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Answer 32

Three possible hands are given for South, but only one is consistent with their bids. Which one? What would the others hands have bid differently? Neither side is vulnerable.

North   East   South   West

Hand a)
Q 7 2
J 6 3 2
K J 6 3 2
Hand b)
♠ K 7 3 2
A 10 2
7 4
6 4 3 2
Hand c)
♠ A Q 9 2
9 7 2
9 8 3 2

  • (b) is correct.
  • The first thing to say is that it is most unusual to go on to 4 in an auction like this. Partner’s 3 bid was in no way inviting you to game – he would have to bid 3/3 to invite you. So you would only ever bid 4 when your hand has gone up in value since you bid 2. And Hand (b) is that hand. You can decide that partner has a singleton/void club and you have no wasted values in the suit. Give partner as little as ♠AQxxx J9x Axxx x (barely an opening bid) and 4 is very likely to make on a 2-2 spade split. 
  • Hand (a) has a singleton club, I realise, but partner may very well have deduced that; with only three spades and no ace, this is far from an exceptional hand and should pass. 
  • Hand (c) has good spades, but the club holding couldn’t be worse. Pass quickly, as indeed you should do 95% of the time after such an auction.
  • Hand (b) was truly an outlier.


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