Today’s deal is a hand type that haunts club players: both partners have a good hand with two suits and will make a lot of tricks when they find a fit. The trouble is that sometimes, as here, there is no fit! The auction started reasonably for the first three bids. The three heart bid was understood by this pair as being a good two suiter but some of us might play it as a splinter bid, agreeing clubs. Anyway 2H should be fourth suit forcing and then one can rebid the hearts on the next round to show a real suit. As it went to this point, North reflected that they had shown a 5-4 but had a 6-5 distribution and bid clubs again. South may have realised this and bid 4S which is a fine contract but North bid again, as many club players do, because they had no fit for spades and didn’t realize partner had exactly the same problem. Now South finally fell from grace and raised to 6C. This contract had no chance and drifted four off. So how would you bid this hand? Did you reach 6H or 6S?
The auction is easier if it goes more slowly after South bids only 2H. Now North can bid 3C and has shown 10+ minor suit cards and South is getting the picture of a massive misfit. At this point, South might reasonably bid 3NT and play there. If South decides to bid 3H, North should bid 3NT to try to end the auction. In an ideal world, South will realize that if the spade entry is removed before hearts are played, 3NT might be difficult. On this basis, South can correct to 4S and that would be a good auction. The important thing on misfit hands is to stop the auction as quickly as possible. The other problem is in playing misfits since getting from hand to hand can be a major problem. If you managed to reach 6H or 6S, I have bad news for you. If the spades are not 3-3, you are not making these contracts and, as 3-3 splits only occur 36 per cent of the time, you will go down most of the time! Go slowly when bidding a misfit!