Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Learning from my son

There were some very interesting hands last night although the opponents continued to suicide over a strong club. Here is one that got us a big number but had some interesting and unresolved questions in the auction. First here is my hand.

SKT72 H AQ6 D KQ72 C K9

In first chair with all vulnerable I opened 1C and Colin bid 1H. We are now playing what Colin calls Meckwell style and this shows either a positive with five or more spades or a balanced hand with 8-10 HCP. Remember we have not practiced this at all and never discussed what to do in competition. Now my RHO bid 2C.

What am I supposed to do? Passing here suggests a balanced hand and a willingness to defend if Colin has the right hand. But do I want to defend if he has five spades? If I bid spades now does it mean that I have spade length? I had no idea. I decided to bid 2S and see what happened. Colin bid 3C and RHO doubled. (This turned out to be a very bizarre bid as we shall see). Here’s Colin’s hand and the rest of this confused auction.

Colin held S QJ32 H J1095 D A53 C 102

As you can see Colin had the balanced hand but happened to have spades.


Linda East Colin
  1C pass 1H
2C 2S pass 3C
DBL 3D pass 3H
Pass 4C pass 4S
Pass pass 5C DBL
All pass      

Colin had a problem over 2S, he wanted to show the balanced hand but he could hardly bid 2NT without a club stopper. Over 3C doubled he thought 3D was natural and 3H was an attempt to show a heart suit. By the time I bid 4C he knew we were playing in spades and just bid 4S. Neither of us had any problem with how to handle the opponent’s 5C bid thought. 5C went for 1100 and 4S will make 4. I won’t show you the hand of the 2 club bidder although suffice it to say that there is no bridge player I know that would have bid 2C if the auction had started with anything but a forcing club.

So we have quite a bit to sort out. In the subsequent discussion which still needs more work we have decided to treat 1H in competition as the balanced 8-10 until responder suggests otherwise but I am not quite sure how things would go. I would pass 2C I suppose and Colin might bid 3C to get me to bid a major and we would end in 4S as we did. 3C is a bit ambiguous. Maybe we need to play double by Colin who is under the bidder is for takeout and 3C asks for a stopper. Or maybe we shouldn’t play something as complicated as a 2 way 1H bid.

This was a sweet play hand one of several that we had last night.


S Q753

H J54

D 953





H A10987

D AK84

C A5

Linda Colin
1D 1H
2H 4H

The opening lead was the H6 and Colin won the HQ with the ace. He accurately lead the SK and East won the SA and returned a diamond, as Colin won the diamond ace. Colin cashed the spade jack to arrive at this position.


S Q7

H J5

D 95





H 10987

D K84

C A5

He is at a bit of a crossroads. What do you think the best way to proceed is? One way is to play the H10 now and pass it. If East started with KQX of hearts you are going to need the club finesse and something good in diamonds. East must duck the heart king otherwise he gives you a dummy entry. Now you cash the DK and play another heart. If East has less than 4D and the CK you are home since East must play a spade or a club into dummy. If East wins the HK (whether with 2 or 3 hearts) and returns a club you can play ace and another club giving you two pitches for diamonds. If East returns a second diamond probably your best bet is to win and play another diamond. If diamonds break you are home free and if the diamonds don’t break you will still have chances.

Another choice is to play diamonds and the line Colin chose is to play. If the diamonds break you can still try the heart play and if they don’t break the only heart higher than dummy is the HQ so you can ruff with the H5 and if it gets overruffed you will still have an entry to dummy on the HJ to throw a club on the spade. There is one fly in this ointment. Let’s look at the whole hand.


  S Q753  
  H J54  
  D 953  
West C QJ8 East
S 10642   S A98
H 632   H KQ
D J7   D Q1062
C K1097 Colin C 6432
  S KJ  
  H A10987  
  D AK84  
  C A5  


When you play the third diamond West should throw a spade and when East wins and plays another diamond West can throw another spade and you are back to needing the club finesse. The advantage of this line was shown at the table when West did not find this perfect defence and didn’t throw a spade on the third diamond. As you can see looking at the hand it can be made on this lie of the cards double dummy. The simplest way is to play the H10, win the diamond return and play West for the CK and a doubleton diamond.

I like Colin’s line but I am interested in your ideas.

Colin did so many good things yesterday that I have to pick and chose. Here is a great play on defence.

You have S A8532 H AJ D K973 C K3 and our not vulnerable versus vulnerable. The auction has been rapid.

