Nancy Evins: Reading words from the experts

Nancy Evins • Jan 19, 2018 at 8:09 PM

I have picked up one book by William Root titled, “How To Play a Bridge Hand,” and have looked at the illustration of a hand on the cover that anyone would be delighted to get.

It is (S) K, (H) A, (D) A K Q 10 9 8 6 4, (C) A K Q.

If I were the dealer would I open it six diamonds as my first thought might have been. But maybe seven could be made. How to know?

I hope readers will take the time to think this out and send me their answers, because it is more difficult to get to the right contract than one would think.

Since you have all aces but one, what would you bid first, and partner’s answer could be three different responses.

I would open two clubs, and partner might give two diamonds, meaning two different things, or he could bid two hearts, which would give more information.

Two hearts, if you bid it that way, would say he had no ace or king so you would now that you are going to lose one spade. One meaning of two diamonds is that you do have an ace or king, so you might be looking at seven no-trump. The other two-diamond response is called “waiting” and is sort of a relay to hear more about your hand. That tells you nothing.

If you get the two-heart response, you might jump right to a small slam in diamonds. But if you get the two-diamond response, it means your partner is going to be playing this hand, and with your holding eight diamonds, he might be void.

Five diamonds are out against you, and unless they split 3/2, you may lose the jack. Even if partner holds one diamond, he is unlikely to finesse the 10 on the first go around.

So please let me know how you got to wherever you did.

And now here’s an apology to Mr. Frank Stewart.

It was unfair of me to say I hated his books since I haven’t read all of them. Mr. Stewart has an amazing resume, and his books sell on Amazon. You might want to look up both sites.

However, that said, I contacted several of the more expert players at the Vanderbilt Club and asked what they would bid holding four spades, five hearts, singleton diamond and three small clubs.

Each one said one heart. One continued to say, knowing that when partner bid one trump, he had no more than three spades and two hearts, leaving eight and maybe more cards in the minors. He continued to say, if he had opened one heart, he would probably bid two hearts in response if his distribution was 2/2 in clubs and diamonds.

This is incorrect also as that would show six hearts, but everything else is a worse bid.

Sorry, Frank, but no one would open one spade.

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


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