Solution to December 29th Problem
No one vul as south you hold: ♠ A1085 ♥ J ♦ A963 ♣ A832. The bidding:
1Inverted, usually 5+♦ and 11+HCP. What do you bid at teams? At Matchpoints?
After an inverted minor response opener tries to describe their hand type and strength. A suit bid will normally indicate a 2nd suit. No-trump bids show balanced hands. Some play new suit is a cue bid, but I do not recommend that choice.
2NT or 3♦ by responder shows a minimum, and can be passed. Even though south has a minimum in terms of high cards, they have very good distribution. The best call is a natural 3♣. It describes your hand very well and partner should be able to place the contract.
The disadvantage to the bid is that it pinpoints the heart shortness, and may help the opponents defend better. Despite this, I would bid 3♣ at matchpoints or teams. When you can’t make the final decision involve partner!
At our last sectional some pairs bid 3NT and regretted that choice when east led the 2♥.
The full deal from the Friday pair event:
Lessons to learn from this hand
- Any time you can bid naturally partner will be better able to evaluate how well their high cards are working. The same principle is why splinters are so popular.
- If a bid is helpful to partner make it, even though the opponents may also be able to use this information to their advantage.
- Notice north’s 2NT bid. They have a tough hand to evaluate in terms of minimum or game forcing, balanced or unbalanced. I like the 2NT bid as it give the most space for south to describe their hand. This became very valuable on this deal as any other bid would not allow south to be able to bid a descriptive 3♣.
- What should north bid over 3♣? If noth’s queen was in spades it would be an easy 5♦ call. At teams I would still bid 5♦. At matchpoints I would bid 4♦ and expect partner to bid 5♦ with their three aces. Unfortunately the club queen is offside and 4♦ is the limit of the hand (Declarer can make the hand by stripping the side suits and throwing west in with the K♠, if he doesn’t unblock).