What & Why (26)

Dealer E All Vul


Most NS pairs in any teams match should reach 4S. I did say I would give you our bidding using the “TNT” guideline.

East opens 1C and South overcalls 1S. Assuming that South has 10 HCP for the overcall, North estimates that a) they have an 8 card fit and minimum of 18 HCP. TNT says only 7 tricks IF South has only 10 HCP. In competition, we always raise to one level more than the TNT tells us, so North raises to 2S (8 tricks). South has five more points than the average overcall and that equates to at least two tricks, so bids 4S. If you think this is complicated, it’s not, just a bit of counting and logic based on a starting point of 20 combined HCP. Another good way to bid this is to use the cue bid to show a good single level raise, as suggested by Gerry. Thus, after South’s overcall of 1S, North bids 2C which says: “7-9 HCP and a THREE card raise”. Even simpler than my TNT. No doubt most other methods (including losing trick count) would lead to 4S as well so let’s take a look at the play.

Here is how the play might go in a high level teams match. Against 4S West leads the club jack. Declarer wins the ace and follows with the king. This would seem safe enough and a necessary play since declarer needs the entry to dummy to take the spade finesse, which, given East opened the bidding, is likely to win. Declarer ruffs the third club, West discarding a diamond. Now, declarer leads the jack of spades from dummy. In normal circumstances it would be better to lead the seven in case East has a singleton king, but declarer is going to be short of entries to return to dummy for a second finesse, as well as do the other necessary plays. The finesse seems to work when West plays the three, but when declarer then leads the next spade and puts in the ten, West wins. West now switches to a diamond (‘through strength’, giving nothing away) and declarer rises with the queen in dummy. East plays the ten though it makes no real difference if East were to win the ace and return a club. Not winning the ace is a good play because declarer may go wrong. How? Declarer should have diagnosed, immediately the spade finesse lost, that East has both red aces and therefore declarer needs to find East with a DOUBLETON ace of hearts to make the contract. Therefore, with only one diamond entry to dummy, that entry has to be used to lead a heart from dummy towards declarer’s queen in hand. Easy to forget that if East ducks the first diamond, which is the only opportunity for declarer to lead the low heart from dummy. A low heart from both hands after the queen holds, and BINGO.