Too Many Choices: So Much Difficulty

For those readers who read the Special with the play problem: thank you for the many entries, it is clear that it is easier to do things 'double dummy' than at the table. The interesting thing about that particular deal is that the play at the table may well have been a 'double dummy' problem depending on the bidding.

What I was hoping for was an answer that started with: “Trick one, ace of spades. Then lowest trump, duck or cover East's card.” That would have been the deepest finesse the player would ever have made. Look back at the problem and see how it all works. I will be revisiting that deal in my next book, “Evil at the Bridge Table” so I will leave it at that for now. The best answer came from an enthusiastic first year player. Congratulations go to Peter Hawkes of the Hutt club.

Now for this week's hand. There were many this week that could have been difficult to handle, and I have chosen just one of them, the readers may have others that they can ask about, I'm happy to look at them.

Board 7 from Thursday 29-Nov
Dealer S All Vul


South has a very good weak 2H opening, if playing standard weak twos that is. After two passes, East has a perfect takeout double. What should West bid then? For the 'natural' and 'value' bidders, 2NT is a no brainer and East will raise to 3NT. But if EW are playing Lebensohl where 2NT shows a weak hand, West's best option is to just bid 3NT, hoping that East has better than the minimum values he might have for the take out double. This may happen if systems allow that a double could be even weaker than expected when East is last to bid.

Another option West might consider is to pass the double. West can hope to contribute at least three tricks, possibly four, to the defence, so +500 is likely, +200 certain. Either of these results is likely to be a very good result unless all EW pairs are in game and make.

Well, what would you do? Too much can go wrong on defence, and given that West has two certain stoppers in hearts as well as two useful black kings, my sugegstion for West would be to bid 3NT, which may have a decent play even opposite a 13 count.

My book “Thirteen Tricks and Evil Acol” is now available at a special rate for Thursday review readers. Contact me at for a preview or order a book now for great Christmas reading before presenting it to your partner. Better still - buy two so you can work up this system together.