Paul Bethe

Bidding freak hands.

The following three hands came up in the Edgar Kaplan regional:

  1. AKQJT86 AQ52 6 T : What is your plan, and if you open 1 and get a 1NT response what now?
  2. AKJ9xxxxxx K AK – : Does your system handle this big monster?
  3. K87x Kx QJ97xxx : You respond 1N to partner’s 1, and hear 3N.

Bidding distributional hands can be daunting as evidenced by the results from these three boards.

In case 1, why not jump-shift to 3H planning to follow 3 or 3N with 4, which describes this hand fairly well?  If you are lucky enough to catch a cuebid (in support of hearts) or a raise to 4 you can Blackwood.  At all 12 tables of the BAM, no slams were reached.

Partner’s hand: x Kxxx J8xx AJxx, 6 or cold on 3-2 hearts (which they were).

In case 2, what do you play 2-2-3 as?  I play it says ‘Spades are trump, cuebid Aces, or bid 3N if you have no Aces, but some Kings.’  (raise to 4 with nuthin’)  If you do so, and partner cuebids 4, you now can safely bid Blackwood and find out whether they also have the Ace of hearts as well, to decide between 7 and 7NT.  (ignoring the small chance that all three spades are in a single opponents hand).  If they don’t cuebid 4, you probably settle in 6 Spades.   It turned out partner held x AKJx xx AT9xxx, yet in the flight A-pairs, only 13 of 26 tables found 7NT, 4 found 7, and the remaining 9 bid only a small-slam!

Hand 3:  some people play that 1M-1N-3N is a running suit with tricks, and that 2N would have been forcing.  But in this case, since it is not, you have to assume that partner has either a balanced strong hand (which must include some Aces, since I have the red Kings, or a tricks hand in spades.  If the former, we may be cold for 6.  If the latter, 4N is probably still safe as I have some undisclosed strength.  As such, 4 is the proper continuation.  Opposite that call, this partner with AQxxx Ax Axx ATx should raise to 5.  Why five and not a cuebid.  Partner may just have a club bust better suited to 5, so we allow for that and thus don’t bid 6.   Normally a failure to cuebid would deny having one, but here, the 3N bidder must have some, and thus by inference, have ALL of them.  Making that inference, the 4 bidder can raise themselves to slam.  Of 26 tables in play, only 2 reached this slam.


Jeff FordJanuary 13th, 2010 at 12:52 am

I have an even quicker auction on 2. 4NT (specific ace ask) – 5NT (I have 2) – 7NT.

Paul BetheJanuary 13th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Yes – that was my mom’s auction.

Where a 5N response showed 2 aces of the same shape.

I would expect any advanced partnership like theirs to have no problems. I was mostly concerned with the lack of ‘Experts’ to get there, and offering easy routes via ‘Expert Standard’.

Good point though.

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