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

It is dif­fi­cult to bid re­ally long suits ac­cu­rately. The meth­ods for bid­ding 7 card suits are well known but us­ing them with 8 or 9 card suits leaves one a bit anx­ious about the ex­tra, undis­closed length. When a 10 card suit makes an ap­pear­ance it is scary. Th­ese are very rare, oc­cur­ring about once ev­ery quar­ter of a mil­lion hands. To get that in con­text, if you play 25 hands per day, seven days per week with ex­tra ses­sions on some week­ends, 52 weeks per year and keep this up for 25 years then you will be ap­proach­ing the quar­ter of a mil­lion hands mark. At the VBA congress event, early this month, I picked up my sec­ond 10 card suit with the first hav­ing been more than 40 years pre­vi­ously while at univer­sity. Look at the West hand. You are the dealer and you feel ev­ery emo­tion from ex­cite­ment to panic as you try to de­cide what to open. Most of the field opened 4H ( or 4C Namy­ats), North dou­bled and South bid 5C. Now the auc­tions started to de­vi­ate. Most Wests felt they hadn’t bid enough with 4H and so backed in with 5H. One pair played it there re­dou­bled mak­ing 13 tricks! Oth­ers faced an un­sound 4S over­call and had to pass part­ner’s penalty dou­ble to col­lect 800 or 1100 rather than bid­ding 5H. Of those who opened 5H, some played there and some had to make a de­ci­sion af­ter North’s dou­ble and South’s 6C bid. If they passed, the penalty for 6CX was a pal­try 500.

Are there any other bid­ding op­tions? There is an ex­otic op­tion to pass and try to judge what to bid on the next round since we can­not be shut out. I tried that and North opened 1S. Part­ner, a well- known op­er­a­tor, made a strong 1NT over­call de­spite the sin­gle­ton QH! Now 6H seems quite at­trac­tive al­though part­ner’s eyes cer­tainly bulged as I pulled the 6H card from the bid­ding box. North led the AS and fol­lowed it with a small one. The KS is go­ing to let us avoid the di­a­mond fi­nesse so de­clarer must take care to not let East ruff it if the spades are 6511. Play small and ruff in hand and then claim 12 tricks af­ter what turned out to be a good auc­tion.

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