A Benjy weak two causes a real dilemma at Penarth Bridge Club

By Tony Campbell

THE Scottish bridge player, the late Albert Benjamin, who played for Scotland 28 times, did bridge a great service by inventing a major modification of opening two bids in the Acol system.

Such a hand turned up last week at Penarth Bridge Club, who are holding their annual Rose Bowl annual club pairs championship over two weeks. In this hand, those Wests playing Benjy, as it is affectionately called, opened 2 spades, showing 6-10 points and a six card spade suit.

In fact, I held North’s hand, and so was in a bit of dilemma. With 17 points, and a spade stop over the two spades, I decided to bid 2NT showing 15-17 points. A better bid might have been double or 3 spades. South, understandably, assumed I did not have four hearts, otherwise I would have doubled. So, rather than look for a spurious heart fit, South bid 3NT. West led a small spade, my Ace covering West’s King.

The question then is how to play the diamonds. East can only have one King, since with two kings and the KQ of spades he would have opened one spade rather than two. If I play the ace of diamonds in dummy, unknown to me, this drops West’s singleton King. And I can then cash 11 tricks, unless I decide to risk the heart finesse. In fact, I took the diamond finesse, which lost to the singleton King. Amazingly, West then did not return a spade, fearing I originally held ace and jack of spades, and played a club instead.

I then made the rest of tricks, making 12 in all, for a lucky good result.

At two other tables, North played in 4 hearts or 5 diamonds, both of which make, but with less of a score than 3NT plus 3. However, at one table East, unwisely when vulnerable, decided to raise West’s two spades to three, which was doubled by South, going two off for 500 and a top for N/S. This hand illustrates the strength of the Benjamin weak two system. Without it, North would open 1 diamond, and reach the correct contract of 5 diamonds, since 3 NT should go two off if North, as is likely, takes the diamond finesse.

Weekly results at Penarth Bridge Club in the annual Club pairs competition

Tuesday Jan 14th 2020

1st Nalini & Tim Barsby (63.1%); 2nd (Clwyd Jones & Trish Tracey (54.8%); 3rd Carol Cochlin & Philip Bottrill (54.7%). 1st on handicap: Nalini & Tim Barsby

Thursday Jan 16th 2020

1st N/S Peter Sampson & Viv Duckers (57.5%); 1st E/W Sue & Denis Patrick (60.0%)

Friday Jan 17th 2020

1st Tony Campbell & Trish Tracey (57.9%); 2nd Pat Sullivan and Hugh Simmonds (55.6%); 3rd Martin Thomas & Avril Collins (53.5%). 1st on handicap Martin Thomas & Avril Collins.

Penarth Bridge Club is a warm and friendly club that meets every Tuesday and Friday at Trinity Church Hall, Woodland Place, CF64 3EN. There is plenty of parking. We ask players to be in their seats by 6.45 pm, so that we can set the movement for a prompt start at 7 pm.

A machine deals the boards, so you can have a print out of all the hands at the end of the play. You can see each hand, compared with the results, on the web site https://www.bridgewebs.com/penarth/. There is also an improvers’ session every Thursday morning starting at 10 am. We have several social events during the year, linked to bridge.

Contact Professor Tony Campbell or see the web site https://www.bridgewebs.com/penarth/ for further information. Table up. campbellak@cf.ac.uk.