What should I bid? (June 2019)


What should I bid? (June 2019)

The best submission for June came from Arie Meydan. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridgegear.

Hi Andy,

The below hand came up in this year’s VCC. Please comment on how reaching the hopeless 4 could be (should be?) avoided.

All Vul
W Dealer
A 10 6 4
K 10 7 6 5
Q 10 7
Q 8 7
K Q 10 7 6 3
8 4 2
[ 4 ] K J 5
J 8 4
J 8 3 2
A J 5
  9 3 2
A 9 2
Q 9 4
K 9 6 3

West North East South
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

4-card Acol. Imps scoring.

1. Was East’s 2 preferable to a limit bid of 3? If match-points, would 1NT be acceptable?

2. If Easts 3 bid following the 2 response is systemically a limit bid, is West’s 4, although having a minimum opening, having an extra heart and an Ace in partner’s suit, acceptable to raise to game?

3. Would answers to question (2) be different if playing a 5-card major system?


Hi Arie,

1. In the context of Acol, I think either a 2 response, or a 3 limit bid, are both fine. If 3 is bid and opener only has four hearts, he will have a strong NT so over 1-3, opener will try 3NT as a choice of games and you can still play in 3NT without an 8-card heart fit. The one advantage about a 3 limit bid is that if opener has an unbalanced hand with five hearts (e.g. 3-5-1-4 shape), then the fit can be diagnosed immediately which can be very useful.

2. I think West’s raise to 4 is fine. Although West has a minimum hand, the extra heart and the 6331 shape is enough compensation to try for a game.

3. No, still the same.

Other points: It is true that EW’s hands combined makes a no play for game (well I wouldn’t say no play, it requires KQ onside, so still 25%). However, bidding in bridge is not always 100% accurate. In fact, the hand is just missing the 9 for it to be a 37.5% game (double finesse in clubs), or the 10 for it to be around 75% game (double finesse in clubs).

Or even still, maybe East’s hand shape might’ve been 3=3=5=2 in which case now all you need to do is to ruff a club in dummy. But how does West know that? The answer is that he doesn’t, so West can only work from his hand and judge whether it’s worth raising to game or not. And the sixth heart, plus the 6331 shape I believe is good enough to try for game.

You don’t always reach a great game, but on the other hand, sometimes bad games also do make!

Kind regards,

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