Join Bridge Winners
Subsequent Action
(Page of 9)

In the quarter-finals of the open trials, you need to find the best action over an enemy takeout double.

E-W vul, West deals. As East, you hold:

East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
?

Calls from 1NT through 2 are transfers. 1NT shows clubs, 2 shows diamonds, and 2 is a good raise with 2 being a weak raise. The transfer to clubs could be a weak 1-suiter or up to invitational values. Partner will usually accept the transfer unless he has some distribution he wants to show. Redouble is standard, showing a good hand with the ability to penalize at least 2 of the other suits.

It is important to know the meaning of subsequent actions for the various possibilities. Since you have a doubleton spade, it is likely the opponents will be in 1 or 2 by your next turn. In particular, you need to know what double and 2NT would mean.

If you pass, a followup double is not takeout. It shows a good hand with probably 3 spades. By contrast, redouble followed by double shows 4 spades. This helps partner determine whether or not to defend. Pass followed by 2NT is takeout.

If you redouble, that creates a force. A followup double is penalties, showing a 4-card holding. 2NT would be takeout, likely showing the other two suits.

If you bid 1NT (showing clubs) or 2 (good heart raise) or 2, a double of 2 would show a doubleton spade and interest in competing. After the 2-card double, 2NT by partner would be takeout.

Your call?

East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
?

You have the right shape for a redouble, with the ability to penalize 2 of their suits. But at this vulnerability you won't want to be defending 1 doubled even if partner has 4 spades. Furthermore, you are a little light for a redouble. This isn't necessarily your hand.

If you pass, what will you then do if the opponents bid to 2? You will be pretty much guessing about what to do. If you do choose to compete, you might not find your best strain.

It looks best to start with 1NT, showing the club suit. If the opponents bid 2, you can then follow with a 2-card double which is perfect. Partner can pass with 4 spades, and that will probably be okay. If partner has 4 diamonds he can bid 2NT, takeout, and you will get to your 4-4 diamond fit.

The danger with bidding 1NT is that you might have a weak hand with just long clubs, so partner will usually bid 2 even with a singleton. However, the gain from getting your longest suit into the auction for a part-score competitive battle is very important. You might even have a 9-card club fit, and if you don't show the clubs now that fit might be lost.

You choose to pass. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
?

What do you do now?

East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
?

Now you have to guess. You can't double, as that would show a 3-card spade holding. If you sell out you may find that both sides have 9-card fits, which won't be good. If you bid 2NT, you may find that partner has 4 spades and the hand is a misfit. Furthermore, if you bid 2NT you might get to the wrong minor if partner is 3-3 in the minors.

On balance it looks better to bid. While the opponents could have only a 7-card fit, it is much more likely that they have an 8 or even a 9-card fit. Bidding will probably be wrong if partner's shape is exactly 3-5-3-2, but otherwise you will find at least an 8-card fit of your own. It is usually right to compete to 3 over 2 when both sides have at least 8-card fits.

You choose to pass, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

Partner leads the 3 (third and fifth leads).

North
Q64
Q6
AJ86
KJ93
East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

Small from dummy. Your play?

North
Q64
Q6
AJ86
KJ93
East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

Clearly you must make sure you win the trick. Sometimes it is right to falsecard here. On this hand it is probably best to be honest and win the queen. That information may be very important to partner. It won't mean much to declarer, since he still won't know where the king is.

You win the Q. Declarer plays the 5. What do you return?

North
Q64
Q6
AJ8
KJ93
East
K8
98
K94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

It is likely that partner has led a singleton diamond, but there is no rush to give him a ruff. It is better to work on hearts before dummy's clubs become good. You will probably be able to get in with the K, either by an overruff or when declarer leads a spade to the queen. If you aren't scoring the K, it is hard to see how you will defeat this contract.

You return the 9. Partner wins the ace, and continues with the king and the jack. Dummy ruffs with the 4, and you overruff with the 8. What do you do now?

North
Q6
AJ8
KJ93
East
K
K94
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

Partner could have played his high hearts in either order. By playing the ace and then the king, he is giving a clear suit-preference signal for diamonds. He not only must have a singleton diamond, but he also wants to get a ruff. You have no reason to override this signal.

You return the 4. Partner ruffs with the 7. Now he leads the 10. A club is discarded from dummy. What do you do?

North
Q6
AJ
KJ93
East
K
K9
107652
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P

It is clear to ruff for several reasons. Most important is that if your king of spades holds you defeat the contract 2 tricks immediately with another diamond ruff. If you are overruffed, you may have successfully uppercut declarer if partner's spades are J107 or J97.

Secondly, a count of declarer's hand indicates that he is likely to be out of hearts. He is known to have 4 diamonds, and he probably has 5 spades to justify the 2 call. He also must have the ace of clubs or queen of clubs or he wouldn't be strong enough to bid 2, and if partner has AQxx of clubs he would probably have bid more.

You carelessly discard a club. Declarer ruffs small, lays down the ace of spades, and makes the contract. The full hand is:

West
J97
AKJ1073
3
Q84
North
Q64
Q6
AJ86
KJ93
East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
South
A10532
542
10752
A
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
6
Q
5
2
0
1
9
2
A
6
0
0
2
K
Q
8
4
0
0
3
J
4
8
5
2
0
4
4
2
7
8
0
0
5
10
3
2
2
3
1
5
A
7

Not surprisingly, the uppercut would have been successful.

Was West correct to play the 10 instead of a small heart?

West
J97
AKJ1073
3
Q84
North
Q64
Q6
AJ86
KJ93
East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
South
A10532
542
10752
A
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
6
Q
5
2
0
1
9
2
A
6
0
0
2
K
Q
8
4
0
0
3
J
4
8
5
2
0
4
4
2
7
8
0
0
5
10
3
2
2
3
1
5
A
7

It might seem as though West should lead a small heart to force East to ruff. The problem is that he doesn't know East is down to a stiff spade honor. From his point of view East might think declarer has the 10 left when he leads a small heart, so East may wrongly ruff small going for extra undertricks. The lead of the 10 should inform East that declarer is also out of hearts. If West started with AKJ10x he should lead his small heart, not the 10, so East will think declarer has the 10 and will ruff small, which is what West wants.

Do you agree with West's opening lead?

West
J97
AKJ1073
3
Q84
North
Q64
Q6
AJ86
KJ93
East
K8
98
KQ94
107652
South
A10532
542
10752
A
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
6
Q
5
2
0
1
9
2
A
6
0
0
2
K
Q
8
4
0
0
3
J
4
8
5
2
0
4
4
2
7
8
0
0
5
10
3
2
2
3
1
5
A
7

West could cash a couple of high hearts, but that doesn't look good enough to get up to six defensive tricks. It looks to West like the only way to defeat 2 is to get a diamond ruff or two. The diamond lead looks fine.

It looks at first glance like East made the winning decision to pass throughout, since 2 can be defeated and 3 doesn't come close to making. The trick total is much less than might be expected due to the minor-suit layouts. But maybe not. Suppose East had bid 1NT, showing clubs. What would South have done. He has a pretty good-looking had for play in spades -- he has no way of knowing that his partner's hand is so unsuitable. South may well have jumped to 3. Suppose South bids 2. West would certainly compete to 3. North's winning action is to double, but many players are afraid to double the opponents into game particularly if the double may help declarer play the hand. If North passes over 3, South will certainly bid 3. So even though competing to 3 is wrong in theory, it may be right in practice since the opponents don't know the story. As is so often the case, it is a bidder's game.

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