Friday, November 7, 2008

When kings are like aces

This hand is from online bridge with IMP-style scoring. I didn't play it, but xwing showed it to me and I gave it to two friends to bid. Suppose you hold this hand:
K 10 Q 7 6 5 2 Q 8 5 K J 5.

Partner bids 1 and you respond 1. Partner jumpshifts to 2. What now?

You "mark time" by bidding 3 and partner jumps again, this time to 4. You and partner have discussed this. He has a hand that is too strong for a 4 splinter bid over 1. Therefore, he made a jumpshift and jumped again. If he had bid only 3 over your 3 call, that would show a strong hand, but only three-card heart support. Bidding 4 confirms four-card heart support. This is the old-fashioned way that players had to bid before splinter bids were invented.

Now what? Your hand has grown up. You have a fifth heart, and your two black kings are like aces. You try 4 and partner jumps to 6, ending the auction.

Here are all four hands (rotated for your convenience):

A Q 7 3
A K 8 3
A 10 8 7 6
8 6 5 4 J 9 2
10 9 4 J
A K 6 3 2 J 10 9 7 4
9 Q 4 3 2
K 10
Q 7 6 5 2
Q 8 5
K J 5

How do you like your contract? If hearts divide 2-2, and nothing else
splits poorly, you are odds-on to make seven. Draw trumps, play three rounds of spades discarding a club. Now play K A and ruff a club. If the suit sets up, you have 13 tricks. Because things don't split very well, the small slam is high enough.

Thirteen out of 54 pairs bid and made 6. Some had effective big club auctions. In some cases, West opened 2, North doubled and South jumped in hearts. This was all the encouragement North needed, so the preempt worked against West. A few of the 13 just guessed.

You can see what everyone did if you click here.

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