Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Sunday was bridge day with lots of children time too

I had a lovely Sunday.  Colin, Luise, Jessica and Marcus slept over.  The kids love a sleepover.  We had pancakes for brunch.  I made some batter and the kids put strawberries, bananas and chocolate chips into custom pancakes.  After that we watched Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.  I have to say that Jessica liked Walt Disney’s Snow White (which we watched the night before) a whole lot better.  Walt Disney had magic.

After the kids left the day was full of bridge.  I pondered systems over 2c_thumb22532.  Do you like playing control showing responses?  I was thinking about inverting 2Copyofd_thumb222422 to show more controls than 2h_thumb222822 because it seems to me that when you have more controls you need more space not less.  Thoughts on this matter are welcome.

Later on I watched the finals of Women’s Canadian curling while I played some bridge.  Fortunately I have a TV mounted right beside my computer.  (Okay maybe my bridge playing was a touch distracted).  It was an exciting final and an interesting display of “fear of winning”.  Going into End 8 out of 10 the Prince Edward Island team had a formidable two point lead with the hammer.  They did badly in eight, nine and ten and eventually lost in an extra end.  It was as if knowing that they would be the first team ever to win a major curling championship from PEI, the pressure was just too much.

Back at my bridge game, this deal provided a bit of a bidding challenge for me.  I held: s_thumb222422 A94 h_thumb222822 Q54 Copyofd_thumb222422 A107 c_thumb22532 KQJ2

I opened 1NT in second chair and partner raised to 4NT.  Is slam worth a go?  I have 16 points right in the middle of the range and the spot in diamonds and spades might be helpful.  The c_thumb22532J is a better card than than some jacks.  But I decided to pass.

It was the 4-3-3-3 shape that did me in.  I was happy I had passed when I saw my partner’s hand.  She had s_thumb222422 J32 h_thumb222822 AJ Copyofd_thumb222422 KQJ c_thumb22532 A9854

6NT is not a good spot.  It does have some play.  If the heart finesse works you might make via a squeeze of some sort.  If my LHO holds the top two spades along with the heart king there is a simple squeeze and it works with or without the count.  You can just run winners or you can lead a spade towards the jack earlier on.

Is 6c_thumb22532 better?  It requires less card reading but it does need the same holdings in the east-west hand.  Best to play in game as we did.  Well done partner.  If she had transferred to clubs and then bid 4NT (as I might have done) we would have been in the poor slam.

Here was one more interesting decision.  Your hand is:

s_thumb222422 3 h_thumb222822 AK7532 Copyofd_thumb222422 Q54 c_thumb22532 KQ43

Your partner opens 1Copyofd_thumb222422 at favorable vulnerable and RHO bid 1s_thumb222422.  You bid 2h_thumb222822 and partner bids 2NT.  Righty isn’t finished; vulnerable or no, he bids 3s_thumb222422.  What do you do?

I think double here should just show a good hand.  You can’t have trump.  You are just setting up a force and letting partner decide.  You could bid 3NT or 4c_thumb22532 but maybe you are better defending.  Let partner decide.  That was the decision of my expert partner and it was a very good one.

I held: s_thumb222422 QJ6 h_thumb222822 J6 Copyofd_thumb222422 KJ1062 c_thumb22532 A102

I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do but with only one spade stopper I was going to have to run nine tricks in 3NT and I didn’t fancy the 5-2 in hearts (which broke 5-1 not too surprisingly).  3s_thumb222422 doubled only went down one but this was a great result since we could make nothing.

Just after this I had a session with Colin.  Here is another deal in my series bidding slams without Blackwood.  With both side not vulnerable Colin held

s_thumb222422 875 h_thumb222822 AKQJ9 Copyofd_thumb222422 A2 c_thumb22532 K73

He opened 1c_thumb22532 strong and I bid 2NT.  This shows 12-14 HCP, with no suit longer than five cards.  RHO bid 4c_thumb22532, and Colin bid 4h_thumb222822, showing his suit.  He knew that I had a good hand and it was important to get his suit in.   I wouldn’t give up on a suitable hand. I had

s_thumb222422 AQJ h_thumb222822 10653 Copyofd_thumb222422 K943 c_thumb22532 A9

I suppose I could bid 4NT, keycard.  If I do Colin will bid 5Copyofd_thumb222422 (3).  I could bid 5s_thumb222422 which would get 6c_thumb22532.  I could bid 6Copyofd_thumb222422 and Colin would bid 6h_thumb222822 which would end the auction.  There is nothing wrong with this auction. 

