The power of a shape

Claire Duggan and Mary Johnston on their way to a top score against Nea McGinness and Susan Goddard. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Dealer: N Vul: Both


♠ J7

♥ 9843

♦ K54

♣ KQ102


♠ Q6 ♠ AK10984

♥ KQ ♥ AJ1076

♦ AJ9862 ♦ 3

♣ A63 ♣ 5


♠ 532

♥ 52

♦ Q107

♣ J9874

When bridge players talk about shapely hands they are not referring to the digits at the end of their arms. Nor was bridge expert Ron Klinger when he wrote a book called “The Power of Shape.” They had in mind a hand such as that held by East last Friday. This was Board 5 (above), on which no East/West pair bid even a small slam when it would have been difficult not to win all thirteen tricks. It would appear that all East players were too shy to open with a strong bid such as the artificial bid of 2C, which shows 19-21 points or eight playing tricks. They certainly hadn’t read Klinger’s book.

At two tables West, in response to East’s 1S, jumped straight to 3NT, which turned out well for Claire Duggan and Mary Johnston, whose score of 520 beat all those who chose to play in hearts or spades. East really needs to open strongly. Had East opened 2C, West would have been able to see the possibility of winning at least twelve tricks and have been able to make a strong response such as a jump to 3D or to use the Jacoby convention of 2NT, which indicates that game at least can be made and asks opener for more information. One way or another East and West had to tell one another that each had a strong hand. If they had used an Ace-asking bid they would have discovered that between them they held all the Aces. That should have been enough for one of them to bid 6S or 6H. The play of the hand is merely a matter of cashing thirteen winners and if in a suit drawing trumps first. The strength of East’s hand is that the power of that hand is concentrated in the major suits and the number of potential losers in clubs and diamonds is severely limited. East’s hand is worth much more than a more evenly distributed hand with the same number of high card points.

Results, Monday, 20/05/24 (6 & ½-table Mitchell): N/S J. Smith L. Munson (60.2) 1; N. Collins J. Nankervis (55.0) 2; J. Mobbs S. Goddard (52.8) 3. E/W P. Kelly M. Simpson (71.4) 1; P. Campbell D. Moran(50.4) 2; L. Don T. Hinde (50.3) 3. Friday, 24/05/24 (5-table Mitchell) N/S N. Bonnell B. Bonnell (68.3) 1; R. Hart J. Smith (57.9) 2; E/W D. Moran N. McGinness (58.3) 1; W. Milne J. Sipple (57.9) 2.