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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

Here is a deal from a duplicate pairs game. It is tricky to bid no matter which direction you are seated---both sides risk a potential top or a bottom with their bids. Try bidding it from both NS and EW directions, and see where you end up. East-West were vulnerable and North dealt.

At the table where I sat North opened the bidding with one diamond. With three of the high card points being a singleton king, many might not open this minimum hand. East made a weak jump overcall to two spades. South, with a truly dreadful hand but encouraged by six card support of partner’s bid suit and favourable vulnerability, raised to three diamonds. West, with the best hand at the table, raised his partner’s spades to game. North, with five good diamonds and a strong suspicion that four spades would make, raised to five diamonds as a non-vulnerable sacrifice. This was passed around to West. Now what would you bid? The choices are pass, double or five spades. One of these bids gets you an average, one gets you a near top, and one gets a bottom. But how do you work out which is which?

At our table West eventually passed. Five diamonds is not a pretty contract. There are no diamond losers, but the best you can do outside the trump suit is to lose a spade and then throw a club loser on dummy’s queen. This way you go down only two: losing one spade, one heart and two clubs. This gets an average for both sides. Double would have been a better result for East-West, but not as good as making a four spade game. A bid of five spades, instead of double, converts a top to a solid bottom. East-West are bound to lose one top spade and the two red aces---making game, but going down one in five spades. So how would you have bid it---a near top, a bottom or a middle?
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