Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - With DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

This skinny slam oc­curred re­cently and proved too dif­fi­cult for most pairs to bid. South’s open­ing bid is clear but I wouldn’t rec­om­mend West’s over­call. Two level over­calls should be 6 card suits un­less hold­ing a good one level opener and this is not one. At North’s sec­ond turn, 3S would be very in­vi­ta­tional and 4C would be nat­u­ral and FG. 4D is clearly a short­age con­trol in di­a­monds and is show­ing a hand which is ei­ther hold­ing very strong spades and wants to make a slam try or has heart sup­port and wants to make a slam try. North has such val­ues be­cause clubs can be set up with two losers at most, spades with one loser. North also has heart sup­port, al­beit, rather poor for slam bid­ding. The hand has 6, or less, losers which, op­po­site a 7 loser opener, is worth is­su­ing a slam in­vite. From a point count view, North has 10 hcp and 5 for the void so clearly has val­ues be­yond those re­quired for game.

When South hears the slam in­vi­ta­tion, they can revalue the three losers in di­a­monds to be only one loser op­po­site the sin­gle­ton ( and none if it is a void). South reval­ues from six losers to four losers. This makes it clear that South also should be mov­ing to­wards a slam so they make a cue bid in clubs. Al­ter­na­tively, us­ing a point count eval­u­a­tion method, South has 12hcp ( the JD should be ig­nored), 3 points for the sin­gle­ton and 1 for the dou­ble­ton, giv­ing 16 points which is suf­fi­cient to ac­cept the slam in­vite. De­spite the void, North has poor trumps and can­not use RKC so they just jump to 6H since there is no clear way to in­ves­ti­gate 7H and it re­quires some spe­cific cards in the South hand.

The lead at the ta­ble was the AD. De­clarer ruffed, cashed the AC, ruffed an­other di­a­mond, cashed the KC, ruffed a club and cashed the AH. When the QH came down, 13 tricks were easy. While this seems like a very good score, any slam is above aver­age and a dif­fi­cult- to- bid slam will be a near top with­out any need to play for an over­trick.

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