Jeff Lehman

What if the declarer were in ninth grade?

Playing last night at a local club in the ACBL-wide Charity Game, I opened 3 on Board 8, holding 76  75  QJ97542  AT.  Seems pretty normal to me, although the text from ACBL describes a reaction of “not too crazy” about my call.  Yeh, I would have opened 3 also if my A were a deuce, but so what?

Anyway, North decides to overcall 4 (more on that choice later) and South leaps to 6NT.

What do you lead with my hand?

I considered the A, but decided eventually to do the normal of leading the Q.  Disaster, as this was the whole hand!:


Dealer: 8, W
Vul: none


-990 and the expected 0 mps.

Oh, did I mention that the declarer was the highly skilled — and obviously highly imaginative — Zach Grossack, a ninth grader?  Zach, partnering his remarkable brother, World Youth Individual champion and former King of Bridge, Adam Grossack, will be representing the US in the Under Age 21 world championships.

Back to more mundane aspects of this deal:

  • What do you think of the 4 call?  I think that is an overbid.  3 defines the hand better.  4 should be a similar hand type to the hand held — that is, a spade one-suiter — but stronger, such that game can be expected to make opposite a nonextraordinary seven count.  With a more balanced but stronger hand, double would be the right way to start.
  • Should my partner East bid 5 over 4?  Surely such a call should promise some diamond tolerance, but at equal colors, I can see why partner passed.  (And if he had bid he would have spoiled my story about Zach’s bid and my lead!)


RobinDecember 9th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Lots of thoughts here. First, I wouldn’t call this 3D bid “pretty normal”, I’d call it almost perfect. The only way to improve it (IMO) would be to swap the CA for the C2 and the D2 for the DT.
Second, I think 4S is about right. North has a solid six-card suit and a side A!
Third, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would condone bidding 5C here, although if North had doubled first, then 5C would be worth it for lead direction, though still dangerous at all white.
Finally, having partnered Zach on many happy occasions, this is the kind of imaginative bid he specializes in. But that’s no reason to let him get the better of you. On a wild auction such as this with a solid spade suit looming in dummy, surely it behoves you to lay down your ace. You know he’s prepared for a diamond lead. Zach is imaginative, but not suicidal.

Jeff LehmanDecember 9th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Why assuming a solid suit lying in dummy?

A hand with which I would bid 4S would be something like this: AKJxxxx, Ax, xx, AQ or KQJxxxx, Ax, xx, AK. Opposite my posited hand, advancer holding something like xx of spades and KQ of hearts and Q of diamonds would be enough to make 4S worthwhile. But opposite North’s actual hand of AKQJxx, J9x, A, xxx, (a six loser hand) 4S has no chance.

Whether I should, against an imaginative declarer, lead the CA against 6NT is another question — perhaps I should and perhaps I am better positioned to not be talked out of my normal lead. But I would quarrel with both the assumption that dummy has solid spades and that dummy’s actual hand is strong enough to jump to 4S rather than to bid 3S.

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