Friday, 30 July 2010

THIN VALUES BUT GOOD FITS....................... ( Article by Johnny Supremo )
I always love it when partner and I come up with hands, which although lacking in HCPs fit so well together in terms of shape and distribution. Let us never forget how James Bond pulled in a grand slam on a combined 5 count. As for me I'm more than happy to bid and make game on a 19-20 count.
To bid games on thin valuest the first requirement is to have a damn good trump fit. After that there are 3 possible scenarios that really make it all possible. If you are your partner have an equally good fit in a second suit, then your worries are over. Moreover, if either one of you has a long robust second suit, which offers trick taking ( loser discarding ) potential then its hunky dory land. Finally, if both of you have a shortage in different side suits, then a cross-ruffing strategy will deliver the goods.
Why just the other day I was playing with a relative newcomer to the game, when I picked up 6....Q9875....K1074....AK5. Naturally I opened 1H only to hear partner bid 2C on his J9....KJ2.....QJ3....Q8762. I responded 2D, and my partner God bless him jumped to 3H ( good bid given his novice status ). Never one from shirking an invitation I raised to 4H. With just 3 Aces to lose, the game was a simple formality.......even on a combined 22 count. Mind you we did need diamonds and hearts to behave. What made game a near certainty was the excellent double fit in hearts and clubs.
Then, four boards later, I picked up 95...AK65.....KJ9842.....8 ( an 11 count ), and duly opened 1D. Pass from my LHO and 1H from partner. Such joy. Double on my right. Without a flicker of hesitation....I bid 3H. Pass. And with the wisdom of Solomon partner bid 4H to put an end to this rather one-sided auction. My RHO, completely unamused by his partner's reluctance to bid over his double, quickly cashed A/K of spades to take the first two tricks. Declarer's hand was a ragged 8 count : 42....QJ742.....A7....J732. But at trick 3 the canny defender switched to a heart in an attempt to deny declarer the opportunity to ruff 3 clubs. No worries there as the long diamond suit offered both hope and salvation. So taking the heart trick in dummy with the Ace, declarer then played a low heart to his queen.......only to discover the 3-1 break. Unperturbed, he played the diamond Ace, followed by a low one to dummy's King, both defenders following. On the third round of diamonds, the jack of hearts ruff secured the trick. With 3 diamonds now set up in dummy for club discards, declarer played a low heart to dummy's King ( removing the last trump ) to see the contract home : 5D, 1 diamond ruff, and 4 H, conceding only 2S and 1C.
So yet again a game contract came in, but this time on a combined 19 points. Not only did we have an excellent trump fit, but the long robust diamond suit was well worth its weight in gold.

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