Spot Cards and Hand Evaluation – Part 1

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Source: ACBL 2007 Bulletins

If someone gave you this hand, what would your estimate be of its worth?

 K84  K104  A7  KQJ109

This is a nice 16-count. Now let make a little change. Here is your new hand:

 K94  K 104  A 7  KQJ109

Have you spoiled the change? Here is the layout from which this hand came:

Dlr: West Vul:None





 You (South) are in fourth seat. After two passes, East opens 1. You overcall 1NT, which your partner raises to game. West leads the 10. How do you like your chances?

On a good day, you hope to take 10 tricks, losing only to the three aces. On a bad day, a careless player might go down. Here is how someone did go down when they played in 3NT:







 The 10 came to South K, East signaling with the 8. South attacked clubs and West took the first round and continued spades. East started looking pleased and the result was a predictable down two. East cashed four spades and took his A for six tricks.

Did South err by bidding 1NT and not 2. If North was the declarer, 3NT would have been easy. Did North overbid by raising to 3NT?

In my opinion, the actual bidding was not bad. You can get opinions to the contrary, but no one will say the bidding was wrong. The »wrong» came in the play.

Given the bidding and the information from the 10, East was marked with the A and the J. South had a counter to the defense: At trick one, South should play the Q. East has to win the trick else South will get two spade tricks. The trouble is that if East wins the trick, South still gets two spade tricks. His  K 9 4 will be worth two tricks after East wins the ace.

Back to the change I made in your hand: Originally South had the  K 8 4, which was changed to the  K 9 4. If South had the original hand, 3NT would go down if West had an entry to lead more spades.

The point of this hand and of the hands in this series is that spot cards have a role. Often they can be the diference between making your contract and failing. Be bonest if  you had the  K 9 4. Would you have appreciated its value?

Read Part II...Click Aqui