Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Canuck Team Game

Yesterday, Sylvia and I played a great 24 board team game.  Pamela Nisbet was playing with Herve Chatagnier at our table.  Our partners were Paul Thurston and Jeff Smith who were playing Isabelle Smith and her partner Sondra Blank.  If you are regular readers of my blog you will know that Isabelle and I have played on teams with Pamela and against her too.   Pamela has an enviable record in the Canadian Women’s Team Trials as the consistent winner over the last few years.  Paul will be well known to many as a wonderful author, columnist and bridge teacher.  He and Jeff have formed a partnership this year planning to play in the Canadian trials.  Sondra was the silver medalist in the the Canadian B Team Championships and Herve is a past winner of the Canadian Team Trials. 

One theme of this match was the opening lead.  On Board 2 Sondra sitting South, vulnerable against not held:

♠ 85
♥ J5
◊ K9742
♣ KQ32

The auction had gone

Jeff Isabelle Paul Sondra
    1♠ pass
1NT (forcing) pass 2◊ pass
3♠ pass 4♠ all pass

What do you lead?  Sondra found a trump lead.  She does have diamonds over the diamond bidder.  Jeff is showing three trump and in these cases trump is often a good lead.  I like it.  Not that you can’t make an argument for other choices.  As it turns out on any other lead there are ten tricks without a sweat.  After a spade lead the deal is done.

Here is the whole deal:


  ♠ A62  
  ♥ 8764  
  ◊ AJ8  
  ♣ 1094  
Jeff   Paul
♠ Q103   ♠ KJ974
♥ K932   ♥ AQ10
◊ 6   ◊ Q1053
♣ AJ876 Sondra ♣ 5
  ♠ 85  
  ♥ J5  
  ◊ K9742  
  ♣ KQ32  

This was worth 10 imps for Sondra’s efforts.  

Here was a fascinating and challenging deal.  Let’s start by looking at it from Paul Thurston’s viewpoint.

♠ K109753
♥ —
◊ 10
♣ AQ9762

Vulnerable against not you are sitting East in first chair.  What do you do?   Paul decided to kick things into high gear with a weak 2♠ bid.  The auction continues double, pass, pass.  Do you sit?   I can see an argument both ways but I think many people with bid 3♣.  Would you?  Decide now.

Paul bid 3♣ but he is going to live to regret it in just a few bids.  South bid 4♥ and Jeff bid 4♠.  (Ouch).  The auction continues with 5♥ from Isabelle.  Are you a bidder now?   What does partner have?  He isn’t shy so why did he pass before and “save” over the game.  It must have been something about the club bid because even with a weak hand and good spades he probably would have bid in the first place.  Does partner really know what you have or do you have a surprise?  I think your 6-6 shape is a surprise and I would bid again here.   But I can see the argument for passing.  Partner might have a plan that you don’t understand.  Anyway Paul passed.  Partner wasn’t through though and he bid 5♠.  Remember he is red on white.  What does he have?  North doubles.  What do you do?  Here is the auction so far

Jeff(West) Isabelle(North) Paul(East) Sondra(South)
    2♠ double
pass pass 3♣ 4♥
4♠ 5♥ pass pass
5♠ Dbl ?  

How did you get into this mess?  Actually it doesn’t matter what you do at this point because partner doesn’t sit.  Jeff bids 5NT which Isabelle doubles.  I am not sure what Jeff was doing but you know that you have to bid 6♣.  Sondra passes but Isabelle bids 6♥.  Do you bid now?  Do you have any idea what is happening?  Paul passed and Jeff doubled.  One last chance to change your mind.  You sit for the double of course having made your decision a while ago.  And now over to the other table.

Now you are going to sit in my seat.   I am North and here is my hand.

♠ AQ84
♥ K72
◊ J6432
♣ 8

You might not recognize that this is the same deal for a while.  Herve (East) opens 1♠ and Sylvia bids 2♥.  Pamela passes and you cuebid 2♠.  Herve jumps to 4♣ and Sylvia bids 5◊.  Pamela comes alive with 6♣.  This is not the moment of truth that will come in a minute.  You bid 6◊ and Herve doubles.  This is passed to you.  Here is the auction so far:

Pamela(West) Linda(North) Herve(East) Sylvia(South)
    1♠ 2♥
pass 2♠ 4♣ 5◊
6♣ 6◊ Dbl pass
pass ?    

What is Herve’s double and like they say in the song.  “Should you stay or should you go now?”  Make a decision now. 

I passed.  I know Sylvia has at least five diamonds and we could easily be off a diamond ruff in hearts.  But I think Herve’s double suggests that we are off a heart ruff in diamonds.  Maybe this is too hard to figure out, well I would like to think that. 

Here is the whole deal:

  ♠ AQ84  
  ♥ K72  
  ◊ J6432  
  ♣ 8  
West   East
♠ 62   ♠ K109753
♥ 1065   ♥ —
◊ A5   ◊ 10
♣ KJ10543 South ♣ AQ9762
  ♠ J  
  ♥ AQJ9843  
  ◊ KQ987  
  ♣ —  


6♥ always makes because although there is a diamond ruff the hand with the singleton diamond has no trump.  But If I pulled would Herve had stood for 6♥.  I will never know. 

Playing in 6◊ doubled I was lucky that it is not at all clear that the double is a Lightner double since East-West have bid a power slam vulnerable and East could have been doubling our save.  With only three hearts it is extremely difficult, maybe impossible to find a heart lead from the West hand.  In the end, very few imps were exchanged on this board because a doubled red suit slam was made at both tables. 

Par on this board is 7♣ doubled down one.  At the other table most of the players made some bad choices that could have led to a disaster even though North-South wound up with a great result.  At our table I think the bidding was better and I was the only one to make a questionable bid.

In the end my team lost but the match was a lot of fun.


Herve ChatagnierMarch 5th, 2009 at 2:34 am


To answer your question, I had my mind made up to bid 7 clubs over 6H. I was hoping for a heart lead in 6D.


IsabelleMarch 5th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Paul 2Spades was not weak but intermediate showing 10-14 and 6+ spades.

Paul ThurstonMarch 6th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

maybe I’m on the wrong side of 40 to understand exactly what was going on but I could only tell that 3C had excited partner somewhat (that’s an understatement) and that there seemed to be more than a small chance that 6H was going down as it hadn’t been reached with the fullest of confidence – although who could tell after J’s smokescreen, My usual philosophy is that when partner is “performing” he will know what to do before the final curtain and it’s not my job to upstage him. And yes 2S was intermediate (10-14 with 6 or 7 spades) and for sure I’d liek to back and not bid 3C – but look at the great fun that would have been missed – a mundane 2S x with at least one overtrick!

Linda LeeMarch 10th, 2009 at 4:48 am

I love the auction at your table too. It does make more sense in light of the 2S intermediate bid.

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