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A Matchpoint Opening Bid

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As the auction developed, I was beginning to regret that I had chosen to open this hand with a bid of one spade in the west position. There are only nine high-card points, but the shape adds playing strength to the hand; and I thought we could do well if we discovered a spade or heart fit. My partner held half the deck in high cards and would not be stopped short of the no-trump slam after bidding Blackwood and finding out that I held only one king. She had no trouble making the same 12 tricks that everyone else made on these cards, losing only to the king of spades. Even without a club lead she could finesse the clubs on her own, and would have to do so to score the 12th trick. Six spades would have been a safer slam, but no-trump earns a higher score

Only one other pair in a field of eight bid to the slam, so I presume that few wests chose to open with a one-bid. I have trouble seeing why east would not push to slam anyway after partner's spade response or even weak-two bid increases the value of the tight queen-jack of spades. The longer I play this game, the more I believe that you can open any old pile of garbage, and if partner has the right hand, you will be safe. The danger is that partner will push too high if your garbage does not have some redeeming value such as extra length, so choose your garbage with some care.

Congratulations are due Sandy Watson, whose team won the Ogden sectional Swiss Teams event in November. This is a good win for her in good competition.

The week of December 4-10, we hosted a Sectional Tournament at Clubs at the Boise Bridge Club. This event allowed local players to compete in a large competition without leaving Boise, because every event is simultaneous with many others across the West and Southwest and results are compared with those of hundreds of other players. If you do well, you can earn a lot of master points.

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