An Ordinary Looking Hand 

We played this hand at the club recently, and the instruction to be gained from the play and result is that duplicate players should take advantage of the features that are available to them. The bidding of the hand was quite straightforward, and our arrival in the contract of three notrump was swift. Once I was able to respond to the opening bid of one heart with a limited bid of one notrump, showing the possession of from five to 11 high-card points, my partner made the bid of two notrump. That showed that she had a range of 16 to 17 high card points and no other long suit to bid and, at the most, the five hearts that her opening showed. Adding the nine high-card points in the north hand to the minimum 16 promised by the two notrump rebid, I was able to make the game bid of three notrump.

When the opening lead went to the king and ace of diamonds and a diamond was returned to the queen, I led a heart to begin the development of tricks, and when east played a low heart I played the 10 from the dummy (south). I did not expect the 10 to hold the trick because missing honors, in this case, the king and jack, are usually distributed to different hands, or "split." In that case, there is no way to avoid the loss of a trick in the heart suit. Only by playing the 10 was I able to take advantage of the existing lie of the cards with both honors onside. There was very little challenge to playing the rest of the hand because the other suits behaved in a friendly fashion, the deal having placed the black kings in finessing position and distributed the hearts three-three so the whole suit came in for five tricks.

I am at a loss to explain why the rest of the players in the contract of three notrump made at most 11 tricks while with the five heart tricks to go with two diamonds, two clubs and four spade tricks, I brought my total to 12 and a top board. I suspect the answer lies with inserting the 10 of hearts on the first play of the heart suit. To participate in club tournaments or to learn more, call the Boise Bridge Club at 208-327-0166.

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