1st June 2016 - Hand 1:
North. Open 1♦.
South. No need to raise as opener is promising a rebid, so bid 1♥.
North. At least a 4 -4 fit in ♥. Losing trick 8 so a raise to 3♥.
South. With so many controls, let's see how many Aces partner has and bid 4NT.
North. Holding 2 Aces. So – my response is 5♥.
South. Two aces. I bid 6♥
Play. No lead really troubles us and draw trumps straight away. Only 1 possible loser in ♦ but this drops and I would recommend the finesse towards AJ anyway which works. 13 tricks should be made.
The Expert's view:
Sometimes you can look at a hand, either immediately or after partner has bid, and you get a "tingle". (I call it the tingle factor which means that this hand could be really good and/or interesting, possibly with a slam there.)
Let us imagine the players thoughts.
North. I have a scrappy 13 count but at least there is a 5 card suit so I can open 1♦.
South. Tingle. Not only do I have an 18 count but I have lots of good controls (Aces & Kings).We are definitely going somewhere on this hand, whether just to game or to a slam remains to be seen. No need to rush so I will bid a simple 1♥.
North. Lovely, we have at least a 4 -4 fit in ♥. There are lots of holes in my hand so just a raise to 2♥.
South. OK, we have a double fit in the red suits. Let's find out a bit more with a forcing bid of 2♠ (a reverse bid)
North. That's useful, we may not have any ♠ losers. Let's tell partner about our Ace ♣ with a bid of 3♣. This is also the fourth suit bid and is usually called "FSF – Fourth Suit Forcing". (You could also make this bid without any values in ♣ – in which case your values in the other suits must be enhanced – but you want partner to bid again.)
South. Time for a little arithmetic. Partner has shown 5♦ and at least 4♥ so that should be nine tricks. He can only have a maximum of 10 points in those suits (AQJ♦ and QJ♥) so he must have something else to open the bidding. If it is the Ace ♣ then I can count 9 tricks in the red suits, the Ace ♠ and the Ace & King of ♣ to make 12 tricks. Let's do a check with the old Blackwood. So 4NT.
North. Hearts have been agreed as trumps. So – my response is 5♥, whether it's normal Blackwood or RKCB.
South. Fine, two aces. (If we are playing RKCB one would know that partner does not have the Q♥). Following our original calculations I can now bid 6N with a high degree of confidence.
Top expert players would probably use a more sophisticated system of bidding to reach the grand slam which is really only there on the favorable layouts in the spade suit.