Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – 1 Jun 1989

The importance of hand evaluation in bridge is often not taken into consideration by bridge players. The fact that you may have passed on the first round does not mean that your hand cannot improve dramatically with subsequent bidding. Today’s hand shows how South was able to re-evaluate his hand.

Dealer North, N/S Vul

A Q 8 7 4
10 7
J 8 7 2
K 9
K 10 6
K 6 3 2
K 6
7 6 4 2
J 2
Q J 9 5 4
Q 10
Q 10 8 3
9 5 3
A 8
A 9 5 4 3
A J 5
West North East South
Pass Pass 1
Pass 1 Pass 1NT
Pass 3 Pass Pass

North has wisely upgraded his hand because of the diamond fit by jumping to 3on the second round. This now guarantees a five-card spade suit. South must also now upgrade his hand in view of the double fit in spades and diamonds. It is essential that South bids 4to indicate that he now wants to be in game.

East’s best lead against 4is the Q. This normally promises QJ10 but can be from a near sequence of QJ9. North wins in dummy with the ace and should now take the spade finesse. When this succeeds, North realises he has 10 tricks provided the diamond suit breaks 2-2. He loses one spade, one heart, and a diamond.

It is interesting to note that if the diamond suit did not break or if there had been two spade losers, North would be forced to fall back on the finesse of the J in order to discard the losing heart from hand. This is why it is important not to cash the A, K, too early. The theory that one always requires 26 high card points to be in game is not always valid. Here North/South reached a game on 23 points by using the appropriate hand re-evaluation.