You are North and dealer and pick up this hand:
(H) A K Q J 4 3 2
(D) A K Q J 9 3
After you sort your cards and get up off the floor, what do you open?
a. one heart
b. two no trump
c. two clubs (forcing)
None of the above. Why not?
What if you open one heart and partner passes?
If you are opening two no trump, while you do have 20 card high points, you are describing a balanced hand. This is definitely not a balanced hand.
You have a big enough hand to open two clubs, but what are you asking? What difference does it make what partner has?
The answer: Seven hearts.
How often do you get to do that?
What could possibly go wrong? The only thing that could is that East, who will be on lead, could have all of the outstanding diamonds and lead the top one, and West trumps.
Here’s the full hand, (shown below)
This hand was played by members of the 0-10 master point range, meaning no one had more than 10 master points.
What is interesting is the range of the final bids. Of the nine partnerships, three got to the grand slam, three bid the small one and three only went to game. They all made seven except one of the small slam bidders who only made only six. One wonders how that could have possibly happened.
All of the opening leads by East was the ace of spades.
The six heart bidders reminded me of a man in our town who was slipped all 13 spades as a joke. He opened six spades, and when asked why he hadn’t bid seven, replied, “Well, I’m not that good of a player.”
Wednesday night will be my first outing in a month to the Vanderbilt Bridge Club in Nashville. Even a short stint of not playing can take effect as bids don’t float in the head quite as easily. When I make a mistake, as I often will, I’ll just say that the anesthetic hasn’t completely been erased from my body.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.