Paul Lavings

Bridge is a game with thousands of unusual situations. Being aware of these situations is called “Technique”. One point of technique is that a 4-3 fit is often right at the one- and two-level, more so than at a higher level. Another is that at the same level, notrumps is more difficult than a suit contract.

In a teams event you hold AQJ, KJ4, 1098, J962, vulnerable versus non vulnerable. You open 1 in second seat, and LHO jumps to 2. Partner doubles, and RHO passes. You consider passing, but decide on your other choice, 2NT:
East deals, NS vul

10 9 8 6 3
9 3
A Q J 7
Q 7

7 5 4                                   K 2
A Q 8 7 5 2                          10 6
3 2                                      K 6 5 4
K 4                                     A 10 8 5 3

K J 4
10 9 8
J 9 6 2

West leads a heart, and East returns a heart when in with K. You lose eight tricks for -300. In the discussion after the score-up, one of your teammates listens to the bidding, then looks at your hand and says “2”.

Yes, that would have been a far better choice than 2NT. How do players in their twenties know these things?

South’s fifth spade was a bonus, but the double of 2 guaranteed at least four spades, and the 4-3 spade fit would still have been much better than 2NT.

Two months later I held A54, K73, KQ2, 9852 and the bidding proceeded

West   North   East South
Pass     Pass     2   Pass
Pass     Dbl      Pass   ?

Partner is a near certainty to hold four spades, and 2NT may not play well opposite a hand that couldn’t open the bidding. So, in light of the previous experience, 2 was an easy choice:

 West deals, EW vul

K 10 8 7
J 6
10 9 6 4
A K 3

J 9 6 3                               Q 2
Q 5                                   A 10 9 8 4 2
J 7 3                                 A 8 5
Q J 7 4                              10 6

A 5 4
K 7 3
K Q 2
9 8 5 2

2 played nicely, and scored +140, though perfect defence could have held it to eight tricks. On the other hand, 2NT would have had no chance. Q lead would have set up five heart tricks, plus A, for down one.

There must be many times in the past when you have looked for a minor suit fit at the three-level, or battled it out in 2NT. In future keep in mind 2, knowing the contract is going to be played in a 4-3 (Moysian) fit.
Paul Lavings
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