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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

Last week’s column was about bidding and so is this one. Imagine you are sitting South and you hold the hand below. Your partner deals and opens the bidding with 2C. What contract do you expect to end up in? This hand was played recently in a duplicate game. The bidding below was typical. No one vulnerable and North dealt.

The bidding needs a little explanation. 2C is of course strong, showing 22+ high card points or 8+ playing tricks. 2N is a step response showing 10+ high card points—it is conventional and does not mean a no trump type hand. 3N on the other hand does show a no trump type hand and a minimum range for a 2C opener, ie. 22 to 24 high card points. 4N is asking for aces and 5S shows three. 5N asks for kings and 6H shows two. Sitting South you know that you are missing one king and missing about three additional high card points somewhere. So what do you bid now? When this hand was played, two tables opted for 6N and one table (with a different bidding sequence) ended up in 6D. This was the full deal:

Thirteen tricks are cold: six diamonds, four clubs, two high spades and the ace of hearts. So, should the grand slam have been bid rather than the small slam? I believe the answer is yes! South has an almost certain six diamond tricks, particularly when partner shows at least two diamonds by bidding a no trump shape. Since partner has opened 2C, surely partner has seven tricks to contribute. The chances are high that the grand slam can be made without an finesse for the missing king, but at the very worst, it should only be a finesse away. So, my answer to the question at the beginning of this column is that South should immediately be thinking: “if we have all the aces, then this is 7N—or 7D if I want to be cautious”.
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise