HAND ANALYSES–Intermediate and 2/1 Classes

Thursday AM Game, Apr 6

North (D)

S AT84
H J
D AJ32
C AKQ2

East
S 973
H QT82
D 854
C J83

South
S KJ62
H A3
D KQ6
C 9764

West
S Q5
H K97654
D T97
C T5

I think the bidding should follow one of these options:
~1D-1S, 4S (showing 4-card spade support and a big hand), 4NT-5D ( 0 or 3 keycards, 5H (do you have the Q of trumps?) 5S (no), 6S or 6NT.
~1D-1S, 3S-4NT (and follow the above responses).

7 of anything is a risky bid and probably should not be made unless holding the Q of trumps. Making 7 is dependent on one of two plays, one of which is abominable (does that display dissatisfaction?):
~North can finesse for the Q of spades in either direction, making 6 or 7 depending on the guess.
~Playing the A, K of spades hoping the Q of spades falls (this is the abominable play). Missing the Q  and holding A, K, J and a total of 5 spades, the correct action is to finesse for the Q. Finding the Q doubleton is a 40% chance; the finesse is a 50% chance.

The play (other than in trumps) is routine. Bidding the slam is the key to success. South should make a slam try once partner shows 4-card support and a big hand.

Know how to stop at 5NT? Neither do I, but over 4D by North, South bids 4H to ask if North has the Q of trumps and 5S to play there.

What if South is the 4NT bidder? South will respond 5H and is thereby known not th hold the spade Q (she would have bid 5S to show 2 keycards plus the spade Q). North cannot now stop at 5NT (nor would she want to do so).

Hand # 4.

North

S KT3
H K7
D JT
C AK7542

East
S J854
H JT4
D AK75
C 83

South
S Q97
H A53
D 8642
C QJ9

West
S A62
H Q9862
D Q93
C T6

North should open 1C and South should bid either 1D or 1NT. North has the length but not the strength for a jump in clubs and bids 2C. N-S should play in clubs at as low a contract as possible. Although the Hand Record shows that 3NT will make,  neither North or South has even a half-stopper in diamonds. South might bid 2NT over 2C and North might raise 2NT to 3NT. 4C is not a sure-fire contract. 3C is the most likely N-S contract. Declarer would have to hold the spade losers to one–an unlikely play. 3C should be easy; declarer should take 6 clubs, 2 hearts, and a spade.

Note that if West misplays spades by playing the A without capturing the K or Q, declarer will take 10 tricks. Without a misplay of the spade A by West, declarer can win 10 tricks only by leading a low spade from the North hand and finessing the 9 in the South hand.

Hand # 12.

North
S J3
H K
D 9854
C T97642

East
S 642
H T7654
D QJ76
C 8

South
S K8
H QJ2
D KT2
C AKQJ5

West
S AQT976
H A983
D A3
C 3

West should open 1S, passed to South, who can double and rebid clubs to show a good suit and 17+ HCP or can just overcall 2C. West will rebid 2S and North is in a quandry. There is a temptation to make a preemptive jump in clubs (if West overcalled 2C), but the N-S vulnerability calls for caution. Although the Hand Record indicates that E-W can make 4S, making the contract is dependent on a successful finesse in diamonds and poor (or just unfortunate) defensive play by N-S.

In E-W bids 4S, it will be vert tempting for N-S to sacrifice at 5C. That bid should be doubled. In case of the likely results of down 3, doubled, E-W would earn 500 points. This is more than they could gain by bidding and making 4S.

West has the problem of getting into dummy to finesse spades and diamonds. If North leads a club and South continues the suit, West can discard a diamond or heart in hand and ruff in dummy. Discarding the diamond 3 appears to save a diamond loser, but since the diamond K is onside, there is no diamond loser if West can get to hand to finesse diamonds. West would also like to finesse spades. Both finesses would work, but West must choose which suit to finesse.

Here is a good playing tip. If West chooses to trump the second club lead in dummy (entry #1) and then lead the Q of diamonds, IF SOUTH COVERS WITH THE DIAMOND Q, WEST WILL WIN WITH THE DIAMOND A, AND THE DIAMOND J BECOMES A SECOND ENTRY INTO THE EAST HAND.

TIP: when dummy has very limited entries, including touching honors such as QJx, the defender immediately to the left of the dummy should not cover the first of the two touching honors played.

Even if the finesse works, the defender has prevented declarer from creating an entry to dummy. Here, West cannot get back to the dummy to finesse spades. Ducking the first diamond honor played from the East hand saves a trick.

Hand # 11.

North
S K4
H QT653
D 652
C T62

East
S AT765
H J7
D A9
C KQJ3

South
S Q983
H 98
D QJ83
C 974

C
S J2
H AK42
D KT74
C A85

West should open 1NT and East should bid 2H, a transfer to 2S. Once West completes the transfer, East should bid 3NT, showing 10+ points and only 5 spades. West should pass, and 3NT should be the final contract. If West held 3 spades, she would correct to 4S, and then East might consider bidding 4NT as a slam try. 3NT should make 4. Declarer should lead a low heart toward the J in the East hand. If North has the Q of hearts, declarer will take 10 tricks.

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