Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 22nd, 2020


ClarksburgDecember 6th, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Good morning Mr. Wolff
From a Club game.
What seems (to me at least) a challenging part-score auction.
Matchpoints, both VUL South deals.

North AQ7 98754 Q7 862
East J942 2 A843 AK103
South 83 AQJ10 K62 J975
West K1065 K63 J1095 Q4
Could you kindly provide your views / advice on how the auction should go, including whether the final contract might / should be Doubled.

Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2020 at 12:00 am

Hi Clarksburg,

And the top of the Sunday afternoon to you.

How about three passes to East who then opens 1 diamond, South: 1 heart (competitive and lead directional), West: classic negative double, 3 hearts by North, which though a slight overbid (opposite a passed partner), needs to be made now and not later to bring a little pressure on EW, who, unless
blessed with 2nd sight, will almost never double for penalty (in spite of playing matchpoints and both sides being vulnerable).

Then East should make a slight underbid by bidding only 3 spades, rather than game, although, at least to me, East’s then bid is the closest choice by bidding only three spades, rather than four, which I would probably gamble at rubber bridge or IMPs.

Then, and of course, it should go all pass with nine tricks made, although it can be defeated with a diamond ruff. However that defense might not be found, although it may be stumbled into.

Notice that if North only raises to 2 hearts and then bids 3 competitively, the opponents may then double and find the winning defense.

“Bid em high early and encourage the opponents to sleep in the streets”, is a good bridge motto which, IMO works more than it should, because opponents will respect vulnerable bidding more than they should.

No doubt psychology and confidence will play a large part of any bridge tournament, so make it a point to bring that person to the table in your name.

Good luck and stay well!

ClarksburgDecember 7th, 2020 at 1:36 am

Most helpful.
One follow up:
Considering all forms of scoring and various vulnerabilities would the South hand ever be worth opening?

jim2December 7th, 2020 at 2:06 am

If N-S are playing weak one notrump, then I can see South opening 1N and then either a transfer bid by North or a natural 2H.

Those auctions might be tougher for East to get into vulnerable.

jim2December 7th, 2020 at 2:10 am

On the question in the column by “Sandwiched,” I agree with 3C, but I doubt I would ever bid 4S over 3N.

The lead will be through North’s heart holding and — since North bid 1N rather than double — I would probably be in a 4-3 “fit.”

Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2020 at 4:38 am

Hi Clarksburg,

Simply put, many good players consistently are opening South’s type hand. It is not now my style, nor ever has been, but to each his own, meaning a random partnership always has the option to upgrade to an opening bid, but whether done or not, that partnership needs to be consistent and not sometimes open it and sometimes not.

It could be considered rude of me to take a firm position against opening, but, at least to me, partner needs to know the minimum I would open and in spite of the valuable 10 of hearts, I will still decline.

Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2020 at 4:47 am

Hi Jim2,

While I sympathize with what you say, I do think bidding with the 4-0-3-6 hand is absolutely mandatory and would likely bid 4 spades over partner’s 3NT’s rebid.

While I do not expect partner to have 4 spades, (with a double heart stop, he might) I expect him to generally take me back to 5 clubs, but I do think that this hand should avoid 3NT and, of course, bidding 4 spades does accomplish that.

But only the “Shadow” knows for sure and he hasn’t been around for about 75 years.