M J Bridge

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N

A K Q 7

K T

A K J T 3

K 5


S

T 2

A 9 8 6 3

9 2

A Q T 8


W

6 4 3

7 5 4 2

8 5 4

6 3 2


E

J 9 8 5

Q J

Q 7 6

J 9 7 4

Hand

C1

Context

S & S.C.B.A. Sims pairs - Summer 2008

Dealer

North

Methods

Balanced 23+, natural positive, three-level transfer, limit raise

Vulnerability

Both



Balanced 23+, relay response, three-level transfer, limit raise

North’s hand isn’t quite balanced but he has chosen to show it as such - alternatives are considered below.

For most pairs South will make a natural positive of 2.  The relay response shown assumes that your agreed positive either shows an AK holding in the same suit, or alternatively shows a more convincing source of tricks than South’s heart suit.  South can then jump to the slam on the known combined holding of thirty three points.

Note that a preferable heart slam, if one exists, can only be reached if North makes a transfer break.  Note also that if South had wished to set the suit as hearts he would have made a Texas (or South African Texas) transfer at the four-level.

W

N

E

S


2

-

2

-

2NT

-

3

-

3

-

6NT

-

-

-






Balanced 23+, natural positive, limit raise

North’s has again chosen to show his hand as balanced.

The natural positive shows some specified holding in top honours and a four- or five-card suit according to partnership agreement.

Some pairs would throw in an extra step to show the five-card heart suit, but the outcome should be the same.

W

N

E

S


2

-

2

-

2NT

-

6NT

-

-

-


Post-beginner and above

Strong single-suited, relay response

North has here chosen to show his hand as eight or nine playing tricks in a single-suited hand.

The auction should still reach 6NT, probably as shown.

W

N

E

S


2

-

2

-

3

-

3

-

3NT

-

6NT

Opening one of a suit

With a five-card minor and a four-card major there is something to be said for taking the natural approach.

3 by North is fourth suit - too good for a direct 3NT.

South must do better than sign off in 3NT, and once again the slam is located.

W

N

E

S


1

-

1

-

2

-

2NT

-

3

-

4NT

-

6NT

-

-

What happens?


All roads lead to 6NT.


The simple natural route has much to commend it in principle, but there is a danger in taking a non-forcing route with as many as twenty three points.  In the present case it is the choice most likely to lead to the slam being missed.

The single-suited approach works perfectly well, but it is a dangerous route and might backfire on another occasion when partner supports what he believes to be a six-card suit, or misses a superior contract in spades.

My choice is to stretch the definition of balanced with the stop in each short suit and to follow the first route above.


If declarer leads out the A and K of hearts he will come to thirteen tricks as the Q and J obligingly fall.

Much sounder is an early finesse in diamonds, after which twelve tricks can hardly fail to materialise.

Hand B4

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