By Prof. Tony Campbell

EVERY so often a hand turns up at bridge where both sides can make at least ten tricks in their particular suits. Here is one such hand that turned up a Penarth Bridge Club last October, which also uses what is known as the “unusual” two no trump bid.

The Auction

East opened the bidding with 1 spade. Working out what his second bid might be, he is hoping to be able to bid hearts twice to show he has five spades and five hearts. Some players might open 1 heart, intending to reverse with their next bid of 2 spades. But usually this shows five hearts and only four spades, with at least 15 points. South then bid the unusual two no trumps. This is a well-used conventional bid, invented in 1948 by Al Roth and Tobias Stone.

Over a major opening bid of 1S or 1H, 2NT bid by an opponent shows at least 5/4 in the minors, and ideally 5/5. But, it can also be used over a minor suit opening bid by an opponent, in which case it shows at least 5/4 in the lowest two suits.

For example, after a 1 diamond opening bid, 2 no trumps shows hearts and clubs. West has four spades, and so was happy to support his partner with 3 spades, though some players might bid 4 spades straight out. North now fears East/West can make game in spades, but with only 6 points bids 4 diamonds, prepared to bid five if the opposition bid four spades. South suspects that four spades will make, so sacrifices with 5 diamonds. West only has seven points, so feels it is unlikely that they can make 5 spades and passed. East looks to have three tricks in his hand alone, ace and king of spades and ace of hearts. But either North or South can only have one spade, and may even be void. So a double is too risky. But East hopes 5 diamonds will go off, and so decides to “take the money”.

The play

East started with the ace of spades, which won. Now he has a dilemma. Does his partner have three or four spades? If he has three, then the king of spades makes. But if he has four then the king of spades will be ruffed, leaving the queen a winner in dummy. So East decided to lead the ace of hearts, which won.

This was followed by a second heart, which declarer ruffed in dummy. He then drew two rounds of trumps, then the ace and king of clubs, and cross ruffed the rest of the tricks. Unfortunately this left North with a losing heart. North therefore made 10 tricks – six diamonds in his hand, two heart ruffs in dummy, and the ace and king of clubs. One off for a top. Yes it was a good sacrifice, as four spades makes by East/West, losing one spade, one diamond, and one club. Well bid.

What have we learnt?

First, always think what you will bid when the bidding comes around to you for the second time. Secondly, there are some very useful, simple conventional bids when you have what is known as a two suiter. The classic one here is the unusual 2 no trump bid. Thirdly, you have to take great care when defending to work out what the distribution might be, in case you give away a trick by allowing declarer to ruff your ace or king.

Further information

Good luck with your online bridge. Bridge Club Live (BCL) is the best and may be open again for new registrations. If it is, then open Clubs and put your name against Penarth. We aim to organise some sessions where we are all playing. Bridge Online Base (BBO) is OK, but the software is not nearly as good as BCL.

BBO is still open for registrations and our membership secretary is trying to encourage members and friends to play at the same time. Contact for information. You can register and play with a chosen partner or take potluck with a random one. A number of members of both Penarth and Sully Bridge Clubs are already registered at both BCL and BBO. There are several good books available for beginners and improvers. As a student the bridge guru for me was Terrance Reese.

Today Paul Mendelson is a good writer, as well as Andrew Robson who has teaching classes online. Griffin Books can obtain any book for you. Contact them online. It would be marvellous if you can keep copies of my articles as I build them up. Please let me know if they are useful. You can always find my articles online at www.penarthtimes/bridge. Keep an eye open for more information at Email me if you have anything you would like me to discuss Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance. Table up.