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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

This deal was played recently in Chiang Mai. All vulnerable and North dealt. The bidding had some challenges for both sides. How would you bid each of the hands?

East made a Michaels cue bid—bidding North’s suit to show at least five hearts and five of a minor. South stayed quiet, knowing he would have another chance to bid (West would not pass and leave East in 2S!). West bid 2N, a conventional bid to ask East which minor suit he had. North bid diamonds, leaving East with a dilemma. Diamonds was his minor, so what to do now? Double? Or pass, hoping that N-S might end up in three diamonds? East chose to pass. Now South had a choice between spades and no trump. With his good hand, it had to be at a game level. The bidding showed a lot of distribution, and therefore he reasoned that spades would probably split badly. With good stoppers in East’s presumed suits, hearts and clubs, he chose 3N. What would you bid?
Now you are in game, how do you play it? West, thinking his partner had clubs, led his fourth highest, taken by the ten on board. Declarer, hoping that West might have two clubs, led to his ace, but was disappointed to see East throw a heart. Declarer reasoned that, since East had only one club, he should have two spades to go with his ten red cards. If spades split he could count four spade tricks to go with three club and three diamond tricks, for an overtrick. So he led a round of spades, ducked on board and won by East. By now, East only had red cards left, so he took a high heart and then led a low diamond to declarer’s ace. Declarer now took the king of clubs and the ace and king of spades, finding out about the bad spade split and ending on board. East had to throw away three more cards. He chose two more hearts and a low diamond. Now, declarer took the king and queen of diamonds, raising his total number of tricks to eight (three clubs, three high diamonds and two high spades) and giving him a complete count on the cards in East’s hand. Next, declarer led a diamond to East’s jack. East, down to the ace and jack of hearts, was end played and forced to give declarer the queen of hearts as his ninth trick. Somewhat messy play, but three no trumps bid and made. Note that the alternative contract, 4S, goes down, losing two spades and two hearts. What game did you choose?
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