North South Vulnerable

North South Vulnerable

Play Bridge: Two-level over notrump competition

When opponent’s compete over partner’s one notrump, we have already seen that a cuebid of the bid or implied suit is Stayman.

When opponent’s compete over partner’s one notrump, we have already seen that a cuebid of the bid or implied suit is Stayman.

Furthermore, any two-level bid is to play, any direct three-level bid is forcing to game showing a five-card suit and a double is for penalty.

The bidding:

North, with a balanced 17 points opens one notrump. East and West are using transfers over opponent’s notrump to get the notrump opener on opening lead. This is often worth a trick.

East, with a good heart suit, transfers using two diamonds. South, with less than 10 points and at least a good five-card suit bids at the two-level to play. The opponents compete to three hearts. West should have three hearts, but he is not vulnerable.

South repeats his spades. South has a good suit, five points, a doubleton and a singleton. He is right to compete to the three-level. The one notrump opener takes two spades and three spades as to play and passes.

Since South has six spades, his bid over two diamonds could have been four hearts, a Texas transfer to four spades. However, the vulnerability and his holding the boss suit, spades, made him careful.

The contract: Three spades by South.

The opening lead: The king of hearts

The play:

Declarer takes his heart ace and ruffs a heart to take the spade finesse which loses. East returns a heart and South ruffs. West, fortunately, has no more trump. South draws trump and leads a diamond to the dummy. West ducks and the king wins.

Declarer ruffs the last heart and plays another diamond towards dummy. West takes his ace. West exits the jack of clubs. North knows West would not lead jack from King, jack and ten and plays the ace dropping the king.

Declarer discards a club and concedes a club. Declarer loses a spade, a diamond and a club.

Without competition, if North had one more spade and a doubleton somewhere, he would have superaccepted and South would have gone to game. North could have gone to game here but his four triple three hand stopped him from doing so.

The result: Three spades by South plus one for +170


Do you have a question or a hand of note that occurred at your bridge table? If yes, send it to me at and I will answer it. The questions may appear in a future column.

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