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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

To quote Hugh Kelsey: “If you bid a stop at no trump, then you don’t need to actually have one.” My partner, Chris Hedges, took this advice on a hand we played together. With neither side vulnerable and West dealing, this was the bidding:
South (Chris) West North (me) East
  2S Dbl 3S
3N All pass    


  S: 2  
  H: A852  
  D: AQJ6  
  C: K1074  
S: KQJ853   S: A6
H: K3   H: QJ1094
D: 98   D: 1043
C: 532   C: J86
  S: 10974  
  H: 76  
  D: K752  
  C: AQ9  

West opened a weak two spades—a good bid because it forces the opponents to the three level and makes it difficult for them to find the right contract. I had the perfect shape for a takeout double, happy to support any suit from my partner. East increased the preemption by bidding 3S. This would be a good sacrifice, since it would go down only two against best defence (the defence would score two diamonds, three clubs and the ace of hearts). If the defence stumbles, then the contract may even make. Four cards to the ten is only half a stopper, but Chris was not intimidated by that or by the fact that he had only nine points. He bid 3N.

As you can see, from looking at all four hands, if West leads low to the ace, then the defence will take the first six tricks. However, holding West’s hand, there are not many players who could resist leading the king of spades. After that lead, 3N cannot be defeated. If East overtakes with the ace and then leads back a spade, four spades to the ten actually becomes a stopper. At the table, East won the second trick but there was no way back to West’s hand. Declarer won the heart switch in dummy with the ace and then took the next eight tricks in the minors (four diamonds and four clubs). A good bid by my partner, resulted in making 3N with only 23 high card points (and only half a stopper) between the two hands!

Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players and all skill levels. We have members from seventeen different countries already and run periodic beginner’s classes. For information on the Club go to the web site If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]

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Bridge in Paradise