Playing with a good partner in a team game on BBO, had the following 2 interesting hands come up. First, you pick up 983 A AKJT753 J3, All Vul, and open 1D in first seat. This goes P and pard jumps to 4S, P back to you, so now what.
I know this is a sign-off in Spades, but I have an awful good hand in support of Spades, basically a 2 loser hand. If partner has AK 7th of Spades and a singleton Club, then slam is a pretty good option. So the question is, do you proceed forward and if so, how. Answering the second and easier question first, if I am going to bid, I would bid 5H over 4S. This has to be a cue-bid in support of Spades, else why introduce a new suit at the 5 level, and would let partner decide somewhat intelligently based on his Club holding (I hope). That is, if it is read correctly, I have played in these kind of less than elegant contracts at the 5 level before.
But back to the first part of the question, should I bid on. I think this is the tougher question and is based on how much you really trust partners bid. I think the bid should show solid or semi-solid Spades, and no control in any outside suits, basically 2+ losers in each. Otherwise there is no intelligent way for partner to bid. If that is the case, I should not bid on, since I do not have control of all outside suits, and my 5H bid would pinpoint the problem to the opps. After some anguish, I did pass at the table, and the opening lead was a Club, the opps cashing 2 Clubs winners and partner claiming right after with AKQJxxx xxx x xx, about what he should have.
The second hand, you hold QT62 AQ K7 A7432 No one Vul, and hear it go P – P – 2S to you. I thought the options here were P and 2N, I did not plan on doubling and hear partner jump in Hearts, or bid 3C on that suit. P is probably the better call on this hand, if partner can not act, you will stay out of the trouble you might get into over 2N, and if partner has enough to act over 2N, he will balance with a Double on many hands. With all that, I decided to bid 2N anyways, and partner raised this to 3N, ending the auction. The opening lead was the Q of Clubs, and partner put down a nice hand K KTxxx Q9xx Kxx, looks like passing 2S would have definitely worked well, but we are in 3N.
I played low on the Q of Clubs, planning on ducking it to start, and RHO played the 9 of Clubs on it. Wanting to help them a little with their signalling, I played the 4 of Clubs, and LHO continued the J of Clubs. I played the K on that, and RHO surprised me by also following, giving me 4 Club tricks to start. Communications were going to be interesting on this hand since most values and tricks were in short suits, so I decided to start unblocking with the K of Spades, figuring if RHO won the A, any shift would be good. Sure enough, he won and played a low Diamond. That got me up to trick 8 with no problems, but I needed to work out number 9 now, the K of Hearts could provide it, but communication was going to be a problem. This is where I did not do well on the hand. I need to try and force a late entry to dummy, so I should rise with the K of Diamonds, hoping that LHO wins it. If he returns a Diamond, I am back to the same position, but any other return leaves me with 9 tricks now.
LHO inserted the 10 of Diamonds, and I won the Q, even though in retrospect it is probably better to duck this. Now I was on board and decided to see what the opps would pitch on the Clubs, so I ran the 3 Club tricks, pitching 2 Hearts from board, and coming down to this position and needing 4 more tricks.
LHO had pitched a Spade and a Heart on the Clubs, while RHO pitched 2 Spades and a Heart. I assumed now that LHO was down to Jxx of Hearts and AJx of Diamonds, while RHO maintained Jxx of Spades with 1 Heart and 2 Diamonds. Playing for that, I cashed the 2 Hearts, the J did not appear and RHO pitched a Spade, then the Q of Spades, on which LHO threw a Diamond, and finally the K of Diamonds. All was going well until RHO won the A of Diamonds (oops), cashed the J of Spades and exited a Diamond. The lack of the K of Diamonds play should have cost me, but LHO, in a fit of sleepiness and generosity, threw the J of Diamonds on the J of Spades instead of the J of Hearts, and let the 9 of Diamonds score the last trick for making.
Partly OK played, but not thinking on the nice small Diamond return by RHO when in with the A of Spades should have cost me. I kept assuming that LHO had the A of Diamonds and was on his way to being endplayed, but there is still no reason not to play the K of Diamonds and start to find out. On this hand, when it wins, I have a better assumption of the correct position of the Diamonds, and can easily end-play RHO for trick 9 by ducking a Diamond after cashing out.