Bridge in Greenwich: In-person card play interrupted by increasing COVID-19

Bridge games at the YMCA Greenwich on June 27, 2018.

Bridge games at the YMCA Greenwich on June 27, 2018.

Cathy Zuraw / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

For the past two months, we’ve been reporting on the progress made by organized bridge in trying to get in-person duplicate games up and running again in clubs and at tournaments, both locally and nationally. Unfortunately, due to the new threat posed by the delta variant of COVID-19, all of the efforts have been faltering.

Locally, the reopening of the duplicate game played in Stamford came to a halt earlier this month after only five and then four tables of players showed up for Tuesday afternoon games held on Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. The club has announced on its website that the next game will be held Sept. 14.

In White Plains, N.Y., the Harte’s Club has been running afternoon games daily, but the last four games as of this writing had attracted a total of only 14 tables all told.

And, of course, the three-day sectional tournament scheduled to be held in Stamford last weekend was canceled entirely due to rising cases of COVID-19. One can only hope that the news on the bridge front will improve soon.

Today’s quiz: Here is another in the current series of quizzes on common situations that arise in the bidding and/or play. In the following problem, you are presented with a bidding sequence followed by three statements. Simply decide whether each statement is essentially true or false.

You hold: S 87542 H 63 D AJ6 C KQ8.

The bidding has gone: Opponent-1H; You-Pass; Opponent-Pass; Partner-1NT. True or false?:

a) Partner has a balanced hand, a heart stopper, and the values (15-17 points) for an opening one notrump bid.

b) Partner has a balanced hand, a heart stopper, and at least the values for an opening bid.

c) Your best action is to pass.

Answers:

1. False. A one notrump bid in the “balancing seat,” where if you pass the bidding is over, is merely an attempt to compete for the contract. Typically, the bid shows about 11-14 high-card points, a balanced hand and a stopper in the opener’s suit. If partner actually has a hand worth an opening notrump bid, he must double first, planning to bid notrump on the next round.

2. False. See answer to 1.

3. True. Your partner would have to have about 16 points for your side to make a game. Since he cannot have this, it would be foolhardy to bid three notrump or raise invitationally to two notrump. Bidding or transferring into two spades is questionable, since there is no reason to believe spades will play better than notrump. Remember, partner could have doubled one heart for takeout if he were interested in spades. Since he did not, you should be leery about removing one notrump to such a weak suit, as partner could well have two small spades.