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For bridge hands of interest

Better Frank than timid

How would you bid this board from a past Trumps Festival of Bridge event?

Dealer North, EW vul.

          NORTH
          ♠ J74
          9
          AT42
          AKQ87
WEST                 EAST
5                  T62
A87643             Q2
Q976               KJ85
T6                 J943
          SOUTH
         
AKQ983
         
KJT5
         
3
         
52

Read more: Better Frank than timid

Coming up trumps

Today’s hand has points of interest in bidding, declarer play and defence. It was submitted by Geoff Dunsford, who played it in a duplicate at Trumps.

Dealer West, EW vul.

          NORTH
          S Q98642
          H AT975
          D 83
          C —
WEST              EAST         
S AJT7            S K53      
H KQ8             H 32  
D K7              D QJT94
C AK76            C 852
          SOUTH
          S —
          H J64
          D A652
          C QJT953

Read more: Coming up trumps

Hall of fame

The Bridge Hall of Fame was started by the Bridge World magazine in 1964. The founding members were Ely Culbertson and Charles Goren (the only two bridge authorities to be totally dominant in their times) and Harold Stirling Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt, who died in 1970, was the inventor of the modern game of bridge. Known to friends and family as Mike, he was the great-grandson of the shipping and railway tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. He invented contract bridge in 1925, but it was as a yachtsman that he hit the cover of Time in 1930 when he won the America’s Cup. He repeated this success in 1934 and then, in 1937, with his wife as the first female fully-fledged member of an America’s Cup team. (The two of them were posthumously elected to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993.)

Read more: Hall of fame

No escape from surround play

In another hand from a past World Bridge Championship, we look at a textbook defensive situation with which few club players are familiar.

Dealer West, both vul
         NORTH
         
 Q9753
         
 K32
         
 Q743
         
 9
WEST            EAST (Dummy)
 AK             JT42
 Q87            T54
 K8             AT96
 AKJ742         85
         SOUTH
         
 86
         
 AJ96
         
 J52
         
 QT63

WEST     EAST
2C       2D
2NT      3C
3D       3NT
All pass

In this hand from a Senior Teams World Championship, North led the S5 (fourth highest) to the S2, S8 and SA. Declarer cashed the CA then crossed to dummy via the DA in order to lead a second round of clubs to finesse to the CJ. This won but North showed out. Declarer persisted with clubs but had to lose the fourth round to South.

South now switched to hearts; but which heart should South lead? Usually it is right to lead low (such as the fourth highest) when your honours are broken rather than sequential, but on the actual layout, declarer could then duck the trick around to North's HK, and a heart back would then set up declarer's HQ as a winner.

Read more: No escape from surround play

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

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