Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Does Anybody Know How To Set An Alarm Clock?

Karen and I have had an interesting discussion about this hand.  Your hand is

s_thumb22242222 109
h_thumb22282222 J9876
Copyofd_thumb22242222 QJ9753
c_thumb2253222 void

Partner, South, passes and for once the colors are on your side and you can throw a monkey wrench in the works when West opens 1s_thumb22242222.  You bid 2s_thumb22242222 showing hearts and a minor.  This is doubled which they play to show a good hand and your partner bids 2NT, asking for your minor.   West bids 3c_thumb2253222 and you are quite happy to show your diamonds.  East bids 4s_thumb22242222 and partner competes on to 5Copyofd_thumb22242222.  However West mindful of the colors continues to 5s_thumb22242222.  This has been the full auction with you on lead:

West North East South
1s_thumb22242222 2s_thumb22242222* DBL 2NT*
3c_thumb2253222 3Copyofd_thumb22242222 4s_thumb22242222 5Copyofd_thumb22242222
5s_thumb22242222 all pass    

What should you lead?  You are playing third and fifth, by the way.  You obviously want partner to give you a club ruff.  Perhaps you should lead your lowest diamond as a wake-up card?  Partner will be alert to the idea of a ruff and that would suggest that you could ruff clubs.  It seems like a good idea.  But wait!  Partner doesn’t know you have six diamonds.  If you lead the Copyofd_thumb222422223 partner will deduce that you have five diamonds and may try to cash two of them.  Perhaps this isn’t the best plan?

After some discussion we came up with the Copyofd_thumb222422229 as a wakeup card.  This can’t be a true card.  From the auction it will be easy to work out what suit you want to ruff.

Of course after the fact it is easy to make these choices.    Here is the whole hand.  Partner might have tried to give you a ruff anyway but had hopes of a trump trick (and one down) if both diamonds cashed.

  s_thumb22242222 109
h_thumb22282222 J9876
Copyofd_thumb22242222 QJ9753
c_thumb2253222 void
s_thumb22242222 AK532
h_thumb22282222 4
Copyofd_thumb22242222 6
c_thumb2253222 AJ9643
  s_thumb22242222 864
h_thumb22282222 AKQ105
Copyofd_thumb22242222 84
c_thumb2253222 KQ10
  s_thumb22242222 QJ7
h_thumb22282222 32
Copyofd_thumb22242222 AK102
c_thumb2253222 8752

I love this discussion because I think it is quite cool to figure out how to help partner find the right defense.  There are often no real rules about how to set the alarm clock.


MichaelFebruary 12th, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Imo the nine of diamond is a good try. However the alarm clock can be set earlier in the auction by bidding 4C over 3C.

Ross TaylorFebruary 12th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Michael – even not vulnerable, one can pick up a big hand. To first initiate a Michaels’ cue bid and then to cue bid 4C seems like an overstatement of the highest order. Something like x AKxxxx QJxxxx void or Ax AJxxx QJxxxx void to name but two, and these are by no means monsters. In both cases, slam is easy versus South’s hand.

Point being, a 4 club bid, in my opinion, is fraught with danger.

Linda LeeFebruary 16th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I think it is pushing it to bid 4C on that hand. I think it took some courage to bid at all!

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