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Hand of the Week - 8 Feb 2016



Well, four hands.    4441 shapes are quite rare (3%) and notoriously hard to bid.   Some experts recommend deducting a point on these hands, you have no long suit and lots of losers.


We had several of these last night, opening hands.   The normal rule to open with two 4-card suits is to start with the lower-ranked suit, and probably rebid NT.   With 4441 you have a problem if your partner responds in the singleton, or 1NT - you are stuck for a rebid.  I recommend opening the middle of the three 4-card suits.


I hate the North hand.   If you're going to open I recommend 1D, intending to rebid 2C, but it's unpleasant.   I would pass and hope to come in later.   After three passes, West will open 1S and now North can double to bring partner into the auction.


The East hand is opening strength, and I would open 1H. When North opens 1H, even with 14 points, this hand is just ugly.   I would pass.   It has defensive qualities, just sit back and let the opponents struggle.


South has the 4441 hand and after two passes can open.  With 12 points a pass is OK, but a bit timid given the prime aces and king.   And in third seat you want to make it harder for West to bid.   I recommend a 1D opening, the middle suit. 

If West passes and North responds 1S, then you can rebid 2C, but it's not pretty.   If West overcalls 1S, North should respond 1NT and that will probably do.   Very few contracts are making.



If West passes then I would open the North hand 1H.   If you open 1C there's a problem if partner responds 1NT, but you can take your chances that South will respond with a major suit.  If West opens 1C, I would Pass with the North hand although many would be tempted to take action, either overcall with a 4-card suit, or double.   It's a good defensive hand, let the opponent's find a contract.

Giles Hancock

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