But once Colin shows a hand worth 16 points or more and hearts nothing is keeping me from slam.  The bigger issue is should we be in 7.  Would Colin go to the grand with the hand below over keycard?  I don’t think so.

s_thumb222422 87 h_thumb222822 AKQ932 Copyofd_thumb222422 AQ c_thumb22532 K73

What I actually did was bid 5c_thumb22532 over 4h_thumb222822. Colin bid 5Copyofd_thumb222422 and I bid 5s_thumb222422. Colin bid 6c_thumb22532 which was doubled.  I bid 6Copyofd_thumb222422.  Now would Colin have bid 7h_thumb222822 on the hand above?  I pretty well have to have the diamond king, club ace, and the spade king at least.  Do I absolutely have to have the spade ace?  It seems likely.  We will never know the answer.

Colin had to play carefully because the hearts were 4-1 and the long hearts had four clubs (and fortunately also the s_thumb222422K.  A dummy reversal looks attractive (ruffing diamonds in the long hand) but in fact I believe it needs the same things.

Do you like my bid on the next hand or not?

s_thumb222422 97 h_thumb222822 J42 Copyofd_thumb222422 K3 c_thumb22532 AQJ642

Red on white 1Copyofd_thumb222422 was opened in front of me and I bid 2c_thumb22532 which worked out well when we won the auction with 3c_thumb22532.  I know I don’t have much but my bid takes up a lot of space and other excuses.  Here is a second slam hand (I wimped out and bid Blackwood.)  However I think the play is the thing on this board.

We arrived in 6h_thumb222822 after Colin showed five clubs, heart support and stuff.


s_thumb222422 A4 h_thumb222822 975 Copyofd_thumb222422 KQ4 c_thumb22532 A9864


s_thumb222422 K763 h_thumb222822 AKJ82 Copyofd_thumb222422 A c_thumb22532 K102

The opening lead was the s_thumb222422J.  Maybe the best line is to draw trump.  Suppose I win the spade in dummy and hook the heart.  I can win the return, say a club in hand.  Draw another round of trump and play spades ruffing the third round in dummy.  I can get back to my hand with a diamond and draw the rest of the trump.  If trump behaves decently I can throw my losers on the diamonds, twelve tricks.  If the heart finesse wins I follow the same line but I have extra chances.

What does this line need?  Only one heart loser basically.  If hearts are 3-2 and the finesse loses then I can’t stand spade ruff of the second round or a spade ruff in the third round with the h_thumb22282210. I think any line involving setting up the clubs is just not as good (even though the club spots are nice).

What I actually did was win the spade in hand and start with a high trump from hand.  When the h_thumb22282210 came down on the first round I was much better position for a spade ruff so I stopped drawing trump, cashed the diamond, crossed on a spade, played diamonds pitching my losers, returned on the c_thumb22532K, ruffed a spade and played the h_thumb2228229. LHO, who started with h_thumb222822Qxxx, could only make one trump trick. I still don’t know what the mathematically best line is.  I just know mine worked.  I had the added disadvantage of a kibbitzer (who shall not be named) standing in my office and yelling at me to do the wrong things.  Here is the whole deal and if you have some comments I would be interested.

  s_thumb222422 A4

h_thumb222822 975

Copyofd_thumb222422 KQ4

c_thumb22532 A9864

s_thumb222422 Q1085

h_thumb222822 Q643

Copyofd_thumb222422 9872

c_thumb22532 5

  s_thumb222422 J92

h_thumb222822 10

Copyofd_thumb222422 J10653

c_thumb22532 QJ73

  s_thumb222422 K763

h_thumb222822 AKJ82

Copyofd_thumb222422 A

c_thumb22532 K102


I had one other hand that Colin announced was Linda proof but it really wasn’t. Here was the hand which I did make (but not without some sweat).

