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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 Kokish: With both sides vulnerable, put yourself in my (North) seat in the Canadian National Teams Championship. You hold:
K2 Q109732 86 KQ9

 After a pass on your right, you pass too because you do not consider your hand suitable for a weak 2 or a light 1.


 Much to your surprise, your expert partner introduces hearts at the two level.


West North East South
Bertrand Kokish Grace Baran
Pass Pass 1 2
2 3 Pass 4
Pass Pass 4 5
Pass 5 5 Doblo
Pass ?    

 Kraft: At my table in the Canadian Women's Teams, East bid 4 over my 3
, but the auction was otherwise the same.


 Would you pass the double of 5 at either table?

 Neither of us did. With the massive heart support, the big fit for clubs and the possibility that most of our side's honours would be worthless on defense, we both took out to 6
, knowing it couldn't cost too much and might even make if South could ruff the opening lead. East, spent by now, doubled. This was the full deal:

Both sides vulnerable
West deals

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

 Kokish: Daniel Bertrand (Calgary) led the
9 against Boris Baran, who played dummy's king. Ray Grace (Sherwood Park) took the ace, cashed the A, and underled his spade honours to West's eight. Back came a club for East to ruff with his singleton trump. Down 800. Nicely done indeed by the Alberta guys, but it was not yet clear that would be no saving grace in saving against Grace.

 The script was just right to test this issue because the contract at the other table was indeed 5 doubled. South led a high heart (best), then switched to a trump, picking up North's king (worst). Declarer, Allan Graves of Vancouver, used a trump entry to dummy to lead the J. When it was not covered (diamonds had not been bid), he played the ace, dropped the king, and chalked up an overtrick; plus 1050. Gain 6. That's what team-mates are for.

 Kraft: My partner, Rhoda Habert, was none too pleased when I pulled to 6
. West led a diamond to East's ace and Rhoda playfully asked East whether she would have guessed the diamond king in 5 doubled. East now cashed her A for down one, minus 200. Our team-mates, bless them, were plus 850 in 5 doubled, so we gained 12 IMPs.

 Kokish: Would East make 5 on a heart lead and club switch? I think not. He would playing A, spade to force an entry to dummy to take the wretched diamond finesse. In 6, however, declarer would play off the ace of trumps, enter West with the J, and pick up South's K for a somewhat better result.

 Kraft: Many players would start the North hand with a two-suited (Michaels) cue-bid to show at least five-five with hearts and a minor. That's not our style with a medium-range hand, but might the auction have been less excruciating for us if North had tried 2 over 1.

The four hands were:

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