Playing in a KO match with a strong partner and
not so strong opposition, I deal myself
AQ10 AK92 4 AQJ95
Some would open this hand 2, but in my opinion,
there may well not be a 3-4-1-5 hand which can open 2.
I suppose 3-4-5-1 is even worse. In any case, this one isn't
close, so I open 1.
LHO leaps to 2, and partner finds a negative double.
RHO pushes to 3. I have an easy 4 bid. Partner's
negative double doesn't guarantee four cards in each major, and
he could have a very good hand.
Not altogether surprisingly, partner chooses 4. Now what?
It seems natural to bid 5, but is that best? It ought to
be ambiguous about strain, but maybe partner will think I'm
confirming spades and looking for slam. He oughtn't; I should
bid 5 to confirm spades and invite slam, but many players
will think that denies a diamond control whereas 5 is the
same thing, but with a control. Regardless, 5 isn't a
bad bid. Is there something better?
I think so, yes. What about 5? Is that forcing? Yes,
it has to be, because it's technically a reverse. In order for
partner to take a preference to my first bid suit, he has to
raise the level. That's the definition of reverse, and that's
what he has to do. So 5 is forcing. Will it tell me
what I need to know? I think so. If partner has four hearts,
he'll raise hearts. If he has five decent spades, he'll bid
spades. If he has three good clubs, he'll bid clubs. 5
doesn't help me decide about level, but unless I commit to
spades, I can't stop below slam anyway, and, frankly, I'm OK
So I bid 5. Partner goes into the tank, as well he might.
He thinks and he thinks. And thinks some more. And emerges
with 5NT. Cool! That's obviously pick a slam, and I know which
to pick, 6. Everyone passes that. Partner turns out
It looks like 6 is the best slam; a 4-1 trump break is
not too hard to handle, but that could be real trouble in spades.
In practice, 6 makes easily, but 4 (Yes, 4! Teammates
said, "don't ask.") goes down at
the other table! This is the only big swing board in the match,
so we win it easily.
Copyright © 2007 Jeff Goldsmith