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Model of a Contested Auction

From Thursday 1/3/18. A number of quite amazing hands this week, I really don’t know which to report. We’ve had quite a few discussions on slams, so maybe this week we’ll talk about something different, a hand which was very competitive in nature and also required some good declarer play.

Board#22 01/03/2018

Would you open the West hand 1♠, or with another bid that showed a strong 8+ playing trick hand? Or, being third in hand after two passes, just bid 4♠? There is something to be said for all options, but the West at our table was not the most aggressive player in the club and opened 1♠. North overcalled 2♣, East passed, and I saw no reason not to introduce my hearts, given the excellent club support. At this stage West should have just bid 4♠. While there seem to be three certain losers plus a possible one or two diamond losers, with NS bidding clubs and hearts, surely 4♠ must have a shot? But maybe West was a bit uncomfortable with the vulnerability, West bid just 2♠. North was happy to support hearts and bid 3♥. After two passes, West persisted with 3♠ and I belatedly showed my club support with 4♣. North bid 4♥ and West gave in. West should have reasoned that if we were making 4 then he was probably making 4♠ or would be down one in the most unfortunate of layouts, but West gave in. After cashing two top spades, West cashed a top diamond and continued with the third top spade. Should I ruff with dummy’s jack? That would certainly tell me where the queen was but if it was with East it would also be a losing play, so I ruffed with dummy’s ace and then led the jack, which East covered and I won with the king. Since the bidding by West had been fairly strong, and a 3-1 break was more likely, I led the club eight to dummy’s queen for a ‘pretend finesse’ and then led another heart, finessing when East followed low. The rest was easy and 4♥ made. I would certainly have bid to 5♣ if West had bid 4♠, and because a third spade would give North no problems, how many down 5♣ went would depend on the view in the heart suit. Would North have got it right? North would no doubt have reasoned that 4♠ would have made if West had only one heart, and then played in 5♣ doubled accordingly. Down one doubled therefore was the par contract on this deal. But the actual results did not quite reflect that: 4♥ down one twice; 2♠ making 5; 3♠ making 5; and 4♠ making 6 twice! What happened at YOUR club?

Any correspondence is welcome, to villyn@xtra.co.nz

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