USING THE HAND RECORD INFORMATION ON THE WEBSITE
Comprehensive notes on how to get the best value from the hand records on the results page can be found in the Members Area of the website. Log in and look under Notice Board.
Bearing in mind that this was the first bridge session of the New Year, I prepared this special deal to start the new season in a festive spirit.
The challenge was how best to bid (and to a lesser extent play) hands with very bad distribution. My aim was to deal a hand whereby every player had a long and strong suit with opportunity to bid a slam. However, in each case the key King was missing, implying that a slam is not guaranteed.
Every player should immediately suspect that the distribution is very bad and should exercise caution.
From the North point of view:To make a slam on this hand it is important that the partner has the ace of hearts, otherwise, he will be forced to lead away from K,4 of hearts, thus losing two tricks. It would be a bonus if partner has the king of diamonds or if it drops. In my view the best opening bid would be 5D, raising the stakes and making it difficult for the opposition to find a fit.
From the East point of view: Note that East has 9 hearts making it unlikely for the K of hearts to drop. It is more difficult to make a slam in hearts unless partner has at least one (or better 2) of the key aces. A favourable lead might help. Note that there is a very high risk of being forced to lead away from Kx in either clubs or diamonds. The pair can also make a slam if partner can be relied upon to trump losing diamonds/clubs. It is also possible to make a slam if a) opposition lead a spade at the beginning AND the King of hearts is either finessed or drops AND partner has Ace of clubs to throw away losing diamonds. The chances of making a slam in hearts without partner support are limited. However, it would be OK to bid hearts up to 5 level.
From the South point of view: South has the advantage of bidding spades - the highest ranking suit. The possibilities of making 6 spades would depend to a large extent if the partner has cover in hearts. From the bidding this is unlikely. However, there is a chance that partner may trump the hearts. A bid of 5S without partner support is OK. A bid of 6S is risky with less than 30% chance of success. Note that he cannot afford to take trumps out if he relies on partner to trump losing hearts.
From the West Point of view: The bidding considerations are similar to South described above. A bid of 6 clubs is reasonable. However, if South bids 6 spades then the best option would be to pass.
Note that that as the cards lay the ONLY team that can bid and make a slam is the East/West pair.
a) West can bid and make 7 clubs because East can trump losing spades;
b) East/West can also bid and make 6 NT because North does not have any spades and East covers the diamonds.