Bridge Deal of the Week (May 18 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

West North East South
      1♣
Pass 1 Pass 3NT
Pass 4♣ Pass ?
       
       

 

After you open the auction by bidding 1♣ and your partner responds with 1 you show your strength with 3 NT – indicating points and a solid suit of at least five clubs with three honours in clubs. Obligingly your partner goes to 4♣ showing three cards support in clubs and slam interest. Now that clubs is the agreed trump suit, how are going to proceed – what are you going to bid?

Solution

How high to bid? You might have a slam as you have a solid suit of seven clubs, a void in hearts and can count on taking 8 ВЅ tricks. The question is does your partner have any aces, especially the A.

There are several methods to investigate slam possibilities. Most often players use the Blackwood 4NT, but as you have a void Blackwood is not a good choice, because if your partner responds with 5 indicating one ace you still have no clue what ace is it.

Besides using Blackwood with minor suits as trump can get you in trouble as there’s always the danger the reply will get you higher than the safe level.

You could use cue-bidding and respond to 4♣ with 4♠, indicating first round control in spades. The trouble with this variant of continuing is that the call of 4♠ takes up much valuable bidding space – for instance if you partner responds with 5 showing first round control in hearts.

There’s also the question of the ♠K and trump queen – even if your partner has three clubs he might not have the ♣Q and if one of the opponents has three clubs, you might lose a trick. The percentage of distribution 3-0 is 22 %, but still you need to know.

Luckily you and your partner have agreed upon employing kickback ace-asking convention, especially when the trump suit is a minor to avoid all the above-mentioned problems.

The kickback system uses and adjustable asking bid, so the asking bid is always one step immediately above four of the agreed trump suit.

So 4is RKCB if clubs is agreed

4 is RKCB if diamonds is agreed

4♠ is RKCB if hearts is agreed and

4NT is RKCB if spades is agreed.

The step responses are the same as in RKCB, so that

The first step promises 0 or 3 keycards,

the second step promises 1 or 4 keycards,

the third step promises 2 or 5 keycards without the queen of trump and

the fourth step promises 2 or 5 keycards with the queen of trump.

So you bid 4 and as your partner repsonds with 5♣, which is the fourth step – you know North has 2 or 5 keycards and the trump queen and you declare 6♣ to be the contract.

  Q1096  
  KQJ94  
  7  
  Q73  
K843 Deal 752
10652 A873
AQ104 6532
6 89
  AJ  
  -  
  KJ98  
  AKJ10542

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a difficult to bid, easy to play hand. West leads the ♠ 3 and you win the first trick with the ♠J. North has ♣Q73, KQJ94, ♠Q1096 and 7. You must solve the problem of getting rid of your diamonds and take down the ace of hearts to promote your hearts into winners at the same time not losing the entry to the table clubs provide.

You lead the 8 and let the opponents gain lead, West takes the trick with the 10 and leads spades again, you take the trick with the ♠A. Then you lead the ♣2, take the trick with the ♣Q and as the lead is in the dummy now you play the K. East plays the A and you ruff. Now you can draw the remaining trump and transport to the dummy ruffing diamonds and take two tricks in hearts discarding your two diamonds.

 

Kicback offers the best possibility to save bidding space, but you must be sure that your partner understands the bid as kickback ace-asking might get confused with a cue-bid.

This is a difficult hand to bid accurately as your side is light on points and you have a void, which complicates slam bidding.

If using Blackwood you probably would not have reached the slam contract, with cue-bidding you might have had – but as discussed earlier cue-bidding might have been dangerous so the best solution was to use kickback.

 

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this hand is 6♣ by South.

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