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For bridge hands of interest

Living with losers

With the hand below, South opened a game force, then bid spades next round. South has one obvious diamond loser and the chance of losing something in hearts, but after North showed spade support, South decided that slam was worth a go. Perhaps North would have a useful card (such as the HQ) or the hearts might come good (on a successful finesse, for example).

Plan as South your play in 6S, on the lead of the CA:



Read more: Living with losers

Unusual bidding

Today we have another hand from a past Trumps Easter Sunday Teams Congress. Your partner, East, opens 1H, and the next player, South, overcalls 2NT. This is the Unusual Notrump, showing a weakish hand but a good 5-5 in the minors. What should you do with the West hand below?

WEST (you)

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No holiday in doubled contract

Consider this deal from a previous Trumps Easter Teams event as the defender sitting West.

Your right hand opponent opened 1H, you passed, responder called 1NT (which, it is explained, may contain up to 11 points), your partner overcalls 2S, opener doubles this which is explained as takeout, you up the ante by bidding 3S, and North ventures 3NT. Here is the auction:

Pass   1NT    2S    Dble
3S     3NT   Pass   Pass
Dble   All pass

Read more: No holiday in doubled contract

Grand play makes grand slam

This hand, submitted by Tim Bourke of Canberra, features insightful bidding and play.

Dealer South, EW vul
WEST               EAST
 T93               J875
 —                 J962
 KQT93             8
 KQJT9             8653
♥ AT753

2NT    4C     Pass   4NT
Pass   5S     Pass   7H
All pass

Over South's 1H opening, West bid the Unusual 2NT showing at least 5-5 in the minors. North's 4C was a "splinter bid", showing a singleton or void in the bid suit, a fit for partner and game values at least. Most "unnecessary jumps" such as this are used by top players nowadays as splinters. They help partner evaluate slam prospects – here, South knows that the 7-4 of clubs will not be losers because they can be ruffed.

South's 4NT was Roman Keycard Blackwood, and 5S showed two "keycards" (there are five keycards – the four aces and the king of trumps) as well as the queen of trumps. That seemed to plug South's gaps so 7H looked like the right bid.

How would you plan to play the hand on a club lead?

Read more: Grand play makes grand slam

Unusual hand

This deal comes from a past NSWBA Mixed Teams event, won by Nick Hughes, Nicoletta Giura, Nick Fahrer and Ed Barnes.

Fahrer held the South cards. How would you have bid?

Dealer South, nil vul

Read more: Unusual hand

Squeezing the last trick

The hand below is a good basis for considering strategy in pairs events (such as regular duplicate games). Typically you are awarded two points (known as "matchpoints") for every pair you do better than on a hand, and one point for every pair you tie with. While bringing home marginal contracts can provide good scores, it is generally better to bid to normal spots and rely on careful play to score overtricks and thereby outscore your competitors.

Read more: Squeezing the last trick

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