Curious hands. By Max Rebattu

During the second day of the Rosenblum, some peculiar hands occurred at our table.On the following deal I had the thinnest stopper -- 6 5 4 3 -- I have ever held in a notrump contract.  The hand itself  is not of special interest --  in fact it cost us some points. Just for the record:

E/W Vul. Dealer East.


                  NORTH
                  S J 9 4 3
                  H 10 9
                  D 9 8 5 3
     WEST         C A 8 2      EAST
     S 8                       S K 10 7 2
     H J 8 7                   H 6 5 4 3
     D 7 6 4 2                 D A K J
     C J 10 9 7 6              C K 3
                  SOUTH
                  S A Q 6 5
                  H A K Q 2
                  D Q 10
                  C Q 5 4

As East I opened a 14-16 NT against my Spanish Friends Fresneda- Al Rachach, which was passed out. South led his top hearts and I kept my H3, which made the fourth trick. However, I went down two -- a bad score as our partners failed in 4S.

On the next deal, I gazed at the following collection:


          S A Q J 10 8 7 6 4 3 2
          H 4
          D 6
          C K 

This was the first time I had ever possessed a ten-card suit. I really became a little nervous -- what should I open in third seat, non-vulnerable against vulnerable opponents? I did not find any brilliant bid and just opened a rather solid 4S. A little cowardly but I was very happy as the bidding proceeded pass-pass-double-all pass.  My optimisism faded away however when dummy came down on the table.

EW vul. Dealer north.
                  NORTH
                  S  -
                  H  K J 5 3
                  D  Q 10 4 3 2
     WEST         C  Q 10 7 6     EAST
     S K 5                        S 9
     H A 6 2                      H Q 10 9 8 7
     D 9 8 7                      D  A K J 5
     C A 8 5 3 2                  C  J 9 7
                  SOUTH
                  S  A Q J 10 8 7 6 4 3 2
                  H  4
                  D  6
                  C  K

My opponents, Paul and Linda Lewis, cashed their three aces. If  had the S 9 instead of the S 2 I would have tested West by playing the S6 from hand. Now I cashed the ace and was disappointed to concede one down. This was a push. At the other table East, Jan van Cleeff,  opened the bidding with 2H, weak with five hearts and a fourcard minor. South bid  5S and West, Jan Jansma, passed as he hoped that North might go wrong. North paused for a while and East planned to double 6S, hoping to avoid the heart lead and get a diamond lead instead. Everybody passed, however, and the same score of minus 100 was achieved.
I don't like ten-card suits!.