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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Hand.. Full of Potential.

With many aces, first or second round control of all four suits and a fit established, it would seem the “sky could be the limit”, certainly the 7-level. The opposition have been kind enough to let you establish that fit even though they have the spade suit.

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West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
9
A 10 7 4
A J 6 2
A Q 9 2
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Dbl
3  4  4  ?

 

1Club-small is 3+ clubs. Where to from here?

Momentum was lost when South merely competed with 5Heart-small. What says the Panel?

Matt Brown “ 4NT: RKBC for Heart-small. I think this is a pretty clear bid.Slam is a claim opposite various weak NT such asSpade-smallxx Heart-smallKQxx Diamond-smallKQx Club-smallKJxx, and he surely has more to be bidding at the 4 level. Even with spade wastage, I think slam will be playable almost all of the time.”

Michael Cornell “4NT: if something is missing, will follow with 6Club-small.

If I get a 5Spade-small response, I will bid 5NT but certainly will not push  to grand myself.”

Peter Newell “4NT: I have a good hand, and key issues are how many key cards, whether partner has the Heart-smallQ, and partner’s diamond holding.  4NT is a good start to find out those things….”

Nigel Kearney “4NT: I would just use Blackwood and bid 6Club-small if we have one key card plus the Heart-smallQ and stop in 5Heart-small otherwise. There is limited space to do anything else. A hand like Spade-smallxx Heart-smallKQxx Diamond-smallKx Club-smallKxxxx doesn't seem too much to hope for given partner doesn't have a weak NT opening.”

Nigel queried as to whether North could hold a weak no-trump. Matt Brown’s weak no trump example and Nigel’s minimum non weak no-trump suggest slam is quite likely opposite minimum openers, whatever your system is.

Kris Wooles “4NT: Lots of bidding all round and partner has the strength to make a free bid at the 4 level after my “not so weak” negative double of 2Spade-small. As I don’t think partner is void in spades, I’m bidding 4NT RKCB as it is possible we may have a grand on with Spade-smallAx, Heart-smallKQJx, Diamond-smallx, Club-smallKJxxxx opposite. While there might be a void around, especially with East, the lead will be coming from that hand, whatever the strain, which is comforting. 

There were other approaches:

Bruce Anderson  “ 5Club-small: This must be cue bid agreeing hearts and show slam interest. Partner is likely to have length in clubs and four hearts as with a flat hand and four hearts, they would have opened 1NT. Partner is not likely to have greater strength if flat as our opponents are then bidding on thin air. I do not want be in slam with my 4441 shape unless partner has good trumps and both minor suit kings. With that hand I should hear 5Diamond-small; then I bid 6Heart-small. If I hear 5Heart-small, that is where we play.”

Certainly, all the other slam examples given above do have control in the minors and slam would not be so lay-down if the Club-smallK was indeed the Spade-smallK. Yes, 5Club-small should be a cue-bid though once in a while, your negative double does not contain four hearts..and then partner might not see 5Club-small in the same light.

Stephen Blackstock  “Pass: Surely forcing, even in a non-regular partnership. Slam is very possible, but I don’t have a convenient invitation at this point.  Hence, I plan to pull a double to convey that message or raise if North bids at the five level immediately. This has the added advantage of denying first round spade control.”

So, some different approaches which should get our Panel to small slam, necessary as these were the actual hands:

West Deals
None Vul
K Q 5 2
K Q 10 4
K J 8 6 4
Q 8 6 4 2
J 9 6
9 7 3
5 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A K J 10 7 5 3
8 3
8 5
10 7
 
9
A 10 7 4
A J 6 2
A Q 9 2
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Dbl
3  4  4  ?

 

Key card would not in itself get you to grand slam, even by itself a response showing one key card and a void. South might guess which suit the void is in though there would still be uncertainty as to the Heart-smallQ and the Diamond-smallQ. While North may or may not have a weak no trump, depending on your system, they were under pressure to show heart support after the raise to 3Spade-small and may still have a minimum hand, without one of those red queens.

Without knowledge of the void, the 6-level will certainly be the limit. It would be foolish for South to even invite grand-slam.

At the table, North did raise South’s 5Heart-small bid to small slam and rather regretted not bidding a 5Spade-small first- round control on the way. That may have got the partnership to grand-slam though South was perhaps lucky that North took further action opposition a competitive 5Heart-small.

East-West could have bid more pre-emptively with their 12 trumps to make it even harder for the opposition. Perhaps, the equal nil vulnerability created caution.

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How often does your partner produce “perfect cards”? Even on the above deal when North did, grand would have been defeated had West held one additional heart. Small slam seems adequate..and all our Panel would have reached it either through Key Card, a cue-bid or waiting for more information from partner.

 Working Finesses

South Deals
Both Vul
A Q 10 4 2
8 5
J 9 2
A 10 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
8 6
A K J 4 2
K 6 4 3
K 6
West North East South
      1 
2  2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

25 hcp between the two hands and you are in game and have received a none-too-unfriendly lead of Club-smallQ. You win in the South hand, play a spade to the queen which wins and a heart to the jack which also wins. It seems to be going rather well. What next?

Richard Solomon

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