A Simple Sequence

//A Simple Sequence

What would you expect South to hold on this auction?

I believe they should have a hand such as

If South has four cards in spades –

he can jump to two spades, as if raising a one spade response. That was the agreement of the storied partnership of Edgar Kaplan-Norman Kay.

Here’s a related sequence:

Is South’s 1S forcing? Should it be?

In “Standard” bidding, opener’s non-jump change of suit is not forcing, but some pairs treat one spade here as forcing over any normal response. This method is unlikely to get the partnership too high.

When I watched the deal below in an expert IMP game on OKbridge, North-South came to grief.


South wasn’t willing to rebid one spade with 19 points, but they were not willing to force to game by jumping to two spades. They compromised with two notrump — and played there, missing a 4-4 spade fit.



West led the club


 5 to the king and ace, and South tried a heart to dummy’s jack. East took the queen and returned the club 9. Declarer, perhaps hating the whole thing, won the trick and led another heart to dummy.

East had to duck that — if they won, the defense would have only five winners, and South would have two hearts, three diamonds, two clubs and a spade. But South next passed the spade jack. West won, cashed three clubs, exited with a diamond and scored another spade at the end for down one.

South could have made two notrump by ducking the second club, winning the third, cashing his high diamonds and leading a heart. When East ducked, South could pass the SJ, and after West won and cashed their clubs, they would be end played in spades. At double dummy, East could beat two notrump only by ducking the first heart.

What is certain is that South should have been playing a spade partial — or even a bold spade game, though it would have failed as the cards lay. Personally, I wouldn’t feel guilty at rebidding one spade as South even if it wasn’t forcing. South had a fistful of losers. If North passed one spade, South could seldom expect to miss a game.

Here’s the Apocalyptic Auction of the Month, continuing the saga of modern bidding as I’ve observed on OKbridge:

North-South were playing a style in which a one club opening “could be short.” It may seem odd to bid a suit to say you may not have it, but such an agreement is required if, for instance, a one diamond opening guarantees four or more diamonds.




South’s decision to compete to four clubs opposite a possible non-suit was questionable (West would have gone down a couple at three spades), as was North’s belated four heart preference. Against four hearts doubled,


 West led the singleton club, and South took the ace and returned a club. West ruffed and tried to cash the ace of spades!


The defense had not been best (a trump opening lead would beat three hearts), but South didn’t capitalize. They could have made the contract by ruffing, finessing in diamonds and embarking on a crossruff. However, for some reason South pitched a diamond. West then led a trump, and South couldn’t quite get home.




About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world's most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them "Becoming an Expert," "Play Bridge With Me," "Who Has the Queen?" and most recently "Keys to Winning Bridge." In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association's Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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