Join Bridge Winners
Garbage Stayman
(Page of 12)

In a Round of 16 match in the Open Trials, you must find the best approach opposite partner's weak NT opening.

E-W vul, West deals. As South, you hold:

South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
?

1NT: 10-12

Available to you are:

2: To play

2: Non-forcing Stayman. A non-jump new-suit follow-up is non-invitational.

Your call?

South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
?

Bidding Stayman looks clear. If partner bids a major, that will be great. If partner bids 2, you will have various options.

You bid 2. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
?

2 would be Garbage Stayman. Partner will correct to 2 if he has 3 spades and 2 hearts.

2 would be to play. Partner will pass.

Your call?

South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
?

2 has to be better than 2. You know you have at least a 7-card spade fit and at most a 7-card heart fit. If partner could bid over 2 then bidding 2 would be risky, but since 2 is to play partner will pass.

Passing could be right. Partner has at most 6 cards in the majors, so he could easily have 4 or even 5 diamonds. However, partner could be 3-3-2-5, and 2 would be a 6-card fit. At least you know for sure you have a 7-card spade fit, and you might have an 8-card spade fit. 2 looks better.

You bid 2, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

West leads the 5. Third and fifth leads.

North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A1094
South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

What do you play from dummy?

North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A1094
South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

If you win the ace of clubs the defense will retain all their honors in the suit. This will expose you to a force. It has to be better to force East to spend an honor while you ruff, hoping that dummy's remaining clubs will protect you against the force.

It may seem necessary to play the 10 or 9 to force an honor. However, East can't see your hand. Unless he has QJ8 of clubs, he may have to play an honor. He probably will not be able to read his partner's 5 as holding the rest of the clubs. This will give you much better protection against the force.

You play small. East plays the queen, and you ruff. How do you proceed?

North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A109
South
J765
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

You have plenty of potential winners in the red suits which you don't want ruffed. It has to be right to get to work drawing trumps.

There doesn't appear to be any reason not to lead a spade up to dummy. With some luck, you might hold your trump losses to 2 tricks.

You lead a small spade. West plays the 2. What do you play from dummy?

North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A109
South
J765
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

Playing the 8 would be right only if West has both the 9 and the 10, and there is no reason to think that is the case. West might have AKx or honor-doubleton, and if this is the case playing the queen will hold your trump losses to 2 tricks.

You play the queen of spades. East wins the ace, and returns the 2. What heart spot do you play from your hand?

North
84
QJ10
J64
A109
South
J76
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

There is a real danger from this shift that West has a doubleton heart honor. If so, he will be winning and returning a heart. If you reveal your 4 to the opponents, East will know that his partner has returned the smallest heart and thus started with a doubleton. Your best bet is to conceal the 4 from the opponents. Of course East should know from your 2 call that you started with 4 hearts, but it can't cost to try.

You play the 8. West wins the king, and returns the 6 to East's ace. You continue the concealment, playing the 7. East leads the 3, and West ruffs with the 9. West leads the jack of clubs to dummy's ace. What do you discard?

North
84
J64
A109
South
J76
9
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

Your 9 is a winner, and East isn't going to be in position to give West another ruff. The fourth round of diamonds could be a problem. You should discard a diamond.

You choose to discard the 9. What do you do now?

North
84
J64
109
South
J76
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

If East has both remaining spades, it will be necessary to lead a spade from dummy in order to avoid losing two more spade tricks. You won't be able to get to dummy to take a diamond finesse. Furthermore, it appears from West's jack of clubs shift that West has the king of clubs, since if East had that card West would have led a small club. Thus East would be able to win the spade and force you with a club, setting up a spade trick.

Taking the diamond finesse looks better. You won't be able to lead a spade from dummy, but the spades might now be 1-1.

You choose to lead a spade from dummy. East wins the king of spades, West discarding the 6. Now East shifts to the 9. What do you play?

North
8
J64
109
South
J7
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P

It is inconceivable that East would shift to a diamond away from the king at this point. Whie it doesn't appear that the diamonds are 5-1, it is possible. You should go up with your ace of diamonds, draw the last trump, and concede a diamond for down 1.

You choose to play the 10. West wins the king, and returns a diamond. East has another diamond, and you are down 1. The full hand is:

West
92
K6
K853
KJ865
North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A1094
East
AK10
A532
92
Q732
South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
4
Q
3
3
1
0
5
2
Q
A
2
1
1
2
8
K
10
0
1
2
6
J
A
7
2
1
3
3
4
9
Q
0
1
4
J
A
2
9
1
2
4
4
K
6
6
2
2
5
9
10
K
4
0
2
6
3
9

Could the defense have improved?

West
92
K6
K853
KJ865
North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A1094
East
AK10
A532
92
Q732
South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
4
Q
3
3
1
0
5
2
Q
A
2
1
1
2
8
K
10
0
1
2
6
J
A
7
2
1
3
3
4
9
Q
0
1
4
J
A
2
9
1
2
4
4
K
6
6
2
2
5
9
10
K
4
0
2
6
3
9

West's opening lead is largely a guess. Just about anything could be right or wrong.

East might well have worked out to insert the 7 at trick 1. For this to be wrong, West would have had to have led from Kxx, leaving declarer with jack-doubleton. Even if this is the case it might be better to play the 7, since if East plays the queen declarer can unblock the jack and potentially win 3 club tricks.

At the end, East should have returned a club rather than the 9. This puts pressure on declarer. Declarer can't afford to duck and give West a club trick, but if declarer ruffs West can play low and force declarer after he wins the king of diamonds, setting up East's 10 of spades.

Should E-W have gotten into the auction?

West
92
K6
K853
KJ865
North
Q84
QJ10
J64
A1094
East
AK10
A532
92
Q732
South
J7653
9874
AQ107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
4
Q
3
3
1
0
5
2
Q
A
2
1
1
2
8
K
10
0
1
2
6
J
A
7
2
1
3
3
4
9
Q
0
1
4
J
A
2
9
1
2
4
4
K
6
6
2
2
5
9
10
K
4
0
2
6
3
9

East might have doubled 1NT. He has a stronger hand than North. However, he is vulnerable, and if South has the balance of strength he could go for a number. West is a passed hand, so it is unlikely that East will be missing a game if he passes.

West might have doubled the Stayman bid. Many pairs play that double of a Stayman response to a weak notrump shows cards, not clubs. They play this for fear of getting stolen. However, West is a passed hand, so he can't have the strength for a card-showing double. His double has to show clubs. There is the danger that N-S might be able to redouble and make 2, but that probably won't happen. On this hand, had West doubled 2 East would have been able to compete successfully to 3.

At the other table North passed, and East struck the first blow with a 1 opening. This allowed E-W to compete to 3, which made comfortably with an overtrick.

Many pairs play that 2 followed by 2 is not garbage Stayman but a light invite. They are forced to follow with 2 on a weak hand, even when they have 4 hearts and 5 spades and know that spades is probably a better trump suit. If their partner is 3-3 in the majors he has to pass, and the superior spade fit is missed. I have never understood the logic behind this. If you are strong enough to invite, you can afford to transfer and bid 2NT. Getting to the better trump suit is more important than being able to stop on a dime in 2.

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