Neil Kimelman

Bridge in Philadelphia IV

Both vulnerable, playing Matchpoints, you hold as South:  K107642 A94 A643 void. What do you bid on this auction?

 West       North     East      South

                   –               –      1           

   Pass       2       2NT1         ?


 Making it to the final of the Open Pairs was very exciting, and an accomplishment for our partnership, especially as we are usually much better playing IMPs.

 This deal was taken from the 3rd final session. Well, this is a good hand with a lot of features. Heart fit, 1st round control in both minors and a 6 card spade suit. You have a lot to tell partner, but probably not a lot of time.

 The 2NT bid is ominous. I expect a lot of clubs to be bid on my left, and my next call will be at least at the five level. The bid I made at the table was 4, splinter. This tells partner that I have at least 3 hearts, shortness in clubs and at least enough points to force to game. I chose this bid because I believe it relays as much information as possible for partner to bid intelligently. The bidding continued:

West       North     East      South

                 –           –            1           

 Pass       2       2NT1      4

 5         Pass       Pass       ?

 Now what? As expected west bid 5. But what about partner’s pass. What does it mean? Well first this is a forcing pass situation. Partner could have doubled which is discouraging, but didn’t. He could have bid 5 which says I want to play 5, and am not really interested in defending 5  or bidding a slam.

 So partner is encouraging you to bid. Despite a dearth of high card points I think 5  is the right call. Partner might need to know if you have the A. Sounds like it, as the auction continued:

West       North     East      South

                –               –         1           

Pass       2       2NT1       4

5        Pass       Pass        5

Pass       5        Pass          ?

 What is 5? Good question. Is it the A, or just support giving you a choice of slams. This is uncharted waters but partner probably has spades. Do you have a grand slam? If so, you should show your 1st round control in clubs of which partner is unaware. And while you are thinking, which suit should play better?

 All very good questions. The full deal (hands rotated):


Vul: Both






















 I bid 6. First I didn’t want to take the chance that partner only had Ax in spades. Secondly the 2NT bid indicates that there likely will be some bad breaks. Thirdly, I couldn’t tell definitively which contract would be better, and who I wanted on lead! Lastly, I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of Eric Kokish, who was kibitzing Katz – Nickell!

We made 6 for 39 out of 70 matchpoints. We were very lucky as we bid the wrong slam, but east led a club. This is a reasonable lead at matchpoints because east knew I had the A, and wanted to take their club trick as we could easily have all the tricks otherwise. Ah, matchpoints!

 Lessons to Learn

  1. Try to anticipate the bidding, and make the call that will be most helpful to your partnership over the course of the bidding.
  2.  In forcing pass auctions a pass by partner is encouraging, and here implies either long hearts or a spade fit.
  3.  North had hidden four card spade support. A better bid with the hand would be 6♠ over 5♦, because he knew about the big fit, his hearts were poor and spades will probably play better. This bid would allow the partnership to get to 7 if right, i.e. KQ10764 AQ4 A643 void.


PaulNovember 5th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I did not play in the Open Pairs but do know how unbelievably tough it was just to qualify for the semifinal, let alone the final.

Well done!

Neil KimelmanNovember 5th, 2010 at 4:14 pm


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