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Helgemo-Helness

Helgeness In the 4th quarter of the 2006 Rosenblum finals Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness found themselves on the losing end of 15-IMP swing. Having opened the bidding, they defended an undoubled contract with a combined 29 HCPs while cold for slam*. When the great warriors from Norway Monaco have a result such as this, we feel that the deal should come under further review.

Fredin
108653
AQ985
1092
Helgemo
KQ942
7
A108
J874
Lindkvist
7
K6432
5432
Q53
Helness
AJ
J10
KQJ976
AK6
W
N
E
S
1
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
58
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
8
5
3
1
0
K
9
4
3
3
2
0
K
5
8
5
0
2
1
3
4
7
J
3
3
1
Q
8
10
2
0
3
2
5
2
2
A
2
3
3
3
7
9
A
0
3
4
A
7
3
10
0
3
5
10
7
Q
6
2
3
6
4
6
Q
J
0
3
7
6
9
9 tricks claimed
E/W -100
11


How should South treat his hand?
This hand bears some similarities to the South hand from our Gitelman-Moss article. We prefer to open 2NT, which would probably work poorly on this deal. What would be the best continuation had the auction gone 1-(P)-1M-(P)?

What are North’s options over 3? If he passes, is it possible to come in later?
3 to show the majors is not too popular but, if not discussed, should fall under the partnership’s principles of how to handle 2-suited intervention. In general, double would show a hand willing to cooperate in penalizing (not clubs!), pass followed by a double would be strictly penalty. Should pass then double still be for business if the opponents make a jump raise, showing a big fit?

What should North bid over 3?
This hand comes down to two choices: pass and 3. Helness’s opening guaranteed at least four diamonds, but even in Standard it seems that the chance partner has real diamonds goes up significantly when West shows the majors. What are the odds that North-South have a fit after the 3 overcall?

Should South pass the 4 bid?
Helness was in a tough spot with such a strong hand. Taking a call with so many losers (including two in hearts) is risky opposite no noise from partner. However, passing has perhaps an even greater risk: losing equity against a possible game. Would a double of 4 show a desire to defend, be pure takeout, or simply suggest that the opponents may be stealing?
For further discussion on a similar topic, see the Levin-Weinstein hand.

Defending 4 certainly isn’t what one wants to be doing on this hand. Was Helgi too conservative in the bidding? Helness? Both? Neither?

We pulled the tape, now we invite you to make the call.

*South can still make 6 after an unlikely spade lead.

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