Some hands for the holiday

Well, it’s here again … another holiday that eats into time at the bridge table.

That is just how I used to see Christmas when I used to eat, sleep and live this game, but time has mellowed me somewhat and I’m no longer part of the “bah humbug” group.

I hope the holiday period is good for you all and that in your quiet moments you will read up on some bridge bidding and declarer play to get you ready for the new year and the Regional at the end of January.

So, Merry Christmas, Hannukah Sameach, Feliz Navidad and any other greeting that works for you and yours.

Most of the hands I cover in the column focus on declarer play, the main reason being that players employ an array of bidding systems and many won’t relate to the sequences being presented.

Today’s hand, however, is all about the bidding and you essentially have two natural sequences, where one pair employed a few tools to get to the optimum spot.

The hand took place in the recent Bermuda Bowl World Championships when two heavyweights China and Italy went head to head. When this hand turned up, China were leading 28-0 after only four deals and the Italians were reeling.

Dealer South N/S Vulnerable



H 2

D J10963

C AQ8642


S K10632



C K973


S AJ8754

H Q65

D A752

C None


S 9

H KJ1098743

D 8

C J105

In the Closed Room Chen and Zhuang held the East West cards

North East South West

pass 1S 3H 4H

pass 5S pass 6S

Zhuang opened one Spade (they were playing a big Club system so his hand was limited to 15 HCP as he would open one Club with any 16-plus hand) and after the three Heart pre-empt, Chen cue bid four Hearts showing a good raise to four Spades.

Despite holding only 11 points, Zhuang jumped to five Spades, expressing his worry to partner on whether the Spade suit was good enough. Chen now felt he did enough with his raise to six Spades opposite a hand that had not opened a strong Club.

Versace led his singleton Diamond and all 13 tricks were made — plus 1010.

In the Open room, Sementa and Bocchi, who had missed a grand slam on the previous Board, held the East West cards and here was how they bid the hand.

North East South West

pass 1S 3H 4C

Dbl 4D pass 4NT

pass 6S pass 7S

The first two bid here were the same, but over three Hearts, Sementa bid four Clubs, which was a slam try in Spades and showing a Club control. When North doubled, Bocchi could have redoubled to show first round control in Clubs, but eschewed that to show his Diamond Ace.

When Sementa employed Blackwood, Bocchi was rewarded for his earlier bid as his jump to six Clubs showed two key cards and a useful void, clearly Clubs.

This was enough for Sementa to leave only one card in his bidding box and he bid the Spade grand slam — plus 1510 and a life-saving 11 IMP gain for Italy.

Really brilliant bidding from the Italians — the interesting thing about both bidding sequences is that while the bids were complicated, each one of them had a logical meaning and both pairs showed the hard work required to gain an edge at the top level of the game.

How would you have bid this with your partner?

Do you have a void-showing response to RKC Blackwood? At favourable vulnerability, do you and your partner have the ability to open that North hand showing a weak minor two-suiter?

Get to work!

Results for week of December 9

Monday afternoon


1. Richard Hall/Aida Bostelmann

2. Heather Woolf/Patricia Colmet

3. Richard Gray/Heather Burling


1. Magda Farag/Sheena Rayner

2. Sancia Garrison/Charles Hall

3. Janice Trott/Colin Moran

Tuesday evening


1. Desiree Woods/Vivian Pereira

2. Katyna Rabain/Louise Payne


1. Mike Dawson/Jo-Ann Dawson

2. Nikki Boyce/Carol Eastham

Wednesday morning


1. Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

2. Judith Bussell/Stephanie Kyme

3. Sarah Lorimer-Turner/Jane Gregory


1. Tony Saunders/Molly Taussig

2. Colin Moran/Judy King

3. C Lloyd-Jennings/Joyce Pearson

Friday afternoon


1. Elizabeth McKee/Diana Diel

2. Gertrude Barker/Marilynn Simmons

3. Judith Bussell/Stephanie Kyme


1. Heather Burling/Magda Farag

2. Richard Hall/Molly Taussig

3. Sancia Garrison/Julia Beach

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published Dec 21, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 20, 2019 at 11:37 pm)

Some hands for the holiday

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