RedZ Common Game Analysis June 15, 2021

Analysis by Mark Bartusek

Common Game Analysis


Hand 1 – Some Easts will open 1H (usually playing a strong club system), but most players will pass with a hand that they would not consider an opening bid. If East does open then South will overcall 2D and North will probably buy the contract with a 2S call by a passed hand. This will make either 2 or 3 depending upon the Declarer play and the defense (Declarer being able to set up one of the minors for a pitch in the other after playing 3 rounds of trumps). At most tables South will open 1D and have a decision whether to rebid 1NT or 2C after partner bids 1S. Those rebidding 1NT will buy it (unless North decides to play 2S) and usually make exactly 1NT. If South rebids 2C then North will have an unpleasant rebid. A 2D false preference is best to keep the auction alive with his 9 HCPs and this will result in South making 2D for +90. Note that some Souths might aggressively open 1NT and probably end up down 1 in a 2NT contract after partner transfers / invites and West leads a heart.

Hand 2 – After West opens 1H North will either make a takeout double or overcall 2C. East will jump to 3H which will often cause West to bid 4H in competition going down either 1 or 2 tricks depending upon the defense. A takeout double by North will often result in South competing with 3S and possibly doubling 4H for penalties. North will often lead the spade king on any auction, but must switch to a trump at trick 2 to cut down diamond ruffs in dummy (with South getting in on the 2nd round of spades to eventually get 3 rounds of trumps played).

Hand 3 – North should open 1S with this distributional trick-taking hand holding the majors despite only 11 HCPs. After South bids 2D and West bids 3 clubs (West is vulnerable so must proceed with caution) either North or South will then bid hearts getting to a final 4H contract. This will make 10 tricks whether North sets up spades or diamonds.

Hand 4 – After West’s weak 2S bid and East’s raise to 3S South will often double with North playing 4D for a nice score of +150 (because East will lead partner’s suit at trick 1). If East overbids with 4S that contract will go down the magic 200 for a great N-S score if South switches to a heart as soon as possible (not attempting to cash a 2nd diamond trick immediately…South must realize that defensive heart tricks must be set up before the club king is knocked out).

Hand 5 – The deal will start with North opening 1S and South bidding either 2S or 3C (playing Bergen). In either case West will have a problem. If South bids 2S then for those E-W pairs playing equal-level conversion doubles West will double expecting to pull a club bid by East to diamonds (but this will probably result in East competing to 4C after South bids a “Law of total tricks” 3S, usually making +130). If South bids a Bergen 3C then a vulnerable West might be shut out of the auction allowing N-S to be -100 after E-W gets 2 heart ruffs. For those intrepid Wests that bid something like 3H over 3C E-W rates to go down a couple tricks vulnerable.

Hand 6 – After West opens 1C in 3rd seat North might make a takeout double with an excellent 14 HCPs and support for all suits. This will result in N-S playing either 1S or 2S making an easy +110. If North passes then E-W will reach 2H which will force South to balance with 2S in last position. If West passes East’s 1H call this will give North a balancing problem, probably solved by bidding 1NT with partner often pulling to 2S.

Hand 7 – Usually South will start with a weak 2H bid causing North to wonder whether there is game in spades. With an 8-bagger a 2S bid seems indicated which will get South to raise spades. 4S makes 4 after the normal club lead. 

Hand 8 – A 3S bid by West will usually get passed out and make +170 (possibly more if N-S defend passively and Declarer plays clubs from the top).

Hand 9 – After South opens 1S in third chair a Drury 2C bid by North will tempt South to bid game holding an extra trump, but his sterile distribution, 7-loser hand, and lack of controls will make people decline. Following the normal Queen of Hearts opening lead Declarer with win in dummy and lead a trump. When West gets in with the diamond Ace the indicated club shift will net E-W two more tricks. 

Hand 10 – Some players will open 1NT in 3rd seat by West, but most will open 1S. North will probably double 1S with his beautiful hand and raise partner’s 2H to 3H resulting in +170 after West leads a normal spade king. If North overcalls 2H instead that will be the final contract and also yield +170 after East leads partner’s suit.

Hand 11 – All roads seem to lead to a final contract of 2D by West for +90. Whether South opens 1H or lets West open 1D and rebid 2D the result will be the same. Aggressive players who open 1NT with West will score amazingly well with the diamonds favorably placed and the normal club lead by North.

Hand 12 – The result on this hand will depend upon how aggressive E-W will be competitively. After West opens 1H and North makes a takeout double East should bid 1S (no diamond values and not averse to preferencing back to 2H). West will then bid 2C and North will bid 2D showing a strong hand. The question is whether West will balance with 3C to get E-W at least +110. 2D will yield N-S a nice +90 result. 

Hand 13 – The good fit here will allow some N-S pairs to reach 6C. After a N-S start of 1C – 1H – 1S South must go through 4th suit forcing to make a strong club raise. Over 2D North can’t bid NT so is stuck rebidding 2S as a mark time bid (note that some pairs might prefer 2H). Then after a game-forcing 3C by South North will bid 3H to again deny anything in diamonds but show a little something in hearts. South might just then drive to a club slam since partner has no diamond wastage and guarantees 4 clubs. If not getting to 6C most will probably just rebid 3NT by South on the 4th round ending the auction and scoring +660.

Hand 14 – After two passes West will open 1C in 3rd seat with North overcalling 1S and East bidding 2D as a passed hand. South’s hand is very poor but some very aggressive players might raise to 2S being non-vul. If South passes then North will have a balancing problem with the diamond honors underneath the bidder. Most will just pass and defend 2D, which will probably make 3 for +110. A super aggressive 2S raise by South will probably go down 2 tricks unless West decides to raise to 3D.

Hand 15 – After a N-S start of 1D – 1H most Easts will probably pass allowing South to rebid 1NT and play it there (partner West is known to have spade length on this auction). This will make either 8 or 9 tricks after the expected spade lead because the clubs are blocked for defensive purposes after South gives up a spade trick. East will be squeezed on the run of spades and diamonds but Declarer might not envision throwing East in with a club to get a heart lead away from the king. If East overcalls 2C or balances with 2C over South’s 1NT call this will go down 2 or 3 due to the horrible dummy.

Hand 16 – A normal 4H contract making 5 will result after the usual auction of 1D – 1H – 1NT – 4H. No play problems will exist after the normal club lead with spades showing up favorably placed.

Hand 17 – E-W will get unlucky and go down in the good 4S contract after a reasonable auction of 1D – (1H) – 3D – (3S) – P – (4S). Both West and East have tough decisions after the 3D preempt – preempts work! Those E-W pairs allowing the 3D bid to shut them out will luckily collect +50 for a nice score.

Hand 18 – The final contract will depend upon South’s opening bid and West’s action. Being vulnerable against not a lot of pairs will only open 2H with the South hand allowing West to overcall 2NT. This will play quite well when West starts with the spade king and then plays North for the spade length with the jack. A diamond lead will hold E-W to 8 tricks while a club lead will allow E-W to make at least 9 tricks. If South aggressively preempts with 3H then West will probably overcall 3NT and the score will depend upon the opening lead again (especially spectacular if North decides to wield the axe against 3NT!).

Hand 19 – The usual auction will probably be 1S – 1NT – 2H – 3H – 4H. A Spade singleton lead will score well, although it’s not an attractive lead into Declarer’s 5-card suit. The more normal diamond lead will allow the club loser to go away on the diamonds. E-W will still get one spade ruff but Declarer will be able to handle everything from there with a crossruff for +450.

Hand 20 – After East’s 3rd seat 1D opening bid all but the most aggressive Souths will pass allowing the auction to continue 1H by West and 2C by East. Again West has an unpleasant rebid and would do best to make a false preference to 2D which should become the final contract. By ruffing a heart early and then knocking out the spade Ace Declarer can then play 4 rounds of clubs pitching 2 spades from dummy and manage a spade ruff in dummy for an excellent score.

Hand 21 – The normal auction will be 1S – 1NT – 2H – 4H because E-W don’t have enough distribution nor values to enter the auction. Defense will determine the outcome because only a club lead from East will get the defense off to a successful tapping of Declarer’s hand before the spades can be set up and trumps drawn. A fairly normal diamond opening lead will generally pose no problem for Declarer.

Hand 22 – Various auctions will determine this hand’s result. Some East’s will open 1NT to protect the doubleton kings. If South passes East will probably make 1NT for +90 after a spade lead due to the heart jack dropping and most cards being onside. If South overcalls 2S to show spades and a minor then South will struggle and probably go down 2 for -100. If East opens 1H then a 1S overcall by South will come back around to East. Most Easts will probably balance with 2C which will cause West to preference to 2H. This will probably go down 1 for -100. Note that if South makes a nice lead of the diamond Queen then North must duck the Ace on the 1st round since Declarer is known to have at least 2 diamonds.

Hand 23 – Although 6NT makes no-one will get there. If N-S stays quiet then a typical 2C-2D-2NT-3NT auction will generate either 9 or 12 tricks after a heart lead depending upon whether Declarer risks the club finesse. If South either opens 1S of has some major suit takeout bid after 2C – 2D (e.g. a Mathe X showing the majors, although being vulnerable would argue against coming in over 2C-2D with such poor suits) the likely outcome will probably be the same.

Hand 24 – Although only N-S can make 1NT the irony of it is that West will often start with a 1NT opening bid. This will shut N-S out unless South has a way of naturally bidding diamonds, which seems indicated having such a nice suit and being non-vulnerable. South will be able to score +90 by setting up a 4th round heart trick to pitch a spade loser since the spade suit is a frozen suit (i.e. neither side can play the suit without giving up a trick).

Hand 25 – South will start with a spade bid in 3rd seat with West probably overcalling 2D. North should make a negative double which will cause South to rebid 2H. North should then raise to 3H which will give South a problem. South must downgrade his hand with the minor suit queens expected to be worthless, but the extra spade and strong trumps argue for bidding game. This might make 10 tricks if West isn’t careful enough to switch to a trump after cashing 2 rounds of diamonds (and a 2nd trump upon winning the first spade trick). Without the two trump plays Declarer will be able to make 10 tricks by cross-ruffing.

Hand 26 – After South opens 1C in 2nd chair North will either bid 1D (or very often 3NT). This will put East on opening lead, and a spade lead will cost a trick allowing 3NT to make. A passive club or heart lead will also allow 3NT to make unless West wins the first 2 diamond tricks to pump a spade through Declarer each time.

Hand 27 – This is a golden fit for N-S but no-one will manage to get to the making slam. After West opens 1S North should make a takeout double holding the perfect distribution. East should preempt to 3S followed by South bidding the expected 4H. If West erroneously believes that a 4S sacrifice with flat distribution and wasted lower honors is safe N-S could lower the boom by pounding it off for +800. 4H will produce a normal +680.