Should you Open or Pass? by Phillip Alder
Occasionally you will be looking at your hand and asking yourself, ‘Should I open one of a suit or should I pass?’
On 26 December, 2015 At 13:40
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Moscow-Pullman Daily News – 3 Feb 2003
TS Eliot wrote ‘Footfalls echo in the memory / Down the passage which we did not take / Towards the door we never opened / Into the rose-garden’
Occasionally you will be looking at your hand and asking yourself, ‘Should I open one of a suit or should I pass?’ If your point-count is borderline there are several factors that you should weigh in making your decision. We’ll look at them this week. My number one requirement for a thin opening bid with only 11 or 12 high-card points is the quality of the suit I will name. If we are outbid do I want partner to lead that suit? If so, I am halfway to opening.
Look at the South hand in today’s deal. It has only 11 high-card points but it wouldn’t occur to me to pass, the hand contains an excellent six-card spade suit. It pays to bid majors and it is even better to have spades because the opponents must always go up to the next level to outbid you.
The opening gets you into four spades West cashes two top clubs, then shifts to the heart Jack. How would you continue? Faced with four losers (two hearts and two clubs) and only nine tricks (six spades one heart and two diamonds) you must establish a long diamond.
This probably requires two diamond ruffs in hand and therefore three dummy entries. These must be one diamond and two spades. Here is the correct sequence: heart ace, spade ace, dummy’s top diamonds, diamond ruff high, spade to the nine, diamond ruff high, spade to the king, diamond six for a heart pitch More tomorrow.
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