Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Sydney Spring National Team Finals

While Ray and I were drowsily playing in the pairs at the Sydney tournament we could glance over our shoulder where a projector was set up with the fourth and final session of the team finals.  We knew that it was very close and I confess to watching the screen whenever someone at our table went into a huddle.

As play on Board 17 started the Howitz team ( Helen Horwitz – Peter Gill – Paul Gosney – Murray Green) led Haughie (Bill Haughie – Andy Braithwaite – Ron Klinger – David Hoffman – Bob Richman – George Gaspar) by 9 imps 96-87.  Looking at the scoreboard now I see major swings in both directions.  There are some imps won and lost on every board but two and one of the flat boards was 7NT bid and made at both tables!

Here are a couple of sampler hands.  In the closed room I think this hand might be called: “Is a singleton queen enough?”

AK63  QJ6  Q KQ1064. 

The auction has gone

Richman Horwitz Gaspar Gill
pass pass pass 1
1 1 2 dbl
dbl 2 pass 2
pass 2NT pass ?


Your double showed three hearts and partner’s 2 bid suggested that hearts was spot.  You made a game try with 2.  Partner’s 2NT is presumably accepting and offering a choice of contract.  What do you do now?


It is always easy to make the right choices when you are seeing all the hands.  Lets try to work out a hands where notrump is best.

QJ2  109875  KJ10 J9.

Here 3NT makes and 4 is off four top tricks.  It took a bit of ingenuity to come up with this hand.  Any hand that plays better in notrump is likely to feature some good soft values in partner’s hand and very good diamonds.  It just doesn’t seem that likely.  Q or no I like 4.  The table bid was 3NT, which did not work out well. Let’s look at the action in the Open Room which I entitle “Vulnerability is for Sissies”  Vulnerable against not you hold this hand

Q72  K9874  A86 J3.  You of course open 2 which shows 3 possibilities (you will note you have none of them) 6+ hearts weak, 5/5 or more in the blacks or 25+

Green Haughie Gosney Braithwait
pass 2 pass 2NT
pass 3 pass 4
all pass      

This meant that Haughie-Braithwait had no problem finding the right game and  the 12 imps that they picked up allowed them to take the lead by 12 (129-116) with only four boards to go.

The decisive board was this one.  Coming into Board 30 (of 32) the score is tied.  With both white you are third in hand holding:

32  A2  AQ10763 KQ6

Things start off quietly enough with two passes and you start things off with 1

Green Haughie Gosney Braithwait
    pass pass
1 1 1 3

3 was preemptive.  Do you bid?  I would like to bid double saying I have a decent hand, not a great spade fit and I want to compete but that bid doesn’t really exist.  If you pass then Haughie bids 4 and it is up to Gosney.

Here is his hand:

AJ104  KJ2 J9832

Do you like his bidding?  I might not have passed in first chair but no one can really quarrel about that.  I am not sure about 1 either  – double or 2 might be better.  Anyway we are here now so what do you do?  I am not a passer but it is not clear what the right action is.  You could try 4NT.  I know partner is in third chair but still with spades he would have strained to bid.  He has to have some minor length.  Maybe that is just too clever.  (And it is a great bid double dummy).  I suppose that double is an alternative but I can see why that is ugly too.  Gosney passed.  Now one last decision.  Green doubles 4 and you have one last chance…. 4NT, I like it even more now.  Green has a good hand, he can’t have four spades.  But you pass and this is the whole hand.  This is not an easy hand but there is no defense after the spade bid since Haughie can set up a second spade for his tenth trick.

Green   Gosney
32   AJ104
A2   7
AQ10763   KJ2
KQ6   J9832

This board was 13 imps to Horowitz who hung on to win by 6.


Ulf NilssonOctober 27th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Why would you bid 2NT on that first hand? That was an easy 4H call IMO.

LindaOctober 28th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I agree. I think when you bid 2NT on that hand you are trying too hard. I guess you would access most of the blame on North (Horowitz). I think it took two to tango – they both had to cooperate to get a poor result.

Ron KlingerOctober 29th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Hi, Linda,

The Braithwaite-Haughie methods are in fact 2D = weak two in hearts (5 or 6 card suit, not 7) or 5-5 in the blacks or game-force. When it is a 5-card suit, the high card values are expected to be maximum. Thus, it is unfair to say the opener had none of them.

You might wish to correct that.

Linda LeeOctober 30th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Ron for the clarification, and congratulations on your victory. I was using the information provided by the vugraph operator who said they got it from the players. Mr Vugraph stated it was a 6 card suit. Some might not chose to open 2D on that hand anyway, given the quality of the suit but I know it is a matter of style.

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