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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

Here is a hand to try bidding with your favourite partner. See if you can get to the optimum contract—my partner and I did not. North-South were vulnerable and East dealt. Assume you hold the North-South hands. If you are playing 15-17 point 1NT, then the bidding will probably start with South bidding 1NT. What should North respond to reach the best contract?

The North hand has only twelve points, but what a playing hand. There are six potential losers, four diamonds and the major suit aces (the jack of clubs is a conceivable additional loser, but unlikely). The question is how many of these six will be covered by the winners in your partner’s no trump opener. My partner and I have a special bidding system to help find minor suit slams, but I am disappointed to report that we ended up in just 3N (making three overtricks).
After thinking about the hand I decided the best way to bid it is the simplest. The most critical cards to find in South’s hand are aces, to provide first round control of whatever suit the defence leads. So bid 4C immediately, as Gerber (if you do not play Gerber, this hand is a good reason to change). When your partner shows two of the three missing aces, then blast right to 6C. This slam contract is cold no matter what is led—you take seven clubs, four spade tricks and the ace of diamonds. A higher scoring (but riskier) contract is 6NT. A
heart lead will defeat this, but it is unlikely that West will lead a heart from three to the king. The king of diamonds is a much more likely lead, or maybe a top of nothing spade. Either allows the contract to make.
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