Pairs Tactics by Andrew Robson
Don’t Play for a ‘Perfecto’
WHEN DECIDING how high to bid, you ‘Just three high-card After North-South’s investigative auction,
should try to construct possible hands for ´ K762 points, we can make South playing for the ‘perfecto’, West will
partner and see how many tricks are likely. ™ 9762 a 4-4 fit 6´ on lead an unbid diamond. Declarer beats the
Say you hold: t 863 reasonable major- king with the ace and will lead up his
You open 1´ and ® 42 suit splits, by draw- singleton club. Wary that this may well be a
´ A8532 hear partner jump ing trumps, then singleton for South’s shapely bidding, and
™ A3 to 3´. Should you cashing hearts dis - with a promoted diamond winner to cash,
t AQ863 look for slam with carding dummy’s diamonds.’ (Note you West will rise with his ace and cash the
® 4 your fine shapely cannot make 6™ as you need the discards on queen of diamonds. Declarer can make the
five-loser hand, or the unequal-length side-suit). Should you remainder with the aid of the spade finesse,
just settle for game? begin the exploration with a bid of 2´? but that’s just eleven tricks and game made
Construct some 10-point hands for No. The key word is ‘if ’. Do not play the plus one. Probably a 30% score.
partner and see what could be made. If ‘if ’ game. Be practical and jump to 4™, not After the practical pairs auction, West’s
you give partner: tipping off the opponents. Here is a much natural lead is the jack of spades. This will
You can make twelve more likely layout than the ‘perfecto’: run to declarer’s queen and the singleton
´ KQ64 tricks as long as club will again be led. West will probably
™ 542 trumps don’t split play low here, loath to help declarer set up
t KJ2 4-0. After drawing Love All. Dealer South. dummy’s suit (even if he plays the ace, that
® J86 trumps, you play out ´ 52 will be his side’s last trick). After winning
five rounds of dia- ™ QJ2 with dummy’s queen, declarer ruffs a club,
monds, shedding t 943 then crosses to the queen of hearts and ruffs
two hearts from dummy and can then ruff ® KQ642 a second club. When West’s ace appears,
your small heart in dummy. Playing teams ´ J 10 8 6 ´ K74 South plays flat out: he crosses to the jack of
(or rubber), you might well bid 4t, best ™ 10 6 N ™ 97 hearts pleased to see the 2-2 split, cashes the
played as a natural slam try, which would t Q862 S t KJ75 king of clubs and the long club discarding a
elicit great excitement from partner if he ® A87 ® J 10 9 5 diamond and a spade, crosses to the ace of
holds this ‘perfecto’ (perfect hand). ´ AQ93 spades, and ruffs a spade with dummy’s
Playing pairs, however, you should play ™ AK8543 remaining trump. That’s thirteen tricks and
the frequency game. Partner is unlikely to t A 10 game made plus three.
hold this hand. You are unlikely to have a ® 3 Should South now regret that he didn’t
slam. By bidding 4t, you tip the oppo- bid a slam? Certainly not – for 4™ plus
nents off that (a) you have a diamond three will score 95% of the match-points.
second suit and (b) you have slam interest. The bidding (playing for the ‘perfecto’): Those overtricks make little difference at
Their opening lead and subsequent other forms of bridge – where South
defence will surely be more accurate as a West North East South would have mild regret he didn’t have a go
result. Simply raise 3´ to 4´. Maybe 1™ at slam. At pairs, the overtricks are every-
they’ll lead a diamond from the king; Pass 2™ Pass 2´ thing and there is absolutely no need to
maybe they’ll discard a diamond as you Pass 3®1 Pass 4™2 bid a slam, because making thirteen tricks
draw trumps. All Pass in game will be a virtual top.
Do not play partner for the ‘perfecto’. 1 Showing his club values (if partner is Match-point scoring à la pairs rewards
Give as little as possible away during the describing his hand, North is duty- practical no-frills bidding: no looking for
bidding and you’ll make far more over- bound to follow suit). ‘perfectos’. r
tricks than with an overly scientific 2 No slam facing semi-wasted club values.
approach. Say you hold:
You open 1™ and The practical pairs bidding auction: WELCOME . . .
´ AQ93 hear partner raise to to Clacton Contract Bridge Club who
™ AK8543 2™. West North East South affiliated to the EBU on 1 June 2013.
t A 10 Your first thoughts 1™ Info at
® 3 might be: ‘If my Pass 2™ Pass 4™ www.clactoncontractbridgeclub.org.uk
partner holds: All Pass
www.ebu.co.uk August 2013 English Bridge 5