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Common Game 2019-02-02 Board 8
West
7
KJ632
Q843
KJ7
North
J109532
98
5
Q963
East
4
A54
AKJ106
A1082
South
AKQ86
Q107
972
54
D
8
West
North
East
South
P
P
1
1
2
4

Analysis by Craig Hemphill

East has too good a hand to pass, especially with West chirping at the two level. And yet... how?

The LAW of Total Tricks tells us to compete to the level of the total number of trumps in the two hands when you can estimate the opponents' number of trumps. That is surely ten or possibly eleven. EW have just 8 trumps, most likely, for West, with values, did not open 2.

So does that mean East should pass? No. There are other considerations. In the first place, West must have a fit of some sort for at least one of the minors on this auction. With one or two spades and five hearts, there are six minor suit cards -- or seven -- in the minors. Wherever those residual cards are located, they are working overtime.

So we have a known double fit and the number of trumps in any one suit is not the total picture. Increase your estimate of tricks by virtue of the double fit.

Can we make a bid that will enlist partner's cooperation? 5 is not very definitive, other than suggesting heart length that really does not exist. 5 would deny holding a heart fit, and emphasize clubs beyond the mere four cards actually held.

4NT!! Can't be Blackwood -- did not open 2, and partner has passed. There is no established fit. Ergo, not Blackwood. Must be TAKEOUT. Must show three suits. Must show a heart tolerance, else 5 or 5.

West cannot bid the slam, but might actually sense it. 5 seems like a descriptive bid, and then East gets to choose -- play diamonds? Play hearts?

Your choice, but the point I wanted to deliver was that 4NT was the bid of choice. what if West had a ton of clubs? Then, over 4NT, 5 might be the safe spot, and the idea was cooperative, not dictatorial by East.

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