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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

“Six, five, come alive” is an old bridge adage. I was lucky enough to be dealt a hand that illustrated this rather well. I was sitting South and this was my hand:

S: 108654
H: J
D: 2
C: AKJ943

Not much of a hand you might think—nine high card points, with a good six card club suit, but a very ratty five card spade suit. East-West were vulnerable, we were non-vulnerable. East dealt and opened 1C, so I could not even bid my only good suit. I overcalled 1S, in spite of the poor suit. West bid 2D (a negative double showing both red suits might be better). My partner raised me to 2S. East bid 3D. With the above adage in mind, I took it to 4S and East doubled. You may well think that I overbid by going to 4S. My rationale was that we might make the contract if my partner had a decent hand—since I had most of the low spades, surely he had one or two high ones! Also, we were non-vulnerable. Furthermore, if my partner did not have a decent hand, then the opponents could probably make a vulnerable game and we needed to make an early sacrifice before they could find it.

The full deal is shown below:

West led the eight of clubs, his partner’s bid suit. I took it with the ace in hand to try and hide from East the fact that the lead was a singleton. I led the ten of spades around to East’s queen. East then tried to cash the top hearts. The second heart was ruffed in hand and another spade led. From East’s double, it looked like he held both the king and queen of trumps. The only chance of making the contract was that they were doubleton. So I went up with the ace. Luckily, the king dropped. The jack of spades pulled the last trump. The queen of clubs was cashed and my hand entered by ruffing another heart. The rest of the clubs gave me ten tricks, thus making the contract, losing only one diamond, one heart and a trump. So you see the power of that six, five distribution—game made with only seventeen high card points between the two hands (and a little luck!).
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise