Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Two bridge deals and then a husband

Here is an interesting bidding decision from a team match – Cayne versus the Israeli National Team.

With North-South vulnerable against not you South hold S J643 H KJ8 D 42 C AK76.

At both tables the auction started the same

West North East South
  pass 1H pass
1NT pass 2D ?

Your opponents are presumably playing 2/1 and it is your call.  At one table South passed,  West bid 2H which was passed back to him.  He passed again and 2H made for -110.  At the other table South doubled and ran into a meat grinder.  West who held S A108 H 52 D A86 C Q9532 redoubled.  North who held a moderate hand with 3 small spades and CJ1084 naturally bid 3C and West naturally doubled.  This went for 800.  Do you think it is obvious never to enter the auction with the South hand?  I am not sure if I would have bid right away but I might be tempted over 2H pass, pass.  It was the Israeli National Team which got the number, by the way.

Later in the match the Israeli’s collected another number on this hand.

You hold S QJ9 H J9863 D 87 C J109 and this time you are white on red.  Your partner opens 1S and you chose to bid 1NT (I assume 2S is constructive).  The auction continues this way

West North East South
  1S pass 1NT
double pass 2H pass
3D pass 3H pass
3NT pass pass ?


I confess that it wouldn’t even occur to me to double but South did just that, I assume to make sure partner leads a spade (since you haven’t raised – anyone really like 2S as a constructive raise!).  Its worth it thought South since it only gives up a few imps and a spade lead might beat it.  However West redoubled.  Do you pull now?  You should.  4S only goes for about 300 (maybe 500 double dummy) and 3NT redoubled makes a cool 1000 (it could have been worse since West taking no chances didn’t make the overtrick he was entitled to.) 

In the last little while I have decided that playing 1M-2M as a constructive raise gives up much more than it gains.  If you have support for the major bid it – that’s what I say.

I have had some opportunities to play with my husband and to practice with him in the last few days.  Colin has been too busy watching Torchwood and running his online football team.  I have noticed that Ray and I have a very different approach to bidding problems.  I see a number of solutions and try to decide which will be best.  Sometimes I think both are about equal and then I just pick.  Ray usually sees a solution and he strongly believes in it.  Here is an example from a poll on Richard Pavlicek’s website.

You have S10 H A7 D AK932 C KJ974

You open 1D with noone vulnerable and partner bids 1H.  You bid 2C and partner bids 2NT.  What do you bid?

I liked 3C which I knew was a bit of an underbid.  If partner has a maximum he can still bid 3NT and with a minimum I don’t mind playing there not vulnerable.  If partner’s spades aren’t very good we may not be able to make anything. 

Here are the other choices

3NT: I could see a case for 3NT but it seemed too risky. 

4C: I could see a case for 4C but it seemed to overstate the hand when partner likely had lots of his values in the majors. 

3S: I didn’t really pay much attention to 3S but in retrospect that is a good bid, since with my partners it asks for a good spade stopper initially. 

3H: It seemed a possible bid since if we had any game it was likely to be in hearts but I didn’t really want to wind up in a 4-2.

3D: I don’t really understand this bid.

What do you think Ray picked?  He picked 3NT.  He hated 3C and dismissed any other option but 4C (which he only hated a bit).

As it turned out 3NT was the popular bid and received 10 points but when the hand was played at the 1955 world championship. Partner actually held

S K84 H K8632 D 864 C A6

and 3NT is a poor contract but all games make on a friendly lie of the cards.  Now you can decide what bid you like but the difference is not our choice but the way we think about it.   I am not sure what makes a better player, one who sees possibilities or one who sees the answer.  You decide.

We did have a “discussion” about this auction.  What do you think it means?

Playing weak notrump the auction starts

West North East Ray
    pass 1C
pass 1D pass 1NT (15-17)
pass pass 2H ?


Is Ray’s double here for penalty.  We agreed it was.  If so, would you double on this hand S K82 H AK63 D K4 C A543?

Suppose you pass and in fourth chair I double.  Is that takeout or penalty (with no agreement).  We do not bypass diamonds routinely so I could still have a four card major.  I think it is penalty.  After all I can have 8 points (I did) and four hearts and I know we have the balance of points and 6 hearts at least).  Ray argued that sitting under the bidder I wouldn’t want to double and it was a way to bring spades into play.  Anyway I held S A754 H 74 D Q972 C Q97 and I found another way to bring spades into play I bid 2S.  As it turned out I was able to make this even with a 5-1 spade break with an endplay (I liked that) for a very good score.  2H doubled?  You can beat it a trickon reasonable defence so I supposed we couldn’t go too wrong.


Michael YuenSeptember 2nd, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I agree one should raise with support and not wait for a constructive hand. Often this will block them from bidding a playable 3NT.

It is more important to define a raise after RHO has entered the auction.

PaulSeptember 3rd, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I believe it puts too much strain on the single raise if it is too wide ranging. You will often end up too high making a try opposite rubbish.

With respect to the doubles, my ‘meta-rule’ is that doubles are penalty when we’ve tried to pass out a hand.

Linda LeeSeptember 7th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

There are definitely two points of view here and I have at times had both of them.

I have sympathy with Paul’s comment about the wide ranging nature a simple raise (3+ trump and 6-9 points or even a bit less). But there is a lot of space for game tries and it seems to me to be fairly rare to go down one in 3 of the major when I would have bought the hand for 2 of the major.

The preemptive nature of the bid and the fact that you can support immediately and not have to bid forcing notrump or something else first means that you are not shut out of some auctions when you have a fit.

So it seems to me to work better to just raise. I wouldn’t mind playing somethign else as a 4 card constructive raise which would limit the single raise a bit.

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