Two hands from Gryphons II, on Saturday, March 3, 2001.

             Jim Plank, with commentary by Kevin Wilson

One of the interesting hands of the day was board 22.  First, here's
the west hand:

    S QT6
    H AKQJ96
    D 5
    C A73

East dealer, E/W vulnerable.  Two passes to west, who opens 1H.  Pass
from north and east bids 1s.  Pass back to west, and what do you bid?
Nothing seems quite right:

  - 3H shows the hearts and strength, but you might miss a 5-3
    spade fit.

  - 3C allows partner to show you longer spades, but lies about club

  - Any spade raise lies about the beautiful heart suit (not to mention
    the fact that you only have three spades).

What's the right bid?  At first glance, 3H seems like the best
compromise, but are you happy when partner passes a 6 or 7 count?
Given that partner's values are likely to be in spades, chances
are that partner's hand will combine with your spade holding to
give you the extra three winners that you need for game.  Take
for example, this piece of garbage:

    S KJxx
    H x
    D xxxx
    C Qxxx

Certainly, partner will be passing a 3H bid from you, but game
is 50% on a club lead or switch, and 100% on any other lead.
Turn the club queen into a king and it's 100%.

Given that, 4H might be the best rebid.  Sure, you miss out
on the 5-3 spade fit, but your trumps are good enough that
it might play well opposite a void.

   Kevin: I think its close between 3c and 4h.  4h rates to be the
          most likely final contract but 3c has a couple of
          advantages.  3c will get you to spades more easily whenever
          that is the best contract.  It is easier to get to a slam
          after 3c because partner will know his club cards are
          working if he has a very good passed hand (AKxxx xx xxx
          Kxx).  Additionally, partner may be able to get a club
          discard or two if the hand is played in spades (Kxxxxx x
          Qxxx xx).  Remember that there is never any danger of
          playing clubs because your hearts are solid and you can
          always convert any number of clubs that partner bids back
          to hearts.

As it turns out, here's partner's hand:

    S KJ983
    H 3
    D 43
    C QJ862

Looking cold for 4h or 4s.  But not quite -- here's the entire board:

            S 5
            H 742
            D KJ9862
            C K95

   S QT6              S KJ983
   H AKQJ96           H 3
   D 5                D 43
   C A73              C QJ862

            S A742
            H T85
            D AQT7
            C T4

4H is certainly in jeopardy on a spade lead.  South should return the
seven of spades (his highest spade: suit preference for a diamond
return), north ruffs and bravely underleads the DK to get a second
ruff and set the contract.  West can muddy the waters at trick one by
throwing the SQ under the ace, hoping to convince south of a stiff
queen, but if south trusts his partner (why lead dummy's suit from a
holding like T65?), he won't be fooled.

One final comment about the hand -- given the vulnerability and the
passed partner, north has an excellent 3D bid over 1H.  Now east is
much too weak to bid or double, and south may even consider
furthering the preempt.  N/S make 9 tricks in diamonds.

    Kevin: Preempts are frequently effective and you can see how much
           more difficult it is to bid after the enemy has taken so
           much of your bidding space.  I don't like raising a
           preempt without 4 trump AND a singleton though. 
           Even with AQTx.

Given all that, the par result (given perfect declarer play and
defense) for this hand is 5D doubled by north, going down two for
300. This is because E/W can make 4 spades (and be held to 4 by a
diamond lead and club switch).

Scores on saturday were all over the place:

       There were four game bidders and makers:

                Paul & Norma: 680 
                Hilda & Sara: 650 
                Bill & Sally: 620
                Jim V & Ben:  620

       One partscore bidder:


       Two defenders:

                500, 50

       And one game-bidder who got buzz-sawed with good defense
       by Barbara and Donna!


Hand 5 is an opening lead question:

This is board #5 from saturday -- again, you are west.  North
is dealer, N/S vulnerable.  You hold:

    S A952
    H KJ82
    D QJ74
    C 5

You and partner are silent throughout the bidding -- north opens
1D, south responds 1H, north bids 1N and south jumps to 3H.  North
raises to 4H and you are on lead.  Your choice?

    Kevin: At the table it probably would have taken me a long time
           to choose this lead.  The inferences you have are that the
           declarer will have 6 hearts and 10-12 HCP, Dummy will hit
           with 13-14 HCP and no singletons.  Given the strength of
           your hand, it is unlikely that partner has many high cards
           but he could have 3-6. An ace is a possibility.  While I
           like to lead singletons and lead them very frequently, I
           think this is a hand that marks another lead to be better.
           When you have 4 trumps it is usually good to try and tap
           declarer.  My thoughts: 1st, if partner has the ace of
           clubs then you can get a ruff anytime and there is no need
           to attack it right away.  It is highly unlikely that he
           has 2 fast entries to give you ruffs and that a club will
           be the best.  If he has some other honor in clubs then you
           might be giving it up by leading the suit.  Second, I
           don't like to lead aces against suit contracts.  They were
           made to take kings.  The problem is choosing what suit
           will be the tap suit.  Since Dummy bid 1d it makes this a
           hard lead.  The tap suit will be either spades or
           diamonds.  Diamonds never gives up anything when partner
           has the T, K, or A. While still a very challenging lead, I
           think a diamond is called for.

Here's the entire hand.  As it turns out, the only lead to set it
is a diamond lead, which taps declarer so that you can score
a third heart trick:

                  S KQ
                  H T63
                  D A862
                  C KQT4
        S A952              S JT764
        H KJ82              H
        D QJ74              D KT53
        C 5                 C J863
                  S 83
                  H AQ9754
                  D 9
                  C A972

    Kevin: if you lead diamonds every chance you get then you will be
           able to cash your 4th diamond when you win the ace of

In particular, a club lead is especially bad, since it gives declarer
both the 4th club trick, and the timing to draw trump and flush out
the ace of spades before getting tapped in diamonds.  That said, a
diamond lead is not easy to find from west's perspective -- that
could be north's long suit, and if there's a tap, it could be coming
from spades.  Or perhaps there is no tap suit, but partner has the
ace of clubs, in which case a club is right.

Again, the results were mixed:

      We have 4 people making 4, one of them doubled (and making when
      yours truly led a club...)

              Nick & Sally:     790
              Paul & Vincent:   620
              Marcy & Barbara:  620
              Kitten & Shirley: 620

      One burning a spade contract -- was there a sacrifice in 5 spades?


          (Kevin: yes - 5SX. Brooks and Mike got all their tricks but
                  it was still a good sacrifice by Sheila and Mary Ann)

      Three going down -- I believe more than one of those were in clubs,
            but Kevin would know for sure:

              -800, -200, -100

            (Kevin: 5c was 3 down doubled, A top for Brad and Ted.
                    3nt by N was 2 down.)

      And one pair defending 2s: