By Prof. Tony Campbell CBE

WHEN you open the bidding, it is very important that you have a rebid if your partner responds.

If your partner opens third in hand it is also necessary to take care as he may have opened on a relatively weak hand. This week is an example of a hand that occurred recently in the Penarth-Sully weekly bridge sessions online on BBO, where it was a good idea not to over bid on your first response.

The Auction

South was third in hand after two passes. Non-vulnerable against vulnerable opponents, he therefore felt it worth showing his five-card spade suit even though he only had eleven points. Ordinarily North, with eleven points and playing standard Acol, would have responded with two no trumps. But at this vulnerability, where partner had opened third in hand, North rightly made the bid of two diamonds wanting to see what his partner’s rebid was. South was too weak to show his four-card heart suit, and so simply bid two spades, which North was happy to pass.

The play

After some thought West made the opening lead of the four of clubs, the fourth highest in this suit. Declarer played the two from dummy. Using the rule of eleven, East knew South only had one card higher than the four, which must be the king, or maybe the queen. If West had led from a five-card club suit, then South’s king would be a singleton. So, East won the trick with his ace, dropping South’s king of clubs. With four spades to the king East felt it worthwhile forcing declarer to ruff. So, he returned his jack of clubs which declarer ruffed with his two of spades. Now declarer paused. Should he draw some trumps? In which case how should he play the spades?

But if he played trumps at this point, he could be left with at least two losing hearts. So, declarer chose to test the hearts by leading the two from his hand. West played the king, which won the trick. West then chose to play another heart, which declarer won with dummy’s queen. Declarer then played the six of clubs from dummy which he ruffed in hand with the three of spades. He then played the four of diamonds, winning the trick with dummy’s ace. Declarer then played dummy’s the ten of clubs. East now had a dilemma. Should he ruff, or should he discard? In the end he chose the latter, discarding the ten of hearts, declarer winning the trick by ruffing with his eight of spades. In fact, East should have discarded his queen of diamonds as he would then have been able to prevent declarer returning to dummy with the king of diamonds.

This, in fact, is exactly what declarer did. After returning to dummy with the king of diamonds, declarer exited with the seven of diamonds, East ruffing with the five of spades. East then led his last heart, the jack, declarer’s ace being ruffed by West’s four of spades. West was now end-played. In the hope that East held the ten of spades, East led the jack. Dummy’s queen was overtaken by East’s king, and then declarer’s ace of spades. Declarer won the next trick with his ten of spades and gave up the last trick to East’s nine of spades. So, declarer made the contract with eight tricks for a score of 110 – the ace and ten of spades, three spade ruffs in hand, the queen of hearts, and the ace and king of diamonds. Well bid and well played.

What have we learnt?

1. Often with a five card major it is worth opening this with only eleven points when you are third in hand after two have passed.

2. With eleven points after your partner has opened third in hand don’t jump to fast. Find a bid that allows partner to show how strong his hand is.

3. Sometimes it pays not to draw trumps.

4. Take care on your discards. Work out what declarer’s plan is likely to be.

Penarth club results

Results from the Penarth-Sully sessions. Wednesday 4th August; 1. Judy Collins and Janet Cunnington (57.9%); 2. Irene Thomas and Carolyn Matthews (53.2%); 4: Pat James and Philip Bottrill (53.4%); Friday 6th August; 1. John Salisbury and Tony Campbell (61.9%); 2. Helen Houston and Tim Barsby (60.3%); 3. Roy and John Holloway (54.7%). The current first three positions in Peter Sampson’s ladder are: 1. Kay Dyer and Mick Green; 2. Meryl Skipper and Joy Seculer; 3. Patsy Cohen and Jim Elder.

Further information

If you have any views, hands, and information you would like to share, please email me, Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance.