Had an interesting discussion hand come up during last nights weekly IMPS League team game. You hold AJTx xx AKx Kxxx with none vul. You are not playing Namyats, and partner opens 4H in 1st seat. Do you bid, and if so, what?
The first question is, how good should partners hand be to bid 4H, and what range/type of hand can he have. With equal vul, partner should have in the neighborhood of 7 ½ (Maybe 7 in some cases) - 8 ½ tricks, without too much high card outside Hearts. You have 3 tricks, plus 2 - ½ tricks, so can state you have 3 ¾ - 4 tricks for part, plus 2 card Heart support. So if partner has the high end of trick count, with good Hearts, you want to be in slam, if partner is on the low end, you want to pass.
That sort of answers the question, you want to invite slam, but want to ensure partner has the good hand to get there. I think that sorta brings the answer to the question, I think the probable best answer is to raise to 5H. This should ask partner to go on with a solid Heart suit and not too bad a hand. Since you expect to be off the A of Clubs, you do not want partner bidding again with bad Hearts. The only problem with this, is how often will you be too high in 5H? This would happen any time partner has 2 Heart losers and the A of Clubs, or 1 Heart loser and 2 Club losers. So when is the risk worth the gain.
Partner is in 1st seat, so should not have a terrible pre-empt. And even if partner did it on some kind of shape hand like 7-5 with a minor, you have good cards for either minor, so should have some hope. So all in all, I would probably go the aggressive road and raise to 5H.
On this hand, that gets an easy 6H, which is always cold, and makes 7 on a Spade lead. So the next question is, is this hand too strong for a 1st seat 4H call? The opposite hand was K9x AKxxxxxx x x. There is very little defense, 8 ½ tricks, and a good suit, so the major question is, is the hand too good to open 4H when NOT playing Namyats, since there is a chance of missing a slam, as happened. The actual hand passed 4H, and the discussion afterwards was whether the hand should bid, and whether the other hand should open 4H or not. I think it is a close call either way for both hands, but the 4H hand knows they do not want to defend any contract, so wants to make if as difficult as possible for the opps to get into this auction, the definition of a pre-empt.
And this is why I do feel that Namyats, despite all the bad press it gets, is actually a useful convention. It is nice to know when partner has a good pre-empt, vs one of those other, ‘Putrid’, things that you never open :)