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A Lolly Scramble

Why am I writing up board 18, the reader may be asking. After all, fewer than 40% of the players even bothered to bid on it, with five out of eight pairs at our club passing the hand out, what is there to talk about? The answer lies with the other three Wests who saw the value of opening the hand, ‘third in hand’, with some sort of an opening bid. Let’s take a look.

Board#18 19/04/2018

Board#18 19/04/2018

If playing a weak 2D, the hand is perfect, even though normally it might be a point too strong for a weak two. Or, West might decide to open 1D, which is an overstatement but will come to no harm in most scenarios.

If EW are not playing a weak 2D but some other 2D opening, there is every reason for West to open 3D. That, too, can come to little harm, because either NS will have a plus score to be made somewhere, and will have to look for it at the three level, or 3D will have every chance of making if the hand is destined to be passed out by North. The vulnerability is also something that should be considered when making such opening bids third in hand.

And, by the way, if you had the West hand and the bidding had gone PASS-PASS-PASS to you, would you still open a weak 2D or 3D? I certainly would, but I would not even think about opening 1D, because there would be too much chance of opponents being able to contest on marginal hands with something in the majors. The ‘rule of 15’ can be useful for fourth in hand after three passes: add your points to the number of SPADES you hold, and if it comes to 15 or more, open. The reason you focus on the spade suit is because that is the master suit and your side, rather than opponents, will then be in control of the auction.

Take another look at the deal and see if you agree with the reasoning.

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