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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bridge for the 21st Century, by Jim Kaplan

Q1. Sitting South and dealing, with North-South vulnerable, you hold:

S A K 8 7 3
H J 6 4
D A K 8 7
C 8

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

South West North East
1S 2C 2H Pass

What would you bid?

A1. You are almost certain to reach slam, but what’s the hurry? I’d bid 3D (forcing) to learn more about partner’s hand. After partner rebids hearts, I’d bid 4NT. Here’s where Roman Key Card Blackwood is much better than straight Blackwood. A Blackwood response of 5D shows one ace but says nothing about the trump king and queen. But look at the Key Card responses:
  • 5C: 0 or 3 of the five key cards (four aces, trump king), with agreed-on or last-bid suit assumed to be trump
  • 5D: 1 or 4
  • 5H: 2 or 5 without trump queen
  • 5S: 2 or 5 with trump queen

When North replied 5S in a duplicate game, South confidently bid 6H. The North hand:

S 10 4
H A K Q 10 9 3
D 9 6 5
C Q 5

When South established a third spade winner to discard a diamond on, 6H made.

Q2. With North dealing and East-West vulnerable, you hold these cards in the South seat:

S Q 5
H Q 10 6 4 3
D —
C A K Q 10 6 3

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

North opens 1D, and East overcalls 1S. What would you bid?

A2. It’s tempting to make a negative double showing hearts and clubs. If you do so, though, you’ll have trouble showing two five+-card suits and a strong hand. (I speak from experience.) Bid 2C, then bid hearts twice to show 6-5 distribution in the suits.

Q3. Sitting South, with West dealing and North-South vulnerable, you hold:

S 6 4 2
H Q 9 7 6 4 3
D J 7 5

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

West North East South
3S DBL 4S ?

What would you bid?

A3. Imagine partner’s hand. To double a 3S bid with unfavorable vulnerability, North should have something like this:

S 3
H A K 10 2
D K Q 10 4
C A 10 7 5

Opposite such a powerhouse, your six hearts and singleton club are a godsend and you could bid 5H. The danger is that partner might overestimate your strength and raise to 6H. Therefore, some would wait until partner reopens with another double before bidding 5H. To decide, you need to understand each other’s bidding habits. Would partner have a hand as strong as the one above to double 3S with unfavorable vulnerability? If so, you should count on a reopening double.

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