How do you describe a long, long suit?
Jon Bon Jovi reputedly said, “Success is falling nine times and getting up 10.” Today’s deal features something very rare: a nine-card suit. It was played six times in a duplicate in Florida. With East-West vulnerable, South opens one heart, and West passes. What should North do?
The normal response with this hand is five diamonds. Four of the six players in that duplicate did just that, and it ended the auction. Three made the contract, losing two spades. One North went down, I cannot imagine how.
Two Norths bid only three diamonds, a weak jump response. One South sensibly passed — misfits are miserable — but it did not work well here. The second South rebid three no-trump and got a top.
If West had been psychic and led the heart eight, the defenders could have taken the first four tricks via either three hearts and one spade or two hearts and two spades. (Note also that three no-trump by North could have been defeated with a low-heart lead.) Understandably, though, West led the spade three. South won with her jack and ran the diamonds. During the avalanche, East and West discarded clubs, so South took the last three tricks with her clubs. Plus 520 outscored all of the 400s.
Many experts would have difficulty with this deal because a five-diamond response would not be natural. It would show a big heart fit and a diamond void and ask for key cards aside from the diamond ace. This is called Exclusion Key Card Blackwood. I guess here North would respond two diamonds, then rebid five diamonds.