Maritha Pottenger

Two interesting hands today.

Dummy: K73 A9763 97 K53

You: AJ 4 AKQ43 AQJ109

You choose to open 1. Your plan is to make a "fake reverse" to diamonds, which would normally show 5-4 or longer, but life is imperfect. As an earlier write-up emphasized, do NOT open 2 with bid two suited hands, it takes up too much room!

Partner bids 1 (as expected). You rebid 2 and partner bids 2NT. This is highly encouraging as the K is likely to be in partner's hand. You now bid 3, promising five diamonds, and making a slam try in the minors. Partner cooperates with 4 (which is forcing on this auction—you are not bypassing 3NT to play 4 of a minor). You bid 4NT and partner shows two Key Cards and you settle in 6—or you cue bid 4; partner bids 4, etc. [If you play that 2NT is Lebensohl over your reverse, you will rebid 3NT, refusing to make the relay and showing a BIG hand. On that sequence, partner will simply bid 6 figuring that her the K; the K; and the A are all golden cards.]

A normal spade leads give you a free finesse.

You can insure 12 tricks by pulling trumps, unblocking spades and discarding one diamond on dummy's the K. If diamonds are 3-3 (36% chance), you'll make 7. If you are greedy, you can go for broke. Take spade and pull two rounds of trumps, leaving the K on dummy. (RHO shows out on second trump.) Cash top two diamonds (likely to live) and ruff third round of diamonds with dummy's the K (LHO shows out on third round of diamonds. Cash the A and ruff heart to hand. Pull last trump and claim 7.

Hand Number 2: Your partner opens 1 and you hold 109742 A 10953 AJ8. Any bid you make is a lie. 3 is a gross underbid (what was bid by the West player at our table). 4 is a gross underbid—you are much too good for a "Weak Freak Raise." You can either lie with 2 or lie with 2. (I would NOT splinter with a singleton Ace as partner will expect points in other suits which I do NOT have.) I would probably lie with 2 as I at least have some values there. Technically, my hand is an 8 loser hand, but counting spades for 3 losers when we have a 10 card fits is ridiculous. So, I figure I have a 7 loser hand which is a game forcing hand.

Partner will probably raise your clubs, temporizing. Now you bid 3. Partner bids 4 (control). You bid 4 and partner asks for Key Cards. After you admit to two Key Cards (with 5 trump you can "claim" the Q as well, but I figure I've overbid enough already). Partner puts it in 6. Partner's hand is AKQ86 Q72 AK 1043. At the table, I led a club against 4, solving the club suit problem for them. In 6, without the club lead, you have to either play the 10 around, hoping the LHO fails to cover—and then playing RHO for doubleton honor OR finessing the 8 next time if LHO does cover. Either works as you find K2 on your right and Q9765 on your left.