Test Your Bridge Skills #29

This quiz was written by Oren Lidor.

Test Your Bridge Skills #29

Test Your Bridge Skills #29


Hand 1

What will you bid as South?

Best Answer: Pass

Double here would be a Support Double, promising 3 cards in Spades.

2 would be a reverse bid, showing (16)17+ points.

2NT would promise 18-19 points and a balanced hand (as 1NT rebid is no longer possible).

3♣ would need to have 6 good cards in Club (needs agreement if it shows minimum or 15-17).

It's true that partner has changed suit, and on a changed suit when responding you must bid. But, when East bids or overcalls, you're free to Pass, and bidding can return to your partner.

Therefore, Pass; in doing so you inform partner that you have a minimum opening and no bid at this point.

Given they already know you have an opening point, your partner can take this into account when bidding returns to them:
- If they have a weak hand with 6 cards in Spades, they'll bid 2♠ (or 3♠ with 10-11 points).
- If they have shortness in Diamonds with some more points, they can Double (Re-Opening Double) and then when bidding returns to you, you can bid 2. Then, if partner bids cue 3 at any point, showing points and asking for a Diamond stopper, bid 3NT.
- If partner is weak or has good Diamonds and less than 10 points, they can Pass and you'll remain on defense.

Partner's hand could be:

Above you can see partner's double is a Re Opening double, and the 3 cue bid is asking you for a stopper to bid 3NT.

And in the above example, partner is weak with Diamonds and simply Passes. There's a good chance on defense to defeat 2.

Note:
a. When responder changes suit on 1 level, it shows 6+ and forces opener to bid, unless the opponent after the responder bids something. This frees up the opener to pass, as bidding returns to the responder.
b. When responder changes suit on the 1 level (showing 6+ points) and opener rebids 2NT this always shows 18-19, even if opponent overcalled on the 2 level, and 1NT rebid is no longer possible. In these situations, opener may Pass, as seen in the hand above.
c. When opener's 2nd bid is a new suit, higher on rank than their 1st suit, it's a Reverse Bid, showing (16)17+ points and an unbalanced hand (and 1 round forcing). So, in the hand above, opener may not bid 2 (if East Passes, then South's rebid is 2♣).

Hand 2

What will you bid as South?

Best Answer: Dbl

What's the meaning of Double and later change suit?
A big Double hand (Super overcall), showing an overcall shape with 17-20 points (a normal overcall is limited to maximum 16 points).

However, since the last bid comes for the opponents, you have another option; Double. Double shows shortness in Hearts, tolerance (at least 3 cards) in other suits, and probably a good hand for forcing partner into a 3 level bid.

Therefore, bid Double. No point insisting on Clubs as you've a relatively weak suit (or 2NT with a shaky stopper in Heart) with points in Diamonds and Spades.

If the last bid comes from partner (for example 2, as a response to your Double), then your situation will be much less comfortable, and you'll need to choose between pass, 2NT, 3♣, 3, or 2 cue.

The hand could be:

Letting partner bid is a good decision as 3 is a great contract.

Note:
a. After 2 passes, Double is a Re-Opening double, forcing partner to bid on, showing shortness in opponent's suit, and tolerance to all other suits.
b. Double 1st and later bidding a new suit is a Big Double, showing an overcall shape hand with 17-20 points.
c. On the example above, it can be agreed to use Lebensohl, meaning that a direct 3 bid after the 2nd double would show a better hand than bidding 2NT (artificial), which is forcing to 3♣, and later bid 3.

Hand 3

Against 3NT, your partner leads the ♣J. Declarer wins with the ♣A and plays a Heart to the J. Partner follows with the 4. What will you do?

Best Answer: 3

Against 3NT your partner leads the ♣J. Declarer wins with the ♣A and plays a Heart to the J. Partner follows with the 4. What will you do?

Why not take Q and play Club?
Because the declarer has the ♣Q. Partner leads the ♣J so they don’t have the Q. There is no hope to develop this suit.

Why not take Q and play Spade?
Because the declarer has doubleton in Hearts and therefore at least 3 cards in Spades. It means that partner has a maximum of 2 cards in Spades and maximum 6 points as per the bidding where declarer has 20-22, on which you already saw the ♣J. Therefore, there's no hope to develop the Spades either.

