16 August 2011

I've got a good suit

A common theme in bidding challenges is holding a suit so good you can't possibly convince partner you've got it. Consider this hand from the Vanderbilt final:
Dealer: West
A K J T 9 2
Q 8
8 7 2
A K T 9 2
A 9 8 5 3

Or this hand from the less auspicious Christchurch Open Teams:

Dealer: West
A K 4 3
A K 8 4 3
K 9 7 2
8 7 6
Q 6
A Q J T 9 8 3

On both of these hands if you can convey the quality of your suit then partner will co-operate and you'll get to the correct spot. 7NT in the first example and 5 in the second. Much of it is to do with partnership trust. Trust that partner will only use the I've got a good suit™ bid when they actually have a really good suit.

Yes 5 is the right spot! Sure if they lead spades at you only a heart break will deliver 11 tricks but 3NT needs the heart break on any lead and 4 hasn't a hope.

How would your partnership bid these hands?


  1. 1.
    1S - 2H
    2S - 3D
    3S - 4NT
    5H - 5NT
    6D - 6H
    7S - pass
    where 5H shows 2 without, 6D shows the KD, and 6H is a grand try focusing on 3rd round control in H.

    1S - 2H
    2S - 3D
    3S - 5NT
    6S - 7S
    where 5NT is "pick a slam"

    1H - 1NT
    2S - 3D
    4C - 5D (or 4C-4D-5D)
    seems sensible

  2. 1S - 2H; GF
    2S - 3D;
    3S - 4C; cue
    4D - 4H; cues
    4NT - 5D; 0/3
    5H - 6H; Q + HK

    Though East is the one with the monster, he should try to shepherd West into keycard. Q AK A A are all likely to be crucial cards and can all be shown easily enough. West might still have AKJT9x, x, Kx, xxxx if East drives. There is a danger to West keycarding, though: Q AKxxx Axxxx Kx really needs to play 6NT from East. Maybe instead of keycarding, West can rebid 5D. East will rebid 6NT on the hypothetical hand. Here, East knows 7S is just about gin but might need to fish around more for 7NT.

    At the table I'd save 10 minutes and all the matchpoints lost from time penalties and follow the mate's first auction. +1 to the 5D auction, too.

  3. Yeah totally agree regarding the AKJT9x/x/Kx/xxxx or similar. That's why I reckon E has to make a grand try and give W the opportunity to accept with such prime red cards.

    After E has 2/1ed with both red suits W will be keen to KC anyway if given the momentum and space. It's just hard for E to agree trumps at a low enough level (4C doesn't necessarily sound like they're that keen on S after 1-2-3).

    W isn't all that far off a
    1S - 2H
    3S -
    which would really get E going. I'm just not sure a 1-loser 6-card suit is quite enough for that

  4. True, plus it would be a bit hasty to set spades when x AKxxxx Axx Kxx or Axx is a decent slam or grand in hearts. Mate would still co-operate but it could be hard to get to the right spot after 3S.