everyone, Brad here, welcome to the March 2014 forum. I
won't be hosting the forum this month (people who crossed my
path at the Gold Coast will know why). Sitting in for me, at
very short notice, is current Australian team member Michael
will be the first forum I've missed in eleven years, so
maybe many of you will welcome a change of voice! Anyway,
I'll be back on deck in a couple of months. For now, please
welcome Michael Wilkinson...
* * *
Welcome to the March reader’s bidding forum. Brad is doing a
very good impersonation of a sick person, so you’re stuck
with me. Unlike Brad, I don’t intend to be kind to those who
make bad bids.
The first problem is a nice easy one. Summing it up
nicely we have:
Fraser Rew: 4H. Even if partner has something like
void-Kxxx-KQxxx-AQxx, there's work to be done in 6H, and he
doesn't have to have that much. I can't really show this
hand below game, and even 5H could be in trouble opposite
something unsuitable, so I reluctantly sign off.
Black: 4H. Found a fit, and enough for game!
4H. I can draw a few hands with which 6H, or even 7H has
good play, but 1) partner did not reverse, 2) AK of spades
are less the usual. If I were a dreamer I would bid 4NT.
Ian McCance: 4H. I must confirm a genuine heart suit. Slam
might be close but we need extra with a misfit. I have
already forced to game, will leave next move if any to
Larry Cohen: 4H.
Worth 4 and a half hearts, but without special methods, no
way to say so. Not good enough for RKC (picture x KQxx KQxx
Qxxx). This is the only clear way to show the 4-4 heart fit
(partner has 4 hearts, but he doesn't know we do).
So let's move on to problem 2? I
suppose we should give a bit of time to those who disagree
4NT. This is not a good bid, but in standard methods South
has only two slam tries explicitly agreeing hearts - 5H and
4NT, as 3S, 4C and 4D are all natural. Although 4NT over 2C
would be quantitative, I believe it should also be
quantitative after 3H, South dallying with 2H to get some
potentially useful information. In such a scheme, the real
solution to the heart slam try problem is to define 3S as
two-way: either 6+S or a slam try with 5+S and 4+H,
initiating a set of coded rebids for opener, who is known to
have 0 or 1 spade. Details available on request.
The key sentence there was the
first one. Clearly Paul Lavings thinks we do have this
Lavings: 3S. Any bid seems like strong support for that
suit, so I'll try 3S. Then when I bid 4H later it all may
become clear. When in an awkward spot the cheapest bid has
Manuel Paulo: 4NT. Slam is likely when
partner holds, e.g., - KQxx Axxxx Axxx.
In these sort of situations it's
reasonable to play partner for a perfect minimum, not a
perfect maximum. I quite like this next response:
Kees Schaafsma: 5H. Fast arrival; Every suit is under
control; Denies the Queen of Hearts (else 4NT); Needs and
asks for the Queen of Hearts or compensating values (2 keys
+ Queen of Hearts ain't enough else 4NT). 4C followed by 5H
(slow arrival) would show a similar stronger hand which
requires 3 keys and doesn't need the Queen of Hearts.
The problems Kees doesn’t cover are
that 5H may be too high and partner might not think about
the situation that deeply (I know I wouldn’t) – he does have
some support from the panel...
Zia: 5H. I would like to
control bid for hearts, but 4C agrees clubs. I can underbid
with 4H or overbid with 5H. As a rule I usually overbid...
so 5H. Sorry partner.
Michael Ware: 5H. Swayed by the the 10H. We have good cards,
but only a 4-4 fit and no way other than this to invite in
Hearts. Without 10H the 5 level would be too risky.
Sartaj Hans: 5H. This seems
like the only real way to invite slam. While there is a risk
of being overboard in 5H, it is a risk worth taking because
slam is very playable opposite sharp minimums like
strongly agree with Peter Smith’s decision to promote 5H for
the reasons outlined. Personally I think partner has 4
hearts. David Kalnins makes another point:
David Kalnins: 4H. Slam is possible opposite partner's
minimum 1444 or 0454 shape hand; I prefer playing it safe
opposite 3 suited hands with only an 8 card fit. Can partner
have a 13(54) shape with three small hearts? If so, 4H will
play remarkably well opposite that shape as well.
Even if partner only has three
hearts this might be the right spot. Hence I have little
Leigh Matheson: 3NT. At just 3H there
is not enough room left to get a useful slam exploration
Nigel Guthrie: 3NT. x-Kxx-AQxxx-QJxx. A 4-4
H fit is possible but unlikely. A 4-3 fit may play OK but 3N
may be safer.
Margaret Reid: 3NT. I have good stopper
looks like he doesn't.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3NT. if partner has
the magical 0454 with both minor Aces and a heart-honour we
have a chance for 6!h. My partner never has the magic hand,
therefore I will bid the most likely game.
And even less for:
John Newman: 3S. The most accurate bid is long-pause-then-4H
(jokes). 4C has a lot going for it if the meaning is clear,
but I can't settle on it, so I'm going to bid 3S, a lie
which backs partner into a corner. It should be safe
opposite 1-4-4-4 or 0-4-5-4, I'll get to bid 4H next and my
awesome partner will realise other slam tries were more
ambiguous/had no brakes/I hardly know what I'm doing.
4C has nothing going for it – it
suggests we have 4+clubs – partner does not have a 5th club
they would have bid 3C over 2H.