Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 29th, 2021


David WarheitMay 13th, 2021 at 11:07 am

At duplicate NS should be in 7S. If so, given a H lead, S should win the opening H lead with the Q. In order to make this contract, spades must break 3-2. If they do so, the only problem would be if diamonds were 5-0. If W had all 5, down you go, but if E had all 5, you can make 4 diamond tricks, but not if you blocked hearts by winning the opening lead in dummy.

Two questions: 1) How should NS get to 7S at duplicate? 2) On BWTA, what should S bid if N opens the bidding with 1D? (I would pass).

Iain ClimieMay 13th, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Hi David, Bobby,

If S & D are both 3-2 (or D are 5-0 onside or a singleton D10 or J is with West) 7N makes but 7S can cope with 3-2 spades and 4-1 breaks. Few fields are strong enough to have everyone in a grand slam on such a hand so the extra 10 pts may be gilding the Lily.

I’m probably bidding 1H over 1D although partners usually bid 3D if I do. If partner bids 3C over my reply I might even pass having improved the part score altho ugh I’d expect flak until dummy went down.



bobbywolffMay 13th, 2021 at 2:34 pm

Hi David,

First, to answer your queries:

1. Always liking 2 way Stayman rather than the prosaic transfer responses preferred my many good players, I would, after South opens a normal 15-17 1NT then proceed:
S. N.
1NT 2D. (GF Stayman)
2NT 3S
4C 4H
5D 5H
6D 6H (obviously
inviting a spade grand slam and
thus showing a fitting card (can
only be the queen or queen jack of diamonds)
7S (holding a 5th diamond and the queen of spades plus, of course three and apparently no, or likely little wastage).

However, very touchy but the mark of an extremely competent
partnership. IOW, don’t try it at home with just anyone, but if in a progressive mood, the above is what I recommend.

BTW and although you didn’t ask I have found 2 way Stayman far superior to transfers. since transfers give the opponents an extra round of bidding to compete as well as lead direction with a relatively very small advantage to gain.

However, it is unlikely that any group of players will take my advice, since most top partnerships do not like to change habits of a lifetime.

Question #2:

It is a question of style, but bidding one heart, while dangerous in two directions: 1. lead directing, 2. bidding on nothing, but does stand to have a better chance to find a better suit as trump and also makes it a tiny advantage for stealing the hand. I would bid 1 heart with most partners and is my choice, but, if partner prefers me to pass on these types of hands
I would comply.

However, if I pass, I hope my LHO bids something, since if he passes I would know he had length in diamonds, signifying a bad result (particularly at matchpoints) usually coming up.

bobbywolffMay 13th, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Hi Iain,

To think about 7NT instead of reaching a making grand slam in spades (on very short values for such an enterprise) is really as you replied, “guilding the lily”.

I, as I mentioned to David, would also respond 1 heart, but hold my breath when I do, and also agree with you about passing partner’s next bid, hoping he doesn’t bid too much and chose another suit (to which I would pass, even a supposedly forcing bid, expecting a good result by merely going plus).

“Live by the sword” and conveniently forget about the times it goes wrong, but passing one diamond, allowing free rein for our worthy opponents to allow us to play in their longest suit, just doesn’t appeal either.

However to do either, bid or pass, is similar to craps while rolling the dice and strangely enough both questions and answers become delicate factors and generally a large reason, whether right or wrong, in our finishing result.

At least to me, unless your homeland has a large source of great bidders (and immune to bad breaks) I would be delighted to reach only a grand slam in spades (and, of course, bring it home).