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Silence is Golden

Some points of interest from this fairly innocuous looking deal. They are worth discussing.

Board 4 from Thursday 20/09/2018
Dealer W All Vul

Board#4 20/09/2018

Firstly, would you open the West hand? I know a number of people did open 1C. I wouldn’t, it’s just asking for trouble, and I am not the aggressive type when it comes to bidding with rubbish. But if West does open 1C and East responds 1D (or 1H) would you as South overcall 1S? I wouldn’t.

Would you, as West, then rebid clubs if South does overcall 1S? I certainly would not. I would pass, nothing more to say. Then, if you were North, would you raise to 2S? I certainly would; if partner can overcall 1S I can certainly raise to two. Then, if you were East, how would you continue to get to the best game, given West has opened the bidding and indicated some strength. The answer is in a cue bid. East bids 3S which asks for a spade stopper, and West bids 3NT.

There are many sequences that might arise given more sensible bidding, like when West passes and East opens 1D and South overcalls 1S (I wouldn’t). Now West has the choice of two bids:

  • 2C which, despite being a passed hand, should still be a ‘free bid” and show 5+ clubs and 10+ HCP. East would then bid 2S looking for the spade stop for 3NT
  • 2NT which also describes West’s hand pretty well. West should recognise the importance of a spade lead coming from NORTH and not South in a 3NT contract. Any partial stopper in East’s hand, e.g. 10xx or Qx will add to West’s AJ to provide a double stop as long as the lead comes from North.

Whether NS enter the bidding or not, and however the bidding proceeds, it is important to see the need for a 3NT contract to be played by WEST and not EAST. Without opposition bidding the auction may go PASS from West and 1D from East. West should now take the right view and bid 2NT but if West bids 2C, a bid in NT by East will prove fatal. East should think about that and reverse to 2H to give the pair the best chance of getting to the right contract. Many EW pairs will bid to 3NT by East and South will lead a spade and the inevitable will happen. The moral of the story is: silence is golden.