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Common Game 2018-10-29 Board 2
West
J8
K86
AK62
A982
North
AKQ62
QJ97
K743
East
105
AQJ10754
43
QJ
South
9743
932
1085
1065
D
2
West
North
East
South
3
P
4
4
P
P
X
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding: East's hand falls short of the Rule of 20 and the SuggestionOf22 for a 1st or 2nd seat opener. East's QJ doubleton merits a bit of a downgrade. Preempting 3 seems best. South has nothing to say, but observes the mandatory 10 second pause before passing. In his PreemptsVulnerability article, Andrew Gumperz advises agreeing to preempting aggressively in 1st seat at favorable vulnerability. With that understanding, East's hand can be quite wide ranging. West expects to take 10 tricks in a heart contract. If East has shortness or a Feature 11 tricks are likely. 12 tricks seems a bit of a stretch.

After West raises to 4, North has a choice between passing, doubling and bidding 4. Passing is risky because North-South could easily have a game or a penalty of 4 on this auction. Bidding 4 is risky because there is no guarantee of a fit and it isn't clear either side has a game. Does your partnership play a double of 4 as takeout? Larry Cohen advises playing Takeout Doubles thru infinity and suggests "a high-level takeout double should be removed only if the partner of the doubler has lots of shape." Here, doubling is risky because partner will likely convert it for penalty. If South has a weak hand, 4 is likely to make.

The reason the ACBL requires the 10 second pause after a jump bid is to avoid leaking unauthorized information to help with decisions like this. It isn't legal for North to use a fast pass by South to infer partner has a weak hand. Doubling and passing seem quite risky. I would lean to a 4 overcall because it wins when it maks, is a good sacrifice, or pushes them to the 5-level and they go down. It loses when it goes down and 4 was not making, it goes for more than 4 making, or if a penalty of 4 is lucrative. Here, West doubles 4 for penalty.

The Play in Hearts: Declarer has 10 quick winners. A finesse against the King offers the potential for an 11th trick. If given time, declarer can eliminate the diamonds and exit a spade. North is forced to win and is end played in clubs. A club lead is needed to guarantee the defense's 3rd trick.

The Play in Spades: On a heart lead, declarer ruffs and draws 2 rounds of trump. Now declarer plays on diamonds. Playing standard signals, East echoes to show an even count. To beat 4, West must duck the Queen or Jack lead from declarer. They must use their Ace-King to prevent declarer from accessing dummy. If declarer accesses dummy, they can take a lobbing finesse towards their King and score 10 tricks. If declarer cannot access dummy, the defense scores 2 club tricks to beat 4.

A diamond lead allows the defense to score the first 5 tricks. West cashes their 2 top diamonds. West leads the 2 on the 3rd round of diamonds as suit preference for clubs. West wins the Ace and gives East another diamond ruff.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

West will raise East's 3 to 4 immediately--and there's poor North with a great hand but vulnerable and already at the four level. Yikes! Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor.

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