  s_thumb222422 1094

h_thumb222822 QJ98

Copyofd_thumb222422 K10864

c_thumb22532 9

  s_thumb222422 A5

h_thumb222822 AK102

Copyofd_thumb222422 AJ74

c_thumb22532 KQ5


After opening 2NT I arrived in 4h_thumb222822.  I won the opening lead of the s_thumb222422K and tried two rounds of trump with RHO showing out on the second round (won in dummy).  I tried a club from dummy.  RHO won the c_thumb22532K with the c_thumb22532A and played two rounds of spades.

  s_thumb222422 10

h_thumb222822 Q9

Copyofd_thumb222422 K10864



h_thumb222822 K10

Copyofd_thumb222422 AJ74

c_thumb22532 Q5

I ruffed high and drew the remaining trump in two rounds.  Now all I had to do was guess diamonds.  About this point I am thinking couldn’t I have played this hand on a safer line.  Well, if you are going to play like this you better be able to guess well. I don’t really have a count.  I know RHO has four hearts and three spades and some clubs.  I am missing nine clubs so if they split somewhat equally he has three or four of them at least.  I think he is odds on to be short in diamonds.

I played the Copyofd_thumb222422K and both followed (rats).  Now I am thinking diamonds were never bid by our side.  With four trump and a spade sequence how likely is it that you would lead your stiff diamond?  I decided not that likely so I finessed and that was right.  So it was Linda proof and I made five in the end.  Given that I only had to make four maybe its safer to play diamonds earlier!  Perhaps I should duck the opening spade lead, win the continuation, play the two top hearts and then play diamonds finessing.  West can ruff but I still make it.

  s_thumb222422 1094

h_thumb222822 QJ98

Copyofd_thumb222422 K10864

c_thumb22532 9

s_thumb222422 KQJ3

h_thumb222822 7654

Copyofd_thumb222422 9

c_thumb22532 A864

  s_thumb222422 8762

h_thumb222822 3

Copyofd_thumb222422 Q32

c_thumb22532 J10732

  s_thumb222422 A5

h_thumb222822 AK102

Copyofd_thumb222422 AJ74

c_thumb22532 KQ5




Ross TaylorFebruary 8th, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Some family news, sports commentary, and a healthy dose of bridge. I hope the content police don’t excoriate you Linda. Thanks for sharing.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 8th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Hey, Ross, that’s a big word! Excorciate — wow! But, I’ve got my own problems here trying to tie in different blogs involving a newcomer to the blogging scene on another site (shown on ours) and Bobby — all regarding the ridiculous problem of what constitutes being qualified to be SELECTED as a nominee for the Hall of Fame. I am in the process of trying to tie all the loose ends together and present the positions as a new blog as concisely as possible.


Dave (Memphis MOJO)February 9th, 2010 at 1:06 am

I don’t like controls over 2C. You show your controls and then look for a fit? Possibly at the three level? No thanks. I know I’m old fashioned, because I also don’t like 2H as a double negative.

LindaFebruary 9th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I don’t really like bidding over 2C at all. I avoid it. I open huge hands at the one level. I have never played controls over 2C before myself. I think I will bid a whole bunch in a bidding closet and see how it goes.

I am definitely looking forward to Judy’s definitive HoF blog!

Ross TaylorFebruary 9th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Judy (et alius)

I first came across the word excoriate in an article many ears ago about Canada’s own famed press baron – Conrad Black. (Later known as Lord Black of Crossharbour).

Conrad is a remarkable man – complex to be sure – and a living, walking, historian and dictionary.

I loved the sound of the word and adopted it immediately thereafter.

He has written a couple of fine books himself, and been the subject of a few more.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 9th, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Thanks, Ross:

It only goes to prove the old saying, “You learn something new every day.” I could take the word (never having seen it before) and easily figure out to what you were alluding, but I liked the sound of it and your point was well made in melodious fashion.


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