Congratulations! You are in the finals of the Timbuktu Bridge Championship and the sweet taste of victory is just one board away. The tension mounts! Are you up to the task?
On the last deal, you pick up this wild collection and the opponent on your right opens 1 .
What would you bid?
This is the unusual notrump which shows the two lowest unbid suits here it shows the minors. The next opponent raises hearts and opener continues to game, as partner keeps quiet. The bidding has gone:
Are you ready to give up?
What would you do now?
With a typical 5-5 hand you would pass, but you dont get dealt 6-6 every day. It pays to keep bidding with wild shape. You would still like to know which minor partner is longer in, so it is a clever strategy to repeat the unusual notrump bid to ask partner to choose.
Your left-hand opponent doubles, and this is passed back to you.
Does partners pass mean that he wants to play 4 NT doubled?
Partner simply shows that he has no preference between the minors (equal length and/or strength) so the decision is up to you.
What do you bid now?
When choosing a trump suit from equal lengths, intermediate cards (Q-J-10-9) are more important than top cards (A-K). Hence you should choose diamonds.
Undaunted, West doubles again.
West leads the J, and partner puts down a great dummy, considering that he could be completely broke. This is what you see:
How many natural trump tricks are you entitled to?
How many top tricks do you have in the side suits?
Which suit will you rely on for additional tricks?
That was easy I hope.
After ruffing the opening lead, will you lead trumps right away?
You dont know how the minors will break, and you are likely to aid your cause by ruffing a club.
Which club will you lead first?
All follow. You next lead the 2 to dummys ace, then the J on which East plays the nine.
Which club do you play?
Good thing! The Q drops from West. You next lead the 7, and West discards a spade.
What will you play from dummy?
East follows with the remaining club, so the rest of your clubs are good. Unfortunately there are still trumps out.
Which card do you lead next from dummy?
East follows suit with a low card.
Which card do you play from your hand?
This is the key play. You must overtake; else West would duck the jack, then you would have to tap your hand (shorten your trumps) and you would fail. Try it.
If you win this trick, what do you lead next?
West wins the ace (East discards a heart) and returns a heart which you ruff.
Which diamond do you lead now?
Which suit next?
You are in control, and no matter when West ruffs you will lose just one more trick and make 5 .
The missing hands:
© 1998 Richard Pavlicek