Try this hand

For bridge hands of interest

A matter of planning – and timing

Sitting South with the hand shown, you open a strong notrump, partner raises to 2NT (to show 8-9 HCP), and you accept the invitation. Against your 3NT contract, West leads the H7, fourth highest. You try the H10 from dummy and it wins, indicating that West has both missing heart honours (the king and jack). How should you plan the hand from here?

Dealer South, nil vul
NORTH
 532
 QT3
 QT62
 AT4

SOUTH
 AQT
 A42
 KJ54
 K53

WEST  NORTH  EAST   SOUTH
                    1NT
Pass  2NT    Pass   3NT

Read more: A matter of planning – and timing

Judgement time

We all know how to value our high card points: ace = 4, king = 3, queen = 2, jack = 1. Adding points for shortage (after finding a fit) is also a familiar concept. Sometimes, however, a more subtle assessment is required. Consider this duplicate hand:

NORTH
QT3
8743
 K5
8732

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
           1H   Dbl
3H   Pass  Pass 3S
Pass ?

East opened 1H which was doubled by your partner, South. West raised to 3H which was explained as showing a good fit for hearts (four card trump support) but a weak hand. This pre-emptive raise over a takeout double is increasingly popular, as redouble and other strong bids are available with good hands.

Now your partner has backed in with 3S. What is your assessment of the situation?

Read more: Judgement time

Fraud at Grand Slam level

Have a look at this hand, from the 2007 Venice Cup.

Dealer: East. Both vul.

          NORTH
          ♠ AKQ983
          A7
         
          AJ732

WEST                EAST
♠ J5                ♠ 764
 K843               JT952
 AT763              KJ98
 64                 K
          SOUTH
          ♠ T2
           Q6
          
 Q542
          
 QT985

WEST  NORTH EAST  SOUTH
            Pass  Pass
Pass  1C    Pass  1D   1C=16+ 1D=neg
Pass  2S    Pass  2NT
Pass  3C    Pass  4C
Pass  5NT   Pass  7C
All pass

Playing Precision, the 1C opening was artificial and strong, while the 1D response was the artificial negative. North showed spades and clubs, then jumped to 5NT “grand slam force”, asking South to bid grand slam with good trumps else sign off in 6C. With limited room to move, South took a stab at the grand.

You are West and your partner leads the HJ on which dummy's HQ is played. How do you proceed?

Read more: Fraud at Grand Slam level

Reading the situation

At the 2007 World Championships, the International Bridge Press Association presented its annual Personality of the Year award.

Past winners of this award had included some of the great players and writers of the bridge world, as well as some who had achieved fame in other areas, such as Chinese leader Deng Xiao-Ping, whose love and promotion of the game helped China achieve its position as a great bridge-playing nation.

The 2007 winner, however, was a full-time professional bridge player and journalist, and perhaps the world’s best known high-stakes rubber bridge player. Patrick Jourdain, presenting the award, stated: “He is one of the world’s best card players but has never won an Open World title. You will guess who it is when I tell you that this man can name three different countries as his home. This past year he can be proud of an achievement that occurred away from the bridge table. When the country of his birth was devastated by earthquake he initiated a fund-raising exercise for $150 000 that has resulted in the building of a school in the earthquake-ravaged part of Pakistan. Our winner is the world’s most charismatic bridge player: Zia Mahmood of Pakistan, Great Britain and the USA.”

The favourites to win the 2007 World Championships were Italy and USA 2, but in the end it was Norway who won with USA 1 as the runners-up. Zia was on the USA 1 team and on today’s hand he read the cards well, in the match against the other American team. How would you have done in this situation in Zia's position, West?

Read more: Reading the situation

Bringing home the slam

This deal sees you in a 6D contract, against which West has made the passive lead of a trump. What is your best play for the contract?

NORTH
♠ Q93
AT965
 K43
QJ

SOUTH (declarer)
♠ A4
 3
 AQJT986
 A32

Read more: Bringing home the slam

All is revealed

How would you assess the following hand?

SOUTH
♠ AQJ92
5
 —
AK98764

Read more: All is revealed

What's On...

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