DEC_EB_p38-39 Debate 15/11/07 12:03 pm Page 39
in the black suits
Or vote by post (Editor, English Bridge, 23 Erleigh Road, Reading RG1 5LR).
Comments for publication (not more than 200 words, please) are welcome. Heather Dhondy
SPADES is the best suit you can hold. It as I know partner will be short in the op- ive effect of opening 1♠. Your left-hand
out-ranks all the other suits, therefore ponents’ suit, so they are almost certain to opponent may have a hand worth a one-
when the auction becomes competitive be able to run five tricks in hearts. I am far level overcall of one of the red suits, but
and your side holds the spade fit, you can too strong to consider passing, so my call not worth a two-level overcall. A 1♠ open-
out-compete your opponents at the same is double. There is no other call I can ing bid will silence them, whereas a 1♣
level in your suit. The importance of make. This means that if your choice is to opening will allow them in, and it is possible
finding a spade fit as early as possible in a open 1♣ with 5-5 in the black suits, a 2♠ that they could out-compete you if they
competitive situation cannot be over- rebid in this auction would have to cover locate a fit.
estimated. If the auction allows you to the 5-5 distributions, and with a 5-4 shape Let’s move on to developing a con-
describe the exact length of only one of you have to decide whether your partner- structive auction to the right game or slam
your two suits, which would you choose? ship style is going to be to call 2♠, or to with partner. You may think that opening
Spades, of course. double. Either way there is ambiguity. 1♣ will allow you more room, but does it
Suppose you have a light opening bid, Even if the opponents do not intervene, improve your chances of describing your
let’s say ♠Q8652 ♥4 ♦J6 ♣AQ854, and you may still lose you your spade fit by shape accurately? Suppose your auction,
you foolishly open 1♣. Your next opp- opening 1♣. Let’s take the same weak against silent opponents, goes: 1♣ – 1♥ –
onent overcalls 4♥ and this is passed back hand again, but this time the opponents 1♠ – 1NT – 2♠. If you would always open
to you. Is it really sound to venture back are silent and partner responds 1NT to 1♠ with 5-5 in the black suits, this auction
into this auction with 4♠? I don’t think so. your 1♣ opening. What can you possibly guarantees six clubs and five spades. When-
For all we know, partner may have a small do now? You are completely stuck. Partner ever you show five spades in an auction
doubleton in both your suits, and the figures to have a club fit, so you could that has started with 1♣, partner will
penalty could be really huge. Opening 1♠ repeat your club suit, but playing a 2♣ know that you have shown at least six
could lose you your club fit, but which contract with a 5-3 spade fit available is clubs. If you open 1♣ with 5-5 in the black
would you trade? Obviously you would hardly likely to score you many match- suits, this auction could show 5-5 or 6-5 –
prefer to lose a club fit than a spade fit. points at pairs. Playing a four-card major therefore less definition.
It doesn’t necessarily take a high-level system, bidding and rebidding your spade To summarise, holding five spades,
intervention to cause you difficulties in suit will tell partner you have five. Even your number-one priority has to be to
finding your fit. Suppose the auction goes rebidding in clubs will tell partner that share the good news with partner as
1♣ – (1♥) – 2♦ – (2♥); does a 2♠ rebid you hold five spades, therefore the 5-3 fit early as possible. This is especially true
promise five spades? Michelle may argue will always be found (if it exists) on the when the opponents are active in the
that you can show a 5-4 hand by reopen- second round of the auction. auction, but also applies to uninterrupted
ing with a double, therefore allowing for a We should also consider the pre-empt- auctions.
2♠ bid to show five, but I don’t buy that.
Double is certainly not for penalties when
the opponents have bid and raised a suit at JOHN SADLER
the two level; however, it shows a hand
JOHN SADLER died on 30 October at the age of 74, after a long battle with cancer.
that is too strong to pass but has no other John was a very successful player in the ’70s and ’80s, in partnership with Doug
convenient call to make. Life would be Smerdon first and later Tony Waterlow. His achievements during that period include
wonderful if we never picked up awkward reaching the final of the Gold Cup and winning Crockfords. More recently, he reached
hands and we could guarantee four spades the semi-finals of the 2000 Gold Cup, and thereafter made a habit of picking up local
with this double, but I must wake up and trophies both in London and Torquay, where he had a second home.
consider what I am supposed to bid when John will be remembered as a very courteous and formidable opponent, and as a
faced with ♠KJ2 ♥J53 ♦K84 ♣AKQ9? I most constructive partner and team-mate.
can’t bid 2NT with no stopper, especially
www.ebu.co.uk December 2007 English Bridge 39