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A Big Hand

#1 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 04:30

You deal, not vulnerable, at imps playing against two experts.

You pick up AK6 AKJ87 void AQJ86

What do you open?

Obviously you could open 2C. You play a form of kokish, such that if partner responds 2D, which he will with most hands containing at least a king, that would allow you to bid 2H, forcing 2S, over which your 3H rebid will show hearts and clubs. However, that might be 5=4.

Plus partner might cross you up via a 3D response....2 top honours, 5+ suit and no other 4 card suit.

An attractive alternative is 1H. In your methods, partner strains to respond, so you might miss a game should he pass, but itís unlikely that he will pass AND have the cards youíd need to score up a game. Also, the opps may Ďrescueí you by bidding.

I think 1H is best, only a little biased by the fact that my partner chose that at the table

So it starts 1H P 1S P, back to you.

You have an easy 3C bid. This establishes a game force.

In your partnership, as is fairly common, 3C is a little suspect. Even in standard bidding, 3C can be a 3 card suit with, say, AJx AKQJxx x Axx.

Partner temporized with 3D. This simply stalls for time, being more of a call that denies certain holdings more than being descriptive. He does not have 3 hearts. He does not have 6 ♠️

He does not want to bid 3N, but that could be because he lacks the right values or because heís too strong to risk you passing.

Now you have an easy 3S bid.

Partner bids 3N

Now what?

He didnít bid 3N last time, but now has. So he has only 4 spades, at most two hearts, and had some reason for not bidding notrump last time. It wasnít because he wanted to suggest diamonds as trump...that train left the station after 3C.

It seems clear to bid 4C. For one thing, we are a king heavier than he so far expects, and for another, we have not yet shown our real club length.

Over 4C, partner makes a slightly unexpected jump to 6C.

Now what?

Partner must have at least Kxx in clubs, and may have Kxxx. He has short hearts. He also has extras that he thinks are slam friendly. Youíve pretty much shown your shape: you canít have more than one diamond, so he wonít think honours other than the Ace are slam friendly. Thus we have a parking spot for our spade spot even if he lacks the Queen.

In addition, there is no reason he canít have, say, QJxx x AJxx Kxxx or the like.

One should not bid grands that are 60% or less likely to make, due to the relative sizes of loss and gain. But there are basically no holdings he can have that offer no play and many holdings where 13 tricks are nearly lay down.

So 7C it is

You await dummy with some anticipation. Itís not every day that one bids to a grand slam with no cuebidding and no ace asking.



The opening lead is the diamond 7.

Plan the play

You have 12 top winners, assuming clubs are no worse than 4-1.

It seems safe to try the diamond Jack, since thatís 13 winners if it holds.

Itís covered by the Queen so you ruff.

Now what?

Ruffing a heart low is risky, since a 3=3 break is against the odds. Ruffing high is risky since clubs could be 4-1.

So letís find out whether we can afford to ruff a heart high...cash the club AQ.

Both follow, so now youíre cold unless hearts are breaking really badly. You play the AK, intending to ruff next with the King, cross in spades, pull the last trump and take 13 winners....3 spades, 2 hearts, a ruff, 2diamonds and 5 clubs.

As it happens, the heart Queen drops on the second round, so you just pull trump and claim.

Had clubs been 4-1, you would have played the club King, come to hand in spades, pulled trump. Spades might be 3=3, and you have decent chances for a squeeze...the hand with the short club might easily be 4=4=4=1 and they canít hold the major position when you cash the clubs then the spades, ending in dummy, then the top two diamonds. There might even be a red suit squeeze, say with one player being 2=4=6=1 (if heís 4=5 reds, spades are 3=3). Or opening leader might be 4=3=5=1, though youíd need to read the position...which you might well do as he crumbles on the run of the clubs.


What I found most interesting about this hand was that a good player at the other table opened 2C and he and his expert partner were unable to reach grand. Itís long been my belief that 2C auctions donít handle marked two suited hands very well. Iím sure that most of us can easily bid these hands to 7C after a 2C start...once we know both hands. I think here, even with our version of kokish, where opener can show at least 5=4 by bidding 3H after 2C 2D 2H 2S, itís not easy. I donít think itís clear what south should do at that point. 4C risks setting a 4-3 fit as trump. The hand is far too strong for 3N.

I think itís too strong for a natural 4N as well...this is slam material opposite a sound 2C bidder.

So maybe 5N? Pick a slam?

That gets us to 6C but who can bid 7?

Iíve often argued that too many players seem unwilling to bid slams without asking for keycards, and wanted to show a hand where neither player even cuebid, let alone asked for keycards.
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 04:50

We play pretty old fashioned methods over 2.

