Nancy Evins: Where did you get to and how did you do it?

Nancy Evins • Updated Jan 28, 2018 at 12:15 PM

Check out this hand that was played Oct. 20 at the Vanderbilt Club in Nashville and in most duplicate bridge clubs across the nation.

You are West, and unless you have a partner there to play East, you’ll have to bid both positions.

I’ll go get an apple and wait for you to do it.

I’m back. Did you figure it out or did you just keep on reading? Shame on you.

The only way the North/South partnership could win was if their opponents didn’t find the right contract. Only one East/West partnership did out of eleven pairs.

This is how the bidding probably went.

West: two clubs. Yippee, big hand.

North and South are passing even though they have a combined seven points…the cowards.

East will bid either two hearts or two diamonds, depending on their system. Two diamonds, for most folk, means “waiting.” Two hearts means I don’t have an ace or a king with two diamonds meaning they do have at least one or the other or more.

This bid must be alerted by partner of the one bidding it by simply saying, “Positive.”

West: Two spades. I have a big hand with at least five spades.

Now here is the tricky part. What does East bid: three spades, four spades, or four no trump?

If two diamonds was a positive bid, East can say three hearts, because West knows East has some points and will press on. 

If two diamonds was waiting, East might bid four hearts to show West points, but West still doesn’t know how many points East has. That is the reason for the strong two-diamond convention. Or East might jump to four no-trump, Blackwood or Roman Key Card Blackwood.

If using the old Blackwood method, West would bid five spades, showing three aces. If playing RKC, West would bid five diamonds, showing three aces PLUS the King of spades, the designated agreed upon suit. That bid says, “I have one or four key cards.”

East knows the answer is four since West made the strong two club opening. Three aces and a king only add up to 15 points, so there are a lot of other values in West’s hand, East knows.

If East bids five no-trump and learns they have all the aces and kings, what happens next? Six spades, six no-trump or seven of either?

If West is the one to make the four no trump bid, he would be playing the hand and would probably get a favorable lead. North, most likely will lead the Queen of diamonds, which tips off West as to where the jack is.

So West will carefully take the queen in his hand and lead the 10 toward the king. Some people will never lead the queen from queen/jack without the 10 in their hand, but sometimes that is the best you can do. When the nine in South’s hand falls, the little eight in East’s hand becomes a winner taking 13 tricks for a grand slam.

Only one pair got to the grand slam in no trump and, of course, their opponents got a zero. Some East/West pairs only got to game, giving their opponents a great score, and our opponents got to six spades, which gave us a mediocre score. And there’s not a thing we could do about it.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]

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