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Let the opponents tell the story

Aavo Heinlo ( Estonia )

 

It sometimes happens that you have a hand that is too weak to enter the auction on the first round, or maybe there are other reasons for an initial pass. Nevertheless you would like to know if you have a fit with partner. Often the opponents' bidding will provide useful clues and you can enter the auction later on.

 

Dealer East

A 7 5 4

 

 

 

Game All

 8 5

 

 

 

 

 K 10 8 7 2

 

 

 

 

 5 2

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

 Q J 10

 

 

 9 3

 A 2

 

W                E

 Q J 10 3

 Q 5

 

 

 J 3

 Q 9 8 7 6 4

 

 

 A K J 10 3

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 K 8 6 2

 

 

 

 

 K 9 7 6 4

 

 

 

 

 A 9 6 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

11

NO  1Canape     

1NT

NO

    2

NO

 

2NT2

NO

3

4!       2Club fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspecting my cards as South I found good distribution and some good controls but, with length in East's suit, there was no reason to bid on the first round. So I passed for two rounds to hear what East-West had to say. Well, West showed fewer than four spades and East probably only one or two, so the 4-4 fit for us was established. It seemed that West had some stopper in spades as he made a game-try of 2NT, but what were they really afraid of? No doubt their real concern was diamonds so we must have a good fit in that suit as well. This left our side with only three possible losers, one in each suit except clubs.

My jump to game was a real shock to West and he was very quick to double. I ruffed the opening club lead, crossed to the ace of spades, ruffed another club, cashed the king of spades and started to cash diamonds. West ruffed the third diamond in anger and gave an overtrick by leading hearts. There were only a few positive scores on the North-South side of the score-sheet, mainly for defending against no-trumps, so +990 was really off the scale.

History repeated itself eleven years later. My partner, a guest from Finland , and I had agreed to bid naturally with four-card majors. This was the deal:

 

 

Dealer North

 A 9 6 2

 

 

 

Love All

 A 9 5 3 2

 

 

 

 

 J

 

 

 

 

 K 9 7

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

 K Q 8

 

 

10

K J 7 6

 

W                     E

 Q 10 8 4

 A K 3

 

 

 Q 10 9 6 5 2

 10 8 6

 

 

 A 4

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 J  7 5 4 3

 

 

 

 

 -

 

 

 

 

 8 7 4

 

 

 

 

 Q J 5 3 2

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

1

NO

NO

DBL

NO

2

NO

2NT

NO

3

3

DBL

NO

NO

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe 5-5 distribution and four high-card points are worth positive action in a natural system but I didn't like it at Pairs with a void in partner's suit. What could I have bid after partner rebid Two Hearts? I preferred to hear the opponents' story.

They showed good hearts and enough strength to play no-trumps but they refused to do so. Learning from my previous experience, I bid only Three Spades. After all, why give the opponents the opportunity to double you at a high level when they will almost certainly do so a level lower. As you can guess I finished up with an overtrick, having taken advantage of the trump position.

 

My BOLS bridge tip is: If you choose to pass on the first roundbut want to find a fit, listen to opponents' bidding and sometimes you can later emerge out of the blue

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