Click to follow
The Independent Culture
WHAT RANGE do you use for an opening bid of Two No-trumps? The classic range is 20-22 points but, especially if Benjamin Twos are in use (with both Two Clubs and Two Diamonds being artificial opening bids with no-trump rebids in reserve) some players prefer 19-21. I am not of their number but have to admit that it worked well on this deal - as a pre-emptive bid at unfavourable vulnerability!

At one table East duly opened Two No-trumps and, although everyone gave the matter some thought, this ended the auction. South made his natural lead of a low spade and, after knocking out A#, East had his eight tricks.

At the other table East was constrained to open One Diamond. This gave his opponents their chance: South overcalled with One Spade, West raised to Two Diamonds, and North bounced to Four Spades. Although Five Diamonds would have proved a cheap save, it looked more attractive for East to defend and he doubled.

West led 10# against 44 doubled, and South timed matters well when he opted not to ruff his losing diamond but led the Q!. West's two suggested a three-card holding, and East did his best by ducking. Another heart went to the eight, nine and ace, and East forced dummy to ruff by leading a diamond.

After ruffing on the table with the nine, declarer continued with J4. East played low and this won the trick. It would have been folly to lead another trump at this point for East would have taken his ace and killed dummy with a return of Q4. Instead, South used dummy's long hearts as a way to pick up the trumps. As and when East decided to ruff with his queen, declarer could over-ruff and so remain in complete control. In that way he added 590 points to the 120 already collected by his team- mates.