Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

The Earl of Yar­bor­ough liked to make a bet with his whist-play­ing friends who com­plained that they al­ways held bad cards. The bet was sim­ply that if they bet one pound and their next hand had no card higher than a nine, he would pay them one thou­sand pounds. Since the ac­tual chance of be­ing dealt such a poor hand is 1 in 1828, the Earl was mak­ing an ex­cel­lent bet.

Back in the 1960s, an ac­quain­tance of mine, one John Kelk, picked up a hand in which the high­est card was an eight. He claimed that such hands should, there­after, be called a “Kelk”. Th­ese hands are ex­tremely rare oc­cur­ring once in ev­ery 16,960 hands but one ap­peared in a re­cent Mon­day night game. David Robin­son was prob­a­bly be­moan­ing his luck in hold­ing such a poor hand and not ex­pect­ing to play any ma­jor part in this hand. Imag­ine his sur­prise when he found him­self play­ing the hand af­ter his part­ner had opened 1NT!

The South hand is one of those hands which has no ideal bid. Hold­ing two suits, you would like to bid both, es­pe­cially since the sec­ond one is a ma­jor. On the other hand, bid­ding clubs and then two hearts would be a re­verse and there are not quite the val­ues for that. Cer­tainly part­ner might re­spond 1D or 1H but mine never seem to and even then you will have some ex­tra un­ex­pressed val­ues. Play­ing a strong NT, the South hand is in range and, if one of the small clubs were a spade, it would be ob­vi­ous to bid 1NT. There are risks but it is an­other way to con­sider bid­ding th­ese dif­fi­cult hands. When East pro­tected with 2S and South made a take- out dou­ble, North bid 3C and found him­self play­ing 4C. This con­tract made 7 tricks and might have made 8 but the match­point score was the same. The field was in 4 of a ma­jor with half mak­ing and half be­ing 2 down so this score was a mid­dle. West has a prob­lem in the auc­tion that they think they are mak­ing 2S or 3S and get­ting 4C down two will not be ad­e­quate com­pen­sa­tion so they should dou­ble 4C.

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