Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Playing A Team Game With A Friendly Stranger

Sometimes it’s fun to play bridge with someone you don’t know.  Playing in a pretty good team game on BBO with Vikentich our pregame discussion consisted of: “SAYC,  RKC 1430, standard count, upside attitude”. 

 This deal wouldn’t have been easy for anybody to bid.  We were vulnerable against not and at both tables the bidding started 4  by East.  Vikentich bid 5  and this was passed to me.




He had to have an amazing hand for this bid.  It didn’t seem like 5  could ask for a club control and even if it did than the Kxx of clubs would not hold up.  Could it ask for top hearts?  Was he missing the  AK?  Or maybe it was just looking for something helpful. 

Did I have enough? I knew he had good hearts so really my J102 wasn’t going to help much and the  K was a throwaway.  Was the J enough to make slam?  What do you think?

It was!

This was Vikentich’s (South’s) hand.  What would you bid?



 4  just isn’t enough.  Do you like his choice of 5 ? 

What do you think other bids mean?  4NT should be two suited or maybe 3 suited. What about 5 ?   What is the difference?  Remember you are playing with a stranger.  Maybe 4NT should ask partner for his best suit.  You could have a three suiter or you spades and another with the plan to convert the wrong suit to another higher ranking one?  Maybe 5  should be primarily a two suiter without spades.  I really don’t know.  Any thoughts?

At the other table South bid 5 over 4 and the North hand bid 5.  I am not crazy about 5♣.  You are going to bid slam no matter what North bids.  If North bids spades you are going to bid 6 and if North bids 5 or 5  you are going to bid slam.  Bidding 5  does offer you a chance to get to 6 instead of 6  but is it right to bid 6 over 6 ?  Not on this hand.



♠ Q76542  




South bid 6 which went down on when the defense maneuvered a heart ruff.  So we won 13 imps despite missing the slam.

At the table especially playing with a stranger  I would probably have just bid 6  on the South hand.

1 Comment

Jeff LehmanFebruary 22nd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I agree with your guess to bid 6H on the South hand. When the right one count from partner makes slam, not bidding slam seems unduly pessimistic.

But the more interesting question is “what means 5H”? I think in these crowded transactions that 5H is just saying that strength of the hand is midway between 4H and 6H. My partners seem often to interpret this type of call as asking about club control or heart strength, possibilities you discussed. But I think that is too much science when space is restricted. And so I like 5H to be something akin to a 4NT raise of partner’s notrump bid, just a quantitative call asking partner to use his judgment, comparing what he holds overall to what might be his expected holding, whether to continue to slam.

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