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February 2018 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

onlooker, the post-mortem was not the least

fascinating part of the performance, no quarter

being given.

(1) Sound, 2 points. Whatever the score, there is no

point in bidding this hand other than normally.

(2) Sound, 2 points.

(3) Ill-judged, 2 points. Doubtful, 1 point. This is

not so much technically wrong as tactically

unwise. At the score, South's pass may mean

anything or nothing, and North's best hope of

eventually buying the contract is to show both his

suits and keep one move ahead of the opponents.

(4) Doubtful, 2 points. Sound, 1 point. East cannot

be sure how far his partner's double has been

provoked by the score. If it is very speculative, he

has some reason to fear that the bidding will rise

too high if he bids spades first and follows with

diamonds over his partner's expected heart bid.

On the other hand, he holds two quite good five

card suits and a contract at the 3-level in one or

the other should not end in utter disaster.

(5) Shocking, 2 points. Ill-judged, 1 point. West

appears to have lost his nerve and been more

influenced by North's confident redouble than

the evidence of his own eyes. He might at least

have ventured 1NT.

(6) Sound, 2 points.

(7) Sound, 2 points.

(8) Shocking, 2 points. However much North may

have tried to impress the table with the power of

this hand, South's cards are unfit for any

voluntary bid.

(9) Sound, 2 points. Doubtful, 1 point. In view of

East's second and voluntary bid, West could not

be criticised for bidding 2NT.

(10) Ill-judged, 2 points. North is not entitled to

place South with more than some distributional

support for hearts with only very meagre honour

strength. The lead against no trumps is awkward

and embarrassing discards may have to be found

early in the hand. If North thinks he is justified in

bidding again at this stage he should bid 3™.

(11) Sound, 2 points. East cannot possibly imagine

that West's hand is as strong as it is, and, as West

had previously passed 1t, a 3t contract should

be reasonably safe.

(12) Sound, 2 points. With no reason to suppose

that East has five spades it would be foolhardy to

take further action. And North may be tempted to

bid 3™!

(13) Doubtful, 2 points. Having already made no

fewer than four strong bids, North might well

take the view that he has done enough.

Nevertheless, the opponents might be baited into

bidding further with profitable results.

(14) Shocking, 2 points. If West has steadfastly

refused to bid game hitherto, there is certainly no

reason for doing so now when North has bid

himself into a seemingly impossible contract.

(15) Sound, 2 points. It would certainly be

inconsistent for North not to double.

(16) Sound, 2 points. So what! If West is as crazy as

he sounds, it is of little use for East to apply his

reasoning faculties to the problem.

Marx was fond of questions which involved

commenting on the actions taken at the table. It is

difficult to comment constructively on this

particular auction since it involves so many

dubious (to say the least) actions. However, I'll

try:

North was obviously one of those players who

cannot keep silent when holding more than his

share of the high cards and his successive

contributions to the auction brings to mind the

Mastermind television programme - 16 points

and no passes!

East totally distorted his distribution, his sequence

of diamonds … spades … diamonds being more

consistent with four spades and six diamonds

than 5-5 in the two suits.

I think that South was relatively blameless: he had

four-card support for his partner's second suit

plus a useful jack. Facing a hand such as

´AQ3 ™AK52 t 4 ®KQ1074

4™ would be a fine contract. Conversely, it can be

argued that the only sensible action when

partnering North was a vow of silence.

West veered from underbids to overbids, and I

would have preferred to reopen with 2NT on the

first round rather than double, but at least he

came up smelling of roses: perhaps he knew his

customer in the North seat!

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