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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

“Six would”

Welcome to the first Daily Hand of 2022. It would be nice to start on a positive note with a well-bid slam from the first tournament session of 2022. The operative word “would” be “would”. So, before we say whether that is possible, decide what your bid would be as South after this short, sharp sequence:

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North Deals
None Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

   
 

K 3

J 10 4

7 5 4

A K Q J 10

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 ♠

Pass

2 ♣

Pass

3 ♠

Pass

?

 

or what would you bid now if the bidding started:

or would or

     

North Deals
None Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

   
 

K 3

J 10 4

7 5 4

A K Q J 10

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 ♠

2 

3 ♣

3 

4 

Pass

?

These sequences, certainly the first one, could well have happened at the first

These sequences, certainly the first one, could well have happened at the first New Zealand tournament session in 2022, at the Auckland Bridge Club. 

Would either have got you interested in slam? Hopefully, they would. 

The issue with the first sequence is that we bid a natural 2Club-small and that now confuses what we would like to do next and that is show we are interested in slam and have a top honour in clubs (4Club-small). The slam we want to show interest in is the spade slam…and we have a rather useful side-suit which does not need much setting up!

If we can bid 4Club-small in this way, not because we have clubs but as a cue-bid, then our partner will drive us towards slam. Our Spade-smallK is such a useful card. The alternative to bidding 4Club-small would be to use your favourite form of Blackwood, risky in that you might be missing AK of a red suit. These were the four hands:

North Deals
None Vul

A Q J 10 9 5 4

K Q 2

A

8 3

9 8 6 5 3

J 9 8 2

9 5 4 2

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

8 7 6 2

A 7

K Q 10 6 3

7 6

 

K 3

J 10 4

7 5 4

A K Q J 10

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 ♠

Pass

2 ♣

Pass

3 ♠

Pass

4 ♣

Pass

4 NT

Pass

5 

Pass

6 ♠

All pass

 

5H showed 2 key cards without SQ.

That seemed fairly straightforward, the play even more so, all 13 tricks being made in most cases when Heart-smallA was not led. Alas, only 7 out the 27 North-Souths made it to slam.

Maybe all the rest had a little interference:

North Deals
None Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

   
 

K 3

J 10 4

7 5 4

A K Q J 10

 

West

North

East

South

 

1 ♠

2 

3 ♣

3 

4 

Pass

?

A little bit harder now but your partner must hA little bit harder now but your partner must have a good hand to bid this way. They either have a long strong spade suit or else they have a strong hand with club support. Either way, they seem to have diamonds under control.

So, you are worried about hearts? Where are partner’s high cards… not many in the minors. To bid strongly in this way, they must have heart honours as well as 6 or 7 hcp in spades.

So, what would you bid? There seems to be a choice, as you are not really sure which hand type your partner has. You could bid 5Diamond-small and see what they say, or even 5NT which ought to say “pick a slam”. Either way, you would be hearing a spade call from partner.

Perhaps, though, North could have used key-card themselves directly over the 3Diamond-small bid. You have shown a good hand by bidding 3Club-small and they have a pretty solid suit of their own. They would be very pleased when they follow up with 6Spade-small and see your dummy.

So, we “would” like to have been able to start the year with a nicely bid 6Spade-small slam. What’s your New Year’s resolution? Maybe stopping the opponents interfering? Alas, unlikely to happen. However, at least when East did not overcall, you would like to have had a constructive crisp sequence to the small slam.

did happen.jpg

Happy slam bidding in the New Year.

Richard Solomon

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