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OCT_08_EB_p13 North 12/9/08 11:59 am Page 13

Evaluate your hand

FINE-TUNING

when responding to

a 1NT opening

SOME years ago I was conducting a tricks. So, if a 4-3-3-3 hand is lacking in

seminar with the late Jeremy Flint on intermediate cards – and being aceless

Canberra, P&O’s famous doesn’t help – there is a strong case for

passenger liner, when we deducting a point (fine-tuning). That is why

posed this question. ♠ QJ5 ‘Pass’ is recommended on the above hand. Freddie North

Your partner opens 1NT ♥J62 Let’s suppose the opener has a maximum,

(12-14); what would ♦ KQ74 in which case it’s possible, if responder pas-

you respond with this ♣Q83 ses, that a game will be missed – assuming spade finesse. Four spades, four diamonds

hand? everything clicks. As against that, a minus and one club would see him home.

The almost unanimous answer was score will frequently be the outcome when The other side of the coin is when a spot

2NT. Perhaps this is not so surprising responder raises. Then there are all those of fine-tuning is required in the opposite

when one considers that most learners are cases where opener passes the invitational direction: upwards.

reared on tables which indicate that raise and it transpires that seven tricks is the This is your hand

opener’s 1NT should be raised (invitation- maximum partner can muster. One last as North at game all, ♠3

ally) to 2NT on 11-12 points. Understand- thought: if defending was going to be more teams; partner opens ♥Q75

ably, in the early stages of teaching it is not advantageous than declaring, that chance 1NT (12-14) and ♦ A K J 10 7 4

practical to dot all the ‘i’s’ and cross all the would be less likely to materialise if res- West passes. What ♣765

‘t’s’, and somehow, later on, the subject of ponder shows his hand by raising to 2NT. should you respond?

adjustment, or fine-tuning, tends to get Although one deal proves nothing – it’s The full deal is:

neglected. the overall picture that really matters –

Now if you think we had an easy ride here is the original setting of the featured

telling everyone that the right response hand held by North: ♠ 3

was ‘Pass’, you would be sadly mistaken! ♥ Q75

The point count, which unquestionably ♦ A K J 10 7 4

does a yeoman service in pointing us in ♠ QJ5 ♣ 765

the winning direction on balanced hands, ♥ J62 ♠Q876 ♠ K J 10 5 4 2

soon becomes ingrained on the budding ♦ KQ74 ♥ K 10 2 W

N

E

♥AJ4

player and is often treated as little short of ♣ Q83 ♦9 S ♦862

a religion. However, it is not infallible and ♠ 73 ♠ K 10 8 2 ♣ J 10 9 8 3 ♣Q

there is certainly room for fine-tuning. ♥ A93

W

N

E

♥ 874 ♠A9

4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 and 5-3-3-2 are all ♦ 10 8 5 2 S ♦ 93 ♥9863

balanced hands but the first one is the least ♣ KJ74 ♣ A 10 6 2 ♦Q53

attractive when it comes to generating ♠ A964 ♣AK42

♥ K Q 10 5

♦ AJ6

♣ 95 For two reasons North should respond

JUST STARTED AT THE 3NT. The first is that game could be cold

77 BRIDGE CLUB and there seems little point in asking

Against South’s no-trump contract, West partner his opinion when he is unlikely to

(H. SCHOGGER’S) leads the four of clubs; East wins with the know what is needed. The second reason is

ten and there are still three more clubs and the opposition: they could easily have a

Every Tuesday at 8.00 pm

the ace of hearts to come. Now try moving profitable contract of their own.

£100 FIRST PRIZE DUPLICATE East’s two black tens to North in exchange 3NT duly sailed home in Room 1, but in

For County Masters and above only for the five of spades and three of clubs, Room 2 the East-West pair were allowed

and suddenly it’s a whole new scenario. into the auction at a low level. North-

£10 ENTRY – £20 A PAIR The ace of clubs wins the first trick and South still bid on to 3NT but then East-

the defence are held to four tricks, three West decided to ‘save’ in 4♠. The save

Enquiries: Mel 07967 039096 clubs and the ace of hearts. Even if it looks turned out rather better than expected

Drinks & light snacks available as though West started with five clubs, and when East guessed the position of the

therefore too dangerous to play on hearts, queen of hearts, losing just one spade, one

declarer has another string to his bow: the diamond and one club.

www.ebu.co.uk October 2008 English Bridge 13

Index

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