Mark Horton

Support your Local Partner

One of the most understated rules in bridge is to support partner when you have four cards in a suit they have bid. Generally speaking this tends to work well, even when you have a modest hand.

This deal from the Senior KO is a good example:

Dealer: North

Vul: East/West

7 4
K 10 9 8 7 6 3
J 10 9 8
West East
K 8 7 5 2 Q J 10 9 6 4 3
Q 10 2 K 9 5
Q 2 A 5
Q 5 3 2
A J 9 6 3
J 4
A K 7 6 4
West North East South
Alder Horton
2dx 2sx 3cx
3sx 4sx Pass 5cx
All Pass

Had North opened 3 then the auction might have gone 3 -5 -5 , with South’s inevitable double producing a decent penalty despite East/West’s twelve card fit.

However, when he opted for the less aggressive alternative of a weak two East’s overcall gave South a problem –which suit should he introduce?

Reasoning that partner was unlikely to have primary heart support South decided to concentrate on the minors by introducing his clubs. When West contented himself with a modest raise North had an opportunity to support clubs, but rather than opt for a simple 4 North went ‘all in’ with a cue bid of 4 .

From South’s point of view a slam was not impossible, but one minor advantage of being a Senior is that you have had a few extra years to discover that partner’s hand has a nasty habit of failing to match your expectations – especially when you are in the slam zone.

West led a spade against 5 and declarer won in hand, pitching a heart from dummy. After cashing the top clubs the jack of diamonds ran to East’s ace and declarer claimed +400.

The auction followed a different course in the other room:

West North East South
3 3 4
4 5 Pass Pass
5sx All Pass

I confess I am amazed that South did not double West’s undisciplined Five Spades, and a cooperative defense saw declarer escape for one down – and a 5 IMP pick up.

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