How Well do You and Your Partner Understand Each Other? Can You Trust Each Other?



     
West
8
K J 8 7 5
A K J 7
K J 8
 
 
 
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
?      
       

By Mike Lawrence

Assuming you are playing matchpoints, what should West bid now? In an effort to help your decision, here are five possible hand for your partner to have.

#1
J 7 6 3
A 4 2
8 5 3
A 9 4

#2
A K 10 5 4
Q 6
9 8 5 3
7 4

#3
K 9 7 6 5
8 3 2
8 5 2
Q 5

#4
K Q J 7 4
9 3
8 6
9 6 5 3

#5
Q 9 5 4 3
10 9 2
6 4
A Q 3

Which is the worst of these five hands that East can have for his bidding?

Which is the best of these five hands that East can have for his bidding?



     
West
8
K J 8 7 5
A K J 7
K J 8
 
 
 
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
?      
       

Here are my thoughts on each of these five hands.

#1
J 7 6 3
A 4 2
8 5 3
A 9 4

This is an impossible hand for East to have. He should have raised to two hearts. Why look for a major suit fit when you have a perfectly good major suit fit already? Raise to two hearts. That shows 6-9 support points, which is exactly what you have.

#2
A K 10 5 4
Q 6
9 8 5 3
7 4

This is the best of the possible hands East can have. It has nine good points, which is about as many as West can hope for. It also has a doubleton heart, which is typical of preference bids. The queen doubleton of hearts is pretty good stuff under the circumstances.

#3
K 9 7 6 5
8 3 2
8 5 2
Q 5

This is a possible hand. It looks pretty awful, but it does have three trumps and what turns out to be a nice queen of clubs. This is not the worst of these five hands.

#4
K Q J 7 4
9 3
8 6
9 6 5 3

This is the bad one. It has no help in either of West’s suits and it has all of its strength in spades where may be of no value to West.

#5
Q 9 5 4 3
10 9 2
6 4
A Q 3

This is not a possible hand. East should raise to two hearts. If you bid one spade and later take a preference to two hearts, West will suspect you of having a preference-type hand like hands 2, 3, and 4. With decent heart support and raise points, it is best to raise and not confuse the issue.

SUMMARY

Most of the time, East’s auction suggests just two hearts. This is a bad sign for a heart contract. If East happens to have three hearts, he ought to have a pretty wretched hand on the lines of Hand 3.

Look at Hands 2, 3, and 4, which are possible hands for East to have.

Game is poor or impossible on Hands 3 and 4 and is not a favorite to make on Hand 2, which is the best hand of the lot.

West should pass it out in two hearts. It is important for West to know that East will raise when it is right and not be distracted into bidding spades unnecessarily.

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