Thursday, August 12, 2010

Which Strain?--Updated

As promised, here is one interesting hand from the recent NABC in New Orleans. It comes from the swiss teams--you are vul vs not and partner opens 1 Heart.
The auction begins simply enough--with the opponents silent, you respond 1 Spade, partner bids 2 Diamonds and you bid 3 Diamonds. Now partner bids 3 Spades. Apparently he has a good shapely hand, but is there a range? Could he be 2-5-4-2 without a club stop? And, perhaps more importantly, what do you bid now?

Thanks for all of the comments on this hand. I was planning on updating sooner, but figured I'd let you guys run with it for a while. As stated, I faced this problem in the Swiss. I made a poor bid of 4 spades that had a happy ending when I managed to emerge with 10 tricks. One thing that I did consider that was not brought up in the comments was that hearts could still easily be the right strain. Our stiff king is actually quite a fine holding. My 4 spade bid amounted to a guess, and a bad one, as the comments indicate--although we can control the first round of clubs and will be able to ruff the second round in the shorter trump hand, our trump are not the robust type that you like to have to play a 4-3 fit...not to mention the possibility that partner is 2-5-5-1.

In the postmortem my partner suggested the 4 Club cuebid. Assuming you are willing to give up on notrump at this point (I know that Kenny is!), the cuebid stands out. My partner thinks that 4 Clubs says, "I have a good hand but am not sure where to go with it yet." Over 4 Clubs, partner has an easy 4 Heart bid--his hand actually was: JT7 AQJxxx AQxx void.

To finish the story, 4 Spades needed some luck, including the diamond finesse. We gained an imp on this one when the other table played in 3nt with 9 toppers when the hearts split 4-2...the opposing declarer didn't take the diamond finesse and was duly punished.


Memphis MOJO said...

I think I'd just bid 5D. That should be a good spot. I give up on slam (if it made, I wouldn't be shocked), even though I have a terrific hand. I don't like 3NT (that 9 of clubs doesn't tempt me)or 4S.

kennyz said...

yes, 2-5-4-2 is certainly possible, maybe even likely. I can't see any reason to do anything here except bid 3nt. I give 3nt 100pts, all other calls get zero.

kennyz said...

I'd add that I think the 3D call was questionable. I'd have just bid 2nt at my second turn, giving away as little as possible on the way to the far-most-likely game. If partner bids 3D over that, I'll reconsider.

alex_perlin said...

Hi Drew,

Partner's hand ranges from 3=5=4=1 14 count too strong to bid 2S to some 18 counts just shy of a jump shift. I guess, doubleton spade seems possible absent explicit discussion to the contrary as 4s instead of 3s is available as contract suggestion.

If partner has something like KJx Axxxx AKxx x, 5D seems like the easiest game. (Plan the play in 3NT on a CQ lead :). We may owe partner a Q-bid of 4C in case he has Kx Axxxx AKxxx x (or more!).

For me this is a close call between 4C and 5D to be resolved depending on partner's record of bidding poor slams :)

Just $0.02 worth of thoughts. Thx for interesting hand.


kennyz said...

3nt is not setting the contract - it is doing what partner asked me to do. Partner should know I don't have a double club stopper - certainly with something better in clubs I wld have bid 2nt instead of making life difficult for him by raising to 3d with 4 small. With the hand Alex gave, partner can remove 3nt. I don't understand why I should be trying to pinpoint the contract here. It's a partnership game. I've already shown 4 spades and 4 diams, and - as it turns out - I have crappy versions of both. Bidding one of those suits again now seems nuts to me.

kennyz said...

I'd add that it is also quite possible, at least playing the style I like, that partner has only 3 diams. I would prefer 2d at my second call vs. 2nt with AQJXX KQX AXX XX. Plan the play in 5D with that hand :)

alex_perlin said...

One possible take on what happened is this. Partner had the very best heart holding consistent with the auction, a somewhat extreme event unsutiable for the action you took. And you still survived bidding 4s. This actually speaks well of merits of the bid (low cost when wrong).