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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What would you bid? by Jim Kaplan

Q1. Sitting South, with East dealing and East-West vulnerable, you hold:
                   S A K Q 9 7 6
                   H K 4 2
                   D Q 7 4
                   C 6

The bidding has proceeded as follows:
     East              South              West            North
      1C                1S                 2C              2S
      3C                 ?

What do you bid?

A. With East-West bidding clubs so earnestly, it’s doubtful partner has many points in the suit. Giving partner eight support points, I’d picture North with a hand like:
                   S J 5 2  
                   H Q J 10 9 
                   D K 10 8 5 
                   C 8 5 

Actually, there’s a way to find out something specific about partner’s hand. Bid 3D. That’s a “help suit game try,” which tells partner you’re inviting game but are worried about your diamond holding. With diamond help — or with a maximum 2S raise — partner will go to 4S. Without help, North will bid 3S.

Q2. Sitting South, with North dealing and no one vulnerable, you hold:
                   S Q 10 7 5 4
                   H K Q 9 6 4
                   D 10
                   C 9 8

North opens 1NT, and East passes. What do you bid?

A. Your hand is much better than the average seven-pointer, especially opposite 1NT. Bid 2H to transfer to spades, then 3H (forcing) to show 5-5 distribution in the majors. With at least one three-card major, partner will place the contract in 4H or 4S.

There are some rare occasions when partner will open 1NT with 2-2 in the majors. Therefore, an alternate possibility is to bid 2D (transfer to hearts), then 2S to show 5-5 and invitational values. But with the above hand, I’d push to game.

Q3. With West dealing and no one vulnerable, you hold:
                   S A 4
                   H A Q 10 7 6 5 3
                   D 7
                   C A J 10 

After three passes, what do you bid?

A. 4H. No need to fool around. If partner has one heart and a couple of likely tricks, you’re in a good contract. Since East-West didn’t bid, that seems like a reasonable gamble.

Q4. Sitting South, with West dealing and both sides vulnerable, you hold:
                   S Q J 10 9 
                   H J 7 2
                   D 5 2
                   C 9 8 7 2
The bidding has proceeded as follows:
       West            North            East             South
       1S               2D               2S              Pass
       3S              Pass              4S                ?

What do you bid?

A. Knowing that East-West have a terrible trump split and you have two tricks in spades, and knowing partner has an opening hand needed for a two-level overcall vulnerable, I’d double. Your chances for four defensive tricks are excellent.

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