Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How Good is Your Hand?

Playing IMPS the other night, I had this hand come up, with no one vul. I held 9x Kxx AQx KJ9xx and opened a 12-14 HCP 1NT in first seat. Partner bid 2H, transferring to Spades, and I dutifully bid 2S, which I like to play denies any really great interest in Spades, certainly true with my hand. Partner then bid 3C, which is natural and GF, and created a problem for me.

I really like my hand in support of Clubs, it is worth more than the 13 HCP it started life with, but is partner looking for game or something more. If partner has any slam interest, my hand is really good, but if he is only interested in game, I would like to suggest 3N rather than 5C. For this reason, I finally decided to bid 3N, since I had values in both red suits. I could have cuebid 3D, but that has a chance of getting us to 5C with my Heart card being led through if partner has nothing in Hearts. If you are playing with a regular partner, do you have a method of showing primary Club support, but stoppers in both side suits, like in this hand, below 3N?

I was really hoping partner could bid over 3N, and he did, coming through with 4C. Now my hand has grown up, and playing a little catch up, I cue bid 4D. Partner cue bid 4H, and I think I dropped the ball here. I would have liked to bid 4N (DI), but I was not playing with a regular partner, and I assumed he would take it as RKC, something I did not want to do. After the fact, I think I should have bid 6C now, since my hand has to be perfect for partner, but I chickened out and only bid 5C. Thankfully, partner liked my 4D bid enough to raise to 6C, and pretty well claimed at trick 1 when nothing got ruffed. Partners hand was KQxxx Ax K AQxxx, so there was not much to the play of the hand. I think this is the kind of hand partner should have for 4C and 4H, which is why I was annoyed at myself for only bidding 5C, I put a lot of pressure on partner to raise to 6C. If he did not have the K of Diamonds, he might not, and it was really not necessary to making 6C.

At the other table, they bid to 6NT (unknown auction, although it probably started similar since they also play a weak NT), a contract I can see my hand wanting to get to to protect the red suit holdings. The problem with 6NT is that it is basically a straight 50-50 shot at winning 2 IMPS for 990 - 920 vs losing 14 IMPS when the A of Spades is offside, since with no Spade spot cards, there is no other source for a 12th trick. Fortunately for their side, the A of Spades was onside today, so the other team won 2 IMPS.


  1. I think you were lucky that partner had enough to keep on bidding. You have a pretty big hand after he bids 3C, e.g. AQxxx Ax xx AQxx is an excellent slam and he would pass 3NT even with a better hand expecting no fit and red suit wastage. I would be willing to commit to 5C with your hand after 3C.

    Also, I would play 3D/H there as values with club support, usually secondary values and still choosing between 3NT and clubs. So you can stop in 3NT if you have wastage opposite partner's singleton and not otherwise.

    If you bid 3D with that agreement and he doesn't bid 3NT, he probably has two or fewer hearts and there is a problem there in 3NT anyway. If he did bid 3NT over 3D (and your hand was worse) you could pass.

  2. Hey, thx for comment, nice to know someone is reading :)

    I agree with you. I think 3D was a better bid, I was worried at the time about bypassing 3N, but I think it has to be a non-issue. 5C should be about as good as a contract, and 3D really increases the chances of getting to the slam on hands where pard is not quite as good.