Maritha Pottenger

Hands are from Adventures in Bridge, October 27, 2018.

Hand #14

North: 32 AK42 AK83 AKQ

South: A105 QJ10975 65 J3

This hand is a test of partnership trust. East opens a Weak 2. South and West pass. North balances with a double. Even though partner is balancing, the South hand is an 8-loser hand, so South should jump to 4. North, with that monster, can bid 5.

When partner disdains Blackwood and bids five of your major, it has one specific meaning: partner is worried about two quick losers in the opponent’s suit or an unbid suit. So bid 6 of our suit if you have first or second round control of their suit. In other words, bid 6 if you have the A of Kx. If there is ONE unbid suit, and the opponents are not in the auction, going to five of your major asks for first or second round control in that unbid suit.

North should trust that South has at least one card (Ace or King) along with her presumed long hearts. South should trust that North has the control-rich hand that her bid promises. If South bids 5 on the way, promising the A, North might even make the greedy matchpoint bid of 6NT—expecting partner to have six hearts to the Queen along with her the A or five hearts to the Queen, the A and the Q.

Hand #8

North: Q10832 Q63 Q63 A8

South: A9 98 AJ872 QJ52

Hand #8 was an exercise in bidding discipline. West opened a Weak 2. North and East passed. South bid 3. North has to remember Mike Lawrence's advice that when the opponents preempt and your partner bids, s/he is entitled to expect 7-9 HCP to show up in your hand. The North hand has 10 HCP, but the Q is useless on offense. (Partner rates to be short in hearts) If partner had 16 or more HCP, she would have doubled first, so game is not on the table.

It is tempting to try 3—hoping to improve the contract, but partner does NOT have to hold any spades. In fact, partner almost certainly does NOT have four spades or she would have doubled since you play Equal Level Conversion. So, hoping for three spades in partner's hand is hoping for the magic hand. Pass 3 and be happy that you will probably get a plus score.

Equal Level Conversion means that partners will double a major opening by the opposition with five or six diamonds and four cards in the unbid major. If the partner of the doubler bids clubs, when the doubler makes a “conversion” at an “equal level” (no higher) to diamonds, that is showing the 4-5 or 4-6 hand, NOT a big, big hand in HCP as is normally the case when doubling first and then bidding your own suit. This agreement is advisable to make sure you don’t miss your 4-4 major fit which can happen if you just overcall the diamond suit.