Friday, August 8, 2008

The least of evils

You hold:
A 9 5 8 A J 10 A K Q J 7 3.

You open 1 and partner responds 1. What is your rebid?

3 doesn't do justice to your hand. You have eight or nine tricks. If you chose that and partner passed, you would be sick to your stomach.

2NT is also nonforcing and shows 18 or 19 balanced. That doesn't describe this hand, pretty much gives up on slam in clubs and could even miss game if partner dredged up a response on something rotten.

3NT often shows six good clubs, a singleton heart and around 17 high-card points, so that doesn't describe this hand either. You're a little too good (although the practical side of this is that at least you're in game).

What about a "fake" reverse to 2?

Hands such as this one are what make bridge a beautiful game. You often have a decision that isn't covered by the structure or rules you've learned to play by. When that happens, you have to improvise. When you do, it's often best to choose a practical bid or make one that you deem best among imperfect choices.

This deal was played 67 times on OKbridge Thursday night. 61 players opened 1. Of those that didn't, four opened 2, one player opened a Precision 1 and one person opened an artificial 2.

After 1, the partner responded 1 and opener's rebids were varied:
1. 34 players rebid 3NT,
2. 12 rebid 2NT,
3. seven rebid 3
4. four reversed to 2,
5. two rebid 3 and
6. two rebid 4NT.

Here are all four hands (rotated):

K 8 7
A K J 9 6
8 6 4
9 6
6 3 Q J 10 4 2
Q 7 2 10 5 4 3
K 9 7 5 3 Q 2
8 5 4 10 2
A 9 5
A J 10
A K Q J 7 3

When Kate and I played it, she opened 1. This is an excellent hand for a big club system. You will always get to game when you have the values for it, and can search for slam without fear of being dropped. I responded 2 which showed 5+ hearts and 9+ high-card points. She bid 2 asking me for controls. Over my response, she bid 6. Even though it also makes 6NT, 6 was an excellent contract with extra chances. Kate made seven for a score of 1390 and a 9.70-IMP pickup.

One pair played 7 and failed to make it after the 6 opening lead which he won in dummy (mistake). Even after this start, if declarer had played all his clubs, he could have made it with a heart finesse -- East is squeezed in the majors.

Another pair played 3 and made five (they played it about as well as they bid it). You can see what everyone did if you click here.

So, now that you know all four hands, what do you think the best rebid is?


  1. A 3NT rebid is OK. Not perfect, but OK, according to our little panel enjoying your blog this weekend. We think that pard should bid 4C over 3NT.

    Since so many bid 3NT, it would be interesting to give the other hand as a problem.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    You've doubled my readership!

  3. Aw, I wanted to do that.