Neil Kimelman

Recent hand solution

Yes, you have a good hand with a good club suit. Partner has bid to boot. But I think the percentage action is to pass. You are not sure where to play on offence, and you have very little defence against an opponent who committed to 11 tricks against two bidding opponents!

Partner still has a chance to bid. The full deal:







              AJ76                          3

              K54                           A6

              8                                KQJ9765432








 Playing in a Swiss team match at the sectional I passed. My opponent with the same hand doubled and was       -950, and we picked up 8 useful IMPs (p.s. we lost the match but won the event).

The moral of the story: High Card Points aren’t everything…


Ray LeeDecember 16th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Well, it’s certainly right to pass on this layout! Whether it’s the percentage action, I’m more doubtful. RHO doesn’t have to have 10 tricks in his own hand (you should see some of my 5D bids!), plus a dummy with two more. Just shift the ace of spades to North, and he’ll pull my double to 5S, which makes except on an unlikely heart lead. In fact trade your king of spades for West’s ace, and you still can’t beat 5D, but I think the double would be even clearer. I don’t agree with “Anonymous’ that double is 100% penalty — it can’t be. You are most unlikely to have a diamond stack, so it simply shows cards, and partner must do his best to make a good decision. As some wise person once said, you can’t be perfect over preempts!

lindaDecember 17th, 2008 at 5:35 am

If my RHO seems sane then he probably does have a nine card suit or so. Ten seems a bit excessive, I have never been dealt one.

If you can beat this hand more than one trick, partner will double since you really don’t have that much defense. I don’t think you need to double here to get the extra penalty. I suppose the argument for a double is that you are inviting partner back into the auction by showing extra strength. The good news is that even with a good hand partner won’t bid unless he has extra shape. So if partner pulls you do have more chance that you will make it. Doubling seems to pay off on a hand where partner has something like:


So doubling ties when partner has a more or less balanced hand and would double anyway or when partner is strong with shape and comes back in

Doubling losses when partner can’t add anything much to the defense

Doubling wins when partner has good shape and will pul to a making contract

So it is a matter of frequency. Things that suggest passing to me are the doubleton spade and the fact that the most likely fit in in clubs which we have to bid at the 6 level. Even contracts that seem superifically good may well go down on distribution.

I am a passer. But I didn’t look at the problem until I saw the solution. I always get these right when I see all four hands.

you only have two spades. I know they are good ones. Things are not breaking.

Ray LeeDecember 17th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Mmm… Neil, that’s also not the same hand you gave us in the original column.

Neil KimelmanJanuary 8th, 2009 at 8:40 pm


BruceMay 19th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Mmm… Neil, that’s also not the same hand you gave us in the original column.

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