Strength from the west

Judy Mobbs, Janny Sipple, Tony Hinde, Warwick Milne. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Dealer: E Vul: N/S


♠ 875

♥ 6

♦ 943

♣ KQ10432


♠ AJ ♠ KQ53

♥ AKQJ10942 ♥ 873

♦ QJ ♦ A1085

♣ 6 ♣ 74


♠ 10942

♥ 5

♦ K762

♣ AJ96

The strength of West’s hand (Bd 2 from last Monday) depends on how you look at it. If you count the high card points the answer will be 18, which is short of the 19-21 bracket commonly used for strong hands in the Standard American bidding system. Bidding just 1H would be a woeful underbid. On the other hand, if you count the number of certain tricks the answer is nine: eight hearts and one spade. The stronger 2D bid, showing either 22 plus points or more than eight certain tricks could be used. At some point in the subsequent bidding, West will initiate an Ace-asking relay and discover that partner holds one Ace and one King. This does not guarantee that twelve tricks can be made in hearts, but the Ace of diamonds and the King of spades are all that West may need. The final contract will also depend on how you look at the West hand. Bridge players can be roughly divided into optimists and pessimists. Lois James and Sandra Head are definitely optimists They were the only pair to bid 6H. The rest of the North/South field placed themselves firmly in the pessimist camp by stopping in game.

Against 6H by West, North made the popular lead of a club. This worked wonderfully against the only pair who played in 3NT, but did no damage against 6H. South won the Ace of clubs, but had no good return. Declarer could win any suit led, draw trumps in one round, cash the Ace and Jack of spades, then cross to the Ace of diamonds and cash the King of spades. West’s losing diamond could be discarded. Twelve tricks for 980 gave Lois and Sandra a top score on this board.

Results: Monday, 20/11/23 (6-table Mitchell): N/S N. Collins M. Simpson (57.6) 1; J. Nankervis P. Kelly (54.7) 2; R. Hart H. Price (51.2) 3. E/W L. James S. Head (61.5) 1; N. McGinness M. Johnston (57.3) 2; W. Milne J. Sipple (53.2) 3. Friday, 24/11/23 (4 & 1.2-table Howell): T. Hinde J. Mobbs (60.9)1; P. Kelly M. Simpson (59.7) 2; L. James M. Johnston (55.3) 3.