What Uses are Aces and Spades?
by Mr SEHAWK™
The last card landed on the top of my partner’s other twelve and I picked up a collection reminiscent of so many hands before:
♠ AT764 ♥ A872 ♦ T54 ♣ 2
Using the wonderful (but high risk) SEHAWK™ bidding system my partner sitting North opened 1♦ (showing 13 to 15 SEHAWK™ points). A rather puzzled look on the face of East was followed by a pass from him. My hand was worth 14 SEHAWK™ points and so I made a game invitational bid of 2♣ (I like bidding singletons almost as much as bidding voids!). An even more puzzled look from West was followed by his hesitant pass. My partner then made the bid that I wanted to hear – 2♦, top of his range and forcing to game. Another pass and back to me. Now we knew where we were going (game), time to work out the strain – bid the 5 card suit, 2♠. More puzzled passes from the opposition and a raise to 3♠ from my partner – this was a mixed message. Probably 3 spades to an honour (he knew I had 5 spades) or 4 small ones. Shifting the decision and onus to me, typical! (Definition of partner at bridge – of your three opponents at the table the one sitting in the middle). Anyway – in for a penny and a raise to 4♠.
West looked pleased (but hadn’t doubled) and led K♥. Dummy hit the table:
♠ 9532 ♥ 5 ♦ A63 ♣ A9643
OK, in SEHAWK™ terms, we have 20 points (4 Aces) plus 8 points (distribution) plus 2 points (9 card trump suit) – making 30 points and enough for game. In pure HCP terms we have only 16 and it’s all Aces and spaces – help, I feel sick!
Didn’t I read somewhere that Meckstroth – Rodwell once bid and made 4♥ on 14 HCP so it’s not entirely Mission Impossible? C’mon, Mr SEHAWK™, think!
Neither opponent had doubled so the trumps were going to be, at worst, 3-1; on a good day 2-2. Neither had bid (but had wanted to – remember the bemused faces), so they almost certainly didn’t have a 5 card suit anywhere. West’s lead strongly indicated him holding ♥ KQJx. I’ve got 4 and dummy only one so East must have 4 pretty useless ones. I thought if I WOLD then I probably would be physically ill, 4 winners, …
Let’s take the lead at face value and set sail on a cross-ruff. Ace of hearts and ruff a heart low in dummy. Now the Ace of clubs and a club ruff in hand. Heart ruff, club ruff, (I’m enjoying this!). Now down to this with the lead in the South hand:
North: ♠ 95 ♥ – ♦ A63 ♣ 96
South: ♠ AT7 ♥ 8 ♦ T54 ♣ –
East had followed to the three club tricks with J, Q, K so no prizes for guessing how many of these he had left! Six tricks won and two Aces to go so it’s not going to be a complete disaster. OK, ruff the last heart on the table with the 9 and then (deep breath) – lead dummy’s last trump. Win the Ace (they both followed) and exit with the 7 – the deeply satisfying sight of West’s K eating East’s J followed. Now they were powerless, I could ruff either of the round suits and a diamond gave me the Ace that I could get at anyway. I cheerfully surrendered the last two diamond tricks and chalked up the game.
Moral of the story
Don’t moan about Aces and spaces – they let you make 16 HCP games. SEHAWK™ allows you to bid them! (What other bidding system would give you even one bid on the NS hands, let alone six and a game contract?)
The four hands were:
N ♠ 9532 ♥ 5 ♦ A63 ♣ A9643
E ♠ J8 ♥ T964 ♦ KQ87 ♣ KQJ
S ♠ AT764 ♥ A872 ♦ T54 ♣ 2
W ♠ KQ ♥ KQJ3 ♦ J92 ♣ T875
More About Mr SEHAWK™
Name: Cliff H
Bridge player for: 45 years
Level of expertise: Amateur
Preferred bidding system: SEHAWK™ (Standby Every Hand A White Knuckle Ride)
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