Play­ers can use two ap­proaches in bid­ding slams. One in­volves slow and care­ful in­ves­ti­ga­tion, per­haps by cue-bid­ding

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - by Frank Ste­wart

con­trols: aces, kings, void suits. Much can be said in its fa­vor since a los­ing slam means the painful loss of a game bonus.

In the other ap­proach — “blast­ing” — you bid slam as soon as you judge that the val­ues are there. You give the op­po­nents a min­i­mum of help with the open­ing lead and de­fense. I be­lieve that today’s ex­perts have wrongly dis­counted the value of “blast­ing” auc­tions.

In today’s deal, South’s blast into six hearts might not be a suc­cess if North’s mi­nor-suit hold­ings were re­versed and East-west had two di­a­monds to cash, but South is will­ing to take that risk. Af­ter South ruffs West’s jack of di­a­monds, how should he play to jus­tify his bid­ding?

If both spades and hearts break 3-2, South will eas­ily take 13 tricks. If ei­ther suit breaks 3-2, he will take 12. What if both suits break 4-1?

South can lead a spade to dummy’s ace at Trick Two and re­turn a spade. If East ruffs, South can ruff the di­a­mond re­turn, draw trumps and take the rest. If in­stead East dis­cards, South wins and ruffs a low spade in dummy. East can over­ruff for the de­fend­ers’ only trick.

If East fol­lowed to the sec­ond spade, and West ruffed South’s king and led a di­a­mond, South would ruff and lead a low spade, in­tend­ing to ruff it in dummy. He would suc­ceed un­less West ruffed in with the 10 or jack of trumps, hav­ing held J-x or 10-x as well as a sin­gle­ton spade.

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