Bridge: Nov. 22, 2020

At a seminar I gave, someone asked how to handle opening hands with a five-card suit and a lower-ranking six-card suit.

Say you hold 3, A Q 8 6 4, A J 9 6 4 2, Q. Should you open one diamond, planning to “reverse” into hearts? What if you hold A Q 8 7 4, A Q 9 7 6 3, 5, 4?

Expert opinion would differ, and a partnership’s choice of system might matter. I would open one heart on the first hand; I would not suppress the five-card major. I would open one spade on the second hand; I would not open one heart, then bid (and rebid) spades, because such a reverse would suggest more high-card strength. To overbid your high cards is hazardous.

What if you pick up a freak such as today’s South hand? Not mentioning a seven-card suit promptly is carrying preparedness too far, and I agree with South’s one-club opening. He then bid and rebid his hearts and arrived at four hearts.

I suppose East could be forgiven for doubling. When South had shown at least 11 cards in his suits, some of East’s high cards weren’t cashing. But since East also had four trumps, South might have control problems.

South ruffed the second diamond and knew he had to cater to bad breaks. He started correctly by taking the queen of clubs. He next led dummy’s four of trumps to his queen.

When both defenders followed, South ruffed a club with dummy’s king of trumps, overtook the jack with his ace and ran the clubs. He was able to keep control and make his doubled game. East got two trump tricks but nothing else.

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South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S 10 8 7 5 3 2

H K J 4

D Q 5 2



S Q J 9 6 4

H 6

D J 10 6

C J 10 8 4



H 10 9 8 7

D A K 9 8 7 4

C 9


S None

H A Q 5 3 2

D 3

C A K 7 6 5 3 2

South West North East
1 C Pass 1 S 2 D
2 H Pass 2 S Pass
3 H Pass 4 H Dbl
All Pass

Opening lead — D J

(C)2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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