Tricky Answers (08)

You are South each time.

1. Match Points
Dealer E NS Vul


a) The bidding has been:


East’s 2H is a standard weak two, 6-10 HCP and six card suit.
What would you bid?

The consensus of respondents was that IF you are playing Lebensohl, you should raise to 4D but if not, pass is best. What is Lebensohl, you may ask? For the uninitiated, after your takeout double of a weak two, 2NT is WEAK and any bid at the three level has some values, say 8+ HCP. Makes a big difference doesn’t it?

Personally, playing any system at all, and without discussion, I would raise partner’s 3D to 4D because partner will almost certainly have five or more and shortage in hearts, which would make 5D playable with as little as a five count opposite, e.g. Qxx x Kxxxx xxxx but who knows? The actual deal that this came from is of no real relevance so I won’t reproduce it, but 4D was what NS could make.

2. Match Points
Dealer E NS Vul


The bidding has been:


What is your bid?

To double (must be takeout as Gerry says) and take a possible penalty of unknown size if partner has some decent diamonds, or to force to game by bidding 3D? Those were the only options offered. I personally favour the double. Why? Because you were prepared to sit the double of 1NT out and take whatever you could, so why now decide to bid game just because opponents have ‘escaped’ to a suit? Doesn’t make sense to me, and after a double you can still raise partner’s major if he has one, a perfect description of your hand. At the time, 2D doubled would have been down three with perfect defence (who defends perfectly?) but game in 3NT would have really tested your partner, so if you were prepared to put partner to the test, you would have done that if you chose 3D as your bid. I guess the answer here really depends on how you rate North as a declarer!

3. Match Points
Dealer N NS Vul

North, your partner, passes and East opens 1D. You pass and West bids 1S. East bids 1NT (now 15-16). West bids 3NT. After three passes, you open the defence with the queen of hearts and this dummy appears:


Dummy’s low heart is called for and your partner follows with the five. Declarer wins the ace and leads the three of spades to the jack in dummy. Partner follows with the six. Declarer next leads the jack of diamonds from dummy, six from partner and two from declarer. You win the king. What card do you play next?

This one was not too difficult for most of the panel. All that was necessary was the simple inference that declarer had to have the ace and king of hearts or he would not have won the opening lead. The 1NT rebid of 15-16 HCP also helps with our maths; as for the ‘pretend’ spade finesse, that shouldn’t fool anyone because North would win the king in order to return a heart to set up South’s hearts. Yes, there are times when a good defender in the North seat would duck with the spade king but this time it makes no sense, because it would be a no-brainer to win the king of spades and return a heart. So your addition should tell you that declarer has AK of hearts, AQ of diamonds, and KING of spades, adding to 16. No room for the ace of clubs! Which club to switch to? If you know partner has the ace, the JACK is the obvious answer in case declarer has the TEN. Four club tricks now defeat the contract.

Strangely enough, had declarer not bothered to go to dummy for a diamond finesse but led a diamond from hand toward the jack, South would not have been able to find the club switch, too dangerous without knowing that declarer can’t have the ace of clubs.