On the other hand, there's hope you can develop the Diamonds, if partner has K109x, by playing the J. If you play low, it won't be good enough, as the declarer will play the 8 and upon winning with the 9 partner is stuck, as declarer's AQ protects them. Later, when you win the A, you can play another Diamond. But then, a simple hold up by the declarer can cut communication to the 4th Diamond.

However, the contract is almost certain to fail if you hold up the 1st Heart. From partner's 4, count, they're showing odd which is 3 cards. So you can count that declarer has xx, plus as you can see from the bidding, they didn't raise to 4. So now declarer will likely return to their hand and play another Heart to the 10. Then you'll win with the Q and play Spade or Diamond and the declarer can't make their Hearts and are left with 2 Spades, 1 Heart, 2 Diamonds and 3 Clubs.

Note:
a. Knowing the declarer has 2 cards in Hearts means you can see what's going to happen if you take the Q. It's the 2nd Heart that will force your A out because holding up won't save you now given the declarer is in dummy and they can play a 3rd Heart from there, and the ♣K will be the entry to the promoted Hearts. So, to sabotage the declarer's clear plans, you need to hold up the first Heart to cut communication.

b. Count is given on the 2nd and 4th hand (and if agreed, on a K lead), especially when the declarer is trying to develop their long suit and has entry problems to that suit.
High – Low is showing an even amount of cards, and Low – High is showing odd. That way, you can count how many cards the declarer has in their closed hand to know when and how many times you need to hold up.
Here, partner follows with their lowest , so it's showing odd (3 cards). That means that the declarer has xx. Note that the declarer might choose to pass 3NT also with 3 cards in Hearts, especially if they have 3-3-3-4. So, trust partner's counting signal.

Hand 4

You play 3NT and West leads the 5. East plays the J and you win with the Q. Now what?

Best Answer: ♣AK and 10

You play 3NT and West leads the 5. East plays the J and you win with the Q. Now what?

After the lead, you have a sure 7 tricks (2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 1 Diamond and 2 Clubs). The K is clearly with West as they lead a low Heart which promises honor, also East plays their highest Heart, the J. Therefore, you need to be careful.

Your best chance for 2 more tricks is trying the double finesse in Diamond.

Start with the ♣AK. If you manage to drop ♣Qx then you're already "home", promoting 2 more Club tricks. If the ♣Q didn’t drop, then run the 10. West will win it with the K but you're now protected from the Heart suit because the 10 protects you from Heart continuation from West. If they play Heart you'll make another Heart trick. Assuming West plays Spade, then win it with dummy's ♠K and finesse Diamond again. When the finesse succeeds, play 3rd Club to promote your 4th Club as your 9th trick (3 Clubs, 2 Diamonds, 2 Hearts and 2 Spades).

If you attempt the Club finesse (or play 3rd Club earlier) and the finesse fails, you'll fall into East's hands (the dangerous hand) and Heart from East will set you as it'll help West develop their Hearts. If you try the 10, West takes the K and plays a 3rd Heart to your A, then they develop their 4th Heart. Upon winning the K later on, they'll take the 4th Heart to set.

Note:
a. Double finesse gives 75% to lose 1 Diamond trick. You'll only lose 2 tricks if both KQ are in West (25%).
b. There's another important reason to play the Diamond; it's to avoid the dangerous hand (East here) as the Diamond finesse goes to West's hand (the safe hand).
c. Timing is important. Playing Diamond before the 3rd Club will make sure you manage to develop your tricks before the defense develops theirs.
d. The dangerous hand is the defense player you want to avoid losing a trick to. When you know which player it is (East here, as the Heart return from East places West over you), make sure to play in such a way to avoid them. So, make sure they play 2nd and that the safe hand plays 4th.

About the Author

Oren Lidor is considered one of the best bridge teachers in Israel, is the author of 5 bridge books, and teaches bridge to people from all over the world on BBO. 

5 comments on “Test Your Bridge Skills #29”
  1. At the risk of embarrassing myself: 1) 2H showing second suit on the way to game, 2) 3C too many points to stay mum 3) QH and a spade; pard's clubs are stopped by N/S, try another suit 4) AC, KC, heart to the 10; W has too few points to overcall your 1C bid, so E must have the majority of the remaining points, finesse through E, not W

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