M J Bridge

Bidding

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N

A K Q 5 3

A J 7 3

K 5

A J


S

J

K Q 8 2

A 8 6 2

K T 6 3


W

T 9

6 5 4

Q T 7 4 3

7 4 2


E

8 7 6 4 2

T 9

J 9

Q 9 8 5

Hand

C5

Context

Derbyshire v Staffordshire September 2019

Dealer

W

Methods

Opening 2NT, Puppet Stayman, Opening 2 (game-force), opening 2 (1-round force), RKCB, specific king ask, opening one of a suit, fourth suit

Vulnerability

NS



Opening 2NT, Puppet Stayman,

South’s 3 is Puppet Stayman asking for a five-card major.

South can then bid a confident 6NT on the known combined 33 to 35 points.

W

N

E

S


2NT

-

3

-

3

-

6NT

-

-

-


W

N

E

S


2

-

2

-

2

-

3

-

3

-

4NT

-

5

-

5NT

-

6

-

7

Opening 2(game-force), RKCB, specific king ask

The opening 2 bid in effect upgrades the North hand to 23 points - 2 is a relay.

South can now bid 4NT (RKCB agreeing hearts - note that the splinter in spades is not available).

5 promises 1 or 3 - must be 3.  5NT asks for specific kings, 6 shows 2 kings outside hearts, and South plumps for 7 as the final contract.

What happens?


No trumps and hearts each make 13 tricks.

Spades and clubs rather more surprisingly each make 12 on the lie of the cards.


13 tricks in no trumps is laydown provided that the spades split 4-3 - roughly 62% chance.

If they split 5-2, then a squeeze play would require the Q to lay in the same hand as the long spades - about 15%.  Alternatively finesse the club queen with much the same chances.

Either way the probability of making is in the region of 77%.


7 has the same chances provided there is not an immediate heart ruff and they do not split 5-0, with the added possibility of ruffing the thirteenth trick if the spades fail to split.

That calculation gets complicated - my feeling is that they are both good slams with hearts marginally the safer.


In other words - 7NT is the best contract at pairs and 7 is the best contract at imps scoring.


A game-forcing 2 on this hand certainly gets you to the right spot, but for me it slightly overstates the hand;

a 2 (Benji or one-round force) can be made to work provided that you have a clear understanding of which continuations are forcing. However I always feel that in general these bids always lead to muddy waters on anything other than single-suited or balanced hands;

Usually I am more than happy to open 2NT on 5-4-2-2 shape, but there is always the danger that you will fail to locate the best fit when you are 5-4 in the majors as here.

My choice is an opening bid of 1 although it is clearly maximum for such a bid.  Alternatively I will certainly accept 2NT as reasonable. alternative.


The actual contracts in the match were:-

7NT     1 pair

7       2 pairs

6NT     6 pairs

6       1 pair

3NT     2 pairs


but I can’t tell you how they all got there.

Intermediate and above

Hand C4

Hand D1

Opening 2 (strong - 1-round force)

2 promises something like 8 playing tricks - 2 is a relay - and 2 is natural and non-forcing.

South must now make any forcing bid - typically in a new suit - and North shows his 5-4 shape.

The bidding can now proceed as in the example above.

W

N

E

S


2

-

2

-

2

-

3

-

3

-

?

Opening one of a suit, fourth suit, RKCB, specific king ask

2 is forcing following the two-level response, and South’s agreement of hearts by way of a fourth suit bid shows his slam interest.

North now uses RKCB to check on the trump honours.

5 shows 2 key cards and the Q.

5NT is the specific king ask and 6NT shows the K.

North can now choose  between 7 and 7NT.

W

N

E

S


1

-

2

-

2

-

3

-

3NT

-

4

-

4NT

-

5

-

5NT

-

6NT

-

7