bridge

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Game all; dealer South

North

4 K 7 6 2

! Q 2

# J 10 4

2 A K 10 3

West East

4 10 4 J 9 8 5 4 3

! J 9 8 7 6 3 ! A 10 5 4

# K Q 6 # 2

2 J 7 4 2 5 2

South

4 A Q

! K

# A 9 8 7 5 3

2 Q 9 8 6

This deal posed intricate bidding problems for North-South. Although they found a reasonable solution, their final contract was bound to fail as the cards lay, while an alternative would have succeeded. How do you apportion blame?

South opened One Diamond and North responded One Spade. South's next bid of Two Clubs left North with his first decision: Three Clubs would be an underbid. Four clubs would take the partnership past Three No-trumps, while his heart holding hardly warranted a no-trump bid. Sensibly, he temporised with Two Hearts - the fourth suit.

Now it was South's turn to worry. There was no question of no-trumps (North might have nothing in hearts) and the choice lay between Two Spades and Three Diamonds. He selected the former and North had an easy bid of Three Clubs, forcing after his fourth suit bid.

Back to South: Three Diamonds would have been logical but not particularly helpful, so instead he chose Three Hearts, which West doubled. Now, what could the bid show? Remember, he had already bid the other three suits and had limited his hand with Two Spades. His contention that he still entertained hopes of Three No-Trumps despite his partner's lack of a guard in the suit, sounds logical to me and I think that North should have bid Three No-trumps at this point.

In fact North jumped to Five Clubs but there was no way for declarer to avoid three losers after the singleton spade lead.

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