“Come on! These were really your two hands?”

Bridge article the Sunday Night Question by Wilfried Libbrecht

This Sunday evening, I receive a flood of messages from my Girls. They played the French Junior Teams Championship. I answer all their questions, but Lucie’s is the one that particularly attracts my attention. It relates to both the bidding and the card play.

Lucie: “I was North and I decided to open 1♣. Léa answered 1♠ and I next bid 2♥. Léa jumped to 3NT and I thought that we could make a slam but that it wasn’t certain because she could just want to play 3NT with 7-8 HCP. Léa did have the 10 HCP that I needed for the slam, but she thought it would not be enough to bid 6NT. What do you think?

Me: “You don’t know your point ranges for No-Trump rebids and Léa doesn’t seem to be very sure of herself either. In fact, her 3NT bid shows exactly 10-12 HCP. If you needed ten points with your 22 HCP and your beautiful five-card suit, you could therefore go for the slam.”

Lucie: “But why do we bid 3NT with ten points facing a reverse when we may want to play 3NT with only 7-8 HCP?”

Me: “This is because even if 3NT does not suggest playing a slam, the bid shows that that one does not abandon the idea of playing one in case that opener has the maximum for her reverse bid – as it was your case.”

Lucie: “Ah yes, so she should bid a parachute 2NT followed by 3NT if she is really absolutely allergic to slam, if she has 7-9 HCP.”

Me: “Voilà, you have perfectly well understood the principle. With a weaker hand than hers, she would have bid 2NT over which the opener cannot pass since she is committed to bidding again. After that, she would have bid 3NT or passed over 3NT if that had been your bid.”

Lucie: “In any case, the contract of 6NT was neither bid nor made at either of the two tables because the Heart finesse is not working.”

Me: “And there was nothing better to do than finesse in Hearts? No squeeze either?”

Lucie: “Bah, you know us and squeezes!”

Me: “Show me the hands, please.”

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