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SCBA County League 2022 Round One

Some really wild hands in this set.

The first match of the season was played on RealBridge with all three divisions playing the same boards as usual. Our first firecracker was board 4.

At our table, West opened 3 diamonds first in hand and vulnerable, perhaps not my choice in their position. My partner, with his extremely shapely hand, bid 4 diamonds which, at this level, we play as showing any two suited hand, not just the majors. East passed and I was looking at nineteen high card points and a certain fit - but where best to play?

At this point I should bid the cheapest suit I am willing to play in and partner bids on if this is not one of his two suits. Bidding 4 hearts, however, will see partner passing most of the time. I therefore elected to bid 5 diamonds showing a strong hand and a willingness to play in any suit. Partner bid 5 hearts and, mentally tossing a coin, I raised this to 6.

This contract can go down on the lead of the Ace of spades and a spade continuation, ruffed by West. East has strong evidence that partner is short, since North has shown a two suiter and I have indicated a willingness to play in spades. If we are 5:4 or 6:3 then East knows that partner has a singleton. Sure enough, when I tried this on Jack, my computer bridge program, he led the A of spades and gave his partner a ruff. We were saved from disaster, however, by East bidding on to 7 diamonds which I rapidly doubled and netted 1100 points for 4 down!

Putting it politely, there were some extremely brave bids in this auction! It should probably be passed round to South who opens a club, overcalled 2 diamonds by West. Running out of bidding space, and anticipating a competitive auction, North should not bid 2 hearts, the lower of two equal length suits, but two spades. He may then bid able to bid hearts at his next bid to offer partner a choice. When East bids 3 or 4 diamonds, however, South should simply bid 4 spades opposite a passed partner.

Board 5 was another possible slam:

Partner opened 2 hearts with the North hand and looking at my 22 high card points I'm clearly thinking of a slam. I bid 2 no trumps, an Ogust strength enquiry and receive a 3 spades response showing a good suit (at least 2 of the top 3 honours or 3 of the top 5) and good points, 8 or 9. It denies AKQ of hearts, however, since with this holding partner would bid 3 no trumps. I roll out the 4 no trumps Roman Key Card Blackwood and get 5 hearts showing two key cards but no queen of hearts.

It's decision time. I know I am missing one key card, probably the Ace of spades, and also missing the Queen of hearts with only an eight card fit. I am about to pass when I realise that I have another option. Can I play in 6 diamonds and set up the hearts by ruffing? Has partner got two or three diamonds? Maybe, but has he got an entry for the hearts after they are set up? I decided that this was probably all asking a little too much and passed. With the Queen of hearts onside and doubleton, 6 diamonds, 6 hearts or 6 no trumps are easily making, however. Would you have bid a slam? 5 out of 20 pairs did, but did they know what I did?

(This next section has been edited since my original post). The RealBridge platform has developed considerably since I last used it. You can now Kibbitz matches and even commentate on them if you are brave enough! It also stores the bidding and play for all hands which you can access if you keep the link that you used to start the match. The link for the SCBA County League session that I am talking about here is: There doesn't appear to be any way of searching for the appropriate link on the RealBridge website at the moment. You have to keep the links yourself. It's also not particularly obvious how to navigate but clicking around eventually finds what you want!

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