Poll #22, Finesse, Promotion, Ducking, 01/03/2011

Contract and Duplicate Bridge: Finesse, Promotion, Ducking

Happy New Year, Bridge friends!  And so we’ve made our personal affirmations and are ready to make the best of 2011.  To begin our Polling You blog for the new year, we offer an interesting set of hands.  Beside our normal array of bidding and play possibilities, not everyone is likely to agree with the hand evaluation and the initial bid.   But that’s part of the joy of Bridge, isn’t it?  Our exciting game offers players a wealth of options.  And that’s why we are here – to explore the tradeoffs and consequence of various scenarios.

On today’s poll, we have a multi-part question: one querying opener’s rebid, the other asking our play strategy.   Actually, that pretty much sums up Contract Bridge and Duplicate Bridge doesn’t it?  For sure, making accurate bids is necessary to make the contract.   So our hand evaluation, or re-evaluation here is our first hurdle.  After that, you can ponder a range of play options where suit promotion, finesses and ducking plays might enter the picture.  Okay Bridge thrill seekers, look at your ballots an register your votes.

See our animated video animation with bidding and play commentary – and now with background music!

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♠ K 10 8 5 4
A K 2
10 4
♣ A Q 3

♠ —

♣ —





♠ —

♣ —

♠ 6
J 10 4 3
A J 3
♣ J 10 8 6 5

North deals and opens 1 Spade, while some advanced players would prefer beginning with 1 Notrump to show a reasonable 16 HCP hand.  Sure enough, partner South bids 1 Notrump and North must make an uncomfortable rebid – Pass or invite with 2 Notrump.   Then there’s a handful of decisions after the lead of the Heart 9. with some challenging declarer’s and defender’s play strategy.  We discuss this and more in our Protected Content area – please login and we will see you over on the other side.  

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Thanks for dropping by BridgeHands “Polling You” website.  Every week, we continue to load our Bridge Blog with commentary, downloadable files, and video card animation with background music.  And coming this month, we will begin including real video with action-packed adventures at the table.  Our goal is to enlighten, entertain and educate Bridge players as well as offer our materials to Bridge Teachers to share with their students.

Happy New Year,


  1. rex_little says:

    I picked choice #2 in the poll, but actually I’d have passed 1NT, then played as described in that choice (win opening lead in dummy, then play A-Q of clubs, saving AD as an entry). That combination wasn’t offered.

  2. Christel says:

    you should have opened that hand 1 N in the first place – with 16 hcp, you have no rebid after 1 S … and the sp are louzy at that …..

  3. BridgeHands says:
    Hello Rex and Christel,
    Agreed, when limited to 5 choices that inolve both bidding and play decisions, it’s difficult to cover all the bases. As was mentioned in our Member Subsciption area, a fair number of top players would open the hand 1 Notrump, following Christel’s notion that the quality of the Spade suit is inadequate. Otherwise, opening 1S and after responder’s anticipated 1 Notrump call then opener is stuck for a rebid (a 2 Notrump bid should show 18 points). As an aside, a few months ago I was chatting about this bidding sequence with a Bridge Grand Life Master holding 30,000 Masterpoints:
    1S – 1N;
    2N – ?
    It seems that even at professional levels, few players have worked out the meaning of responder’s rebids. For instance, should responder’s 3H rebid promise 5 Hearts? If not, should responder begin with 3 Club or 3 Diamonds and would that show a temporizing bid, a real 5 card minor, or perhaps a Stayman bid asking if partner has 4 Hearts? So just like the rebid problem when opening 1 Heart with 15-17 HCP and a balanced hand, not beginning with 1 Notrump with 5 so-so Spades and the same values can also lead to rebid problems. At least that’s the views by many top professionals.
    Here at BridgeHands when possible we try to avoid “cute bids” not used by the majority of our audience. However we are always happy to acknowledge the wisdom of alternative approaches to bidding and play.
    Thanks for sharing your views,
  4. BridgeHands says:
    And so after the first day of our poll, the results have the shape of a histogram with a typical “bell curve” standard distribution. In other words, the jury is fairly split on this poll. Here are our results:
    6% – Rebid 2NT inviting game. Win with the HK, cash DA, finesse Clubs
    28% – Rebid 2NT inviting game. Cash CA, play CQ to drive out CK. Enter via DA
    36% – Rebid 2N inviting game, duck H9 to South H10, finesse Clubs. Enter via DA
    19% – Pass 1NT. Finesse HJ then finesse CJ etc. Enter South via DA
    11% – Pass 1NT. Finese CJ etc. Enter South via DA
    So while we do not have a runaway, the favorite among the pack was to rebid 2 Notrump with an average 16 point hand, hoping the HQ sits with West, then finessing. Those 28% who first cash the CA are willing to forgo finessing West for an onside King but also would invite with a 2 Notrump rebid. But how many points should the 2 Notrump inviter hold? Advanced players would cite 18 points or a good 17 points with working honors – probably a 5 card suit they hope to run. So with North’s K10xxx, for most players this is beyond even a optimistic stretch to invite 2 Notrump. Yet those who favored the play for #3 have spoken. Those who were reluctant to chose #4 which took a more aggressive line of play in Hearts (with 7 nice cards in the suit) likely had concern with the 5-1 Spade fit. That’s a fair concern, so immediately attacking the 8 card Club suit as a promotion play is also reasonable. Bottom line, we can see that our voters have a fairly wide range of viewpoints on this poll.
    Warm Regards,
  5. be_ivars says:

    Hi, Michael!

    I have a small problem with the last play.
    At point where West leads the last diamond – North drops the King of Hearts.
    Why would a West lead Ace of spades after that, not a small heart?
    This will leave South with only 6 tricks as the Queen of hearts got promoted.


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