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SCBA County League 2022 Round Two

I've picked some hands with teaching points from this set.

First, lets talk about the difference between a takeout double and a power double. You hold:

SAJ65 H72



What do you bid when the hand on your right opens 1H? Hopefully, you make a classic takeout double showing shortage in the suit bid on your right, opening hand values and at least three cards in each of the unbid suits. Now let's look at board 4 (West dealer).

All auctions on this hand started 1D - P - P and most South players then doubled. This looks like a takeout double, albeit an extremely strong one, but consider for a moment what South should bid had the auction started 1C - P - P? They don't have the correct shape for a takeout double since they are long in clubs, the opener's suit, and they don't have length in diamonds - one of the unbid suits. The correct bid is still double, however. This is the power double which shows a strong hand, too strong to simply overcall.

Obviously not aware of the power double, some South players chose simply to bid 1S which was then passed out even though 4H was there for the taking! This is why you must double. The double forces partner to respond and lets you bid again to show a strong hand. With the hand above, if West passes, then North bids 1H. South should now bid 3H (not 4H since North has been forced to bid and may have absolutely nothing). With a 9 loser hand and 5 hearts, however, North should raise to 4H after the double and a jump raise by South showing a strong hand.

If West rebids 2C after the double, North is not forced to bid since West's bid has gives South another opportunity to bid. If North does bid, therefore, he is showing some values. With a 4 card suit and no singleton or void North needs about 7+ points to make a free bid of 2H (much like responding to a protective 1H from partner). With 5 hearts to the JT9, a singleton spade (3 distribution points) and 5 high card points North is worth a free 2H bid, however, and South can then bid 4H directly.

Board 20 is another example where I think that a power double is appropriate.

The most common auction on this hand was 1D – P – 1S – 4H. I consider the South hand to be too strong and to have too much defensive potential for an immediate 4H bid, however. I would start with a power double then bid 4H over West’s 2S and passes from North and East. This would show a strong heart suit but with tricks outside and not a purely pre-emptive hand.

4 hearts goes one off on the Jack of hearts lead provided East takes the trick with the Ace and continues hearts but none of the 9 pairs defending heart game contracts found this defence (but Jack, my computer bridge program, does).

Finally, an example of how you can make it more difficult for defenders to do the right thing.

I played this hand in 4 hearts after the auction 1H – 3S (splinter) – 4C – 4D – 4H (no opposition bidding). The West hand isn’t worth a splinter in my opinion, however. You are forcing to game after a simple opening bid so you need 13+ total points. I count 3 points for a singleton in the short trump hand so 10 working high card points are enough for a splinter but the singleton Queen of spades should be discounted. If the Queen of spades were the Queen of hearts then a splinter would be OK.

On receiving the lead of the Jack of diamonds, and seeing the ten in dummy, it was obvious that the Ace and Queen of diamonds were sitting over the King and that the Jack was a singleton or possibly a doubleton. Technically, it doesn't matter whether I play the King or not. It either goes A, Q, ruff if I play the King or Q, A, ruff if I don't and with the Ace of hearts to lose I am one down. Psychologically, however, it is much more likely that North will play the Ace on my King which is winning the trick, than play the Queen on their partner's Jack. I therefore played small and when North failed to overtake the Jack with the Queen I made my contract.

Overall, the Jack of diamonds was lead at 20 of the 22 tables. 12 times the King was played and the contract was defeated, Of the 8 times, the King was not played only once was the Jack overtaken by the Queen and the contract defeated. Such is the power of psychology!

Thanks to Tony Russ I have finally realised how the bidding and the play can be seen in the Bridgewebs results. Click 'Travellers' and under each hand diagram, below the 'Expert View' (whatever that is), you will see the results for that board at all tables with many 'play' buttons. Click any 'play' button and if you are asked to choose a viewer choose BSOL (Bridge Solver Online). Alternatively, if you have already chosen a viewer which is not BSOL then click 'switch viewer' and choose BSOL. At the top right of the BSOL window you will see the bidding and just below the bidding you will see 'play xxxx' where xxx is the contract that was actually played at that table. Click this and then you can move through the hand as it was played using the > and < buttons.

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