top of page

SCBA County League 2022 Round Four

Bidding problems figure high this time, starting with board 2.

With 21 high card points, a 4 loser hand and a good 6 card suit, South certainly needs to show their strength. Playing Acol, the choice is between opening an artificial 2 clubs showing a strong hand, (not necessarily with a good club suit) or two no trumps showing a balanced or semi-balanced hand with 20 - 22 high card points.

With a strong hand and a good 6 card suit it might seem that the strong 2 clubs is the obvious bid but looking at the hand overall it looks like a no trump opener. You have good stops in hearts and diamonds and the king of spades is a stop if you are the declarer. Opening 2 no trumps will ensure that any no trump contract will be right sided so I, along with 4 of the 7 other first division Souths, elected to open 2 no trumps. This was our first step in failing to find the 6 clubs slam.

Over 2 no trumps partner bid a 3 hearts transfer but over my 3 spades he simply bid 3 no trumps which I passed. Looking at North's hand, however, with two 5 card suits he has an excellent chance of finding South with at least three to an honour in one of them. The hand will almost certainly play better in a suit contract and at teams there is no pressure to play in no trumps. If North were missing the king of clubs then 3 no trumps is the practical bid but with ace to five spades and king jack to five clubs, a slam must be at least a possibility

In order to investigate how likely a slam was, I setup Jack to keep the North hand fixed and then generate 20 random deals where South would open 2 no trumps. The results astonished me. Only 5 of the deals were not slams! 9 were small slams and 6 were grand slams! Though I recognised the potential of the North hand, I certainlly did not realise how likely a slam was.

At teams, it is just as important to bid your slams as to bid your games so North should investigate the slam possibility by bidding 4 clubs after the transfer to spades. Bidding past 3 no trumps clearly signals a game forcing, distributional hand and South, with excellent club support, should recognises the slam potential. It's tempting to leap to a 4 no trumps key card enquiry straight away but there are one or two problems. Firstly, consider what you as South would want to play in if you held 2 spades, 4/5 hearts, 5/4 diamonds and 2 clubs. You would like to play in no trumps with this misfit so you want to be able to bid 4 no trumps as a natural bid in this sequence.

2NT I have 20 - 22 points balanced or semi-balanced 3H I have 5+ spades 3S As requested 4C (forcing) I have a distributional hand with 5+ spades and 4+ clubs

4NT I don't have 4+ clubs or 3+ spades and this is a place to play.

I guess many pairs who will gladly open 2 no trumps on a 5422 hand will never have discussed how to deal with misfits and will treat any 4 no trumps bid, other than an immediate quantitative 4 no trumps, as a key card enquiry. You might like to discuss this with your partner. Basically, when responder shows 2 suits over 2 no trumps, a bid of 4 no trumps is natural if 3 no trumps is not available. (After 2NT - 3D - 3H - 3S then 3NT is available so 4NT here is a key card enquiry agreeing spades.)

But you don't have the misfit just described. You have fantastic support, you just want to be certain that partner has at least two key cards and then you can bid 6 clubs. Unfortunately, playing normal Key Card Blackwood or Roman Key Card Blackwood you can't safely ask for key cards since if partner has only one they will bid 5 diamonds and you are committed to 6 clubs missing two key cards. If you are playing RKCB 1430, however, then you can ask since it's highly unlikely that partner has no key cards so 5D would show 3 key cards. But how do you ask if 4NT is natural? - You make a cue bid of 4 diamonds, North cue bids the ace of spades and now 4NT is your key card ask. So we have:

2NT I have 20 - 22 points balanced or semi-balanced 3H I have 5+ spades 3S As requested 4C (forcing)) I have a distributional hand with 5+ spades and 4+ clubs (probably 5) 4D I have 1st or 2nd round control in diamonds 4S I haven't got one in hearts but I have one in spades 4NT How many key cards do you have? 5H I have 2 without the queen of clubs 6C We are missing a control

Simple when you know how eh? The pair playing an artificial 1 club bid the slam but only one other first division pair bid the slam. They started with 2 no trumps and bidding as suggested above up to 4 diamonds. North then bid 5 clubs which South raised to 6. 5 out of 8 pairs played in 3NT though.

Board 21 was another slam missed by most pairs.

5 of the 8 first division Norths opened this hand with a weak 1 no trump. None of these pairs even investigated a slam, let alone bid it. To see how likely a slam was I setup Jack to keep the South hand fixed and deal 20 random deals where North would open 1 no trump. 10 of these deals could make 6 hearts but on two of them 4 hearts was the limit so you could go down if your investigations took you to the 5 level.

It's a close thing and at pairs it's probably better to settle for 4 hearts since it's generally accepted that you shouldn't bid close slams at pairs. At teams, however, you should bid 50% slams so it's worth investigating this one.

Two of the one no trump openers were uncontested auctions, one of which was a direct jump to 4 hearts and one was a simple transfer and raise to 4 hearts. It's useful on this hand if you play super-accepts after a transfer since partner can show 4 card support and not minimum. To super-accept the no trump opener doesn't transfer as asked by the responder but bids something else such as the next higher suit. Personally, I would not describe the North hand as a minimum in support of hearts since you have 4 good hearts and a useful shortage so after a super-accept South should be encouraged to press on with cue bidding and key card enquiries for the slam. There are several different super-accept systems, some of which distinguish between minimum and maximum strength hands so I won't discuss detailed auctions.

Two of the auctions had an artificial 2 diamonds overcall from East showing spades and another suit. South now has a problem in that they have both a spade stop and a good heart suit and they can't show both. It's probably best to bid a game forcing 3 hearts* since partner can bid 3 spades over this to ask for a spade stop if they wish. North will raise to 4 hearts, however, and knowing that North has three hearts you can ask for key cards, find 2 and bid the slam. *Alternatively, you could argue that if East has the majority of the outstanding points your hand is improved and bid an immediate 4NT key card enquiry as Jack does in this situation!

Finally, a bid I have rarely made in my 63 years of bridge, a Lightner double on board 24.

The bidding was short - 3S - 6S - X The double was by me (South) and was a Lightner Double which asks for an unconventional lead such as a suit bid by dummy but definitely not a trump. It often shows a void or a tenace position over dummy. In this instance it must be a void if it is a Lightner Double since no suits other than trumps have been bid. Partner can't be certain that I am not just doubling on values in this auction, however, so he laid down his ace of diamonds on which I played the 10 as a suit preference signal for the higher of the two other non-trump suits. Seeing dummy and his own values partner now knows that I have made a Lightner double and indicated hearts so he duly gave me my ruff to set the contract.

4 of the eight first division tables played in 6 spades. Two made their contract and two went off - both doubled. At the undoubled tables after leading their ace of diamonds, despite their partner playing the ten and even seeing the void in dummy, the two Norths continued with the king of diamonds. This is surprising since it is common to play a suit preference signal when partner leads an ace and there is a singleton in dummy. The ten of diamonds must be calling for a heart and the Lightner double is not really necessary.

Recent Posts

See All

The Camrose Trophy

Can be seen on RealBridge this Weekend This is a quick post to let you know that you can watch the the first round of the Camrose Trophy on Real Bridge this weekend. The Camrose Tropy or just 'The Cam

Roman Key Card Blackwood

With all the bells and whistles! Even experienced players may find something new to try. There is a lot to take on in this post but you don't have to do it all at once. You can start with basic key c

1 komentarz

23 lis 2022

On hand 21, we bid 1C-P-1D(showing 4+H)-P-2H(12-14 with 4H)-X-4C(splinter in D)-P-4D(first round D control)-4NT-P-5H-6H(with the confidence that any key missing cards would be held by E).

bottom of page