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Subject: Come Alive, and 4NT as two places to play. rss

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Brian Bankler
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A wild hand hand from today's (2 session) game:
I pick up S:7 H:AKQT9xx D: (Void) C:QJ8xx

This is hand has massive potential,despite a mild high card count. The old saying is "Six-Five, come alive," meaning with two suits (of six and five cards" you need to upgrade. I've got seven-five, and my seven card suit is solid, and may play for no losers opposite a void.

I could upgrade this to our 1 Club opening (which shows 18+ HCP), but I think I'll just open 1 heart. There's a chance I could miss a game, but if the auction stays alive I'll be happy to show a hand under 18 high card points but with massive playing strength.

I open 1 Heart.

My LHO bids 2 Spades, partner passes, and RHO bids four spades.

I didn't open this to pass now.

I bid 4 NT. Many players play that 4N is always blackwood, but my partner and I are on firm ground on our agreements (at least in this case). I'm showing two places to play, but that my hearts are primary.

If partner picks clubs, I'm happy. If he bids diamonds, I'll go back to hearts. (If I had 6-6 or six weak hearts and five solid minor cards, I'd just bid 5 of that minor).

And because our (major) openings are limited, partner knows this is based on shape, not massive high card points. He won't double expecting me to have defense.

LHO asks my partner if 4N is blackwood and he shakes his head no and explains it just as I've done here. (As I said, in this case we are in solid agreement).

LHO passes, partner surprisingly bids five hearts, and RHO bids five spades.

Now I'm done, and we play in five spades.

Partner leads a heart and dummy has

S: Axxx H: xx D: AQJx C:KTx

I play the queen. Diamond are ominous but even if partner has the club ace it isn't going anywhere, I think. I play the ace of hearts as a safe way to exit, but it cashes!

Hearts were 7-2-2-2 around the table. That's odd. In any case the hand is over, as declarer has the club ace and Tx of diamonds and nothing I do matters.

Partner -- looking down at seven diamonds -- figured my suit was clubs and decided not to let the opponents in on the secret. We pushed the opponents up a level, but all for an average board.

Later on I pick up S:9x H:T987xx D:Axxx C:x. Nothing to write home about. RHO (in first seat) preempts three clubs.

I have nothing to say (never preempt a preempt) and LHO jumps to five clubs. This buys it.

I could lead a spade. That may well be right. But I think that we may have the first few diamond tricks. I lead the diamond ace.

Dummy has S: AJxx H:5 D:KQx C: KJT8x

On the diamond partner plays the ten. This is suit preference, showing that he wants a spade switch. I -- now wishing I'd led a spade from the get-go" switch. Declarer plays low and partner wins the spade king and lays down the heart king.

Declarer ruffs.

I blink. A revoke? Partner stares at the card. Even dummy looks shocked. She can see she has a stiff heart. "No hearts, partner?"

"Nope." And just like that the hand is over.

Partner had AKQJxx of hearts to go with my six. In fact, five hearts is a good sac, but partner figured that clubs may be splitting badly behind declarer and he had a few cashing tricks (he thought). We all chuckle at this one as we put the hands back.

Later on, I pick up

S: (Void) H:Q98432 D:J2 C:QJ9xx

We aren't vulnerable, they are. My RHO opens 1 Spade.

I bid 2 spades, a Michael's cue bid. Showing 5 hearts and a five card minor. My hand is light, but this isn't (IMO) even borderline despite having only five HCP and no aces or kings. I have a six card suit and a void. I have my bid.

LHO asks what this is and partner jokes "Well, he doesn't want me to pass." He then goes on to explain Michael'.

Satisfied, LHO bids 3 spades. Partner bids 3 NT. If LHO had passed 2NT would be "your minor?". 3NT probably means the same thing, but could also be to play. (Hamman's Law -- "If a 3N bid could in anyway be construed as to play, it is"). I'm not 100% sure. It could also just be some random noise with a heart fit that expects to hear a four spade bid and hoping to psyche them out. In favor of the latter explination is They are vulnerable and we aren't. He may be willing to go down nine (undoubled) tricks ... although hopefully less.

I'm not 100%.

RHO bids 4 spades. The one thing I am sure of is that partner's 3NT bid does not bar me from bidding again. If partner has a secret heart fit OR a hand that thought 3N had a shot OR was throwing sand, then I want in.

I bid 4NT. Again, this shows two places to play and again, since partner knows that one of my places is hearts and I'm not showing him the other, I'm letting him in on the fact that my hearts are unexpectedly long. Partner will bid clubs if its playable.

This agreement can go years without use and its shown up twice today!

LHO passes, Partner bids 5 Hearts and RHO bids 5 spades. I feel like I've earned my "pushing the opponents around" merit badge and pass. Partner doubles and that ends it.

I lead my fifth best heart (3rd and 5th leads) and dummy hits with
S: 98xxx H:KJx D:QT C:Kxx

It goes heart jack, ace, small. Hank continues with a small heart which declarer ruffs. Declarer leads the club ten to my queen, the king and Hank's ace. Hank again leads a small heart, this time declarer pitches a diamond, the leads the 9 of spades and floats it (I pitch a useless heart). Declarer leads the diamond queen-king-ace, small, and suddenly my jack is good and It looks like I may win a trick.

In fact declarer has also come alive with a 6-1-5-1 hand, but her second suit is just a touch too weak for the five level, so we set her. (As it turns out, partners 3N was bid to make although it would not have).

Just another day at the bridge mines...
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David Goldfarb
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Inveterate nitpicker that I am, I am obliged to point out that Mike Michaels did not spell his name with an apostrophe.
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