HowardÕs Way


In the first issue this hand was posed as a bidding problem after my partner and I subsided in four spades.

I opened 3NT holding
Sxxx hx dK cAKQJT98x

and made 13 tricks in that contract. Partner held something like
sAQx hAxxx dAQJTx cx


David Howard wrote:

This is an excellent grand-slam to bid either in clubs or no trumps and in MP pairs will score almost all the MPs. Even 6C/NT will score 70-80%. But how to bid it? Much will depend on your bidding methods with your regular partner and even then the grand may not be easy to find! With North as dealer with his eight card suit much will depend on his choice of opening bid. The choices essentially are as follows:

a)1C followed by a high level bid in clubs (not 2C as opening bid, as this does not really describe the hand) or b) a gambling 3NT which has the merit of more or less describing the hand in a single bid. If this bid is chosen surely now South with a huge hand and a good second suit should initiate a slam try. Are you so pessimistic as to fear a heart lead and an offside diamond king? Now what after the gambling 3NT?

1. Ideally North should initiate Blackwood as he knows about the totally solid club suit and a valuable side card. So even after 1C-1D (2D over 1C is OK depending on your methods) now 3 or 4C showing your totally self supporting suit. Now 3H/S or 3N provided that it wonÕt be passed. North can now make a slam try.

2. So how do we get North to initiate the asking? South must avoid bidding 4NT before his partner so that North can start the slam try. When North hears about 3 Aces (although no Kings) and has seen his partnerÕs diamond bid the least bid should now be 6C/NT as he can count twelve tricks.

3NT-4D (forcing)

4NT-5C (0-3 key cards in diamonds – must be 3 aces)

5NT (confirming 5 key cards in diamonds)-6C (no kings –the bid depending on your king showing methods)

6NT(can count12 tricks) -7NT realising that QD is a trick as partner has shown all key cards present which includes KD.