What should I bid? (January 2016)

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What should I bid? (January 2016)

The best submission for January came from Emlyn Williams. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

Bd 11
Nil Vul
S Dealer
A K Q 7
A K J 7 4
J 9 2
9
 
J 10 9 3
9 8 3

A Q 10 6 5 4
[ 11 ] 8 5 2
Q
A K 10 8 7 6 3
K J
  6 4
10 6 5 2
Q 5 4
8 7 3 2
 

 

West North East South
Pass
Pass 1 4  Pass
Pass ?

What should North do? Double does not seem right since South might bid clubs. Is Pass the only option?

Basic system is Acol, weak NT with 5 card majors.

Thanks for your advice
Emlyn
———————————————————————————

Hi Emlyn,

That’s a nice problem you have.

After your proposed auction, I would personally double with the North hand, and probably convert it to 4 with the South hand depending if I know East’s preempting style (with a more aggressive preemptor, I can think about passing the double for penalties and lead a spade). I don’t think North should be worried about South bidding clubs as South will likely (should) be bidding 4 or 4 (even on doubleton support) giving that more priority than 5. Yes, South bidding 5 can happen but it’s so rare that I wouldn’t worry about it at all. Majors are the most important suits, and when I’m holding a strong hand, passing out 4 doesn’t seem like a winning action to me.

Whilst it’s true that on the actual hand 4 is not the ideal contract, the fact is that neither North nor South can diagnose the diamond situation. For example, North might’ve been hoping that South has a doubleton diamond and the Q, and that’s all that is required to make 4. Or South might be visualising North to have a singleton diamond in which case 4 should be a decent contract.

Sometimes both persons can make the percentage action and still not get to the best contract on the given deal.

As it is, you can congratulate East to have made a nice pressure bid with 4. Sometimes the 4 bid can backfire (i.e. East has an opening hand, so buying it in 3 or 3NT is not out of the picture), but today it forced N/S to guess at a high level.

Hope that helps,
Andy

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