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Nancy Evins: A who dunnit and why...answers are appreciated

Nancy Evins • Updated Sep 24, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Here’s the question with no more information.

You are South, and East and West are passing throughout the bidding.       

North: one club      

South: one heart 

North: one spade              

South: one no-trump

North: two hearts  

South: ?             

What will you bid here?

This was a question sent into a bridge expert by a player.

As you analyze the hand, you have this information. North has at least three clubs, South has four hearts or more and unlimited hand. One spade by North denies four hearts but has four spades. South bids one no-trump, a limit bid, and North places it at two hearts, indicating that he holds three hearts.

Easy answer, I thought. Pass. North has made a limit bid showing 12-14 HCP. South holds nine, and their two hands do not make the game level.

Then it turned out that North held 17 points, and the writer asked the expert, shouldn’t North have jumped to three hearts?

Yes, indeedy, thought I. Nope, says the expert.

Woe is me. Of course, the writers of the scripts for the Life television channel would probably say, “woe is I.” They are in love with that pronoun.

The expert says South should bid game…the two-heart response was constructive and encouraging. Huh? I’d have been much more encouraged had he jumped. And what if he really had the 12-14 hand?

So perplexed was I that I sent this question to bridge players, and I heard from two thirds of them. 

Well, I only sent it to six people, three men and three women. All the men and only one woman answered. All said they would pass North’s two heart bid. Yay!

Some of them wrote back, asking for more information, particularly, to see the hands. I told them that was all the information that was given.  

One reply was this:

North had doubts that no-trump would be a good contract and that hearts would be better. Since North has made a non-forcing bid, I would pass.

North has a minima hand and is holding these two possible distributions – four spades, three hearts, one diamond and four clubs or four spades, three hearts, two diamonds and four clubs.

He goes on to say that if he had five or more clubs, he would raise to three clubs. Otherwise, he would pass.

Actually, there are several more possible distributions,

Still another wrote that if he held five hearts, he would pass. If he didn’t, he would bid two no-trump. 

Note: The author of this column says the four-three fit brings in 11 tricks, and three no-trump brings only nine.

And the last one, a woman who has more master points than all of ours put together, just wrote, “pass.”

Goody.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at na_evins@att.net.

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