Bridge Deal of the Week (April 12 2017)

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Problem

West North East South
  2NT Pass ?

 

North opens the auction with 2NT – a strong (20-21 HCP) and balanced hand, without a void or singleton and no more than one doubleton. East passes.

South has 5 HCP. We invite you to take the South seat and decide, what should South’s response be?

 

 

Solution

As 2NT takes up much of the bidding space, then after the 2NT opening it is up to the responder to decide what to play and whether to bid game, as the responder knows the total point count. If the responder has 4 HCP, a game should be bid.

3NT response would describe exactly what you have: 3-9 HCP, no 4-card major, a balanced hand. With South’s 5 HCP the two hands combined have at least 25 HCP – which is sufficient for a direct 3NT response.

South has a 5-card suit of diamonds, however South shouldnt respond with 3, as partner might read it as less than 4 HCP and pass.

Responder can also try to find a suit fit. It is allowed to open 2NT with a 5-card major. Puppet Stayman is used opposite 2NT openings to determine whether the opener holds a 5-card major and thus locate a 3-5 major fit.

3♣ in after the opener`s 2NT is Puppet Stayman response showing game values and asking the opener to bid 3 in a major with a 5-card major. Puppet Stayman denies the possibility that the responder holds a 5-card major –in this case a transfer would be used.

As South has three spades and hearts, you bid is 3♣. West doubles (lead directing) and North bids 3♠ – the opener has five spades. East answers with 4♣, and you declare 4♠.

East leads the 6, North plays the 8 from dummy, West the Q and declarer’s A takes the first trick. If missing spades are split 3-2, then your side is going to to lose only two tricks in clubs. North takes the next three tricks with the ♠A, the ♠K and the ♠J, then three tricks in hearts and two more in diamonds, leaving the last two tricks for the opponents.

   AK1087  
   AKQ  
   AJ2  
   83  
 964 Deal  Q3
 32  J9754
 Q1093  6
 AQ65  K10972
   J52  
   1086  
   K8754  
   J4  

This hand demonstrates how dangerous it could be to respond with a signoff 3NT to the opener’s opening bid of 2NT.

The declarer might have sufficient points, but still lose. 3NT would have gone down if East would have led clubs – although you side had five tricks in spades, three top hearts and two diamonds – the opponents could have scored 5 tricks in clubs straight away.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this hand is 5♠ by North/South.

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