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Avoiding the Minors

By Larry Matheny

Fort Collins, Colorado


The match point scoring used in pairs events does not favor minor suit games. Those low scoring (+400 or +600), yet high trick taking requirement (11 of 13 tricks), games should only be chosen when notrump (9 tricks in 3NT) and the major suits (10 tricks in 4 or 4♠) are unplayable.








             West                                East

             ♠9874                              ♠52

             QJ5                               AK8432

             64                                  10983

             ♣10876                           ♣9








South        West       North        East

1♣             Pass        1             2*

Pass          Pass        3             Pass

3♠             Pass        4♠             Pass

Pass          Pass

*Weak Jump Overcall


Contract: 4♠ South Opening lead: Q


After East’s 2 weak jump overcall, North cuebid the suit asking South if he had a heart stopper. South denied a stopper but showed either a four card spade suit or a spade control. North raised with his strong three card spade holding. Without a spade suit, South could have retreated to a minor suit.



West led the Q and followed with a second heart. After East exited with a club, South was able to claim the remaining tricks. This score of +650 was a tie for section top. Several North/South pairs went down in 3NT and others made game in diamonds or clubs (+600).


Match Point Decisions

To be successful at match point events, you must discuss and make the event scoring method part of your decision-making process.

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