West Linda East Colin
    1H 1S
4H 4S pass pass
DBL pass 5H DBL
all pass      

Partner leads the SQ and dummy arrives with

S 6 H KQ10753 D AQJ5 C 108

You win the SQ and what do you do. Colin returned the C3. He knew declarer had a spade pitch and if he threw a club from dummy things could get interesting. Declarer did as Colin expected. He won the CA and cashed the SK and now played a heart. Colin won the HK and returned a heart won in dummy as I showed out. Declarer crossed back to hand with the H9 and now has to decide whether to play Colin for the doubleton CK or me for the DKXX which did seem a bit more likely. Declarer finessed the diamond and went one down. With or without Colin’s defence I think playing on clubs is much stronger into this auction and I suppose it wouldn’t have hurt to ruff a club at trick three since declarer can play hurts from either hand. But the lure of the spade pitch was too great.

Do we get to all these interesting play hands because we overbid or are we just lucky. Here I took the wrong choice during the bidding, perhaps but Colin made a tough contract anyway.


  S 7  
  H AK1092  
  D J85  
West C J832 East
S J1052   S A43
H 54   H 863
D Q7   D A104
C KQ1085 Colin C A974
  S KQ986  
  H QJ7  
  D K9632  

East opened 1C and Colin overcalled 1S. West jumped to 3C and with no fit I passed. Colin reopened 3D. Do you think I should bid 3H now? Well I didn’t. I just passed. When he didn’t reopen double it seemed likely he was 5-5 but was he 5-5-3 or 5-5-2-1. Did I really want to play a level higher if he didn’t have 3 hearts? In retrospect I think that I should bid 3H because after all he was vulnerable and either had a great hand or was 5-5-3. 4H looked superficially attractive but it is not a make on most leads. If declarer leads a spade from dummy East will have to duck it. A trump lead seems normal to me and that will defeat the contract quite easily with a spade duck. If I bid 3H I am pretty sure to hear 4H, so maybe I didn’t make such a bad pass.

3D however can be made and I liked the line Colin took. He ruffed the opened diamond lead and lead the SK East won and returned a second club ruffed. Colin cashed the SK carefully throwing a heart and ruffed a spade, ruffed a club, crossed to dummy on a heart and ruffed a club, cashed a heart on another heart. At this point he had eight tricks in and was in hand with these cards left.

  H K10  
  D J8  
West C East
S J   S
H   H8
D Q7   D A104
C Q Colin C
  S 98  
  H J  
  D K  

When he lead the S9 he ruffed with the DJ. East had to overruff with the DA setting up Colin’s DK for his ninth trick. Cute.

This final hand is one where Colin taught me a thing or two about defence. He used carding in a way I should have understood but I was in another zone, the oh no zone?

Here it is?

You hold S K86543 H 9 D J42 J75

You are vulnerable against not and RHO opens 1C partner overcalls 1D and LHO bids 1H. You can’t resist 1S for the symmetry and your opponents finish out the auction with 2H-2S-4H. This puts you on lead and you have agreed to lead low to show an honour in partner’s suit, so you lead the D2 which goes to the DQ, K and A. This is dummy.

S AJ2 H K632 D Q5 C K642

Well your side had a trick at least. Declarer continues with the K4, dummy plays the HK and partner wins the HA. You now have 2 tricks. Partner returns the D7, declarer plays the D8, you win the DJ as dummy follows. Now what?

Have you been paying attention to the diamonds? Partner likely had the D10 but he wanted you on lead with the DJ. Why? Which black suit should you lead back? If you paid attention he has told you. He lead the D7 back, since declarer had the D8 this is the highest spot he could play that would force you to win. He must want a spade return. I missed this last part. I thought, he must have diamonds higher than the D7 so this asks for a club. Anyway you need to play a spade from your side to beat it. Here is the whole hand. Well done Colin, sorry I goofed it.

  S K86543  
  H 9  
  D J42  
West C J75 East
S 97   S AJ2
H Q108754   H K632
D A8   D Q5
C A93 Colin C K642
  S Q10  
  H AJ  
  D K109763  
  C Q108  


Many thanks to Roy Hughes for his proof reading.  I am not quite caught up yet but I should be by the end of the day.  So if you read my blog early you may notice some mistakes which have disappeared within a day.  It isn’t the Blog fairy; its me correcting my mistakes after Roy points them out.

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