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44 - December 2023

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One hand, six questions – December 2023


We are pleased to offer you this exclusive BRIDGERAMA+ post.

This month, you’ll have a single hand and will have to answer a series of questions on a variety of themes, ending with a dummy play.

Sitting South, non-vulnerable versus vulnerable you hold:

♠ K94
♣ KJ105


How do you open that hand?

View solution

We know the different ranges for No-Trump openings for strong balanced hands:

  • 15-17H → 1NT.
  • 20-21H → 2NT.

With 18-19HCP, you start with your minor and then jump to 2NT. Here, the question is therefore whether to open 1♣ or 1. The rule is simple: always the longer minor and, in case of equal length, you open 1♣ when you have three Clubs and three Diamonds and you open 1. in the other cases (4-4 or 5-5). This first question was a bit of a gift of 10 points!

  • 10 points for opening 1.
  • 8 points for opening 1♣.
  • 5 points for opening 1NT.
  • 2 points for any other choice.


Your partner opens 2, what do you say?

View solution

Partner’s opening shows us six cards and a hand below what is needed for a one-level opening (between 5 and 10 points). Well, I have to admit that when I play with Dad, his 2 can be really weak! But let’s keep it serious for this article 😉 . We certainly have a very nice hand but we are still very far from what is needed to consider a slam. As we want to play game in any case, there is no need to bid 2NT as a relay, best is to jump to the Heart game directly.

  • 10 points if you bid 4.
  • 7 points if you bid 2NT.
  • 1 point for the very pessimistic who pass.


You open 1, your partner responds 1NT, what is your rebid?

View solution

When partner answers 1NT, which shows 6-10 points, you have enough points to play a game contract. With a balanced hand, there is no other contract than 3 No-Trump to think about.

  • 10 points if you bid 3NT.
  • 7 points if you bid 2NT.
  • 4 points for those who bid 2♠.
  • 0 point for all other choices.


Your partner opens 1, you respond 2♣ and he rebids 2NT, what is your second bid?

View solution

Opposite 1, you need to bid 2♣ in order for the sequence to become forcing. When partner rebids 2NT, you must consider a slam but it is absolutely mandatory to first show your Diamond support because the final contract could very well be 6 Diamonds in a 4-4 fit. The idea is to follow this 3 bid with a quantitative 4NT if partner says 3NT. Bidding 4NT directly over 2NT would deny a fit in Diamonds. Saying 4 would show better support in Diamonds (at least five cards), as opener may still only have three Diamonds in a 4-4-3-2 hand.

  • 10 points if you bid 3.
  • 6 points for jumping to 4.
  • 4 points if you bid 4NT.
  • 2 points for another choice.


Your left hand opponent opens a weak 2♠, North and East pass, what do you say?

View solution

This question is much more difficult. You cannot let 2 Spades play with such a strong hand. Bidding 2NT in the pass-out position would show a weaker hand (14-16HCP). It would be correct to double and then bid 3NT over partner’s three-level response, but this could encourage him to correct to 4 if he has five Hearts. It therefore seems reasonable to immediately bid the contract that you wish to play: 3 No-Trump.

  • 10 points if you bid 3NT.
  • 8 points if you doubled.
  • 0 point for all other calls.


You are declarer in 3 No-Trump after the auction 2♠-Pass-Pass-3NT. West leads the Spade 6, and East plays the Jack. How do you play?

View solution

With West holding six Spades, East’s Jack is a singleton. Winning this would guarantee you a trick, but then you would not be allowed to lose a trick to West or risk seeing him cash all his Spades. This can happen if he holds the Queen of Diamonds or the King of Hearts. Since East has no more Spades, leave him on lead. He’ll certainly switch to a Diamond, the only defense that bothers you a little bit. You duck. Let’s say West wins with the Queen. At this point, you know that East holds the Queen of Clubs and the King of Hearts.

→ If West plays a second Spade, he gives you your seventh trick and then the marked finesse against East’s Queen of Clubs lets you make your contract.

→ If he plays back a passive Diamond, you can for example play the Queen of Hearts. East covers with the King and you win the trick with the Ace. Now cash the Diamonds and play a Heart to the 10. East wins and exits with the Heart 8, won with the 9. And you quietly finish by letting the Club 9 run or by playing a small Club towards the 10.

The end was difficult to visualize but no matter how the play unfolds it is necessary – and that is the important point – to duck the first Spade, which is really not a natural play because it feels like refusing a gift when we get that King of Spades offered to us!

  • 10 points if you ducked the Jack of Spades.
  • 3 points if you did not.

Your score

Total your points and divide by three to get your score out of 20.

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Jérome et Léo Rombaut
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