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Wokingham Paper Bridge column No.1

Welcome to my weekly Bridge column.   I intend to vary the level I pitch the topics in this column because I know I cannot please all of the people all of the time but I am trying to please most of the people some of the time.

This week I want to look at a hand that I came across recently at a local club.  Fortunately for my partner and me, my opponents got this one wrong, as did most other pairs, but with a relatively simple bidding tool I think the trap they fell into could have been avoided.

♠  A Q 7 4 3

  A 10 9                               Dealer East

  9 3                                     All vulnerable

                    ♣ 7 4 3         

♠  K                                      ♠  J 10

   J 7 4                                 K Q

  A K J 10 5 2                       Q 8 7 6 4

♣  A Q 5                               ♣ K J 10 6

                    ♠  9 8 6 5 2

                      8 6 5 3 2


♣ 9 8 2

Most pairs played in 6D going one down when the opponents cashed two aces.  When East opens the bidding with the normal 1D (12-19 points), or 1NT (12-14) as our opponents chose, West knows that the partnership has a good diamond fit and at least 30 points.  This should make him think about a slam.  If East opened 1D, West should at some point bid 4NT, a system known as Blackwood, to ask partner how many aces he holds and on finding out partner has none (a response of 5C shows 0 or 4) should close the auction at 5D to receive the best score.  If partner chooses to open a slightly off the wall 1NT, West can instead bid 4C, a system known as Gerber, to ask partner about his aces.  In this case the reply will be 4D showing 0 or 4 and again the auction should close at 5D.