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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

I picked up the hand below, distributional but weak, at a recent duplicate game:

S: -
H: K10643
D: 976542
C: 98

I was sitting East. We were vulnerable and NS were non-vulnerable. South dealt and passed. My partner opened 1H. North doubled for takeout. What would you bid? I chose 3H because we were vulnerable—if we go down two it is already better for the opponents than them making a non-vulnerable game. If we had not been vulnerable I would have bid 4H, to try and prevent the opponents finding their certain spade fit (and in the light of the subsequent bidding I wish I had). The bidding proceeded as follows:

With my distributional hand I decided to show my second suit over North’s 4S bid. At least this pushed them to the five level. My partner doubled and I passed. The hand diagram is shown below:

With his strong hand and the ace and king of trumps it is not surprising that my partner doubled. However, 5S is cold—with North’s distribution the only possible losers are the ace and king of spades. Can you see what my best bid would have been over 5S doubled? Six diamonds! Provided my partner left it in and that South led a spade, I would have been able to throw my two clubs on the high spades and would only have lost the two red aces for one down. Of course such a bid is only really possible when seeing all four hands, not at the table, but I wish I had made it if only because it would have been such a showy bid on three points! Six hearts, rather than six diamonds, would not have worked because North would have been on lead and would likely have cashed high clubs first.
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