Bridge Deal of the Week (November 09 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

West North East South
      1
2 4 4♠ ?

 

You open the auction with 1. West calls 2 – Michaels cuebid showing spades and a minor suit. North responds with 4 and East with 4♠. What are you going to bid?

Solution

Your partner’s jump to 4 can be read as the limit major raise, however you come to the conclusion that the opponents` call of 4♠ can only be a sacrifice, meaning your side most probably has at least game. As none is vulnerable, it is not a good idea to let them have their sacrifice.

You cannot show your minor side suit, to check if you have a double fit – as 5♣ would surely be understood as control showing.

Should you bid 5 to secure the game? There’s a saying that the 5 level belongs to the opponents, meaning it’s often better to defend than to go to 5 level. Bearing in mind the possibility that your hands might match really well, calling 5 would finish the auction, making it awkward for North to bid higher.

Also, the opponents` frantic interference could mean your side really has slam possibilities. So instead of 5 you call 4 NT. Depending on the response, you might still be able to settle for 5, but this way you have at least explored slam possibilities. North responds with 5 – RKCB keycard showing response, which means 2-5 keycards and no trump queen.

Knowing this you declare 6.

West leads the ♣3 and after seeing your partner’s cards, you are quite satisfied that you bid 6 – the only loser you have is the ♣A and the first trick will (probably) settle this matter promoting all your clubs to winners.

You cover with the ♣K, East plays the ♣A and leads clubs back. You play a small one from your hand and West ruffs. There goes your slam. West leads the ♠6 and you can claim 11 tricks.

 

  K8  
  K8763  
  A62  
  KQJ  
Q10765 Deal J932
94 10
J10984 KQ73
3 A864
  A4  
  AQJ52  
  5  
  109752

 

With any other opening lead you could have made 6, as otherwise it really is foolproof: you have five tricks in hearts, four in clubs, two in spades and the A, totaling 12 tricks.

The opponents were quite successful in taking up bidding space during this competitive auction, making it hard for your side to find the optimum contract. For instance – you could have made 6♣, as you could have (re)gained the lead regardless what West would have led.

It is interesting East-West also had a very good minor side suit, which was never bidden – in fact their diamonds were better than spades. 4♠ by the opponents would have gone down by 2 and even if you doubled, the penalty would have only been minus 300 points for the opponents.

Could any other contract have been successful? 6NT by your side would also have depended on the opening lead – if the opponents would have led spades, 6NT is makeable. If the opponents would have led diamonds, the result for your side would have been awful – you would have gone down by four tricks.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this hand is 6 doubled by East/West down by 3.

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