the hand. South could have tried a negative double—showing two places to play, but also overstating the power of the hand. The hand is looking like a misfit, so I passed instead. Partner, holding four diamonds, also passed—you do NOT reopen when you have their suit. Careful defense set the opponents one trick for +100. Our only makeable contracts are 1 or 1 in the South and 2 in the North. Plus 100 beats either of those part scores and is much better than us going down. Pass is a very underrated call. The full hand was:

Hand #17 was an interesting one in terms of Losing Trick Count.

West: K76 98 A62 AK976

East: QJ10853 106432 K4

North passed and East passed. South opened 1 and West doubled. (Yes, you would love to have another spades, but life is imperfect.) North passed. At our table, East bid only ONE spade. I believe that the correct bid with that hand is 4. If you feel timid, at least bid 3. Now that you are guaranteed a fit from partner's takeout-double, you have a 6-loser hand. You also know you are NOT going to really lose three heart tricks, because partner is expected to be short in hearts for her take-out double. You actually expect to lose only one or two heart tricks. Even with the lead of two top hearts and a heart continuation, North's spades are the 4 and the 2, so ruffing with the K in Dummy takes care of your third heart, while the A and the K take care of your fourth and fifth hearts. Making 10 tricks.

The overall moral of these two hand is: Bid aggressively with highly distributional hands when you know you have a fit! Tread cautiously with distributional hands when a misfit is looming (or possible).