Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Little hands and big hands

Sometimes little hands pose interesting problems.  Here is an example.  Partner opens 1NT 10-12 and it goes 2H all pass.

You have S K8 H J842 D 10942 C K85.  You decide to lead a small diamond and this is dummy.

Dummy has S Q64 H A5 D J875 C Q763

Declarer plays the DJ and partner wins the DA and returns the DC, declarer’s DK winning.  Declarer plays a heart to the HA in dummy and then plays a club to the CJ and your CK.  You return the D10 and declarer ruffs it and plays the HK as partner follows.

Partner has to have the SA for his opening bid.Its likely partner has no more than four spades since he might have opened 1S with S AJXXX H XX D AQX  C XX.

It appears that declarer started with:

S J? xxx H KQ10xx D KX C AJ

Declarer has 3 tricks in with at least 2 more hearts and the CA to come.  Declarer now leads a spade and you play the SK.  You don’t want to continue diamonds now because you don’t want declarer to make the H10.  You continue with a S to partner’s SJ.  Partner plays a club back (a very good play as we will see.).  You have arrived at this position (dummy is irrelevant)


S A3 H — D — C 94


S 108 H Q10 D– C–


S — H J7 D 9 C 8

Declarer is now booked for only one more trick.  Say declarer leads a spade and Colin wins as you discard a club.  Colin returns a club and declarer can make only the HQ.  Down 2 and  plus 100 was a top score.

This hand was a big hand and we got a good result although sometimes I wasn’t totally confident I knew what was going on.  This hand is about the bidding.

You start out with rather a nice hand.  You have S AQ54 H AKQ53 D void and C AQ65.  You open 1C strong and partner bids 1H.  This rather diabolic bid shows either 8+  with spades or 11-13 balanced.  It is totally unclear to me how you find out which.  If I knew he had spades I could just raise them.  My choices now are to bid hearts (the first step) or to support spades (the fourth step).  I am not sure what happens if I support spades and he doesn’t have them.  I decided to bid the first step, 1S.  Colin now bids 1NT the first step which shows less than 3 hearts and a good hand.

Can he have 11-13 balanced still, I guess so.  Anyway we are now out of system so I bid 2S a natural bid and Colin bids 3D.  Does this confirm spades as trump?  I think he would bid 2NT now with 11-15 and not try to show a diamond suit.  I think we are playing this one in spades but I still don’t feel entirely on firm ground.  I decide to cuebid 4C and see if this brings me confidence.  He bids 4D.  Here is the bidding so far

Colin Linda
1H 1S
1NT 2S
3D 4C


I can use keycard now since if I have all of this right he has to have the DAK so I can afford to bid Blackwood with my void.  I was a little nervous about the auction and as he said afterwards I tortured him with 4H.  Now Colin bid keycard and we ended in 7S.  He held

S K9732 H 97 D AKQ2 C 72

Only a 4-0 spade split would be a problem and +1510 was worth over 9 imps.  I suppose I can get used to the ambiguous 1H response but if it just showed spades this auction would be so much easier.

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