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For bridge hands of interest

The Jacoby two-step

Many pairs play that, in reply to a 1H or 1S opening, a game-forcing raise is shown by a response of 2NT “Jacoby”.

If playing Jacoby, the immediate response of 2NT to a major opening shows 13+ points and, ideally, at least 4-card support. Opener may then show a shortage (singleton or void) if the hand has one by bidding the short suit at the 3-level. Here is a good example of Jacoby in action:

WEST            EAST
6             
 A542
A9872         
 K6543
A65           
 K2
A765          
 K3   

WEST     EAST
1H       2NT   (Jacoby)
3S ?

Read more: The Jacoby two-step

Display finesse – by avoiding one

Finessing is one of most important plays in bridge. But what do you do when the cards are likely offside and your finesses are therefore slated to lose?

          NORTH
          ♠ Q86
          J63
          762
           AQ54
WEST                EAST
 42                 97
 AQ82               T975
 KJ4                T985
 KT92               J76
          SOUTH
          
 AKJT53
          
 K4
          
 AQ3
          
 83

WEST  NORTH  EAST  SOUTH
1C    Pass   Pass  Dble
Pass  1NT    Pass  4S
All pass

Read more: Display finesse – by avoiding one

Smart competition

Every year since 2004, the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute has organised a Bridge for Brain Research Challenge. Held in the first week of May, the challenge has the twofold purpose of raising funds for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, and highlighting the benefits of bridge and other mental activities in maintaining a healthy brain. Today’s deals are both taken from one of these Challenges, and illustrate an important modern principle of competition.

After your side finds a fit (say 1H : 2H), but an opponent then calls over you (say 2S), what would a bid of 3H mean?

Read more: Smart competition

Re-assessing losers

How good is this North hand below? Some would describe it as a “four loser” hand (it has two diamond losers and is missing one of the top three honours in each major).

AKJT85
AKJ82
65
 —

What if South opens 1H?

Read more: Re-assessing losers

The 3NT curse continues

A recent challenge featured two 3NT contracts from Sydney events that led to massive swings. Here are two more – this time from past Bermuda Bowl World Championships.  

Bermuda Bowl, New York, 1981. Nil vul.

          NORTH
          2
          T8
          AKQT852
          642
WEST                EAST
 Q987               J54
 AQ964              J32
 6                  J3
 K97                AQJ53
          SOUTH
          
 AKT63
          
 K75
          
 974
          
 T8   

WEST   NORTH  EAST   SOUTH
1H     3H*    Double 3NT
Pass   Pass   Double Pass
Pass   Redble  All pass

North, Meckstroth, jumped to three of the enemy suit to ask partner to bid 3NT with the suit stopped, a popular treatment over a major opening. His subsequent redouble, however, expressed doubt about 3NT. South, Rodwell, decided to take his chances anyway.

Read more: The 3NT curse continues

The curse of leading against 3NT

Like me, you’ve probably encountered some funny bridge hands, but the kind of funny that is accompanied more by tears than chuckles. Here is an offering from a past Trumps teams congress:

A9
AT75432
6
T43

Your partner, West, passes. North opens 1D. You are not vulnerable against vulnerable opponents, and preempt 3H. South outbids you with 3S, and after your partner passes, North ventures 3NT. This is passed around to your partner, who doubles, concluding the auction. What do you lead?

Read more: The curse of leading against 3NT

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