2-2N(10+ bal)
3(F4N)-3N
4-5N(king better than I might be)
6-7

Although we'd probably open 1
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#3 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 06:55

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-April-03, 04:50, said:

We play pretty old fashioned methods over 2.

2-2N(10+ bal)
3(F4N)-3N
4-5N(king better than I might be)
6-7

Although we'd probably open 1

How you know that youíre not off the spade ace seems strange to me, as in I find that auction unconvincing
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#4 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 07:15

Note to self, mostly:

Spoiler

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#5 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 07:28

View Postmikeh, on 2021-April-03, 06:55, said:

How you know that youíre not off the spade ace seems strange to me, as in I find that auction unconvincing


We VERY rarely open 2 with a 2 suiter, we are forcing to game opposite a yarborough, for partner to have enough KJx, AKQJx, AQJxx is just about possible but dubious, we'd probably open that 1, so it's vanishingly unlikely partner is missing A.
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#6 User is online   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-April-03, 11:01

interesting analysis. but why does 6 show K? no trump suit has been agreed after you bid 4, so what do the bids 4/ 5 or 4Nt mean here by partner after you bid 4?

if partner has Qxxx x AKQJ xxxx is not a bid of 6 possible to? or have you a agreement if partner raises 4 to 6 it does show an honour akq card in a 3 card support.
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#7 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 01:45

A great hand!

1 1
3 3
3 3N
4 and this is where we came unstuck - 6N
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#8 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 07:32

Mike, had your partner bid 4D over 4C, would you have taken that as cue confirming clubs?
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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 08:10

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-April-11, 07:32, said:

Mike, had your partner bid 4D over 4C, would you have taken that as cue confirming clubs?

I was responder, but 4D, in principle, might have been keycard. However, it was an undiscussed sequence, so I did not want to introduce ambiguity. I knew where I wanted to play opposite a powerful, extra values jumpshift, as indicated by his pulling 3N to 4C. Say AJx AKJxx void AQJxx
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#10 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 14:36

View Postmikeh, on 2021-April-11, 08:10, said:

I was responder, but 4D, in principle, might have been keycard. However, it was an undiscussed sequence, so I did not want to introduce ambiguity. I knew where I wanted to play opposite a powerful, extra values jumpshift, as indicated by his pulling 3N to 4C. Say AJx AKJxx void AQJxx


Reminds me of something Mike Lawrence once said - if you run out of ways to intelligently find grand slam, it's time to place the contract.
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#11 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 18:44

The thing that's unclear to me (from an 'intermediate' perspective) is why, with 12 top tricks
AKQ spades
AK hearts
AK diamonds
and AKQJx clubs
your bidding system does not allow you to reach 6 or 7NT?

Is there something about this hand that makes it more likely to make 7 than 7NT?

What I'm getting at is what is it in your bidding system that prefers 6 or 7 of a minor to 6 or 7 in one of the higher scoring strains?
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#12 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-April-11, 19:10

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-April-11, 18:44, said:

The thing that's unclear to me (from an 'intermediate' perspective) is why, with 12 top tricks
AKQ spades
AK hearts
AK diamonds
and AKQJx clubs
your bidding system does not allow you to reach 6 or 7NT?

Is there something about this hand that makes it more likely to make 7 than 7NT?

What I'm getting at is what is it in your bidding system that prefers 6 or 7 of a minor to 6 or 7 in one of the higher scoring strains?

6N scores less well than does 7C.

7N requires an extra trick: itís trivial to ruff one heart playing in clubs but you need either a heart finesse, which would be impossible if he did not have the Jack (AKx AKxxx void AQJxx is consistent with the bidding) or spades 3=3, or some unlikely combination, which in turn youíd have to read.



7N -1 fares poorly against 6N making and even worse against 7C making.

Finally, when playing imps, if one has a complex hand/auction, never....never...get greedy when choosing a grand slam. Donít even get greedy when venturing a small slam.

Even the best pairs sometimes have difficulty bidding grands, and anyone whoís played a lot of team matches knows that the most frustrating result can be playing in grand, failing in bad splits, and finding out that they played in game at the other table.

Iow, itís not the bidding system. Indeed, the more accurate the system, the more likely one is to play in the safer, if slightly lower scoring, slam or grand.

Never risk losing, say, 17 imps in an effort to win 2 unless you Ďknowí that the higher scoring slam is as safe as the lower scoring.

Even had I found that he held the AK in both majors, Iíd never bid 7N lacking the spade Jack. I canít count 13 winners.

Even at mps, unless in a very strong field (late rounds of the Blue Ribbon or LM Pairs, etc), donít get greedy. Unless the grand is easy to bid, bid the safer one, not the higher scoring one. 7N-1 is an easy mp estimate....youíre tied for bottom. 7C making, when 7N makes, will be well over average unless itís trivial to count 13 winners.
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