Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
Distributional hands can be very challenging, often with neither side being able to determine just who can make what. When both pairs are capable of making high level contracts it can be difficult to know just how far to push the envelope.
In the illustrated hand which Herself and I played against an experienced partnership in a club duplicate game in Aurora, Ontario the bidding quickly rose to the 5 level with everybody getting into the action.
Holding 5 diamonds and 6 clubs and 11 high card points East correctly opened in his higher ranking suit. If he had bid 1 club and then reversed into diamonds he would have been showing a much stronger hand. With 17 high card points and an excellent six-card suit, Herself was too strong to make a simple overcall so she started with a takeout double.
West entered the proceedings with a slightly conservative 1 no trump, perhaps because she didn’t have a full heart stopper or more likely because she knew her partner (and husband!) was prone to opening the bidding on the light side. This bid took me off the hook so I didn’t have to bid with my near yarborough. East now bid 2 clubs, and Herself showed her strength by bidding 2 hearts, a call that both surprised me and woke me up!
West’s holding more than justified her next bid of 3 diamonds and I felt that my hand had grown in stature with 5 of my partner’s suit and a singleton diamond so I ventured a 3 heart call. It was at this point that things began to get out of control as East jumped to 5 diamonds followed by Herself’s 5 hearts. I was beginning to regret my cheeky contribution as West pulled out the double card from her bidding box.
After three passes West led the club 2 which was won by East with the king and immediately followed by the ace, ruffed by Herself. She then drew trumps in two rounds before knocking out the ace of spades and when that suit broke 3-2 she was able to claim her contract, 5 hearts doubled bid and made for a complete top score. In the post mortem it was noted that East-West would have made 6 diamonds on any lead except a spade and indeed that contract was bid and made at several tables. It was felt that East, holding a heart void, might have ventured on to the six level rather than try to beat South’s contract. His hand was very offensive in nature and he could not expect to take many tricks on defence.
On the bidding, Herself would have led the spade king had the opponents gone to slam and that is certainly the right card to lead. It would have seemed very likely that one of the declaring side had a void in hearts but if they had a spade or heart loser there would have been no place to park it before the diamond ace was knocked out. If we had defended 6 diamonds and defeated it one trick we would have still had an above average result.